Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Once again it is time for the PDX Etsy Cyber Monday Sale!  I am participating with 20% off in my shop.  Just enter coupon code PDXETSY2012 on Monday, November 26.

This same coupon code will be active in a whole bunch of other friendly local Portland Etsy shops.  Here's the full list (courtesy of The Cozy Project):

 Herbivore - Vintage Dinosaur Brooch Necklace
20% off all baubles!

Allen Metal Arts
 Long Dangle Aluminum Earrings, Intersecting Orbits Collection
Free Shipping Coupon Code PDXETSY2012 
Plus, 15% off everything in shop.

Amelia and Brother
Fall Fashion Felt Hair Bow Set Felt Accessories
20% Off Coupon Code PDXETSY2012

Artisticsoul Designs
 iPhone Wallet Set, Retro Flowers Fabric, iPod case, Smartphone case
20% off Coupon Code PDXETSY2012

bama + ry
Fueled Copper Pendant Reads "Fueled by Caffeine & Dreams" on a Ball Chain Necklace
Free Shipping Black Friday through Cyber Monday with Code PDXETSY2012

BleuOiseau Photography
 Multnomah Falls, Oregon, waterfall photography, bridge, 8x12 print
20% off coupon code: PDXETSY2012

Bloom by Arissia
Simply chic collection .  red and white dots rosette headband
Free shipping! code PDXETSY2012

 Fia's Burger - Handsewn Felt Plush Hamburger - Perfect for Summer, Birthdays, Any Occassion
20% off Coupon Code PDXETSY2012

Charms and Signs
 Aged Sterling Recycle Yourself Charm
20% Off Coupon Code PDXETSY2012

 green jello earrings - vintage plastic
10% Off Coupon Code PDXETSY2012

Cool Jane 
  Go Out For Pancakes - Blank Recycled Greeting Card - I Love You Card - Thinking of You
25% Off Coupon Code PDXETSY2012

Ellie Creations
 Titanic Necklace- Freshwater Pearls and Green Onyx
25% off coupon PDXETSY2012

Envy Designs Jewelry
 Madeira Citrine earrings, handmade14k gold filled earrings- Here Comes the Sun OOAK
PDXETSY2012 for free shipping

Eye Pop Art
 Custom Mandala Room Divider made from 35 Painted Vinyl Records - Tribal Inspired Geometry
20% Off Coupon Code PDXETSY2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

10 Ways to Reuse Vinyl Records

As promised, here is my list of 10 Ways to Reuse Vinyl Records.  I recently shared these tips at the Reuse Conex conference.  I can't give away ALL of my secrets, but these should get you inspired enough to give it a try.  Maybe you can make some cool holiday gifts.

1.  Paint a mandala.  You can see from my sign that it is really quite simple to design a mandala.  I always prime my record first, so I would suggest you start with a coat of primer to give it a nice even surface to paint on.  Usually after you've primed a record, you can still see the marks of concentric circles that exist on a record in the spaces where each song begins and ends.  You can use these concentric circles as guidelines for creating your design.  

Start in the center and work your way out, turning it as you go (I use a "lazy susan" turntable under my record), and just create patterns using basic shapes, building on each pattern until you reach the edge of the record.  Then you can go back and fill in with more shapes, and paint it with acrylic paints.  

You can draw your design with a pencil or pen.  I recommend not trying to erase much.  It's hard to erase pencil marks from the primer, and anyway you need to forget about trying to make it perfect and just do it.  Trust me, it will turn out beautiful even if all of your shapes are not exactly the same size and distance apart.  My mandalas are insanely imperfect all the time, but it does not matter.  

(If you need more instruction or if you are interested in exploring the meaning of mandalas and any spiritual symbolism that you might want to incorporate into your design, here are some links.)

There are two different ways that I create mandalas - the time-consuming way is to draw it, fill in each individual shape with paint, and then go back and outline.  That's how I do my complex pieces like this one:

The easier and much faster way is to draw the design with a permanent marker (I like Sharpie Paint Pens) and then paint directly over it.  I use blending medium or glazing fluid to create a "wash" of paint that won't dry quite so quickly - then I can blend colors together (I use a fan brush) and the mandala design will still show through the paint. That's how this one was done - I just swirled some cobalt turquoise and phthalo green over my design and blended it together:

After it dries, you can pick and choose areas that you'd like to go back and highlight by filling them in with an extra punch of color, like I did here:  

And that brings me to...
2.  Make a mandala clock.  Once you've painted a mandala on a record it is very easy to transform it into a functional wall clock! You can purchase single clock movements at craft supply stores such as Michaels. You might need to slightly widen the spindle hole in the record in order for the shaft to fit through it - this can be done easily with an X-acto knife.  If you want to have numbers on your clock, you need to make sure they are done properly and correctly spaced.  You could use any existing clock face to create your own template, or make your own.

3.  Make an unpainted clock. 

Well now this is just too easy!  Take a record and slap a clock movement on it and you are done!  I do this but only with my very special collection of vintage and antique (yes, some of them are more than 100 years old!) 78 rpm records (these records are 10" in diameter and are usually a bit thicker, heavier, and more brittle and easily breakable than 12" vinyl records, because they were made from a shellac-based compound).  I think that 78's are rare and lovely just as they are.  The titles, performers, logos, and even the scratches on the record all tell the story of a bygone era and I just can't bring myself to put any paint over that history.
I use white hands for these clocks - if you can't find white hands, you can always just hit the ones you've got with a little white spray paint.

Where to find 78 rpm records?  Look around - I have found them in "free boxes" on the side of the road.  You can check used record stores, thrift stores, garage sales, ebay, and the attics of any older people you may know. 

4.  Make a bowl

Here is the incredibly dorky video from my appearance on HGTV's "That's Clever."  I am making a Snowman Record Bowl, but you could do anything - a mandala bowl, or just an unpainted record that you want to make into a bowl.  In this video, I make the bowl in my oven, but I actually don't do that anymore - I use a heat gun.  Please make sure when heating records that you have good ventilation and protect your hands and face.  I always wear deerskin gloves and a respirator. 

5.  Make a cuff bracelet

Record cuffs are super easy to make.  Basically, I just chop up the record to create various sizes of vinyl strips which I then heat and shape around a mannequin wrist.  Then I sand all the edges.

I can get 8-12 cuffs out of a single record.  You can cut a record with heavy duty scissors or a guillotine-style paper cutter.  You can even use regular scissors if you just heat the record up a bit before cutting.  Experiment with different sizes and shapes.  If you don't have a mannequin you could use any sort of cylindrical item like a glass, bottle or can. 

Make sure to use a good flexible, newer vinyl record as opposed to an older record that is thicker and less easy to manipulate.

You can see all of my record cuffs here.

Jennifer Perkins of the Naughty Secretary Club has a great record cuff video tutorial here.  (She's my crafty hero!)

6.  Make a choker
This is very similar to the cuff except you will want to use a longer strip of record - the longest you can get it.  Use a ruler to mark out a 1" wide strip going all the way down the record, right up next to the label in the center and all the way to the top and bottom edges.  Then cut this strip, heat it, and experiment with wrapping it around a larger object so that it will go around your neck.  I used the "neck" part of a glass head.  This worked out perfectly.  The shape makes it cling to the neck even though it doesn't go all the way around it (although you could drill holes and link it up with some chain in the back if you want).  It is so lightweight that you can barely even feel it!  They kind of look like patent leather. I'm wearing one in this picture:

7.  Make beads for jewelry making 

Every time I cut up a record to make cuffs, I end up with these triangle shaped pieces from the four "corners" of the record.   I know, a record doesn't have any corners, but still, I end up with triangles.  After saving them for years I finally started making earrings out of them.  So easy!  Just take your scrap pieces, drill a small hole, and add jump rings and ear wires, or do some fancy wire wrapping if you like.  Above you see some of the simple earrings I've made from bits of black and colored vinyl records.  These ones were designed by my daughter and include vintage beads:  
I also have various hand painted earring designs.  You can check out all of my earrings here.

8.  Make a mirror (from a 45 rpm record)

The item above is very simple to make - it's just an unpainted 45 rpm record (a red one, which might be harder to find than the standard black - but they're out there!) with a mirror adhered at the back so that it peeks through the large spindle hole.  You can find 2" round mirrors at any craft supply store.  A good silicon glue will help make sure it sticks.

You can also paint your record first.  Here are some of my painted mirrors.  Mandalas are always great - but a peppermint candy theme is perfect for the holidays!

9.  Make a pinwheel for the garden 

Okay, this is a bit more complicated but you can probably do it!  Just paint your mandala as described above, then use heat to slice into your record and form the "fan blades" (or whatever you want to call them).  It will take some practice but it's actually pretty easy.  Then stick it on the end of a metal stake and put something on the end to finish it, such as an old radio knob. 

You can learn lots more about my Mandala Pinwheels here and here and here.  Also, be sure to read the guest blog about the pinwheels that I wrote for Uncommon Goods.

10.  Make coasters from the album jacket
One thing about using lots of vinyl records - you end up with a lot of empty album jackets.  These can be reused to make all sorts of things such as journal covers, postcards, file folders like this one I got for Chuck, etc. etc.  Coasters are easy to make!

With a 12" album jacket you can get nine 4" x 4" squares.  You can keep all the pieces from one jacket together in a set (it's fun to put them together like a puzzle), or mix 'em up.

People often ask me if the coasters are "coated" with anything to help protect them, and the answer is no.  I prefer to keep them eco-friendly (not coated with plastic), so they may show wear and tear over time. When they start to wear out, you can just toss them into the recycling bin.  It just doesn't make sense to me to add plastic to something that is recycled and supposed to be earth friendly.

Bonus!  Here are even more ideas that I found on the web:

  1. Hang them on the wall
  2. Make a business card holder
  3. Make a ring
  4. Make a room divider
  5. Make rock 'n' roll party decorations
If these don't work out for you, or you are strapped for time, remember you can order from the Eye Pop Art Etsy Shop and receive 20% off your entire purchase during the month of November with the coupon code PORTLAND.

If you do try out any of these projects, please let me know in the comments.  HAVE FUN!

Friday, November 16, 2012

High school artists make beautiful mandalas

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to teach two workshops at the PAC 8 Art Conference.  This is an annual event for a league of high schools to the west of Portland.  My friend Richard Shearing is the art teacher at Glencoe High School in Hillsboro, and he invited me to teach at the event in the rural town of McMinnville, OR.  It was a fun day and it actually snowed, as you can see in the photo below:
Here are some pictures of the students' beautiful work:

Here are some of their finished pieces propped in the window to dry:

It is such a great thing to be surrounded by talented young people who are creative and free.

This last photo is one of my favorites.  This particular student decided to draw on the paper covering the table instead of on a record, and that is just fine with me!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Valuing Experiences More than Stuff - and other thoughts on Reuse Conex, vintage record players, and traveling 'round the world

Last month I had the opportunity to participate in the Reuse Expo at Reuse Conex, a three-day conference on reuse and sustainability put on by national group Reuse Alliance.  My friend Joanna Dyer (co-founder of SCRAP) invited me to vend at the Expo.

At one point during the day I noticed there was a rack of reusable shopping bags for sale (did you know that in my city of Portland, Oregon, single-use plastic bags have been BANNED from grocery stores?) and they were printed with a very interesting legend.  They said "I value experiences more than stuff" or something like that - wish I'd thought to snap a picture because I found it so intriguing. I could not agree more with that sentiment and I think it sums up the goal of the whole reuse movement.  If you haven't seen it before - go watch The Story of Stuff right now.  (It's only 20 minutes.  Seriously, go watch it.  I'll wait.)

It was a fun and inspiring day.  I was between Oregon Breakers (they fix and rebuild circuit breakers to keep them working and out of the landfill), and Long Way Home (they reuse plastic bottles and tires to build schools in Guatemala).

I also gave a little presentation on "10 Ways to Repurpose Vinyl Records."  Dont' worry - I will be sharing those tips in an upcoming blog post!

Here are some pictures of my table:

It dawned on me that I can and should use old record players in my display!  The one you see in the above photo is my old "Linoleum Hogass" record player. 

Long story but once upon a time at St. Vinny's in Great Falls, Montana, there was a roll of beautiful psychedelic vinyl, and we called it Linoleum.  One day Chuck said he would build a wall from this linoleum to make a room divider in our studio apartment, and I called him a linoleum hogass.  The wall was not built.  The linoleum came back to Portland.  I liked the pattern a lot and named my business Linoleum Hogass Records when I started selling mandalas at Portland Saturday Market in 1998.  I painted the pattern on the record player and used to have it on display at the market with a painted record spinning on it (every booth came with electricity) until something happened, it fried the circuit for all the booths surrounding me, and the lady who made knitted hats yelled at me.  The site manager for the market even attempted to fix the record player for me (maybe he felt bad for that one time he had my car towed after we left it too long in the loading zone) but the fix didn't last (and I do value that experience).  I think the cord is broken.

SIDE NOTE.  Interestingly enough, I have discovered the word hogass in the urban dictionary. And here I thought Melodie made that up in our 11th grade economics class to describe the horde of students descending upon the box full of magazines from which we were to cut images for a collage on the joys of consumption in a free market system.  What a bunch of hogasses.  (Or, hogii.)

Anyway, the record player doesn't work anymore but I can still use it in my booth!  I might never have thought of this, but recently an old friend of mine from high school (not one of the above-mentioned high school hogii) gave me another cute vintage kids' record player - which you can see here:

This particular old friend was in the process of getting rid of all of his belongings in order to embark on a journey around the world with his wife and daughter!  Now THERE is a family who values experiences more than stuff!!  I am honored to be gifted with his childhood toy record player.  I remember many an afternoon hanging out with friends at his house in downtown Oregon City...wishing them all the best on their big adventure!

(They have a blog and you keep up with their journey at www.travel-junkies.comThere was a great article about them in the Oregonian this week too.)

What you see above is some cool new packaging I've come up with for my Vintage Record Clocks.  YES!  Finally, a solution for the boxes and boxes of album jackets (they can't ALL be made into coasters), the lack of wall space for displaying the clocks, and the difficulty of storing them in between sales.  I am making the boxes out of 12" album jackets which make a perfect package for a 10" record clock. 

Obviously the jacket used is not for the same record as the clock that's inside (that would not be possible) but I did have fun matching them up loosely based on a general theme.  (You can now buy these at Tender Loving Empire and SCRAP's Re: Boutique.)

Ad don't forget, PORTLAND RECORDS!  Because Portland rocks!  And PORTLAND is still the secret code you need to save 20% off everything in the Eye Pop Art shop during the month of November.  Not that you need any more STUFF...but there is a big gift-giving holiday coming up, and if you're going to buy stuff, may I suggest you buy stuff that is handmade by an artist from reused, recycled, and repurposed materials?  That way, you can value the experience and the stuff...at least, a little bit more than when you buy something from the mall. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

More Custom Black Light Love

I'm currently having a really groovy time working on a special custom 16" black light mandala.  It's for a DJ who tells me that he plans to make a custom rotating display for this piece.  I hope he sends me a video when it's done!  I think that's such an amazing idea for creating a kaleidoscopic, psychedelic visual experience. Just imagine it spinning...

It's hard to paint with the black light reactive paints because you don't really know what color they are going to be until you look at it under a black light.  I've set up a spot inside my closet so I can check the work in progress.  This is what it looked like after I finished filling in all the colors. 

Here's what it looks like in natural light (I am almost done outlining with black):  

Click here to learn more about my black light mandalas.   You can also check them out in my Etsy shop here and here, and even more mandalas here.  I'd be happy to make a custom mandala for you, or maybe for the DJ or record collector in your life?  This is a great time to place your order for holiday gift giving, and you can get 20% off everything in the Eye Pop Art shop during the month of November with coupon code PORTLAND.  Have a groovy day!