Sunday, September 27, 2009

People do the coolest things . . .

I recently facilitated a creativity retreat for a local organization. We talked a little bit about what creativity is, and then everyone started in on collages. Only a few of the people in the room had made a collage in the past ten years - but look at what they did!

People are so creative . . . the people in this organization are constantly solving problems, but many of them don't see what they do as creative. Hopefully, this gave them another way of thinking about what they do.

There were close to 30 people in the workshop, and this is only a fraction of what they did! They got together in groups after making their collages, and then built stories using the images like pictures in a storyboard.

"You like me! Right now, you like me!"

Ok, I'm not Sally Field and this is not the Academy Awards, but it still feels pretty darn awesome! Dawn over at WordsoGold just nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger award! Awesomeness! Thank you, Dawn.

So, I'm supposed to tell you seven things about me and then nominate seven more blogs . . .

Seven things about me:

  1. I am the same height as Ani DiFranco, 5'2"
  2. I really enjoy movies that feature animated rodents.
  3. I started sewing when I was 5, and I learned to knit in my teens. Now, I'm almost 40, and I haven't figured out crochet yet. It's like a mystery.
  4. I have never been able to make jell-o successfully gel, perhaps because I put too much fruit in it.
  5. I lived in Germany from the time I was seven until I was eleven.
  6. I love to travel - I've been to Germany (see item 5), England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Canada, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Nepal, as well as all over the U.S. including Hawaii. Other places I want to go include Alaska, Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Morocco, Spain, France, and Belize.
  7. I love bridges. When I was little, I used to ask my grandparents to drive to the mall in such a way that we got to cross at least one bridge over the little river that ran through their Texas town. Now, I live in Portland, a town with ooodles of bridges!

Seven Creative Blogs I'd like to nominate for the Kreativ Blogger Award:

Alley Art Studio
The Last Bedroom
The Scarlet Letters
Sweet Sassafras
Rebel's Work in Progress
Judy Wise
Geek Crafts

Here are the rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Art Squirrel Goes Back to School Shopping . . .

Something about the shift in the weather makes me want to shop. I tell myself it's because of lovely memories of back-to-school shopping as a wee one, but I suspect it's really because I'm part squirrel and am feeling the need to store things up for the winter . . . you know, Just In Case.

Of course, squirrels aren't generally tucking mustard yellow corduroy pants or really cute layering tees or beautiful collage papers next to the acorns in their hoards. Squirrels stick to the basics - food. Me? I tend to stockpile clothes. And art supplies. You know, Just In Case. I might get invited to a gala art opening or need to cast plaster at 2 a.m. You Never Know.

Thank heavens, Portland is an amazing place for out-of-the-big-box art and craft supplies. There's Collage, in both Southeast and Northeast Portland, the only art store in town that really gets mixed media artists and what they need. Of course, there's also Muse over on Hawthorne, which has been going all out to beef up their encaustic art supplies - amazing selection and prices as good as what you can get online! Art Media and Columbia Art Supply carry the basics, I've Been Framed covers the discounted bits and the odd ends. SCRAP is home to all kinds of discarded crafty goodness just looking to be creatively re-purposed.

Last, but not least, there is Knittn' Kitten. Portland has more cool indie yarn, bead and fabric stores than I can throw a walnut at (you notice I didn't even try to list them here), and random fabrics and yarns do find their way to the bins at SCRAP . . . but no place in Portland has the beautifully curated and cleaned selection of super-cheap second-hand craft supplies that the Kitten has. Imagine if someone hit every good yard sale and got all the really good crafty stuff and then cleaned it up and packaged it and put it all for sale in one place. Yup. WOW.

Witness my most recent haul. Bamboo crochet hooks (I really do want to learn how to crochet), beautiful yarn (ditto), polyester eyelet perfect for creating patterns in encaustic, cotton faux batik fabric, and doilies! I also picked up some gorgeous Czech glass seed beads . . . other past finds have included vintage buttons, dress patterns, zippers, and more . . . Treasure! Happy Art Squirrel!

Of course, like a lot of the local indie shops I mentioned, Knittn' Kitten has been struggling. So, some local crafters are getting together to show the love - and give away free crafty patterns in the process! Just in time for serious holiday gift making. Yes - I did say "free." My pattern won't come out until November - but - Big Hint - it involves doilies.

Heather of Croqzine and DollarStoreCrafts fame developed the first pattern for this awesome Anthropologie-inspired necklace! Learn more about it here.

How do you get the pattern? Just go to Knittn' Kitten and ask at the front desk! Be sure to share your version of the project, as well as any spoils from your own Knittn’ Kitten trip at the Knittn’ Kitten Flickr Group!

Stay tuned for more free projects, every Tuesday through November 10 from the following designers:

September 29 – Teresa Sullivan

October 6 – Diane Gilleland

October 13 – Joey Groendes

October 20 – Christine Blystone

October 27 – Susan Beal

November 3 – Lee Meredith

November 10 – Bridget Benton

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Matchbox Book: The Cabinet of Curiosities

I've been working on Matchbox Books, books with matchbox drawers inside. Here's the one I've been playing with this past week, using a Portland map that had seen better days. (When it rips while I'm trying to use it, it becomes collage fodder!)

The inside cover in process . . .

And the drawers in process.

Here's the outside of the finished product . . . I love how the
drawers really make it feel like a little Cabinet of Curiosities.

And here's the view of the completed interior.

Here's the first one I ever made - my test run of the idea.

And here's one a student, Robyn, started during Artmaking as Playful Prayer
last year, and finished up at home! I love seeing how
the ideas get translated by other people . . .
and check out that closure!

If you're feeling tempted, there's still time to sign up for the class this week, Matchbox Book at DIY Lounge here in Portland on Wednesday, September 16th. I'd love to see what you'd do with this idea!

My New Red Door

Back in June, I posted about my front door getting vandalized, and how it led me to the decision to finally get the red door I always wanted. Well, here's the red door!

I finally just gave up on trying to sand it myself, and hired my friend Michael to come over and do it for me before the weather got really nasty. I love the way it turned out . . . the color is called "Red Pepper." Of course, then I decided to paint the bricks!

You see, once I really saw the color of the door, I realized that the bricks were just too dull - look at how faded they are on the right "before" section of the wall. And those white bricks always did look funny. So, I did some dry brush highlighting on the bricks with the Red Pepper paint. Then I painted the back door and the door to the shed. Now, I think it may be time to paint the garage door . . . and anything else that holds still.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Portland Open Studios Tour Guide Give Away

Portland Open Studios opens in one month, and I am very excited to be participating this year! I'll be opening up my studio, giving demonstrations, and selling art along with 99 other artists in the Portland area October 10-11 and October 17-18. Your passport to participate in all the excitement is a $15 Tour Guide (available at New Seasons, Art Media, or from me) that doubles as a 16-month calendar.

To celebrate the occasion, I'm giving away one of these Tour Guides! If you live in the Portland Metro area, and think seeing artists at work in their studios sounds like a pretty nifty idea, leave a comment! On Monday, September 14th, I'll randomly select one commenter and mail them off their Tour Guide, complete with maps to all the studios and cool art images. Of course, you'll need to leave your contact info in the e-mail, or check back to see if you're selected (unless your Blogger profile includes an e-mail, I can't locate your e-mail just from your comment!).

Curious about the artists? Check out the Portland Open Studios Blog, or look at the slide show here.

Edited later to add:

And the winner is . . .

Sonia of Trauma Healed!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Swap Time!

About eight months ago, fresh from the joy of the Holiday Ornament Swap, I signed up for a 9-9-09 postcard swap!

I got my list of swap partners via Swap-bot about a week ago. When I go to the post office today, I'll be mailing cards to Serbia, Canada, Sweden, and all over the U.S.! How cool is that?

So, I wanted a postcard that was original, but still said, well, "Portland." Using my newly honed Photoshop skills, I took a scanned image of a Portland map and a photo I took of the St. Johns Bridge, and overlaid them. After all, what's more Portland than the river and its bridges? I printed the digital collages out, and then attached them to some self-adhesive postcard backs called PhotoPostos that I found in my stash. Presto Posto! Swap accomplished. Now off to the post office.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bring on the MONKEYS!!

The 100th Monkey Studio is celebrating its 3rd Anniversary, and the opening of their 3rd Annual Jurried Show & the 50/50 show is this Friday from 6-9 pm. I made a piece for the 50/50 show - all the pieces are only $50, and 50% of the proceeds benefits 100th Monkey's Artist Scholarship Fund.

100th Monkey invited artists to create an 8" x 8" piece that celebrated the story of the studio's namesake - you can read the story of the 100th Monkey here. I went for a pretty literal interpretation . . . my 100th monkey has discovered the joy of the paintbrush and is having more than a barrel of . . . well, you get the idea. You can see my original monkey drawing here.

Here it is in process, as I'm building up layers of monkeys and wax . . . and playing with the positioning of my 100th monkey and his/her paintbrush (it didn't seem polite to inquire as to gender).

Here's some detail of the 100th monkey before I nailed him/her down to the board.

And here's the final piece. I nailed the brush holding monkey to the board, and then used another copy of the drawing to cover up the nailhead in the tummy. I kind of like how the tummy is now a slightly different color and seems more dimensional . . . the background is all layers of paper and encaustic, while the monkey is paper, colored pencil, and acrylic mounted on wood. And the paintbrush? Well, it's just an old paintbrush!

I dropped my piece off yesterday, and got to peak at some of the others! I have my eye on a few - sales are all first-come, first-served! Is it silly to be at the door at 5:45?