Monday, September 21, 2009

Psychedelic City! (The pinwheels at Live Debris)

Above is a super-oversaturated photo of my Mandala Pinwheels at the Eastbank Esplanade on Saturday morning. Psychedelic city, I say!

I was really happy with the way they looked planted on the riverbank like this for the Live Debris opening day event, with the Willamette River, Morrison Bridge, and buildings of downtown Portland in the background.

I did go back in the evening and removed all but three of them. I was just too worried about them being stolen, vandalized, or damaged. The three that remain will be there through the 26th if you want to go see them. I am hoping to get them listed in my Etsy shop soon, as I know that there are several people who already want to buy them. I just need to figure out how they can be shipped.

Here's what they looked like at about 7:00 in the evening:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mandala Pinwheels - WHEEEE!

Just a quick peek at my new Mandala Pinwheels! They're made from recycled vinyl records and vintage radio knobs. Made in collaboration with Anitra Cameron of Coffee Pot People.

I'm so excited about these, I can hardly stand it! I even left them outside in the rain last night and they held up great. (They will be outdoors for a week during the Live Debris installation.)

I have 7 finished and will be working on the last 5 today. Here are a couple of quick videos if you'd like to watch them spin!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Seven Planet grand opening & trunk show

On Saturday, September 12, I had the privilege of setting up a display at Seven Planet, the new "flagship" green general store that just opened on NW 4th & Couch in downtown Portland. Aysia, the manager (and owner of Greenloop), invited several of the Trillium Artisans members to a trunk show during their grand opening festivities.
I was really loving the way my bowls looked in these bright little cubicles.

Megan's groovy marble-covered bowling balls and stained glass suncatchers:

Kristen set up outside with her lovely pillow covers. She was right next to the new location of the 24-hour Church of Elvis!

The ribbon cutting:

Aysia at the cash register (I don't think she moved from this position all night):

Some of the live entertainment:
Emily Baker of Sword + Fern with her jewelry made from recycled auto parts:

Amazing mural on the ceiling (by Chris Haberman, of course - I love that guy!):
Melodie and Suzie came by toward the end of the evening, and together we checked out the Old Town Block Party, saw some amazing dancing Chinese dragons, and rounded out the night when Chuck met us for appetizers at The Republic. Loads o' fun in PDX!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New techniques for Live Debris project

I'm working on some new Mandala Spinners for the upcoming Live Debris event which opens Saturday, September 19. The installations will be up through September 26.

For this project, I have collaborated with fellow Trillium Artisan Anitra Cameron of Coffee Pot People. She helped me figure out how to mount my painted records onto metal "stems" and provided me with a treasure trove of vintage radio knobs which I will be using to hold the records in place on the stick. She also gave me the idea of cutting and shaping the records to make them like pinwheels.

I've been working on this for the last couple of weeks and am getting very excited about it! It has been way too long since I've made anything totally new. If these survive the installation, I am hoping they will be a new product for Eye Pop Art - finally, I will have a garden art product!

I don't have any pictures of the finished products yet (because they aren't finished!) but I wanted to share my new painting technique because I am super happy with it. It is making it much easier and faster for me to paint the records.

After priming the record, I simply draw the design with a black Sharpie.

Then, I paint right over the design with my acrylic paints. I add gel blending medium to each color in order to make it dry slowly so that I can blend the colors together without them getting all chunky. Then I add a good deal of water to the paint to make it nice and thin and transparent. I am going for a watercolor-type "wash." This keeps the paint from obscuring the design underneath.Once I've laid on all my colors, I use a clean brush to blend the edges where the colors meet. This gives it a soft, blended look. It also makes the records look amazing when they are spinning, especially the ones with the swirling rainbow designs.

I love this process because it is SO much less time-consuming than my usual method, which involves drawing a design, painting it, and then outlining the design with black paint using a small brush. That takes forever. I'm really pleased about discovering this time-saving alternative.

The next step for me is to cut and bend the edges of the painted records to form them into pinwheels, and mount them onto the metal stems. I'll have 12 of them planted at the Eastbank Esplanade (east end of the Hawthorne Bridge) starting next Saturday.

I hope you can make it down to see them along with lots of other cool art and activities, including a Dandelion Bench by my friend Tim Combs of the Reclamation Project, and all kinds of other great stuff to help promote the wonderful concept of making art from discarded materials.

Check it out! All the info about Live Debris is here.

Here are some more photos of my process:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First day of school!

Here are my babies on the first day of school. Tangereen really likes to wear orange, I wonder why that is. Aren't they cute? I can't believe I have an 8th grader and a 10th grader.

Speaking of back-to-school - do your kids have any art classes this year? If not, consider starting a parent-led art program. Read all about how to do this in the articles I wrote for Etsy's blog last year:

Parents Teach Art - A DIY Approach to Elementary School Art Education
Parents Teach Art Part Two - Making it Happen

Friday, September 4, 2009

First Thursday with Urbana

On First Thursday of this month, I set up a table outside of Activspace where Kristin (aka Urbana) has her pottery studio. Here she is posing with the Oregonian article that featured her back in April.
Did I mention that Ms. Urbana is now in the band? She's replacing Emie, who replaced Kat, as the third Vignette in Dartgun & the Vignettes. This is a good thing. I've known Kristin for years in the local crafty community and am super excited to rock out with her. (She's a belly dancer too!)

Oh, by the way - we now have a facebook fan page for the band, please become a fan at

Here's what our little First Thursday set-up looked like. Kristin's friend Ashley, a jewelry artist, was also there and we did a trade - I got an awesome necklace made from a vintage map of Amsterdam.
Here's some of Kristin's cool pottery:

Tender Loving Empire was having a party too, with live music.
Also, there was the added attraction of Emily Hemeyer from Spore Gallery, "a transient DIY exhibition space."
Kristin got one of her pieces:
Emily set up a tent with a black light inside it and a table with this amazing mandala on it - made from all kinds of nifty found objects, bones, and such.
...and she even performed some interesting vocal work!