This week's blog was written by Visual Artist, Lea K. Tawd.
Every city has its ups and downs. If you live in Portland, you've been hearing a lot of downs lately as housing costs rise, homelessness increases, and our country in general struggles. But when I was 21 years old, I moved here sight unseen and I have never looked back! I love being an artist, and Portland is a great place to be one. Here are just a few of the reasons why:
One thing that Portland is not lacking is artists! There's a fantastic art community here, and I have found most people to be very friendly and generous with sharing their skills and resources. This is not the cutthroat art world that you hear of in some of the bigger cities.
Everyone complains about it, but what better weather is there to hunker down in and make some art?
Whatever you think about that show (personally, I'm not really a fan), Portland IS still pretty weird. There is such a youthful, creative vibe in this city that can fill you with inspiration.
Need to get a hit of nature to reinvigorate yourself? In a mere 20 minutes you can be at a campground, the ocean is only an hour and a half away, Multnomah Falls, Seattle, tons of hiking, skiing, and more are all only a short distance away. Not to mention the city itself is full of beautiful parks and nature areas.
5. Artistic Portland
Okay, so I am admittedly biased about this one! But whether you are downtown at our shop, or at one of the many other beautiful galleries and shops in Portland, you are sure to find art and inspiration wherever you look.
This week's blog is brought to you by Ammi Brooks. Among other things, Ammi creates the most amazing diorama scenes in real egg shells! Read on!
I’ve been thinking lately about my first creative endeavor. It was sewing! My mother was a great seamstress but I wasn’t interested in having her teach me, so when I went to college I took a sewing course. On my own I made Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls for my nieces. Although I made some clothes for myself it never really stuck as an inspired craft.
I made resin grapes as a young wife for my in-laws’ coffee table…they were big in the 70’s. Again not something I was inspired by.
Then while my husband was stationed in North Carolina at Pope Air Force Base in 1971 I took a class in eggery! The focus of the class was on making Christmas tree ornaments out of egg shells. I learned to make ostrich egg clocks and duck eggs with doors and hinges. To tell the truth those things were fun to make but weren’t something I would ever have in my own home. The little chicken egg Christmas ornaments, however, were a delight to make, so that creative endeavor lasted for a long time. Everyone in my extended family received these little treasures ,and I sold them at a local shop and Christmas bazaars in Carmel, California in the 1980s. In 2014 after 35 years I started making my little egg ornaments again and then sold them at Artistic Portland.
Most of my themes are of Spring and Christmas, but I have expanded them now to include Portland bridges, food trucks, and Voodoo Doughnuts!
The questions I get asked most on these decorations are: how do I get the fabric so smooth around the eggs, and how do I get the background pictures in the back of the egg, and how do you get the egg out of the shell?
The trick to the fabric is to cut a strip of fabric on the bias (perpendicular to the edge) so that it stretches over the shell.
The trick with the background picture is to find a picture with a white background so that it fades into the back of the egg. How do your get the egg out of the shell? I use curved cuticle scissors. I tap the egg and cut the hole the size I want it. Usually when I shake out the egg it does not break the yoke.
In addition to creating one-of-a-kind egg diorama's, I also make felted scarves, felted cat balls, felted soaps and hand dyed silk scarves! You can find my art at Artistic Portland, Monday through Saturday from 10 to 6 and on Sundays from noon until 5!
This week's blog was written by natural skin care products guru, Marianne Wilson Stein of Gifts from the Earth.
When my children were young I let them experiment with all kinds of art mediums. We had so much fun making things together. As they got older they found their art. Before my daughter left for college we started a farmers market business of making hand-painted floor cloths and memory boxes. We had a great time together painting and talking. She is now a musician and tinkers in a few crafts. My son is a photographer. Art inspires, art opens creative pathways. Have fun with your kids and grandkids. Make Art!
Listed below are some gift ideas that you and your child can make together – either when you’re bored and looking for something to do, or have a special occasion/holiday coming up.
1. Hand and Footprint Apron
For this craft, all you’ll need is non-toxic paint and a white apron.
First, lay the apron flat on a clean surface. Have the variety of paint colors nearby. Then, take turns dipping your child’s feet and hands into the paint. Press them against the apron until the hand- and footprints are clearly shown.
Use the paint to then label each hand and foot with the child’s name if you have multiple children taking part in the project.
Allow the apron to dry completely before giving the apron to someone as a gift.
This gift is very thoughtful and will leave mom, grandma, or auntie feeling very loved. Every time they go to use the apron, they will think of the person who made it!
2. Bracelets out of Beads
For this project, all you’ll need are beads and some string.
Cut the string according to the length of the person’s wrist you’re giving it to. If the person is not around, you can guess or you can measure on someone who has a similar sized wrist.
With the beads, slide them through the newly cut string. Once the beads are how you and your child would like them, simply tie the string together to form a bracelet.
3. Personalized Coffee Mugs
For this craft, you’ll need a white mug, non-washable paints, and paint brushes.
If you are doing this project with a little one, help them to hold the mug to prevent it from breaking. Allow your child to dip the brush into the paint and brush it onto the mug to make whatever design they may please.
This gift will leave the recipient feeling very loved and will give them a smile every time they use go to drink their coffee in the morning.
4. Rustic Twig Picture Frame
For this DIY, you’ll need hot glue, twigs, and a picture frame.
Help your child collect the twigs from outside. Ensure that there aren’t any bugs or moss on the sticks.
Once you’ve collected the twigs, you can start hot gluing them to the picture frame. Depending on how old your child is, determine whether or not they can help you use a hot glue gun.
Once the twigs are surrounding the outer corners of the picture frame, set the picture frame aside to dry. Once you feel the picture frame is dry enough, you can place a picture in. This gift will give an autumnal and rustic feeling in the home.
Spending quality time with your kids making presents for people who deserve it will make you, your kids, and the recipients feel amazing. Giving is better than receiving, which is a great lesson to teach your kids while making these gifts. You never know where art will take your kids!