Striking New Sculpture on Issaquah

Houseboats by Tomas Ludlam, construction by Curt Meyer
Houseboats emit a cozy glow after dark
Walden Three before sculpture  |  photos by MJ Willard, Jim Woessner and Addison Buz Olian  |  post by Larry Clinton

When MJ Willard & Alan Burman bought their home on Issaquah Dock eleven years ago, they named it Walden Three for a number of reasons. MJ had worked for behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner, author of a utopian novel by that name, and they felt that their neighbors were reflective of the novel’s sociocultural system, or as MJ put it, “a delightful mix of bobos—bohemian bourgeoisie.” I can’t think of a better way to describe the contemporary waterfront lifestyle.

For years, a simple sign with that name was the only adornment on the front wall of their home. But after acquiring an indoor wall hanging depicting a collection of homes, the couple envisioned something grander for the outside. Eventually they teamed up with renaissance man Jim Woessner, who sketched a design of houseboats connected to a dock which caught their fancy.

Jim made a draftsman’s drawing to scale, and then full–size cardboard mockups of the individual homes, which were fashioned out of yellow cedar by Issaquah artisan Tomas Ludlam. Contractor Curt Meyer was retained to fit everything together and mount the 10’ x 11’ finished piece on the couple’s front wall.

Each of the 33 miniature homes is wired for electricity, and a timer lights them up at night, glowing with warmth.

Says MJ: “Tomas and Curt did a spectacular job” in completing the unique assemblage. The community agrees—the gathering to unveil the wonderful structure was thronged with neighbors and friends, who enthusiastically toasted the craftsmanship and creativity of MJ, Alan, Jim, Tomas and Curt and continue to enjoy the beauty and charm of the new addition to their neighborhood.