Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Imagination Corporation, Day 1

Just hours ago I returned from an incredible trip which included visiting friends for my first time in Seattle and attending Dan Sawatzky's 3-day workshop at his Imagination Corporation in Yarrow, British Columbia. What an amazing vacation! In Seattle, the boys did a great job of showing me around. I went to Pike's Place, the water front, the Space Needle, Leavenworth, Kirkland, Queen Anne, Mukilteo, the Boeing Factory tour, row boating on Lake Union, Freemont, Pioneer Square, Golden Gardens, Archie McPhee, and much more. I ate lots of seafood, toured the mountains and water, and even ran into Anthony Bourdain!

Then on Thursday, after some minor mishaps, I rented a car and drove about 3 hours up to British Columbia. The landscape up there is so beautiful. Here is a view of my first stop, Hazelgreen Bed and Breakfast.After settling into my room (which just so happened to be pink and have a jacuzzi in it-added bonus!), I headed over to the much anticipated Imagination Corporation. And it certainly did not disappoint! Dan's workshop is a magical and incredible place. Here is his sign on the main road.

And as you pull into the driveway, you pass by this turret as you pass through iron gates.And arrive at the most magical workshop and studio I've ever encountered. It was like a dream. If you look on the right you can even see the little train station attached to the workshop, complete with a rusty locomotive.

Inside the shop is just as amazing as the exterior. The right part of the building is the main workspace and the left side is a library/studio space. Here are some images of the architecture, as well as some signs around the shop.

That evening I got to meet Dan, his daughter Beck, and adorable granddaughter Phoebe, along with the fellow attendees: Ryan, a sign maker from Vancouver Island; Gary, from Fresno, CA, who was just starting up in the sign business; Doug, another newcomer into the sign shop business who drove from IL with his family and a pop-up camper; Jonathan, a local carpenter who loved things to be straight; and Dave, a local carpenter who makes cabinets using a CNC router. As I suspected, I was the youngest, and the only female, but those guys were a blast to work with!

After a casual dinner, we got right to work. Dan taught us the secrets to sculpting concrete and even let us try it out on an in-progress sign.

This is the rock I carved. Pretty neat, huh?

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