Oregon Coast

The art of giving, large and small

It's not just an action but a process, as big as a sea lion and as small as a salmonberry

The act of giving can be so simple and yet so complex. Giving in a sense that is not just good cheer, but something deeper and nuanced and more layered. It’s not just a word, but an entire etiquette. It’s not just a formality, but a way of life.

It’s a matter of respect, a shared experience, an exchange of goodwill, a nod to humility, a deference, a show of appreciation, a payback, a responsibility, a form of courage, an act of selflessness. It’s what matters most and gives meaning. Go deeper. Go higher. A language unto itself. A conversation.

All these words are important, and each is different.

Sara Siestreem (Hanis Coos), aretha franklin (1942-2018) reins supreme dance cap, yellow cedar bark (Kodiak, AK): Vickie Era; black berry and beet dye (Columbia River, OR); red cedar bark (Kingcome, British Columbia): Marianne Nicolson; salmon vertebrae (Kingcome, B.C.); sweet grass: Theresa Secord; spruce root (North Spit of Jordan Cove, Coos Bay, OR); glass and shell beads: Amazon, the world.
Sara Siestreem (Hanis Coos), aretha franklin (1942-2018) reins supreme dance cap, yellow cedar bark (Kodiak, AK): Vickie Era; black berry and beet dye (Columbia River, OR); red cedar bark (Kingcome, British Columbia): Marianne Nicolson; salmon vertebrae (Kingcome, B.C.); sweet grass: Theresa Secord; spruce root (North Spit of Jordan Cove, Coos Bay, OR); glass and shell beads: Amazon, the world.

A trip to the Oregon Coast a while back got me thinking about all that, and has stayed with me for more than a year. What does it mean “to give?” It’s all about a balance in the universe, but it’s not simply to balance out “to get,” and certainly not “to take.” But what does it mean to give in a sense that achieves an equilibrium?

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To market, to market, jiggety jig

Up and down the Oregon Coast, outdoor food and craft markets are gearing up for the crowds. A quick trip to Canada whets the appetite.

I confess I couldn’t tell you the last time I visited our local farmer’s market on the Oregon Coast. I did make it to a handful out of town for a story last year, but in terms of visiting just for the pleasure of wandering from vendor to vendor to enjoy the food, sample the wine and admire the art, I’ve been completely negligent. Yet, the first place on my itinerary after landing in Vancouver, British Columbia, last week (True confession #2: In the 19 years I’ve been here on the Coast, this was my first visit) was the Granville Island Market. It was Easter Monday, pouring rain — and yes, I did feel right at home — but friends told me I had to go to the market and I boarded the water taxi intent on spending time in this touted place of local art and food.

The chocolate submarine that got away at Granville Island Market. Photo: Lori Tobias

It did not disappoint. I agonized over the decision to purchase of a pair of earrings made from Woolly Mammoth tusks, but well aware of the dent the trip was putting in my bank account, I passed, opting instead for a little box of handcrafted chocolates, almost too beautiful to eat. Almost. Outside the market, I dipped in and out of boutiques, where I found a stained glass crow I couldn’t resist. We’ve had bald eagles behind our house, and it’s the crows that signal us to get our small dogs to safety. I returned to my hotel room, patting myself on the back for my spending restraint – then days later, returned to the Island to buy a gorgeous wallet with art by First Nations artist Maxine Noel, and a gift for a friend.

Totems in Stanley Park, the great urban park in Vancouver, B.C. Photo: Lori Tobias

Another day, after hours strolling Stanley Park, I jumped on the sea bus for the Lonsdale Quay Market, and, because I’d been so well-behaved spending-wise, set out to find that one something I couldn’t resist. That something turned out to be phone cases with the most adorable renderings by a local artist of nature and animals. After much hemming and hawing – the pink swan? the blue-nosed rabbit? itty bitty mouse? – I decided it had to be the big-eyed owl, more owlet than owlish.

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The Washed Ashore Project: Saving the Seas with Art

Bandon-based nonprofit works to change attitudes by transforming ocean-killing garbage into sculptures

By DAVID GOLDSTEIN

Last month, as my wife and I entered Oregon on a cross-country journey, we wandered into what initially looked to be an unassuming art gallery in a little southern Oregon coast town. Huge sculptures filled the space. We looked at them closely — and suddenly realized that each was made from thousands of pieces of trash.

We had stumbled upon the Washed Ashore Project gallery in Old Town Bandon-by-the-Sea.

Flowering from the debris. Photo: The Washed Ashore Project

When Bandon artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi noticed the huge amount of plastic pollution on southern Oregon’s beaches, she wondered where all that garbage was coming from. So she did some research. Pozzi learned that plastic pollution has spread to every ocean and marine habitat in the world, and has entered every level of the ocean food chain, from whales to plankton. Turtles, fish, and other sea life ingest floating plastic bags, mistaking them for jellyfish. More than half the world’s sea turtles have eaten plastic, and partly as a result, almost all of their species are threatened or endangered. Other sea animals become ensnared in discarded fishing line, six-pack can holders, and other debris — more than 300 billion pounds of it, clogging Earth’s oceans and killing its creatures.

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