Local artist gives new life to antique silver spoons

photo (42)Eric Bowley isn’t just a jewelry maker, he’s a story-teller. Whether it’s through his photography, music or silver rings crafted from antique spoons, he creates and shares his work in a way that weaves old with new, breathing life into remote places and designing jewelry from forgotten family heirlooms.

Bowley’s company, Kimberlin Silver Co., features over 700 one-of-a-kind silver rings, all created from silver spoons and forks collected from dusty corners of antique stores. Bowley, 27, started the company a couple years ago, when his girlfriend at the time wore a spoon ring. He saw the attention the ring garnered, and when his sister wanted to buy them for her wedding party, he decided he would try to make them for her.

Bowley started with stainless steel spoons, which he says were almost impossible to shape into rings. Then, he bought some silver spoons, and says they turned out great. “This is a lot of fun,” Bowley remembers thinking. He decided to invest some money, and made about 20 rings, which he says sold out quickly. For two years he treated it as a side-job, but in January, he quit his business development job and started making rings full-time.

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Bowley says the idea for spoon rings dates back hundreds of years, when servants working for wealthy families would steal silver flatware to make wedding bands. “There are police reports, so that’s how you know they date back that far,” he explains.

“As I look at this I see a really unique product. Whenever I show a ring to somebody, I get this opportunity to see a light switch go on,” he explains. “Obviously this is a niche,” Bowley says. “But, there’s an opportunity to find a niche within this.” Bowley says he sees that niche in weddings; he’s often done rings for brides and grooms who want unique gifts for their wedding parties.

He says he sometimes makes rings from people’s personal spoon collections, but that he loves the search. “I’m perpetually treasure-hunting. It’s nonstop.” Bowley shows me one ring with a sailboat design, then points out the engraving on the inside of the ring, which reads “Olympic Hotel.” Bowley picks another ring with a simple flower design. “This one is probably 100 years old,” Bowley says. “Just imagine the people who used that spoon to eat.”

Bowley has almost his entire inventory listed on Etsy, and has started selling locally at the Fremont Sunday Farmers Market. He’s looking into selling at the Ballard Artisan Market, which will be starting up sometime this month.

Monthly Ballard ArtWalk this Saturday

Tilt-shift photography, painted high-heels, and much more will be featured for this month’s Ballard Art Walk on Saturday, Aug. 10. The Art Walk is from 6 to 9 p.m. and is scattered all over Ballard, from Leary Way to Shilshole and as far north as NW 65th St.

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Erynn Rose, Seattle tilt shift photograph

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Danny Schiltz, “You Didn’t See Me”

From the organizers:

This month, Evolution Press (1112 NW 50th) joins the Art Walk and will be showcasing the work of designer Danny Schlitz (www.dannyschlitz.com). Also this month, Venue (5408 22nd Ave.) will be featuring the tilt-shift photography of Erynn Rose, and Umpqua Bank (2032 NW Market St.) hosts the artists of Hourglass Footwear, a local, women-owned, custom high-fashion shoe company.

To read more about features artists at this month’s walk, visit the ArtWalk blog.

Road sealing starts today in Crown Hill

The Seattle Department of Transportation will be resealing about 36 lane miles of residential streets this summer in the Crown Hill area of Ballard and in Greenwood, starting today. The process is called “chip sealing,” and crews will be working on selected streets south of NW 11oth St, north of NW 85th St., east of 15th Ave NW and west of Greenwood Ave N. through August 30. Crews need hot, dry weather for the process, which is why they’re working throughout the month.

SDOT says “renewing the chip-seal surface preserves the condition of the streets, creating a highly skid-resistant surface that prevents water from penetrating the roadway subsurface, thereby limiting damage such as potholes.” Crews can work quickly on the sealing, resurfacing several miles of roadway each day. The process has been ongoing since 1967, in which SDOT converts dirt and gravel non-arterial streets to chip seal to cut down on dust and other pollution, adding to improved air quality. SDOT says they chip-seal about every 10 years, and that the last time this area was sealed was 1996.

From SDOT:

Notices of upcoming work in the form of door hangers have been distributed to area residents and businesses. “No Parking” signs will be placed on streets in advance. Residents should park out of the area to be resurfaced to prevent the chance of any chip-seal residue getting on their vehicles, and to help SDOT do the work as quickly as possible. Because the chip-seal process involves the application of a fast-drying emulsion into which chipped rocks are compacted, the new surface can be driven on almost immediately. Motorists are asked to limit their speed to ten miles per hour for the first few days following the resurfacing to allow for the rocks to set. Mechanical street sweepers will remove the loose rock within several days following the chip-seal operation. (Sweeping might be postponed during extremely hot weather.)

They’ll be working 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Keep updated on the process here, or contact Susan Almachar from SDOT at 206-396-3556 for questions about the resealing.

PhinneyWood Summer Streets is on Friday

On Friday, Aug. 9, PhinneyWood Summer Streets will fill Greenwood Ave. N. Combining with the monthly art walk, the free, family-friendly event is a big party that will take over the streets with music, art and food. The party is 6 to 10 p.m. and will take place on Greenwood Ave N between N. 87th and N. 67th Streets.

Hosted by the Seattle Department of Transportation, Summer Streets will feature several artists and performances for all ages.

From SDOT:

Ayron Jones is playing soulful music at Valentine’s Seattle; TASTY is hosting their 4th Annual Art ‘n’ Craft Fair; skateboarding experience can be gained with the Maryhill Ratz; and 826 Seattle and the UW Astronomy Department are partnering to set up an awesome Portable Planetarium that fits up to 28 people at one time. Want more? Naked City Brewery is hosting their 2nd Annual Soccer Tournament—a fundraiser for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center—on Saturday and throwing a pre-tournament party during Summer Streets. Volunteers of America will also be building cool sculptures out of healthy canned food donations given to the Greenwood Food Bank. There will be tons of fun for everyone.

To learn more about the Summer Streets celebrations around the city, click here.

Photo from last year’s Summer Streets event, courtesy of PhinneyWood.com

Bouncy castles, burgers and beers: scenes from last night’s Ballard block parties

A couple dozen block parties filled the streets of Ballard last night for the 29th annual Seattle Night Out. Here are some photos from block parties around our ‘hood, sent to us by readers.

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Phil Scroggs sent us this photo of his Crown Hill block party.

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Seattle Police Sgt. Jay Shin and kids in East Ballard.

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A block party on Jones Ave NW, between NW 80th and NW 83rd.

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Jen Hartpence sent us this photo of kids doing karaoke on 19th Ave NW between 73rd and 75th St.

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Holly Hocut says this is the first time her street (90th St & 30th Ave NW) participated in the Seattle Night Out: “lots of food, kids & dogs – we had a blast!!! Can’t wait for next year!,” Hocut writes.

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This block party at 22nd and NW 62nd streets was visited by Seattle City Council members Tom Rasmussen and Richard Conlin, says Beverly Sanders.

Thanks to our readers for the photos! Send us your favorite shots at tips@Myballard.com.

Tour the S.S. Legacy this Thursday

On Thursday, Aug. 8, there will be free tours and a public christening of the S.S. Legacy, a 200-foot passenger ship docked at Fisherman’s Terminal on dock 9 (in front of Chinooks). The boat is owned by Un-Cruise Adventures, a tour company that explores the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska and Mexico and which operates out of Fisherman’s Terminal.

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Photo courtesy Dan Blanchard 

The S.S. Legacy is a replica of a late 1890s coastal steamer brought here for the gold fields of Alaska, according to CEO of Un-Cruise Adventures, Captain Dan Blanchard. “She represents the life and times of a bygone era and the heritage of Ballard herself,” Blanchard writes.  The tours will be from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. and the christening is 6-7 p.m. and open to the community.

Block parties to fill Seattle streets tonight

Tonight is the 29th annual  Seattle Night Out, which means streets around the city will be blocked off for block parties. Night Out is an event organized by the city as a crime prevention tool, to get people to meet their neighbors.

There are several block parties being organized in Ballard, and according to the Seattle Night Out map, the following blocks will be setting up parties:

  • 18th Avenue NW between NW 87th and 89th Street
  • 80th and 20th Ave NW
  • 17th Ave NW between NW 70th & NW 73rd
  • 8300 block of 9th Ave NW
  • 20th Ave NW at NW 65th St.
  • 100 block of NW 58th St.
  • 14th Ave NW between 59th and 61st (hosted by East Ballard Community Assoc.)
  • 7300 block of 21st ave NW
  • NW Market St from 3200 to 3400 block, near the intersection of 32nd Ave. NW and NW Market St.
  • 7th Av NW between NW 62nd and  NW 65th
  • NW 57th St. between 32nd & 34th
  • NW 90th St at 30th Ave NW

Most parties will get going sometime after 4 p.m., so watch out for blocks being closed around that time. If you’re hosting a block party but don’t see it listed, can still register here.