Photo & Text Copyright 2006 Seattle Daily Photo. All rights reserved, including reproduction or republishing.
In quilt design, the Tumbling Blocks pattern is achieved through manipulating light, medium, and dark diamond shapes to form stylized "cubes" which tease the eye. While out walking I came upon this huge installation of tumbling white figures imposed on dark diamond shaped segments. They are seemingly ready to collapse like a Jacob's Ladder toy. It was fun to just happen upon this. I wanted to link all the diamonds in my mind's eye to see if the figures might form secondary patterns. I Googled the address, but no info. I Googled my own phrase "tumbling figures building Seattle" and up popped information on Seattle artist Michael Spafford, b. 1935, and this work, which is really named Tumbling Figure - Five Stages! This piece is from 1979 and used to be installed at the old King Dome before its demise. I think it works very nicely on this parking structure at 6th and Jackson, with the uphill elevation showing it to great advantage. Spafford is professor emeritis of art at UW. He, his wife and son (artists Elizabeth Sandvig and Spike Mafford) have been awarded the Mayor's Art Award for 2006.