Summer dreaming

Jun 14, 2014

Eagle Creek Trail, Oregon
Summer is nearly here, and you can feel the excitement in the Portland air.  Folks are showing off their dazzling white legs, and there's talk of backyard barbeques, festivals, and adventure trips in the Pacific Northwest.  


Now that the kids are out of school, I look forward to day trips to the coast and mountains.  A couple of months ago, we hiked the Eagle Creek Trail in the gorge.  The water was a little too chilly for wading, but, come July,  I'll be ready for some creek walking!

My summer schedule is quickly filling up with family and work-related activities.  Next week, I'm headed to Vermont for an art installation using food! During the Wanderlust Festival at Stratton Mountain, I'll be creating a 15 ft. mandala for Kashi using only natural food ingredients, like seeds, grains, beans, and nuts.  


I love to cook, but this is the first time I've used food to create large scale art.  It's been fun playing around with the different ingredients on our dining room table, and the vanilla bean, coconut, and cinnamon sticks make the room smell so good!


If you want to follow the the progress of my mandala art at Wanderlust Festival, I'll be posting pictures on Instagram


Lately, I've also been busy creating new work for my online shops.  Phenomenon is my newest art print, and it's available in two sizes.  


I've been wanting to mesh my mountain painting and weaving worlds for a while now, and Azure Mountain is the result of that coming together. Created on a lap loom without a drawing, the weaving process was slow-going.  But I enjoyed "painting" with yarn and seeing the piece evolve. 

Azure Mountain is currently available in my big cartel shop, as well as the weavings below.  This weekend, I'm running a free shipping promotion.  Use code HELLOSUMMER, and receive free shipping on your order. 

Weavings: Laguna, Summer Dream, Sea Breeze, Native Land




Finding a creative space that works

May 5, 2014

Home studio of ceramic artist Shelley Martin, Vitrified Studio.
I love seeing the work spaces of artists, particularly those who work from home like myself.  Last Fall, I visited a few artist studios in town as part of Portland Open Studios.  My first stop was the studio of ceramist Shelley Martin of Vitrified Studio.

Shelley's work space is a converted garage. One section houses the kiln, and the other, her pottery wheels.  For the studio event, the garage was stocked with her current collection and sample pieces. As you can see from the photo below, I snatched some beautiful wares. 


My work space is in our renovated basement.  I like that it's open, heated, and a short walk to work in the morning. I don't have to worry about parking fees, noisy studio neighbors, or even brushing my hair.

where I paint
In the last four years, I have slowly taken over most of the basement. There are four different work stations- one for painting, packaging, printing, and weaving. And, with the purchase of a floor loom last month, I now have two weaving corners. 

weaving corner
The past six months have been some of my busiest, and I've realized that my creative business is outgrowing my creative space.  I tend to spread out my stuff when I work, and I'm finding it increasingly more difficult to find sufficient table space and storage.  There's also the issue of natural light.  And, as a painter, working in a cave (i.e. basement) is less than ideal. 

So, for the past few months, I have been casually looking for a new studio space.  I do love the character of converted warehouse spaces (especially with a view of downtown Portland!).  But, the monthly lease is often times equal to a mortgage payment!

 
After touring a few spaces around town, I'm now leaning towards building a studio in our backyard.  As we meet with a team of folks over the next few weeks to discuss this possibility, I'm getting very excited about the idea of designing my own studio space. But, I'm trying not to get ahead of myself.

Until then, I've been rearranging my current space to better serve my needs.  I've added a bit more storage, which you can never have enough of as an artist.  For me, my physical surroundings has a pretty big impact on my creative rhythm and production.  So having an organized studio space creates a more positive work environment.

The past few weeks, I have also been quite busy adding new items to my Etsy shop, including more mini mountain paintings on cedar and larger eco-friendly prints.




Through tomorrow, I'm running a special promotion on the new prints.  For details, visit my Etsy shop here.

hello spring

Apr 1, 2014

my friend, Korinne, with my newly finished crocheted blanket
It's so satisfying to finish a project, especially one that has taken nearly two years! I started crocheting this zigzag blanket to use up my nice yarn remnants.  I must be horrible at estimating yardage because I ran out of yarn early on in the process.  So, some of you may remember that I swapped art for yarn on my blog awhile back.  I wanted to primarily use remnants or reclaimed yarn for this blanket, but I eventually had to purchase new yarn ($$!).  

Although this project took much longer than expected, I am thrilled with how it turned out.  It's actually quite dense, and the family has already put it to good use on some of the chilly nights we've had in Portland.  

wood and shells from the Oregon coast
My husband was in Rwanda for the first part of March.  When he returned home, we broke away from city life for a day and headed to a remote spot on the Oregon coast.  We had the beach to ourselves, and it felt like time stood still as we leisurely looked for beautiful shells and driftwood in the sand.  The weather at the Oregon coast can be hit or miss, but there wasn't a cloud in the sky!

we stopped at the Wilson River on our way home
And when your husband's away, that's a good time to make big purchases!  I bought this vintage Allen floor loom on craigslist while my husband was in an airplane and unreachable. . . um, it's not like I planned it this way (wink, wink).  I did do a bit of research beforehand and talked with an expert at a weaving studio in town.  These folding looms were made in the 40's and 50's, just miles from my house.  Although it had three owners (mother to daughter to friend), apparently this particular loom had only been used once!

My sweet husband helped me set up the loom within hours of getting back from Africa.
I'm excited to start weaving larger wall hangings.  The first items I pulled off the loom were these small sample pieces:


I liked how they turned out, so I tied them to driftwood and added them to my online shop.  I recently updated my shop with new weavings, including this piece handwoven on the lap loom:

Drift Creek
I was inspired to create this piece after finding a vintage spool of purple yarn at an antique store in rural Oregon.  If you look closely, there are four turquoise dots in the creek design.  For additional information about the weavings shown above, click here.

my art now at Urban Outfitters!

Mar 6, 2014


In the summer of 2013, I was excited to receive an email from Urban Outfitters expressing their interest in my art.  I had never licensed my art before, so, naturally, I had lots of questions about the whole process.  From the get-go, the company was very receptive to my questions and requests, including those involving the manufacturing of my art.

After working closely with Urban Outfitters for several months, I am thrilled to announce that my art is now available in their stores!  There are three pieces in the collection, and all the items are made domestically.  Exclusive to Urban Outfitters are the two works on wood slab- Journey and CascadeMountain, which is a 13" x 13" print, is printed on archival paper with archival inks.

Also at Urban Outfitters are the lovely works of Portland artists Betsy Walton and Yellena James. When I had a brick and mortar shop in town, I used to carry art made by both of these talented ladies.  Feast your eyes on these stunning wall murals by Betsy and Yellena:

Betsy Walton

Yellena James

Portland artist Ashley Goldberg has been working with Urban Outfitters since 2008. Along with her beautiful wall art, she has her own bedding collection! 


A fun little fact: my vintage mini loom belonged to Ashley G.
I love the large brushstroke blocks on the duvet cover.  Ashley's complete Char-Bea home collection can be found here.  If you are curious to learn more about art licensing, Ashley wrote a great article last September for Etsy titled "How to Strike a Successful Licensing Deal."
 

keeping it simple

Feb 21, 2014


President's Day was this week, and two things came to mind.  I need to prune my roses and it's free admission day at the Portland Japanese Garden.  Seeing that it was a damp and drizzly day, I chose the latter. 

I first wrote about this enchanting place last year in this blog post.  I have been meaning to visit in the springtime when the plants and trees are in bloom.  Rhododendrens and azaleas especially thrive in this wet environment, and I love the vibrancy of their flowers. 

handsome koi

Strolling through the garden is such a peaceful experience.  And I am reminded how beauty is often in the simplest of things.

This week, I worked on a small linocut of Mt Hood.  It was nice to leisurely work on a project without the worries of deadlines or expectations.  I haven't decided what I'm going to do with the prints yet.  I could leave them as they are or add details to the sky.  What do you think?



all things weaving

Feb 14, 2014


my weaving corner
a vintage mini loom and a Leclerc rigid heddle loom

My intrigue with fiber arts goes back 30 years.  When I was ten, I learned how to knit from my aunt- thereby making the longest scarf known to mankind.  At this time, I also enrolled in a weaving class and a family friend introduced me to hand quilting.

As an adult, I've had to relearn some of these skills. And it wasn't until I purchased a vintage loom in 2012 that I picked up weaving again. Like quilting or knitting, weaving is very meditative.  It's a great balance to my painting process because it's repetitive and much more tactile.  I love working with texture and color, and weaving has become for me another outlet for creative experimentation and discovery. 

When I started making handwoven wall hangings, I wasn't expecting weaving to become such a fad.  The boho chic movement has definitely helped the weaving craze.  And fiber artists are getting wide exposure as retailers, like Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, are carrying handwoven wall hangings and weaving kits. 

The attention has been well deserved for many weavers.  I have been following a few of them for awhile now and have loved seeing their unique styles evolve.  Here are some of my favorites. 

All Roads // Janelle Pietrzak and Robert Dougherty

Native Line // Justine Ashbee

Brook&Lyn // Mimi Jung and Brian Hurewitz

New Friends // Alexandra Segreti and Kelly Rakowski

Maryanne Moodie

As for my own collection, I am currently selling some weavings on the newly launched Hunters Alley, a sister site to One Kings Lane.  My handwoven wall hangings are also available in my Big Cartel shop, and, this week, I'm running a 20% off sale thru Feb. 15th.  Just enter promo code MADEWITHLOVE at checkout.



waking from hibernation

Feb 11, 2014


seeking beauty and solace at the Oregon coast

Finding balance between two worlds- family and work- is probably the greatest challenge for a working mom/wife.  Add the home as the workplace, and the lines get blurred even more.  I pride myself on being an effective multi-tasker, but even then, there just isn't enough time in the day to get everything done.  So dishes pile up in the sink, a shower is skipped, and time at my art desk is captured in wee hours of the night.  It's not the ideal situation, but I am grateful for it. 

The last six months have been some of my busiest- new collaborations, commissions, and the holiday hustle and bustle.  With the labor force still at one (just me), juggling all the new commitments have been quite precarious.  To maintain some assemblance of sanity and order, I've had to say 'no' to many things.  I wasn't expecting one of those sacrifices to be my blog.  But looking back these past few months, it was much needed.  I guess it was a hibernation of sorts.  Animals hibernate to store energy and survive the winter.  I was trying to preserve my creative energy.

Now that the busyness has waned a bit, I'm getting back into my old routine.  I'm breaking in a new sketchbook, and I'm currently working on a couple of paintings and weavings- not commissions, just for fun.  I'd like to get back to blogging on a regular basis, ideally a couple times a week.  I have over a dozen unfinished posts sitting in my draft queue, but I'm curious to hear topics of interest from readers.  If you have an idea or two for blog posts, feel free to list them below. 

Thanks for sticking with me.   

2014 commission: 4' x 8' chalkboard drawing of Pebble Beach

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