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.

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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!