Aside from some hip and leg pain from standing for three solid days, my first big craft show was enough of a success that I’m not in the hole. After months of preparing, it was a pleasure to emerge from the studio and meet attendees and other artists. It was also a treat to wander some old stomping grounds of Baltimore, to see DC-area friends and even have some gnocchi in Little Italy.
The lead up
Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t give myself a year to explore this new venture. Instead, I applied to the show not thinking I’d get in. But I did get in, and there seemed to be plenty of time to prepare. Between my day job as a brand and communication designer, I was running around town picking up clips for lights, fabric for a backdrop, tissue to wrap purchases, then I’d go back into the studio to hammer, saw, solder, file and form jewelry. While I worked on jewelry, I worried I should focus on the display. While I fixated on the booth display, I worried that I didn’t have enough jewelry inventory. Unlike other jewelry artists, I don’t have a backlog of inventory.
During it all, I reminded myself there’s a first time for everything. By the time I got to Baltimore, it was a relief to stop thinking about it. There are not many do overs in life. In the case of shows, every new show is a do over. You just have to resist the temptation to reinvent the wheel for the next one.
Does the world need more jewelry, I’ve been asking myself. Knowing that many of our thoughts are of the devil-on-the-shoulder variety, I know not to take all of them seriously.
But as I embark on making jewelry, I fall into a familiar pattern of wondering if I’m doing any real good. I’ve volunteered steadily since my early twenties but this idea of feeling useful is so engrained in me, the source of which is not entirely healthy. As in, do I deserve to just do something that I enjoy doing? For those who can’t relate to this question, lucky you! Read more
When I first saw the work of land artist Andy Goldsworthy, I was blown away. This was followed by envy that someone wasn’t paying me to prance around in the woods collecting and assembling leaves and twigs. Then I realized I was being an idiot. You do what you love because you must, just as I do when I scour a beach or the forest floor, not for anything particular, just for a thing of beauty that captures my attention. Only no one is paying me for it.
But I do use these things, not only as inspiration for artwork and jewelry, but as an essential clearing of the head. Nothing like a humbling dose of nature to remind you of your relative insignificance. I often gawk at what’s before me wondering why I bother making art or objects when nature has already done it. But then I soldier on and tuck these inspirations away for later. Read more
I have only done a few shows in my past. Well, a couple more if you count pottery back in the 90s where I draped a table and put pots on it. The others were fairly easy to set up, but that didn’t stop me from turning the display into a project itself.
Like this one (below) for a two small jewelry shows where I painted paper maché boxes and lids with chalkboard paint (a nice matte finish). I also painted a big piece of MDF board (lighter weight and cleaner finish than plywood) for a surface for the display, which I raised up using Ikea’s Capita legs. These are great and come in three sizes (2, 4 and 6 inch) in packs of four. Read more
I admit to having a certain proclivity towards process in and of itself even though I also fret over unfinished business, the half-written story or one without a good ending, the half-finished painting. Yes, it’s good to finish what you start, but if finishing is always your goal, you’re missing out on the delights of the process. If you linger too much in process, there’s that uncomfortable nagging inside about what’s left undone.
Sometimes process and output are inextricably linked. A project can have its own unique forward momentum. At other times, the doing IS the thing. Read more
In the span of two days, I had conversations with two friends who shared similar experiences. E described her elation and zoning out while organizing a piles of collage material. This coincided with clearing out years of work-related papers. But she said something else, that all that effort seemed unimportant or irrelevant, that she should have been doing something more important.
Important, according to what, I wondered? To the ideal we all have (without question) about what is considered productive or useful? Who is making these rules, if not us? Read more
Portland is the city of roses, and so each June these flowers (and more) are celebrated via a number of activities, one of which is the Dragon Boat Race.
Portland artist Alea Bone created an art exhibition called “Fire on the Water” as a celebration of the dragon boat races. I’m honored to be one of the 75 invited artists to show a piece (a perk of being in the same art club). This art exhibition is an official Rose Festival event. You can get a sampling of the work on the Fire on the Water Facebook page.
This is my submission. I wanted to capture in an abstract way what I imagine dragon boat racing to feel like. This is acrylic and pencil on wood.
The opening reception is June 4 and the show will be up for one month.
Date: June 4 | Time: 5–8 pm | Location: Portland’5 Center for the Arts, 1111 SW Broadway, Hatfield Hall.
Update: I was happy to arrive to the opening reception and find that my painting sold. Thank you whoever you are!