One of my favorite Seattle fashion lines is Silvae, designed by Deborah Roberts. Her clothes are comfortable, simple, and very wearable, but they always have an interesting twist that sets them apart from other lines. Sometimes it’s the drape, or the pattern, or the interchangeability of certain elements of a garment, but I never fail to get a compliment when I wear a Silvae piece. Recently, the brand teamed up with textile designer Lenna Petersen of What Because (we featured Petersen’s work in the June/July 2018 issue) to create a collection of affordable, one-of-a-kind rag rugs. What Because took scraps from Silvae that otherwise would have ended up in the landfill and turned them into bold, geometric works of art that are way too pretty to put on the floor.
Rachel Gallaher, senior editor
Non-Breaking Space, the gallery space at design studio Civilization’s Pioneer Square office, has hosted some of my favorite exhibitions to date. Its latest installment, The Shape of Sound, is no exception. Curated by Edmonds, Wash.-based freelance graphic designer and design historian Scott Lindberg, the exhibition is a survey of record designs from the 1950s, featuring 100 sleeves by 20 designers. Unbeknownst to me, the ‘50s were a turning point for record cover design; a result of new merchandising rules within the music industry. A few music publishers finally started allowing designers to communicate the feeling of the music via graphics and use shape to describe sound, which forged a connection with the consumer. P.S., Lindberg created an accompanying playlist, too! Check it out before July 18.
Abby Beach, junior art director
Cauleen Smith’s work spans multiple media—from experimental film to photography—but is united by its exploration of black identity, feminism, and contemporary life. Through September 1 at Seattle’s Frye Art Museum, the artist presents Give It or Leave It, a show that interweaves four distinct historical universes that feature immersive film and video installations (glimpses of which appear on the opening page of each section of our June/July issue). Smith intends viewers to become physically integrated into her environments through looking, listening, and thinking about them in the here and now. I couldn’t stop staring at Smith’s signature embroidered banners, which have been featured in the 2017 Whitney Biennial, MASS MoCA, and the Museum of Arts and Design, among others. I’ve seen them in person before, but never like this: the Frye had some of the flags installed at eye-level (instead of up and away from you), so their hand-sewn details could be truly appreciated.
Tiffany Jow, editorial director
The Best Things We Saw is a monthly roundup of places, spaces, and things that stopped GRAY staffers in their tracks. Herewith, our picks for the best of the best in June.