Playing with design at the Mingei!

A super fun and enjoyable exhibit is now on display at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park!

Toying with Design intentionally coincides with San Diego Design Week 2022, which concludes today. Fortunately, however, this very unique exhibit will continue on until February 2023.

So what will visitors to one corner of the Mingei’s upstairs gallery see? Lots of clever designs! Including all sorts of inspired designs that make common functional household items as playful as toys!

I particularly enjoyed how ordinary kitchen utensils were creatively infused with surprising humor!

Check it out!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Japanese spiritual dolls exhibit in Balboa Park.

I’d never heard of the expression “spiritual dolls” until I visited Balboa Park last weekend.

KOKORO NO KATACHI | Image of the Heart is an exhibition of spiritual dolls at the Japanese Friendship Garden. It features the work of Kimiko Koyanagi and Michiko Stone, artists who combine traditional Japanese doll-making with contemporary art.

The two sisters are third-generation ningyo doll-makers, descendants of the Japanese Doll-Making Muraoka Family of Tokyo. Their work has been exhibited internationally.

The dolls on display are beautiful in their simplicity. The sculptural figures appear serene, pure of spirit, almost angelic.

According to the JFG website’s description, these dolls are meant to be poetic. They convey deep emotion and philosophical meaning.

Many of the spiritual dolls are thin and elongated. To me their soft forms seem to have emerged from inside growing wood, or bone, or from living beams of light.

One fascinating display shows the many steps taken to make these unique dolls. If you’re a crafty person, you certainly want to see this!

Image of the Heart can be experienced in person inside the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden through October 30, 2022.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Natural beauty and art at the Bromeliad Show!

Did you know pineapples are bromeliads?

I had no idea until I checked out the Bromeliad Plant Show and Sale in Balboa Park today. It was the second day of a weekend event held at the Casa del Prado.

A friendly gentleman answered all sorts of odd questions that popped into my mind concerning bromeliads. They’re distinguished from other similar-appearing plant types primarily by their flowers. Many bromeliads are found naturally at higher elevations and are pollinated by hummingbirds, that tolerate colder temperatures than bees. And . . . and . . . I already forgot half of what I was told!

I did notice some tiny, beautiful purplish flowers, and all sorts of fun artwork and crafts at several tables.

The San Diego Bromeliad Society, who hosted the show, has many enthusiastic members. Perhaps you’d like to join!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

House of Norway’s celebration in Balboa Park!

Today the House of Norway celebrated their country’s Constitution Day a bit early with a lawn program in Balboa Park!

Norway’s proud history, democratic ideals and culture were showcased at the center of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.

There was food (including waffles!), and folk song, and friendly folk in traditional costume, and speeches made by local dignitaries. And beautiful Norwegian crafts, like Hardanger embroidery, wood carving, and knitting. And Norwegian Elkhounds were on hand, too!

I checked out the festive event a couple of times as I walked about Balboa Park and took these photographs…

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Amazing art glass show in Balboa Park!

If you love art–glass art in particular–you must absolutely head over to Balboa Park this weekend to check out a spectacular show and sale in Spanish Village Art Center!

The big Art Glass Guild’s Spring Patio Show features numerous skilled glass artists and their amazingly creative and beautiful pieces. Some of the glass is functional, other works are purely decorative. All are for sale!

You can see in my photos how extraordinary this annual show is. Even if you have no plans to purchase art, you’ll pause repeatedly to admire all the glasswork, and wonder how some of the more unusual or exquisite pieces were made!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Linda Vista students create Mexican coconut masks!

Check out this awesome art made by 5th grade students! It appears that some very creative kids attend San Diego Cooperative Charter School in Linda Vista! I noticed this display while visiting today’s 37th Annual Linda Vista Multi-Cultural Fair and Parade.

These colorful masks were actually made using cleverly wrapped balloons, instead of coconut shells, to simulate the fun, imaginative Mascaras de Coco faces that are popular in parts of Mexico.

I love the various personalities!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Amazing fiber art exhibited in Escondido!

Dance Break Oaxaca, by Linda Anderson. Cotton, bamboo batting, textile paints, thread.

I headed to Escondido today to experience an incredible art exhibition on its final day.

Surface, Substance, Structure featured work by artists who belong to the guild California Fibers. Dozens of amazing pieces filled the galleries at the Museum of the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.

The thing about fibers is they curl and intersect and tangle and twist and naturally form beautiful complexity, even if you must look closely.

I was completely amazed by the creativity of these regional fiber artists. Innovative quilts, wire sculptures, baskets, fabric portraits and constructions–there seemed no end to the artistry their hands could produce.

Well, the exhibition is now over, so this blog is a bit late in coming. But you might be awed, or even inspired, by some of the pieces I photographed…

Surprising fabric creations awaited around every corner!
Visitors to the museum were encouraged to feel the texture of these fiber art samples.
SoCal Mama, by Kathy Nida. Commercial and hand-dyed fabric.
Earth Vessel, by Brecia Kravolic-Logan. Reed, paper, patinaed copper, beach glass, driftwood stand, twined, glazed, netted.
Small Wonders, by Charlotte Bird. Art quilt. (Microbes remain, even after a good washing!)
Exploring Too, by Peggy Wiedemann. Pine needles, Irish waxed linen.
Styling, by Peggy Wiedemann. Pine needles, waxed linen, rag cordage from India, old metal wheels, glass beads.
Time Warp, by Lydia Tjioe Hall. Steel wire, waxed linen, cast bronze.
LAVAfolds, by Cameron Taylor-Brown. Weaving photographic transfer, quilting, embroidery.
Wandering the City, by Debby Weiss. Cotton, stitching, applique.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Holiday Bazaar helps refugees, immigrant owned business!

A very cool San Diego holiday event is coming up this Saturday in North Park!

A Holiday Bazaar will be held December 4, 2021 from 10 am to 1 pm at the urban farm at 3745 30th Street. Look for the outdoor space just north of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. According to the event website, you’ll be able to shop from “local refugee and immigrant owned business, explore global street food, and listen to live music.”

I came upon this urban farm four years ago and described my experience here. As you can see in the above photo, I met friendly refugee students whose new home was San Diego. They were gaining confidence and learning job skills!

The 3rd Annual Holiday Bazaar is put on by MAKE Projects and International Rescue Committee’s Small Business Development Center.

Why not swing by and find some unique Christmas gifts? Vendors will be selling clothing, art, crafts, jewelry and much more!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

The storytelling blocks of artist James Watts!

One of the most wonderfully creative artists in San Diego has a little-known studio downtown. His name is James Watts.

I blogged about my first visit to his amazing studio several years ago here.

Today I was walking home after a long adventure (many blogs coming up) when I saw his studio door was open. And there he was working away! Hammering at flat pieces of printed aluminum, making colorful storytelling blocks!

What are storytelling blocks? They feature images from human experience on different sides–such as night on one side and day on the other. You can flip them any which way, then insert them into a wooden box with fixed compartments! These visual stories are like small treasures or keepsakes. Dreamlike, they are open to interpretation.

He also showed me his Box of Yes and No (that uses words from different languages and a couple of eyeballs) and a shelf full of storytelling cubes. Plus lots of other cool artwork!

His fantastic Frankenstein monster that debuted earlier this year is so cool it’s coming up separately on my next blog post!

I love the unlimited energy and joy of life that flows from James Watts’ hands. His art is primarily about storytelling. His studio is also filled with large sculptures based on Japanese kokeshi. The sculptures creatively depict Don Quixote, Prometheus, Jonah, Pandora, Joan of Arc, and a whole host of diverse characters from literature.

He told me some of his storytelling pieces will be in a future exhibition at the Oceanside Museum of Art. So you might be getting a little bit of a preview here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A fun Harvest Fair in Balboa Park!

A very fun Harvest Fair and Marketplace could be enjoyed today in Balboa Park!

The San Diego Floral Association hosted this annual event–which they call Birds, Bees, Flowers and Trees–at the Casa del Prado’s outdoor courtyards.

During my walk through Balboa Park, I lingered at this autumn festival to look about and meet some cool people.

This is what I discovered…

The family friendly event provided many educational opportunities.
Vendors had all sorts of unique crafts and art for sale.
Representatives from the organization Senior Gleaners pose for a photo. They’ll pick your fruit and donate to local agencies that feed the hungry. Or you can volunteer and help pick fruit!
Ikebana International had a table with some beautiful flower arrangements.
The San Diego Audubon Society was present. We talked about local estuaries, lagoons and feral parrots in my Cortez Hill neighborhood!
I learned there’s a College Area Community Garden in a canyon near San Diego State University.
These cool folks in costume were representing the San Diego Costume Guild!
The San Diego Beekeeping Society was showing this hive of bees. Hundreds of people around San Diego County keep bees. Many are hobbyists.
If you happen to come upon an injured parrot, call these friendly ladies at SoCalParrot.org. They perform urban wild parrot rescues.
The San Diego Floral Association had lots of helpful and interesting information on display.
The colorful Harvest Fair included a “Flower Power” floral design competition!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!