postcards - maggie louden's seattle

by sophie kalagas

Maggie Louden has lived in Washington State for an awfully long time now, fostering her creativity amongst the forests, mountain ranges and old Seattle architecture. As the next interviewee in our Postcards series, she shot through a few snaps from around her charming neighbourhood, giving us an insight into what life in America's 42nd state is like.

To see more of her pretty pictures, paintings and illustrations, have a gander at Maggie's website over here.


Firstly, please tell us a little bit about the neighbourhood that you live in.
I live in Ballard, which is a neighbourhood in the north part of Seattle, Washington. I’ve lived here for almost four years now, and I just love it. It started out as a primarily Scandinavian community (the main thoroughfare still closes every year for the parade celebrating Norwegian Constitution Day), and still feels rather separate from other neighborhoods in Seattle because it is a little cut-off, traffic-wise. In my eyes, it has everything: proximity to the water, lots of green spaces, and just enough unique shops and restaurants to keep things interesting without being too hipstery for me!

What kind of house/apartment do you live in? Is it typical of the architecture in that area?
Ballard is a funny mixture of really cute old Seattle houses and some less-than-cute apartment buildings from the ‘70s. I live in an apartment on a lovely residential street. To be honest, my place doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the inside of my home is great - checkered wood floors, a nice big fireplace and large windows for lots of natural light.


What kind of stereotype has Washington State earned, and how is it different to what people expect?
The classic one - that it rains all the time! It is true that it’s often quite grey and cloudy here, but I’ve never really minded that (I think it’s peaceful, actually). The days where it actually rains a lot or for any length of time are very few. Seattlites do go crazy when it gets hot, though - any day over 80°F (26°C) and you’d think it was really 110°F (42°C) from how much of a big deal everyone makes - including myself.

How is your city changing?
Ballard itself has been subject to some pretty intense growth recently. Lots of new housing is going up (mostly sleek, uber-new condos) which is definitely starting to make the whole area seem a little more intense and urban. Thankfully, so far I think Ballard still retains its small-town feel.


What album do you think would be the best soundtrack for walking around?
In the spring and summer: Bloom by Beach House. In the fall and winter: Fields by Junip.

If you had a day to take an Australian around your town on a Sunday afternoon, what would you do?
I’d take them to brunch first (because I love brunch, it feels so decadent!) at the Fat Hen, a tiny French place near my home. There’s usually a wait outside, which supplies just the right amount of time/an excuse to go next door to Honore Bakery for one of their macarons or caneles (or both). Then I’d take them on a stroll down historic Ballard Ave where the Sunday Farmers Market would be going on - I love buying a bouquet of whatever flowers are in season every time I visit. We’d look into Lucca, which is the prettiest shop in a row of pretty shops for treats, cards and paper ephemera (they also have great window displays), stop for a cup of coffee or something sweet at Cupcake Royale (the tiramisu cupcake is my favorite, just saying), and then head to Golden Gardens for a walk. Golden Gardens, unlike the name suggests, has no gardens—it’s a nice, wide and windy stretch of beach.


What is the local creative community like? Are there predominant local crafts?
I think Seattle as a whole is a pretty artistic and creative city. Ballard has a vaguely maritime aesthetic, but I don’t think it’s known for any one craft in particular. There are a lot of studio spaces available for artists working in just about every medium, but, surprisingly, very few actual galleries.

How does your city change with the seasons? How has this influenced your work?
The changing of the seasons is probably my number one inspiration! I love watching my neighbourhood shift over the course of the year - the light is different, the growing things cycle through, and it’s a constantly mesmerising process to watch. We have nicely distinct seasons without any of them being too extreme, and with each one comes new inspiration.


Tell us about the spaces and places you have photographed for us.
They are kind of a sampling of some of the places I’ve mentioned here, taken in all different seasons. The first few are some scenes from walks around my neighbourhood - some beautiful blooming things and colourful houses I’ve noticed. There are also snapshots from the places I’d take a guest or friend - breakfast, shopping and Golden Gardens. Finally there are scenes from afternoons we’ve spent at the Ballard Locks.

Where is the best place to have a picnic?
Most people picnic at Golden Gardens, but it gets too packed in the summer for me. I prefer the lawns at the Locks - they’re encircled by pretty gardens, are perfect for sunbathing with a book and a friend, and are usually nice and quiet.


Where is the best place to see a gig?
The Tractor Tavern. It’s on the same street that the farmers market is on. I’ve seen some of my most favourite shows here, and I love that they consistently play a lot of folk/roots bands.

Where is the best place to get a drink?
I love the Noble Fir because it has a nice selection of ciders, and Bastille because of its twinkly light-strung patio.

Where is the best place to buy a vintage dress?
I am actually not a huge vintage shopper, but I think Trove is really cute.



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