When Ela Lamblin was a little boy in Oregon, his father said he wouldn't buy him any toys. Instead, Lamblin's father offered to help Ela build anything he wanted.
Fast forward several decades. Ela Lamblin still builds things at his Vashon Island studio. He and his wife, Leah Mann, landed in the Seattle area more than 20 years ago after they finished art degrees in Atlanta.
Lamblin is a sculptor, but his artwork doesn't just sit there. Most of Lamblin's creations move. And they can be played like musical instruments.
These kinetic sculptures have names like metalphor, rumitone and bellwheel. Some are plucked, some are pounded and others you simply blow into. A few of Lamblin's creations are big enough to climb on, or to tuck inside.
Lamblin and Mann are the co-founders of a performance troupe they call Lelavision. Lamblin builds his instruments and helps write musical compositions, while Mann choreographs movement for the performers. Lamblin says the idea is to "innovate and create new work that has not been created before."
Lelavision regularly takes its show on the road. Although the performers themselves have thematic ideas about the content, Lamblin says he doesn't like to say too much about the shows. He believes the audience should come to its own conclusions.
After almost two decades, Lelavision's quirky brand of visual and auditory art is, if not an institution, a mainstay of the regional performance scene. Lelavision brings its new show, "ExperiMetal" to Seattle's West of Lenin theater Jan. 23 to Feb. 1.