Saturday, June 26, 2010

Book Recommendations--Textiles

I'm really enjoying 1,000 Artisan Textiles by Sandra Salamony and Gina M. Brown.

The book has 5 categories: Wearable Art, Fashion Accessories, Soft Furnishings and Vessels, Tapestries, and Art Quilts. It contains artists from around the world and is loaded with ideas and inspiration.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Question of the Month--Stumbling Blocks?

Our question for the month is "What is your greatest stumbling block in making art?"


Mine is thinking that I need a big chunk of time in order to make art. So if I look at my day and see that my day has lots of different things already planned in it, I tell myself, "Oops, no time to do art today!" When, in reality, just having one hour is enough time to create a card or clean up my work space or start cutting up some papers for a future project, etc.


My first thought would be time, then clean space and last motivation. But the reality is it's really just me. Recently I read an excellent book, Creative Time & Space by Rice Freeman-Zachery, and it became clear those are just the excuses. I'm not sure why I hold myself back but at least for now I know where not to look for the reasons.


I think the hardest time I have when making art, is trying to choose which idea

to work on. Right now, I have three different necklaces in various stages of

completion and a couple of mixed media pieces sitting and waiting for me to

get back to them. A lot of times the starting is not the problem, it's the

finishing up that gets me.


Finally an easy question!

My MESSY studio.

I tend to work in a frezy when inspired and end up with hardly room to move. When it's a clean slate, it's so easy to just start tinkering. Hence when it's over cluttered, I can't get past the mess and avoid even going in my studio, till I'm inspired to clean. I tell myself in my next life I'll work neater.

A fine mess:


In my experience there have been several stumbling blocks that have and do keep me from making art.

The biggest stumbling block I have experienced was stress on the job. There were many instances of this in my life. The worst included a nasty boss and long hours. Working in retail there were always long arduous hours, whether I liked the job or not. When I worked for a builder as a real estate broker there was the stress of performance to make the sale. Commission is stressful, especially when you intentionally can't live on your draw. I went through a very tough time in the industry where many builders went down including the one I worked for. It was stress to survive.

For 8 more go to:


If I get to a point in a piece of work that visually displeases me, often I can't seem to get beyond it. Needless to say, I have a large graveyard of unfinished pieces.


Hmmm, there are plenty but a big one for me is getting organized with all of the materials I think I may need. It seems that when I finally get going, I find that I need some other items to complete my project and can't seem to find them (even though I know they're around somewhere!) - arrrghhhh! Too much time is wasted looking - so either I end up improvising with something else or else a shopping foray and thus end up with duplicates of the same thing.


HA--that's an easy one--myself!


Lack of focus. I think I'm at my most creative when I work on a series and keep at it, making small experimentations as I go. If I don't have a series going, I feel overwhelmed by options and have a hard time starting or sticking to anything. Every book, magazine, blog seems to pull me in a different direction.

Too many ideas:


Procrastination and lack of motivation keep me from creating. Once my muse wakes me up, I'm not blocked any more and am able to create.


My greatest stumbling block to creating art often happens when I am in the middle of creating an assemblage piece. There are found objects all over the tables of my studio, because I haven't discovered the "perfect" treasure to add to the piece. So I start organizing and putting things back where they belong and soon find the "missing link".


Daily practice! Having been busy creating a new business, I've only
occassionally done a little art here and there. I was surprised to see
that it was challenging to get back into the old familiar rhythms.
Back when I did 30 minutes of art a day, I was mostly in the comforting
flow of brushes, color, texture and discovery.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

June Giveaway by Jennifer Campbell!

The June Giveaway has been donated by Jennifer Campbell of Heartwings by Jennifer. This piece of assemblage jewelry can be worn either as a pin or a pendant and was created using vintage tea tins, a vintage watch face and assembled using microfasteners as the cold connections.
Heartwings, the line of recycled pendants and bracelets that Jennifer makes from vintage tea and spice tins show her sense of humor and delight in using the colors, graphics and patterns of the 1940s and 50s tins. Her most recent endeavor is a line of vintage artisan necklaces, bracelets and earrings fashioned from vintage elements found on her treasure hunts through estate sales and antique stores.
Jennifer will be teaching three workshops at Art and Soul Portland - October 2010. Please see "Workshops" on the Portland Art Collective blog for more information.

Portland Art Collective members will not be eligible for this offering but all others who comment on this post will have a chance to win! Stay tuned July 1st to see if you are the lucky winner!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jill Lawrence Sketchbook

Jill does weekly sketching of items that catch her interest. She generally works in ink and watercolor.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Artist Profile--Tory Brokenshire

Our featured artist this month is Tory Brokenshire. Tory is one of those artists who moves easily between many mediums, always coming up with fresh and creative ideas. She is especially known for her charming three dimensional work incorporating found objects.

1. What are the main mediums you use? What do you find satisfying about them?

Wire, metal and wood are most often used as a base to many of my pieces. I do look for some special found item to put in or on each piece. I hardly ever use new materials-- the old seem more substantial to me.

Found object and clay fellows:

2. If someone were going to get started in those mediums, what suggestions would you give?

Take a good class with a teacher willing to talk about more than just the project. Pick their brain on what could go wrong and how they would fixed it. Believe me if they have been working with it for long, they will know what to tell you. They will know the best books. Remember they have done all the leg work, probably for years.

3. A perfect art day would look like...

First off I would like to spend the night because I want to wake up with my art friends, have a cup of coffee and have time to visit and laugh before we start.

Tory's Santos:
And a close-up:

4. Do you have dedicated studio space?

I have a table that is 5’x 6’ and a ton (yes a ton) of containers that I work out of. In winter it is in my bedroom. The table sits near a window for light. I keep it opened just a bit so I can hear the rain and smell the cold fresh air. In summer I work in the garage with the double door opened so I have a view of the garden and birds. It is also very close to all the power tools-- NICE!

Pine needle basketry:

5. Favorite place you've visited or lived?

Victoria, B.C. is close to home but with a feel of Europe. In mid to late summer, the flower baskets hang like jewels on every street; the water and forests surround you with beckoning adventures.

6. What inspires you (or are there recurring themes in your work)?

People and rusty old earth tones, not always together but I am intrigued by both. I love Michelangelo’s grotesques, and my people tend never to have a youthful, perfect face. The old and gnarly have a character I can’t resist.

7. I still struggle with....

Keeping a clean studio. Once the creative juices kick in, I turn into a Tasmanian devil, spitting out art supplies in every direction, and it always seems to take more days to put it back than it did to get it out.

Wire and paper lantern:

8. I'd be lost without...

A pencil and note pad. I dream ideas, I see ideas in a TV commercial, or a friend says “have you ever tried this?” I jot it all down or draw a little picture. Well I should say the pencil and eraser because it takes me about three attempts before I get the thought down the way I want it.

9. Favorite dessert?

A peppermint milkshake that I can only get around the holidays.

Wire and clay sculpture:

You can see more of Tory's work on her blog. Tory is also a gifted teacher who teaches at local and national events. You can catch her in Oct. at the Art and Soul Retreat in Portland where she will be teaching classes in using power and hand tools, creating wire and clay sculptures, and making your own personal Santos. Check out the Art and Soul website for details and registration info.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

May's Lucky Giveaway Winner...

Drum roll please...

Celeste is the lucky winner of May's giveaway! She has won a lovely crochet-wire, beaded necklace made by Paula McNamee.

Paula is a multi-talented artist who has a wonderful blog that can be found here.

Celeste, congratulations! Please email me with your contact information at and Paula will ship your fabulous necklace to you! Enjoy!

Stay tuned for the announcement of June's giveaway!