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The Butter Dome: Seattle’s New Sports Arena in Butter

Darigold's Butter Dome

Now that Seattle will be getting a new basketball and hockey arena built, people want to know what it’s going to look like. I’m sure many of the world’s greatest architects have put their blueprint pants on, ready to tackle this design, but Darigold has already drafted it’s design idea and they’ve even made a prototype. But, of course, its arena is made completely out of butter.

“I’m doing a dome,” says butter sculptor Linda Christenson. “It’s kind of a visual pun because it’s the basketball arena that is, in fact, a basketball made of butter. It’s kind of a visualization by Darigold of what they would like a stadium to look like, carved out of pure butter.”

Linda has been carving butter for the past 40 years.

“Butter is my comfort zone.”

She fell into the butter business by accident, right after she graduated from art school, and has since been a staple at the Minnesota State Fair and has carved 500 butter busts amongst other things.

“One of the fun things I’ve done is Big Bird, a 300 pound Big Bird for the Sesame Street Live people. I’ve done David Letterman and that particular sculpture traveled all around New York.”

She even left her precious butter behind for a day to carve Conan O’Brien’s head out of white chocolate and bacon.

Working with butter means working inside a cooler, and that’s where I found Linda at Darigold’s Seattle headquarters, dressed in fleecy pants, thermals and thick wool socks.

“It has to be kept about 38 to 40 degrees to have the butter just about the right temperature to be nice and workable. So I spend quite a few hours in there and there’s always a nice little wind chill inside a cooler.”

I asked Linda if she still likes to eat butter after 40 years of sculpting it like clay.

“Yes. I love butter, I really do. It’s not the same thing at all when it comes in a quarter sticks as when it’s in a 90 pound block.”

She says butter carving has made a comeback since it was all the rage about 100 years ago.

“It’s such a great novelty. It’s an amazing thing to see a huge amount of butter like that. It’s such a nice medium to work in that it comes out beautiful. The surface is beautiful and we’re used to seeing it in quarter sticks so when we see it in these huge amounts it’s astounding to a lot of people.”

The Darigold Butter Dome got a public display Wednesday 4:30 to 6:30, at Elysian Fields in SODO. But visitors were asked to leave the bread at home.

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