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Meet the Producer: Stone City Farm

Posted April 27, 2018

Local, Seasonal, Personal.

The rising sun breaks up a sleepy fog that blankets the land, causing roosters to crow, chickens to stir in their coops and goats to bleat as a new day begins on Stone City Farm. Kathleen Nece is the owner of Stone City Farm, a family business that produces all-natural goat milk soap on their picturesque property, just south of Olympia in Tenino, Washington.

After a close friend developed a sensitivity to certain skincare products, Kathleen read the ingredients of a soap her and her family had been using and was surprised at the number of chemicals. In her search to find something more natural and safer for her family, she decided to try her hand at soap-making. Kathleen’s homemade soaps became so popular among friends and family that she decided to turn her hobby into a business, and in 2013, Stone City Farm was born. All of their soaps are made from a mixture of milk from their goats raised on their farm, olive oil, coconut oil, castor, oil, Fair Trade palm oil, beeswax, and essential oils for scent or exfoliating ingredients.

Goat milking, oil mixing, pouring, curing, cutting and wrapping soap can be a long and tedious process, but the final product is worth the effort. “Your skin is the largest organ in your body and it absorbs 80% of what it comes into contact with,” says Kathleen. “So starting with the basics of what you’re washing yourself with is really important to me.”

In addition to making soap, Stone City Farm also offers handcrafted wood gift boxes, teak soap decks and spa cloths, all produced by Kathleen and her family. The quality of every product that comes from Stone City Farm is a testament to the passion and commitment the family has to making their small business work. Their motto, “Love my goats! Love my soaps!,” says it all.

You can find Stone City Farm’s craft table at Pike Place Market seven days a week from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., and online at stonecityfarm.com.

Meet Local Painter Ernesto Ybarra

Posted April 2, 2018

You’ve likely seen the bright, colorful and culturally diverse artwork of Ernesto Ybarra, one of the faces of our “Local, Seasonal, Personal” campaign. We’re diving a bit deeper to introduce you to Ernesto and what inspired him to become a painter.

In 2015, as a relatively new craftsperson, Ernesto Ybarra, started selling his paintings on-and-off at Pike Place Market. Last year, he decided to make the jump to sell in the crafts market consistently. As a young man, Ernesto tried to cultivate his artistic talent through photography but ultimately found his creative freedom limited behind the lens of his camera. In search of a medium in which he could fully express himself through, he decided to try his hand at painting and never looked back.

As a self-taught painter, Ernesto has developed his distinctively vibrant style over the past 18 years. Natural inspiration for his art include his Mexican-American culture—stating “there are no rules of color in Mexico, which can be seen in the overuse and clashing of colors in Mexican art”—but much more than a Mexican artist, Ernesto emphasizes other influences on his work, such as time spent living California and New Mexico, or things he’s learned about life and his role as a son, grandson, brother, father and colleague.

When asked what he wants people to know about the Pike Place Market, Ernesto had this to say:

“There’s more to the Market than what people first think of—there’s a whole world of hardworking people, expressing themselves through their work and literally putting themselves on display for people to look at. The artists here are incredible and inspiring. We support each other and encourage each other to grow. I encourage visitors to take time to appreciate the art and to learn about the artists.”

One of Ernesto’s favorite memories at the Market is when one day after he had set up his display of paintings, a couple walked up to his table. The wife looked over his pieces, pointed out one and said, “I like that!” When her husband asked why she liked it, she simply replied, “I just do,” and bought the painting without even asking the price.

You can find Ernesto and his paintings set up in the North Arcade or, when the weather starts to warm up, on the sidewalk just outside the North Arcade.

Meet the Artist: Wais Ali

Posted January 19, 2018

Meet Wais! Pike Place artist Wais Ali first became interested in visual arts while growing up in Djibouti, his home country in East Africa. Now a Seattleite, Wais has been selling original acrylic paintings and prints in the Market since 2015. Stop by his table in the North Arcade and meet the artist behind these stunning paintings!

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Holiday Buttons by Graig Anderson

Posted December 12, 2017

Sasquatch pulling a sleigh. Skiing snowman. Bubblefish playing the cello.

These are a just few of the fantastical scenes depicted over the years on Graig Anderson's Pike Place Market holiday buttons. He's been creating them since 1999, each year with a new holiday-themed design. Ask any craftsperson in the Market and they'll tell you: Graig's buttons are a cherished holiday tradition.

"It's fun for me," says Graig. "I've been drawing since I was a kid, and used to paint Christmas stuff on storefront windows. Each year I look back through my sketchbooks and have a big bank of images to choose from as a starting point."

From there, he discusses concepts with Pike Place Market PDA daystall staff and hones his design. "It goes from a drawing to an acrylic painting that I photograph and make final touches on the computer," explains Graig.

Although he cites artistic influences like Edward Gorey, Dr. Seuss, Francisco Goya, and classic Warner Bros. Cartoons as inspiration, its clear browsing Graig's craftstable that he's created a unique magical world of his own.

Shop the Crafts Market from now through the end of the year to receive your own 2017 limited edition Pike Place Market holiday button (while supplies last)!


Graig Anderson's buttons through the years:

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Meet the Craftsperson: Yarnarchy!

Posted October 6, 2016

Please join us in welcoming Yarnarchy! to the Pike Place crafts community! Jennie Goforth makes beautiful hand-spun, hand-painted yarn, all without electricity on her farm in Skagit County. "Radical yarn for radical living!"

Meet the Craftsperson: Aaron Murray

Posted September 1, 2016

A ceramic artist for more than 25 years, Aaron Murray creates porcelain figurines and earthenware that combine his love of folk art and animal forms with a dash of humor. At first glance his display appears to be an ancient artifacts exhibit, but upon closer examination you'll find a delightfully quirky menagerie of animals, robots and other objects, each handcrafted and imbued with its own distinct personality.

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