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From the Author: Michael Fredson

The Hood Canal Art Colony

The Artist Colony Hood Canal

In writing Artist Colony on Hood Canal, I discovered the people I interviewed  were as interesting as the people I was writing about. While California developer Frank Pixley was important, Orre Nobles and Waldo Chase were the ying and yang of the Artist Colony, which lasted from the 1920s to 1952. Orre taught at Ballard High School in Seattle, and with his family, built the Chinese-themed Olympus Manor which became home for the Artist Colony and a summer sanctuary for the Northwest’s elite and wealthy. He was an artist and a vagabond who in the 30s led several “Oriental Odyssey” tours to China, helping introduce Oriental art to the West. He was a friend of the famous, including heavyweight boxing champion Gene Tunney and popular vagabond poet Don Blanding.

Waldo was a tepee-living, Kristnamurti-spouting woodblock print-maker whose prints still sell today for thousands of dollars. His pacifism attracted anti-war hippies and Vietnam veterans to his small, wood-heated cabin.  His love of the mountains and his disinterest in the capitalist system marked Waldo as our first hippie.  For me, Waldo was my calming mentor after my Vietnam service.

If Orre was summer; Waldo was winter. Orre was sunshine; Waldo was fog and rain. Orre was fashionable, Waldo a thinker. Together, they channeled the magic of Hood Canal through their energy, imagination, and art.

Published by Arcadia Press
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