The PowellsWood Garden Storytelling Festival is a potent and charming alternative to a culture dominated by self-serving stories designed to distract or mislead.  Anybody read or heard any of those lately? I thought so.

Instead, festival patrons will be treated to a day filled with tales that illuminate. Trust me: the festival is an opportunity to step away from the routines of daily life and get caught up in the rhythms of a more real world—the rhythms of a natural experience that restores the soul.

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Donald Davis

Anybody can report facts. But that’s just “telling stories,” as it were, says festival headliner and internationally-renowned “teller” Donald Davis. “It’s not a story until there’s some awareness of what was learned.” How does that work? you may ask. Well, “A good story has several things going on at once,” fills in Kevin Kling. “You’ve got the story that you’re telling, the event. And then there’s what’s underneath. The third thing is the mystery that happens inside—the something that keeps you coming back.” It’s what Nabokov called “enchantment.”

The Festival at PowellsWood Garden, now in its fifth year, aims for this effect, and audiences keep coming back. The 3-acre garden opens its gates from 9 to 5 on July 22 and 23 for a two-day extravaganza of workshops and storytelling designed to amaze and delight. And while the art of the tall tale will indeed be alive and well, you can expect a great deal of reality—Donald Davis’s “lessons learned”—to shine through.

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Tea with the Tellers

The first day of the Festival, expert storytellers work closely with small groups of learners to hone the craft of telling. These workshops are unique opportunities for adults to discover new ways of communicating, and new ways of simply being, in an intimate and enriching environment. Friday’s program also includes free programs for daycares and other children’s groups. Advance registration is required for these programs and workshops.

The second day, it’s all telling all the time as a captivating tracked program of tales are scheduled at special spots throughout the garden.

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Telling in the Perennial Borders

This year’s tellers include Adam Booth, who was raised in West Virginia. “At first I thought it was cool to just tell everyone I was a ‘Champion Liar,’” he says, “but then I started listening to everyone else and realized it should be more than just a title.” Also on the program is David Novak who will part of the supporting cast alongside fellow North Carolinian Donald Davis. When it comes to the art of stortelling, Novak points out that “science doesn’t touch on how a sunrise makes us feel. A folktale or myth captures that significance.”

Get back in touch with your feelings. Check out of the election-year babble for a couple days, and check into the festival. You’ll be very glad you did.


Saturday ticket prices start at $5 for kids up to $20 for adults, with family packages available. Friday’s workshop tickets start at $55, with full-festival passes and “Tea with the Tellers” optional (advance registration required). Visit www.powellswoodfestival.org for more details on schedule and pricing.

Day care programs, homeschool groups, and day campers are welcome to attend the festival free of charge as a part of children’s programs on Friday. Participants will hear three tellers and receive a short tour of the garden in this one-hour program. Four time slots are available; to book contact Kristine at [email protected] or by phone at 253-529-1620.

Festival parking will be accommodated at Sacajawea Park at 1401 S. Dash Point Road.  Please catch the festival shuttles, which run continuously starting at 8:45, for transportation to the garden. There is no parking at the garden during the festival except for handicapped vehicles.

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Storytime with these nationally-renowned tellers is free for daycares and children’s camps on Friday, July 22; advance booking is required

About PowellsWood Garden: Federal Way’s “Place to Restore the Soul” is funded by the PowellsWood Garden Foundation 501(c)(3). The garden is located at 430 S Dash Point Road and has been a special local destination since 2001.

PWSF-Click-LandscapePowellsWood: A Northwest Garden plays host to this annual 2-day festival of the art of storytelling.

The first day, internationally-renowned storytellers engage registered guests with workshops designed to turn everyday people into tellers of their own stories. Full-pass participants even get a chance at “Tea With the Tellers” on PowellsWood’s fabled Garden Room Terrace.

The second day, it’s all telling, all the time, with special secret spots in the 3-acre garden set up with tents featuring storytelling tracks for adults, families, and children.

For complete schedule information, visit PowellsWoodFestival.org.

OUR TELLERS

Donald Davis. Appalachian master teller Donald Davis’s tales of growing up in North Carolina bring his audiences to laughter and tears… often at the same time.

Olga Loya. Olga brings her East LA Latino background alive for audiences through folktales and family traditions. Her performances are sprinkled with musical Spanish phrases.

Brenda Wong Aoki. Trained in Noh and Kyogen, contemporary dance, and voice, Brenda entrances audiences with intense, lyrical Japanese ghost legends and heart-warming personal stories.

Adam Booth. Adam, a young West Virginia storyteller and musician, brings us folk, personal, and original tales inspired by his Appalachian heritage.

David Novak. David amazes with his beautifully crafted tales, quirky humor, and sensitive introspection.

As has been the case for years now, PowellsWood is always a great memory-making experience for Mother’s Day Weekend. Just above Redondo, the garden offers a host of opportunities for folks of diverse interests.

This year, the theme is retro! In keeping with the garden’s English sensibilities, vintage or garden-fabulous attire and hats are encouraged, but certainly are not required. All creative outfits or hats will earn the wearer one entry into a drawing for one of two door prizes.

Tea in the garden’s sun room provides an opportunity to catch up with Mom or Grandma over a warm beverage and treats served on Diane Powell’s garden china. Tea is served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. The PowellsWood website notes that “Tea is in addition to general admission. Menu and pricing are available at www.powellswood.org. Guests will be seated in the order in which they arrive. Seating is expected to be limited.”

Three generations enjoy tea in the Garden Room. Photo (c) Christopher Nelson

Three generations enjoy tea in the Garden Room. Photo (c) Christopher Nelson

I’ve enjoyed Mother’s Day Tea there on several occasions, and can vouch for its popularity.

On Saturday, visitors may also make a gift corsage to share with Mom. The corsage-making activity table will be open from 1:30 to 5 p.m. and samples, instruction and assistance will be available. The garden will charge an additional modest $5.00 activity fee for this session.

On Sunday, Harpist Tori Norman will perform a complimentary concert from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.–and Christina Salwitz, co-author of the award-winning book Fine Foliage, will present “PLANTASIA – Design Lessons from a World Class Garden” at 1:00 and 2:15 p.m. Salwitz will provide a virtual tour via photos she has taken of PowellsWood. A book signing by Salwitz will follow.

There’s plenty to see if you wander around on your own, too, but special guided tours will also be available as part of your admission for the day. Saturday’s tours begin at 10:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Sunday’s tours begin at 10:15 and 11:15 a.m. and 3:15, and 5:15 p.m. Tours include bits of garden history, maintenance tips, and plant identification, and space will be limited.

Autistic artist Chris Stiles creates hundreds of works using only a palette of Sharpies. Photo (c) Christopher Nelson

Autistic artist Chris Stiles creates hundreds of works using only a palette of Sharpies. Photo (c) Christopher Nelson

Finally, local artist Chris Stiles (www.artautistic.com) will again display his unique art all weekend. Prints and cards are also available for purchase. If you’ve never seen Stiles’ work, or seen him at work, you really ought to check this out. He’s amazing.

PowellsWood notes that no on-site parking will be available Mother’s Day weekend, except for handicapped vehicles.  Please take the shuttle from the Sacajawea Park lot, just east of the garden at 1401 S. Dash Point Road; the shuttle runs continuously.

Mother’s Day weekend extended hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday May 7th and Sunday May 8th. Adult admission: $7.00. Youth admission (ages 13 to18) is $5.00. Child admission (ages 6 to 12) is $3.00. Children 5 and under free. A one-year family membership is also available for $45.00 and includes admission for a household of two adults and their children, ages 18 and under.

PowellsWood Garden is located at 430 South Dash Point Road in Federal Way, Washington.

 

Diane Powell's handcrafted English tea service. Photo (c) Christopher Nelson

Diane Powell’s handcrafted English tea service. Photo (c) Christopher Nelson

 

Redondo’s PowellsWood Garden, in collaboration with local storytelling guilds, hosts its fourth annual Storytelling Festival July 24th and 25th with five national storytellers on hand to share personal and folk tales. The festival includes fun for all ages with workshops for adults, a free program for children’s groups on Friday, and a full day of storytelling concerts on Saturday.

In an era when quick blurbs on social media are the norm for communicating one’s identity to the world, it is refreshing to hear a well-crafted personal story. Previous visitor Rebecca Chamberlain summed up her feelings about the festival this way: “Between the natural world, and the human imagination, we entered a timelessness… and experienced what ‘spellbound’ means.”

Photo: Susan Wilson, courtesy Motoko

Photo: Susan Wilson, courtesy Motoko

This year’s teller lineup is chock full of spellbinding entertainment. Mime Antonio Rocha uses movement to help unlock our imaginations. Motoko brings Asian folktales to life with humor, charm and elegance. Playwright, commentator, and storyteller Kevin Kling shares his “can do” attitude through personal stories of overcoming adversity. Self-described “Affrilachian” teller Lyn Ford tells folk and personal tales rooted in her multicultural heritage.  Donald Davis, a true southern gentleman known for his bow ties and hilarious personal stories, will charm audiences of all ages.

The Festival’s Friday workshops are open to anyone with an interest in storytelling, and are especially useful for those who use stories in their life or work. Workshops begin at 9:00 am and end at 3:30. Friday’s events conclude with conversation and sweets at Tea with the Tellers, an afternoon social for workshop participants and tellers.

Saturday telling begins concurrently at each festival tent at 10:00 a.m.; gates open at 9:00 for check-in, garden exploration, and resources, coffee, and food purchases. Tellers move from tent to tent throughout the day giving all visitors a chance to hear all tellers, but visitors may also follow their favorite teller if desired. If one has limited time, the Closing Concert from 3:45 to 5:00 features all of the tellers.

Advance registration is required for all Friday events; workshop pricing varies—see the festival website http://powellswoodfestival.org/ for registration and pricing.

As an added bonus, day care programs, homeschool groups, and day campers are welcome to attend the festival free of charge as a part of the children’s programs on Friday. Participants will hear three tellers and receive a short tour of the garden in this one-hour program.  Four time slots are available; to book contact Kristine at [email protected] or by phone at 253-529-1620.

Saturday tickets may be ordered in advance via the festival website or be purchased at the gate; adult tickets are $20.00, children (12 and under) are $5.00 and a family pass is $40.00.

Friday lunch for workshop attendees is catered by Panera and can be pre-ordered with tickets. For those who wish to enjoy lunch in the garden on Saturday, options include catered sandwiches, salads, chips and cookies, coffee and espresso drinks, and hand crafted ice cream by Ice Cream Social. Visitors are also welcome to bring their own lunch.

The festival is held at PowellsWood Garden located at 430 South Dash Point Road in Federal Way. Festival parking will be accommodated at Sacajawea Park at 1401 S. Dash Point Road.  Please catch the festival shuttles, which run continuously starting at 8:45, for transportation to the garden. There is no parking at the garden during the festival except for handicapped vehicles.

Online Ticketing at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/920053.

New garden spaces make it possible for PowellsWood to expand offerings at their annual Mother’s Day weekend event. Each year Monte and Diane Powell offer up a taste of English Garden-inspired hospitality during their Mother’s Day open days, and this year is no exception with guest speakers, a book signing, tea, tours, and music.

If you haven’t seen the revamped garden since it reopened two years ago, you really should take the opportunity. It’s stunning.

Three generations enjoy tea in the Garden Room. Photo (c) Christopher Nelson

Three generations enjoy tea in the Garden Room. Photo (c) Christopher Nelson

Mother’s Day weekend hours are 10:00 – 5:00 both Saturday May 9th and Sunday May 10th. Entrance is $5.00, free for children under 12.

The garden is located on the upper edge of Redondo in the Cold Creek watershed. Visitors are requested to take the shuttle from Sacajawea Park, just east of the garden, at 1401 S. Dash Point Road. On-site parking is limited to handicapped vehicle parking only. Though the garden has just added a new parking area for normal operating hours, neighbors appreciate visitors not parking on local streets for special garden events.

Garden author and blogger Angie Nerus

Garden author and blogger Angie Narus

PowellsWood has released the full weekend event schedule as follows.

Saturday only:

  • Angie Narus author of Walking Washington’s Gardens will be signing copies of her book in the Spring Garden from 10:30 am.-1:30 pm.
  • Elizabeth Kroker, reigning Pierce County Beekeeping Association Honey Queen, will speak on bee keeping in the Woodland Garden at 11:00 am. PCBA members will also be on hand with educational materials.
  • Bluegrass musicians WB Reid and Bonnie Zahnow return to delight audiences with their lively tunes on the House Garden Patio from 1:00 – 3:00 pm.
Autistic artist Chris Stiles creates hundreds of works using only a palette of Sharpies. Photo (c) Christopher Nelson

Autistic artist Chris Stiles creates hundreds of works using only a palette of Sharpies. Photo (c) Christopher Nelson

Sunday only:

  • Gardener extraordinaire Marianne Binetti will share “What Mama Never Told You – Tips, Tricks and Dirt Cheap Ideas for your Garden” in the Woodland Garden at 1:30 pm.
  • Harpist Deborah McClellan will play from 1:00 to 3:00 pm in the Garden Room.

Both days:

  • Tea hosted by Diane Powell in the Garden Room from 11:00 am. – 4:00 pm. Menu and pricing available at the PowellsWood website:
    http://powellswood.org/category/events/
  • Local artist Chris Stiles displays his unique prints and cards, which are available for purchase in the Upper House Garden.
  • Garden tours beginning every hour on the half hour in the Entry Garden. Tours include bits of garden history, maintenance tips, and plant identification.
Diane Powell's handcrafted English tea service. Photo (c) Christopher Nelson

Diane Powell’s handcrafted English tea service. Photo (c) Christopher Nelson

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Foster Helmet LogoThe Bulldog community will honor the past, present, and future with a dance- and music-filled evening on Saturday, March 21.

In 1915, the United States was on the brink of entering World War I, the 47th and 48th states had just been admitted to the Union, and automobiles were slowly becoming available for wealthier citizens.

14667956791_ab0d2b47ae_kIn Tukwila, something just as groundbreaking occurred: Foster High School issued its first-ever diploma to student Ava Sophia Adams (right), setting in motion 100 years of exceptional Bulldog graduates following in her footsteps.

Many of those alumni—spanning almost every decade, including two from the Class of 1937—as well as current and former staff and community members will gather at the school this Saturday for a centennial celebration featuring food, dancing, socializing, and plenty of good memories.

Anyone with an interest or affiliation with Foster High—past, present, or future—is enthusiastically invited!

Members of the centennial planning committee last summer tracked down AvaDiplomaMs. Adams’ family in Montana and brought back her original diploma (pictured at right); that artifact will be on display, and a reenactment of the first commencement ceremony will kick off the official ceremony.

The rest will be a musical tribute to the past, present, and future of the school, including a rollicking dancing-through-the-decades look back at the school’s seminal events featuring alumni musicians.

Members of the 2013 graduating class

Members of the 2013 graduating class

Current students will take the stage for vibrant cultural performances, including singing and dancing from Foster’s Pacific Islander, Burmese, and Hip Hop Clubs.

Over the past century, Foster has transitioned from a simple building in a Northwest settlement area to the sole high school in the nation’s most diverse school district. Throughout these significant changes, the most important character of Foster has never wavered: This school remains the heart of the Tukwila community.

14484493160_50a0e46e04-500“We are all proud Bulldogs, and that’s what matters,” said Ron Lamb, class of 1966, member of the planning committee. “We are coming together to celebrate the story of Foster High School and what we have accomplished—past, present, and future.”

Foster High School Community Centennial Celebration details:

  • Saturday, March 21, at Foster High School, 4242 S. 144th St., Tukwila
  • Doors open at 3 p.m. with an open house featuring tours, an ongoing historical slideshow, a display of artifacts, and socializing. Dinner and refreshments will be available at about 3:30 p.m. The official program will begin at 6 p.m. Following, the gym will open for a sock hop ending at 10 p.m.
  • Foster centennial spirit wear will be available for purchase.

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‘Cultivate,’ an all-ages Open Mic night, returns at 7 p.m. on Saturday August 9 at Greenbridge Plaza.

Organizers tell us they have a great set planned for the night, featuring the band Peacemaker Nation, and hint also that they may have a couple special treats for all of those who make it out.

Here are the details:

WHAT: ‘Cultivate’ Open Mic Night.

WHEN: Saturday, August 9, 7:00pm

WHERE: Greenbridge Plaza – 9010 8th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98106

INFO: Cultivate is back to White Center!!!!

by Greg Wright

Diane Ferlatte, the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence Award winner, will be a featured “teller” at this year’s PowellsWood Storytelling Festival.

The first day of the festival, which runs July 18-19 this year at PowellsWood in Federal Way, storytellers engage registered attendees with workshops designed to turn everyday people into tellers of their own stories.

The second day, it’s all telling, all the time at key locations throughout the 3-acre garden. This year’s tellers include Donald Davis, Angela Lloyd, Barbara McBride-Smith, Ed Stivender—and Diane Ferlatte.

I had the opportunity to chat the other day with Ferlatte, fresh from her appearance at the Sydney International Storytelling Conference in Australia.

I understand you were raised in Louisiana. That’s ripe storytelling country. Were you born there?

Grammy-nominted storyteller Diane Ferlatte is featured at the PowellsWood Storytelling Festival

Grammy-nominted storyteller Diane Ferlatte is featured at the PowellsWood Storytelling Festival this year

Diane Ferlatte: I was born in New Orleans and migrated with my parents and two brothers to Oakland, CA when I was nine years old.

Can you recall the first time you were captivated by oral storytelling?

DF: We used to joke that my father had a motor mouth. Both he and my grandparents could really spin yarns on the porch in Louisiana, but I was too young to really appreciate it at the time.

When did you become inspired to start telling stories yourself?

DF: After we adopted our second child, I discovered that he was a TV brain. I had been reading stories to his younger sister but he wasn’t interested. I had to find a way to get him to sit and listen instead of watching TV. So I not only read in a more dramatic way but soon began to tell stories instead of just reading to them. When I was asked to tell stories at a church function, I was hooked. The first professional teller who had a big impact on me was Jackie Torrence.

You spent some time in Georgia’s Sea Islands collecting stories. How did that come about?

DF: I was interested in the Gullah culture and wanted to collect some of their folktales. Problem was, on Sapelo Island’s Hog Hammock community which I visited, the primary storyteller was long in the tooth and couldn’t remember much. So I interviewed and spent time with many of the remaining inhabitants left in that small community whose families had been there for generations since slavery. As a consequence, I developed a show around their various personal stories.

Do stories generally come to you, or do you search them out?

DF: Some stories come to me through personal experiences or through friends, but I do research on historical stories and folktales.

Your scheduled workshop at the PowellsWood Festival this year is titled, “Bringing Stories to Life.” Why is it important for everyday people to learn how to “tell their story,” as opposed to simply passing along facts about who they are?

DF: It is first and foremost important that we talk with one another. Passing along facts is better than nothing, but when we share stories we get a much clearer and meaningful idea of each other. We also are able to relate in a more emotional way to the other person through their stories. In addition, stories are just more interesting.

So is it about more than just leaving a legacy of sorts? Is it also about the “how” of living out our own stories, day by day?

DF: Sometimes we think there isn’t anything interesting about us that we can share, but we all are interesting in different ways, and we all have stories to share.

I hope your experience at PowellsWood this year gives you more stories to tell!

DF: I hope so too, and thank you very much.

For complete Festival schedule information, visit powellswoodfestival.com

PowellsWood: A Northwest Garden
430 South Dash Point Road

Price $15 and up; children’s and family rates available

Online Ticketing at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/531089

by Greg Wright

The PowellsWood Storytelling Festival “is like a little pearl,” enthuses storyteller Syd Lieberman.

The two-day festival, which runs July 18-19 this year at PowellsWood in Federal Way, is decidedly unique.

The first day of the festival, storytellers engage registered guests with workshops designed to turn everyday people into tellers of their own stories. Full-pass participants even get a chance at “Tea with the Tellers” on PowellsWood’s fabled Garden Room Terrace.

DonaldDavis

Donald Davis anchors the lineup of “tellers” at the PowellsWood Storytelling Festival July 18 and 19

The second day, it’s all telling, all the time, with special secret spots in the 3-acre garden set up with tents featuring storytelling tracks for adults, families, and children. This year’s tellers include Donald Davis, Diane Ferlatte, Angela Lloyd, Barbara McBride-Smith, and Ed Stivender.

“I haven’t been to anything like this,” says Lieberman. That’s quite a testimony from the man who’s a regular feature at internationally-renowned festivals like Timpanogos and the National Festival in Jonesborough. “It’s this little special thing in the woods that you come upon and you find,” he continues. “It’s wonderful that way. ‘Wow! I’m telling in this beautiful setting!’”

It’s magical by design, a “fairy tale come true,” to use the words of the Federal Way Mirror.

“Our belief is that people come away from the Festival happier, more joyful,” says garden founder and Festival organizer Monte Powell. “And maybe revitalized—from being here at the Festival, and also from doing the Festival in a beautiful, green environment.”

And make no mistake. The garden setting offers a one-of-a-kind experience. “Telling a story in a garden like this definitely makes a difference,” attests Indian storyteller Jeeva Raghunath, who also appeared at last year’s festival.

“I’ve told stories in the classroom,” she notes. “I’ve told stories in the auditorium. I’ve told stories by the sea. But this is very different, the reason being that it’s very identical: the gardener and the storyteller. Both of them do it with a lot of soul. And stories are not from head to head. It’s from heart to heart. So every story has soul. It has life.”

Festival anchor and master teller Donald Davis has the heart of it.

“I love trees,” says Davis. “They are listeners.”

Visit the PowellsWood Storytelling Festival this year and listen. Listen with the trees.

Listen, and grow.

PowellsWood is located at 430 South Dash Point Road in Federal Way. For complete schedule and parking information, visit powellswoodfestival.com. Price $15 and up; children’s and family rates available. Online Ticketing at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/531089.

PWSF-Logo-300x400July 18-19, 2014

PowellsWood: A Northwest Garden plays host to this annual 2-day festival of the art of storytelling.

The first day, internationally-renowned storytellers engage registered guests with workshops designed to turn everyday people into tellers of their own stories. Full-pass participants even get a chance at “Tea With the Tellers” on PowellsWood’s fabled Garden Room Terrace.

The second day, it’s all telling, all the time, with special secret spots in the 3-acre garden set up with tents featuring storytelling tracks for adults, families, and children.

For complete schedule information, visit powellswoodfestival.com

Phone (253) 529-1620
Price $5 – $125

<a href=”http://waterlandblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Mothers-Day-2014-Poster-Alt.jpg”><img class=”alignright size-medium wp-image-51270″ src=”http://waterlandblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Mothers-Day-2014-Poster-Alt-231×300.jpg” alt=”Mothers Day 2014 Poster Alt” width=”231″ height=”300″ /></a>A great garden brings people together; visit PowellsWood Garden this Mother’s Day weekend, May 10-11, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with your mother or child and share the magic of this remarkable garden.

Entrance is $5.00 for adults and children under 12 are free.

Together explore the updated grounds and garden features via a new self-guided tour. Relax and visit in the Garden Room where tea, scones, lemonade, and cookies will be available for purchase from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Musical entertainment will be available both days as well!

by Greg Wright

Monte Powell’s garden in Federal Way plays host to a regional festival with international flavor… the PowellsWood Storytelling Festival. Curated by Des Moines resident Margaret Read MacDonald, a Huntington Park retiree from the King County Library System, the festival drew hundreds of visitors in its first year, and is back for its second installment July 26-27.

Eth-Noh-Tec at the 2012 PowellsWood Storytelling Festival. Photograph copyright Christopher Nelson.

Last year, the Festival drew the attention of CBS producers, who came to Federal Way to observe and speak with featured “teller” Donald Davis, an artist of international reputation–like MacDonald herself. (See the CBS video embedded below.)

The festival covers some seventeen total hours of storytelling from ten different storytellers covering remarkable variety of styles for different audiences. Federal Way Mirror journalist Andy Hobbs describes the festival as a fairy tale come true, an opportunity for the community “to sample culture and nature, right here at home.”

The term most used by adults and children alike is… magical!

Learn more about the Festival at PowellsWoodFestival.com.

Summer is a great season to visit newly renovated PowellsWood Garden, 430 S. Dash Point Road.

The garden will re-open its doors to the public, with a celebration on June 22nd and 23rd 2013. The gate opens at 10:00 a.m. and the garden will remain open until 3:00 p.m. Admission is $5.00, children 12 and under are free.

Festivities include exploration of the garden’s summer color, bluegrass and harp concerts, a raffle, and refreshments in the Garden Room. On site parking at the garden is limited and visitors are requested to take the shuttle from Sacajawea Middle School, just one-quarter mile east of the garden on S. Dash Point Road.

Each visitor to the garden during the Re-opening Celebration will be entered into a raffle for 2 free passes to the 2nd annual PowellsWood Storytelling Festival Saturday July 27th 2013. For more information on the Festival see the Storytelling link on our website powellswood.org. The festival is co-sponsored by the Seattle Storytellers Guild.

Tea, cookies, and scones will be available for purchase in the Garden Room. A small pot of tea, two cookies, and a scone is $10.00 , tax included.

The re-opening marks a return to the garden’s regular open hours of 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday through October.

Storytelling Mag AdJuly 26th & 27th 2013

PowellsWood: A Northwest Garden plays host to this annual 2-day festival of the art of storytelling.

The first day, internationally-renowned storytellers play host to registered guests with workshops designed to turn everyday people into tellers of their own stories. Full-pass participants even get a chance at “Tea With the Tellers” on PowellsWood’s fabled Garden Room Terrace.

The second day, it’s all telling, all the time, with special secret spots in the 3-acre garden set up with tents featuring storytelling tracks for adults, families, and children.

For complete schedule information, visit PowellsWoodFestival.com.

For tickets, visit Brown Paper Tickets.

Children’s and Family prices available, plus package prices for the Full Festival, including Friday workshops.


PowellsWoodReopeningby Greg Wright

Summer is a great season to visit newly renovated PowellsWood Garden, 430 S. Dash Point Road. The garden will re-open its doors to the public, with a celebration on June 22nd and 23rd 2013. Festivities include exploration of the garden’s summer color, bluegrass and harp concerts, a raffle, and refreshments.

Located on the upper end of the 40–acre Redondo greenbelt, PowellsWood Garden is a unique urban oasis, in which themed garden rooms are designed to inspire both homeowners and professional gardeners alike. Portland area designer Rick Serazin’s renovations have added additional structure, new vistas, more four-season color, and take advantage of the new plant varieties available to Pacific Northwest gardeners due to a changing climate.

Each visitor to the garden during the Re-opening Celebration will be entered into a raffle for 2 free passes to the 2nd annual PowellsWood Storytelling Festival Saturday July 27th 2013. The festival is co-sponsored by the Seattle Storytellers Guild, and we reported on that a few weeks ago.

The re-opening marks a return to the garden’s regular open hours of 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday through October. Details about the Grand Reopening event can be found on the PowellsWood website.

PWSF-Logo-300x400by Greg Wright

Storytelling has become a worldwide phenomenon. The Puget Sound’s newest annual festival, hosted at PowellsWood Garden on the upper edge of the Redondo greenbelt, is expanding this year to include a global-village emphasis. Tamil storyteller Jeeva Raghunath, based in Chennai, India, will be headlining the PowellsWood Storytelling Festival, now in its second year.

The festival runs July 26 and 27th and features a day of workshops in addition to a full day of storytelling.

One of the garden’s four storytelling venues, the spectacular and newly redesigned Perennial Borders, will feature a daylong program with an international focus titled, “Lively World Folktales for All Ages.” Jeeva-Portrait-199x300Raghunath (right) will be contributing along with Heather Forest and internationally-renowned local teller Margaret Read MacDonald. Festival newcomer Syd Lieberman will also co-host a session in the Spring Garden titled, “Traditions: Tamil, Jewish, Borneo.”

In addition, Donald Davis will share evocative tales from his North Carolina childhood, and Heather Forest will delight with her singing fables and with stories of her life as a gardener.

Now in its second year, the PowellsWood Storytelling Festival was inspired by PowellsWood owner Monte Powell’s annual visits to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. When Powell discovered that MacDonald had moved almost literally into his own backyard, creative sparks flew—and the Festival was born.

The Festival’s first edition in 2012 was a wild success, featured in a national network broadcast on CBS Sunday Morning. The Festival was anchored by Jonesborough regular Donald David, who is back again for the 2013 edition.

Raghunath is particularly excited to be participating in a Pacific Rim festival. She has represented India at 17 international storytelling festivals around the globe, training over 25,000 children and adults in the art of “telling.” Having conducted over 500 performances, Raghunath has also translated 45 books into Tamil from English. Her storytelling style leaves audiences spell-bound. She believes that she herself is the best prop for her storytelling.

Tickets to the event range from $10 full-day passes for the Saturday storytelling sessions to two-day passes priced at $120, which also include Friday workshops with Donald Davis and Syd Lieberman. Children’s and family rates are also available.

Learn more about the Festival at PowellsWoodFestival.com… and check out the CBS News report (below) that featured the 2012 PowellsWood Storytelling Festival.

by Greg Wright

Earlier this summer, Monte Powell’s garden in Federal Way played host to a new regional storytelling festival… the PowellsWood Storytelling Festival. Curated by Des Moines resident Margaret Read MacDonald, a Huntington Park retiree from the King County Library System, the festival drew hundreds of visitors in its first year.

Eth-Noh-Tec at the 2012 PowellsWood Storytelling Festival. Photograph copyright Christopher Nelson.

It also drew the attention of CBS producers, who came to Federal Way to observe and speak with featured “teller” Donald Davis, an artist of international reputation–like MacDonald herself. The segment aired last week on CBS (see below) and is described as follows:

Whether it’s Mother Goose, the tales of the Brothers Grimm, even the parables of Christ, you might say the human mind is hard-wired to respond to stories. In fact storytelling may be the oldest art form.

Correspondent Serena Altschul explores our oral tradition at those Woodstocks of words, storytelling festivals – there are dozens of such fests to be found around the country. We visited one of the newest, the PowellsWood Storytelling Festival, just outside of Seattle.

Plans are naturally already in the works for the 2013 edition of the Festival, though dates and schedules have not officially been announced yet. We’ll naturally bring you news as it breaks. This is one of those events to plan your entire summer around!

Learn more about the Festival at PowellsWoodFestival.com.

by Greg Wright

Over 340 guests showed up at PowellsWood Garden on Dash Point Road July 14 to sample some seventeen total hours of storytelling from ten different storytellers, and everyone seemed delighted with the variety of remarkable storytelling they experienced. Something for all ages,  and every taste.

Debra Harris-Branham holds day campers spellbound

Debra Harris-Branham holds day campers spellbound

Federal Way Mirror journalist Andy Hobbs described the festival as a fairy tale come true, “an opportunity for Federal Way to sample culture and nature, right here at home. PowellsWood gave people across the region a good reason to visit and play. Most importantly, the festival nourished the community’s lifeblood.”

On Friday, July 13,  around 450 daycamp children and leaders also tromped into the gardens to sit in the shade of an awning (one hundred at a time) and listen to three tellers wow them with tales.

The term most used by adults and children alike was… magical!

The organizers expect this to become an annual event. Follow the website for updates.

by Greg Wright

“Pleasures were simpler then,” wrote Indiana novelist Booth Tarkington about the waning days of the 19th century. “But that has never meant less pleasure. Life was slower; but that means there was time to enjoy it a little copiously.”

Dr. Margaret Read MacDonald travels the world telling stories… and, like Tarkington, she is a Hoosier at heart. And, like fellow Indiana storytellers James Whitcomb Riley, Lew Wallace, Kurt Vonnegut, Theodore Dreiser, George Ade, and even Ernie Pyle, MacDonald is always on the lookout for more great stories to share. She shapes these “found stories” into tellable tales which anyone can share with ease; then, she fills her folktale collections with these winsome yarns. Over the years, she has published dozens of such books.

She hopes that you will read these stories a few times… then put down the book… put down the Kindle or iPad… and just TELL the story to your children. Like Tarkington, MacDonald recognizes that there are pleasures to be had in slowing down, and listening.

To a great degree, the fast-paced entertainment of the 20th century and beyond has spawned the famed “short attention span”—but it has also created a great appetite for the kind of storytelling that MacDonald seeks out and cultivates. Joining her Folklore Ph.D. with her 30-plus years as a children’s librarian, MacDonald’s books and presentations bring folktales to life in playful, lilting language that amazes both readers and listeners—and now, to the great benefit of the Puget Sound region, MacDonald has lent her experience, knowledge, and talents to the creation of a new annual Storytelling Festival in the wonderful natural setting of PowellsWood Garden.

Drawing on her service with both the Seattle Storyteller’s Guild and the National Storytelling Association—not to mention her years as Children’s Librarian with King County—MacDonald has recruited a first-rate slate of “tellers” for the workshops and performances coming July 13 and 14 in Federal Way. Donald Davis, Alton Chung, and Eth-Noh-Tec headline a program filled with wit, drama, and pathos. It’s a highly entertaining mix.

The passion for the material comes naturally. Even as a child, she says, “my head was full of imaginings and I got myself a notebook and started to write poems and plays of my own. My friends and I could make papier-mâché puppets and act out the plays I wrote.” By the time she got to college it dawned on her that the she could make a career out of her passion. “What fun! I got to have a great time every day of my whole life!”

She observes that “people through the ages have told folk tales to each other, and a lot of folk tales talk about things we need to listen to.” I had the chance to ask MacDonald some questions last week, and include a transcript of her responses following the entertaining video below.

Visit the PowellsWood Storytelling Festival website for details.



I’ve read about your thrill of discovering, as a child, the notion of libraries—houses full of books that you could borrow and devour. Did you ever experience a similar sort of storytelling epiphany at some point, where listening to a teller just opened up a whole new world of possibilities for you? Or did the excitement of the oral form just grow on you slowly?

Actually, storytelling yanked me in total surprise into my career as a children’s librarian. The summer of 1964 I had finished all the tortuous courses in science, math reference, and government documents at the UW library school in preparation for my career as a university librarian specializing in Anthropology. I had two courses left and could take anything I wanted. So I decided to just play that summer and signed up for Children’s Literature and Storytelling.

My professor, Bernard Polishuk, was Coordinator of Children’s Services at King County Library System. The courses were delightful. On the last day of class, as I crossed campus, our paths met. “Aren’t you in my class?” he asked. “You are going to become a Children’s Librarian!”

“Oh no,” I explained. “These are the only courses I’ve taken in that area. It’s too late to change now.”

“Come to King County!” he exclaimed. “We will train you!”

That morning I told my first ever long story as my final exam. When I finished, Mr. Polishuk leapt to his feet! “Ms. Read! You’ve got to become a Children’s Librarian!”

So I went down to the King County Library headquarters the next week and he hired me. I told stories at all 24 of King County’s libraries that summer and was hooked. Now when I teach storytelling courses, I require my students to tell at least 10 stories during their training. By the time they have told stories 10 times to an audience… they won’t want to stop. The audience gives so much back to you with their own energy, that it makes the hard work of preparing a story something you want to keep doing.

There’s obviously a big difference between telling stories for friends and family and performing for an audience of tellers. How did it feel the first time you participated in a national event?

The audience is half of every storytelling event. Their energy is what keeps the teller afloat.

Donald Davis was once asked if it was very hard to tell to huge audiences of 1,000. He said no. The larger the audience the EASIER it was… because their collective energy just buoyed him up.

I actually don’t remember the first time I told to a large audience in the U.S. But I do remember a 1,000+ audience in Tokoyama City, Japan. I was telling in tandem with a Japanese friend, Masako Sueyoshi. She had invited me because she wanted tellers there to see the lively audience-participation style I use. Everyone told us we would never get the Japanese ladies at that conference to participate. But within seconds we had them on their feet chanting with us! That moment changed the way Masako’s telling could be accepted in Japan and allowed her to teach participation-style telling from then on.

Actor Michael Caine has talked about the joy of working with puppeteers—that his experience on The Muppet Christmas Carol was one of his favorites because puppeteers are such nice people, because the things they value in general are so sweet and joyous. Do you find that the community of tellers has a similar vibe?

For the festivals I help produce I always seek tellers who have wonderful connections with their audiences. These tellers really care about their stories and their listeners. Storytelling tends to be more of a mission than a career. They just do it because they love it so.

There is such a joy in passing on a great story to an eager audience. And in many cultures audiences are involved in the tellings too. I especially love this kind of audience-participation telling. The Whitman Story Sampler, Debra Harris-Branham, and Norm Brecke will be using these techniques in their family programs.

Adult audiences love to just sink into the string of a good story and we have those tellers coming too. Donald Davis will be sharing (usually) hilarious tales built on his own North Carolina childhood. Alton Takiyama-Chung will be presenting the World War II stories of Japanese-Hawaiians and Okinawan-Hawaiians.

In my own work I travel abroad a lot and need to tell through translators. I’ve developed a technique of tandem-telling for this which works quite well, and even wrote a book about this.

But I love seeing tellers who are bilingual and can tell in both languages at the same time! Joe Hayes does this, and I’ve asked him to feature his Spanish-English folktales from New Mexico at our festival.

And some tellers almost cross the line into theater. Eth-Noh-Tec do this with their stylized tandem tellings. Such fun to watch them in action!

Sorry! I took your question about the community of tellers and ranted off into a promo piece for the festival!

And you’re worried about that? I think we’re on safe footing here. Now, you’ve written that “a lot of folk tales talk about things we need to listen to.” In your study of storytelling from around the world, what common, constructive themes do you find running through them?

When I started looking for stories to include in my book Peace Tales: World Folktales To Talk About, I found it rather difficult to discover stories on the themes of kindness, reconciliation, and peace. I was distressed to realize that over the ages humans have told many stories about how-to-kill-the-giant; how-to-get-the-gold; how-to-trick-somebody; how-to-marry-the-prince… but not many stories about getting along with your neighbor.

Today’s tellers, though, look for those stories which do carry positive values and try to include some of those in every performance. And perhaps if we keep telling stories of peaceful reconciliation, we can change the way folks think. By changing our stories, we can change ourselves.

What’s your biggest hope for those who attend the PowellsWood Storytelling Festival?

My biggest hope for the PowellsWood Storytelling Festival is that many many people discover the joy of storytelling—the pleasure of just sinking into a tale and being drawn along by a caring teller. I teach my students that storytelling is not “performance.” Storytelling is a nurturing act. And for this festival I have selected tellers who understand this and come to their audiences with love and care.

Award-winning South King Media photojournalist Michael Brunk will have a selection of his photographs featured at The Scotch and Vine in Des Moines throughout June. The photos are being hung in the restaurant’s reception area on Monday, June 11, as part of the Vine’s first anniversary celebrations. It’s Happy Hour all day that day, and opening time is 4 pm.

Michael is a member of Tyee Photography Alliance, which has reached agreement with The Scotch and Vine to supply the venue with an ongoing selection of photographic art from its constituent members. Michael’s photos have appeared in a variety of online and print outlets, including The Seattle P-I, the City of Burien, City of Des Moines Arts Commission, and Experience Washington, as well as numerous online publications.

Michael is, of course, also a principal founding partner in South King Media, and a key player in B-Town Blog’s successive “Best Hyperlocal Website” awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Michael’s work will also be shown at Seattle’s Art/Not Terminal Gallery in downtown Seattle throughout July as part of a group showing of Tyee Photography Alliance works titled “Landscapes and Plannedscapes: Reactions to the Urban Environment.” The Scotch and Vine will be catering the opening night reception on July 7.

Find out more about Michael’s photography at NW Lens.