After a half-century, if you can believe it, La Tienda Folk Art Gallery in Ballard is closing. This is probably the last weekend. There's very little merchandise left, but it's on super-sale. La Tienda has quietly been a landmark since its first days in the University District.
In a conversation with one of the owners, Fred Hart, I discovered that La Tienda "coincided with the hippie movement, with the 'heck to Europe'" attitude that sprung up when the first returning Peace Corps volunteers had new connections with places that weren't Germany, England, and France. "We weren't in the Peace Corps ourselves," he said, "but people who had been in those first ten years of the Peace Corps came back after serving, and they had real interest in those cultures, really valued them. Their friends starting taking notice, too."
One day when La Tienda was at full operation, I jotted down a list of a few things I found there: Indonesian tobacco bags, Indian batik baby carriers, African masks, Mexican bark paper paintings, Bolivian wool headbands, Japanese ceramics. I had to stop, because the list would have gone on forever. It was a great little place, and a cultural time capsule, too.
Farewell, La Tienda.