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Fall City sculpture celebrates nature of Valley

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FALL CITY - Victor White's dream is going to be on display in Fall City.

In the coming weeks the Fall City artist will install an iron sculpture in the totem pole garden area that lies in the middle of the confluence of 334th Place Southeast and Redmond-Fall City Road. The sculpture of two salmon spawning was commissioned by the Fall City Community Association (FCCA), but was inspired by White's own research and a vision influenced by spending hours watching the Snoqualmie River.

"It's a labor of love," he said.

White had an eye on the small patch of land in Fall City owned by the FCCA, which also maintains the area. Association member and de facto gardener-in-residence Vanessa Allen was working in the garden when White came up and suggested he add something. There was a circle cleared in the garden for the totem pole now standing, and another cleared but empty, so there was space. Allen said the nonprofit FCCA couldn't pay him anything, but White offered to produce the work at cost. Allen got support from the FCCA and additional help from local Girl Scouts and residents to fund the project.

"It [the community totem pole garden] is great to have here," Allen said. "You can't do much else with it."

Before White went to the drawing board to design his work, he read up on salmon spawning. He learned that the salmon, when mating, lay their tails over each other and beat up the river bottom to make a bed for the eggs. White would also go down to the Snoqualmie River and look at where the spawning occurs. He was thinking about the work so much that he dreamed about it later.

"I had read that by the end of the process the salmon are battered and beat up," he said.

Working with the Kiblinger Gallery in Fall City, White went to work and constructed a sculpture of a buck and a hen (male and female salmon) next to each other with their tails entwined. The two will rest on a wood stand that will mimic a river bed and the sculpture will be fastened to the ground using concrete. White will be relying on help from Mike Sailing of ReadyWeld in Issaquah and other friends to get the work done. He gets additional ideas the more he works on it, though, so what the sculpture will look like when it's finished is a concept that is changing.

"It's an evolving work," White said.

White is trying to get the sculpture completely installed by Fall City Days next month. Although he wants to show a finished work by that date, White said he may return to the sculpture periodically if he becomes inspired again.

"There may be a few surprises at midnight," he said.

* Fall City will be eliciting help during the next couple of weeks to name White's sculpture. Suggestions may be given to Laurie Hauglie by calling (425) 222-5881 or by e-mailing lhauglie@centurytel.net. Also, be sure to look for a suggestion box at the information booth at Fall City Days on Saturday, June 19.

Ben Cape can be reached at (425) 888-2311 or by e-mail at ben.cape@valleyrecord.com.

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