This week's blog is brought to you by fiber arts artist and soap maker, Karin Kaufmann of Nadelwerk. Karin interviewed fiber arts artist Alycia Allen Tolmach of Alyen Creations.
How long have you been a part of Artistic Portland, and what appealed to you about joining the
I joined Artistic Portland in March 2018, after Susan Hunter of Bodie Design Studio talked to me at the Southeast Area Art Walk and invited me to submit my work to the jury, which just happened to be the next evening! I jumped at the chance, because aside from one or two shows a year, my quilts were languishing in a closet. To have a place where my work would be seen every day of the year, and to get to work in the gallery and to gain an instant community of new artist friends and to be part of this group effort was an incredible gift. It was something I needed, but I wasn’t even aware it existed. To be invited was such an honor!
What’s your background?
I have a degree in Journalism from the University of Florida. I retired from journalism in 1992, leaving the copy desk at the Philadelphia Inquirer to marry Andrew and follow him to Portland.
Why do you do what you do?
When I was young, I wanted to take art lessons, like my older sister did. When I got old enough, we moved, and I never got the chance after that. The only thing I ever really drew was horses, and only in profile, and only the left side!
What would you say was your “ah ha” moment in going from thought to passion to actually starting your business?
Many of my friends on the copy desk at the Inquirer were quilters, but I resisted the urge, because of the mess, the time and the obsession with fabric. But when Andrew’s daddy was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, something just said, “Make him a quilt.” So I went home with one of my girlfriends after work, and she helped me design a block, and the next morning, I went to a fabric shop, where I heard someone exclaim, “I saw this fabric in a dream last night!” (Did I mention obsession?) Anyway, I showed her my quilt block and the colors I was using, and she told me to make sure to use different scales of patterns, so the fabrics wouldn’t blend into a muddy mess. (She probably saved me a year’s worth of bad quilts, with that one piece of advice.) When Andrew came back from his folks’ house, and I began to iron my first piece of fabric for his daddy’s quilt, I blurted out, “I think I just might be good at this.” I had to buy a machine and teach myself how to sew to make that quilt. I still can’t sew clothing! A couple of years later, when I retired from the paper, (at 30) I decided to start Alyen Creations, which is a name I came up with as a 9-year-old, from my name, ALYcia allEN. It’s pronounced Alien, like a Martian….
Where do you create?
I am fortunate to have a studio in my home, with 25 years of fabric and a pin-able wall to design my quilts on, a big cutting table and 2 Bernina 1090 sewing machines.
What motivates/inspires your work?
I make primarily landscape art quilts, based on photos from our travels, mostly in Europe and the Northwest. While I know I would be a lousy painter, somehow working with fabric allows me to convey the sense of places that I love. I also love it when people are drawn to touch my quilts. I know I have succeeded when someone wants to pet my work. That connection is such a thrill!
Who inspired you if anyone?
In 1992, I invested in a 200-pound bale of Vintage Japanese Kimonos with my best friend, and I was hooked. I have probably owned 1,500 kimonos since then. The fabric in each kimono is unique; the kimonos were hand-sewn and home-made in the 1940s-1960s. It takes an hour to take one apart. The fabrics often involve two or three design techniques, including jacquard weaving, kasuri dyeing, block printing, hand-dyeing, brocade, metallic and lacquered threads, shibori dyeing, resist painting, batik, roh weaves, gauze weaves – I could go on and on. The closer you look, the more you see in Japanese fabric design, and that inspires me to create art that pulls you in and rewards a closer look.
Tell us how you choose your supplies, material, you use in your Art?
For my collage quilts, Origami Kimono Ornaments, Origami Obi Cards, and some runners/hangings, I pull from my palette of several thousand yards of commercial cottons. However, for my landscape art quilts, I use almost exclusively Japanese kimono fabrics. My basement is full of kimonos, and I have taken apart more than a thousand. I sell to other fiber artists what I can’t use.
Did anyone ever tell you couldn’t do it?
No, but every time I walk into the studio, I ask myself if I still can! Some days the answer is yes, and some days it seems like no, but when I push past the doubt, the answer is a resounding YES, and that is when I remember how happy it makes me to create my quilts.
What kind of creative patterns, routines, or rituals do you have?
What is the most difficult thing about making your Art?
Starting. I am constantly starting, it seems, and I lose so much ground. I work in spurts, and sometimes they last for months, but then life gets in the way, and it can be months or sometimes years (like if we go on sabbatical to another country) and then when I restart, I have to relearn a lot of the techniques I devised, or re-solve design issues I forgot I had solved! It’s very frustrating, and sometimes it is easier not to start again! But that is one reason I was so eager to join Artistic Portland. Now, every day, art is a priority, in one form or another, be it the studio, working in the gallery, or taking on responsibilities to help run the cooperative, or brainstorming with other members about issues they have, that I have, or the gallery has. Thanks to Katrina, I am now having giclee prints made of my quilts. I never in a million years would have thought of doing that, but to her, it was obvious. Having others help me see what is outside my own little blinkered box, (to mix a metaphor) is incredible.
Do you have other staff, partners etc.?
Nope, just me.
What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever created?
A quilt of Saint Pere de Rodes in northern Catalunya on the Spanish Mediterranean. It is a ruined monastery, and the man who bought the quilt from me said that he was going to hang it right in front of his recliner, so that he could look at it all the time.
If you could wake up tomorrow with a new artistic skill, what would it be?
The ability to master perspective!
What do you like to do when you're not creating?
I like to read real books I hold in my hand, especially old mysteries and novels from the 1920s that smell like my elementary school library in Florida!
This week's blog was written by mosaic jewelry artist June Martin of MOTH & TWIG.
I have worn many hats during my 50 (cough, cough) something years on this planet and I’ve enjoyed wearing them all. I feel humbled and happy that I’m able to make a living as an artist at this time in my life. As a young child I spent inordinate amounts of time drawing. For whatever reason, paper wasn’t readily available, most likely because we were quite poor after our father passed away suddenly, so I used to draw on the corners of the TV guide. My father was an artist and a toymaker so I guess my interest in art came from him since my mother, god rest her soul, didn’t have an artistic bone in her body!
Throughout my childhood art was an avenue to express myself. I predominantly drew people and fashion though I was also attracted to drawing houses that had fallen into disrepair as I loved the textures and sense of history. I dabbled in water color as well and I remember my middle school art teacher framing one of my pieces and hanging it in the school commons for all to see. I dreamt of growing up and being a full-time artist but my step-father, armed with good intentions and a propensity towards the practical, suggested that I learn to type and take shorthand, just in case art didn’t work out.
In college I majored in art…for a while at least. I later switched my major which resulted in two undergraduate degrees; one in psychology and the other in biological anthropology. I continued to study and practice art including screen printing. I worked a few secretarial jobs in San Francisco until I landed a job working as a production manager for a small clothing manufacturer. With my interest in fashion design this job blossomed into a career.
Life happened along the way. I was married, had a child, then I wasn’t married and found myself in the unenviable position of being a single working parent. Though I had a creative job, other artistic endeavors were put on the back burner while I busied myself with supporting my son.
Years passed, and though I was happy working in fashion, I knew that the company I was working for was being sold to a couple in Chicago. The new owners asked if I would be interested in moving to Chicago to work for them but the thought of moving my son to a different state as well as having to endure long cold winters was not appealing. I found myself out of a job after 17 years but also found myself in the position of being able to choose to do something new if I desired. Before embarking on new work adventures, I decided to take a little time to travel. My son left home for college, I was “between jobs" so off to Barcelona Spain I went! I only spent a month in Spain but it was enough to fill my soul with the beauty the city provided in the form of art and architecture. In particular, I was enthralled by the works of Antoni Gaudi.
Upon returning to San Francisco, I found that there was an excellent mosaic instructor living in the warehouse space that I also lived in. I knew I had found my niche in art. During this time I also earned an MS in counseling psychology and started working in the mental health field but I kept doing mosaic for fun. I was also dabbling in jewelry design. It was during this time that I took a class in micro- mosaic with a focus on jewelry. I found I had a knack for working small scale. I knew micro-mosaic and jewelry design was for me. I continued to work as a therapist while keeping mosaic and jewelry as a hobby. Since I don’t wear a lot of jewelry myself, I wasn’t sure what to do with all of the mosaic jewelry pieces I was making. I discovered Etsy and decided to give it a go. To my surprise, people seemed to like my jewelry. How much fun is that?! Creating art you love and then getting paid for it!
A few years passed and we (my new husband and I) moved to Portland where my son also lives. Overall, Portland has been very kind to us and what started as a hobby and side job, has turned into a full-blown thriving business. I continue to work in mental health on the side but I create art full time. Though the path was non-linear, I am back to my roots of making art. I think both my father and step-father would be proud.
This week's blog was written by polymer clay artist Laurel Swetnam of Sequels.
January inspires many of us take stock of the past year’s accomplishments and challenges, honoring cultural rituals or making resolutions to pursue new goals or do better on old ones. Growing up, my best friend’s German family always invited me to make three wishes for the new year while breaking off a piece of warm Neujahrsbrezel, a delicious sweet pretzel which symbolizes good luck. My husband’s family was a bit more dour. Honoring an Appalachian tradition - think backwoods Kentucky - my father-in-law boiled a pig’s head on New Year’s day, because hog jowl and black-eyed peas keeps you humble for the next year. When we lived in Spain we capped off very late celebrations by stuffing grapes in our mouths - the idea was to chew twelve grapes at once!
Artists seem especially attracted to the idea of new beginnings, perhaps because we’re always searching for inspiration and relishing a reset. My studio partner Kirsten Carpentier invites friends to choose and embellish their word of the year, focusing energy into a single intention.
One of my favorite bloggers, artist and bookbinder Roz Stendahl, advocates doing a little bit of everything you love on the first day of the year, sort of priming the pump with joyful activities. This year I followed Roz’ advice, practicing a Bach cello suite I’m learning on classical guitar, drawing a couple of pears, taking a walk in nearby snowy woods with a couple of happy dogs, and working on some canes for a new bowl class I’m teaching.
Personally, though, I love most of all to spend part of each new January 1 by diving into color, mixing hues and making Skinner blends, polymer clay gradients which are the basic building blocks of many of my pieces. Mixing colors is a lovely antidote to gray skies, as relaxing as meditation and a functional activity which helps me in my work. Since my polymer clay art is all about color, it’s a great way to get in the groove of new palettes and new designs. Sometimes I check out color trends like the Pantone color predictions for 2019, peruse delicious Design Seeds photos with their composite photos or take a trip though my Palettes Pinterest board. Mostly, though, I just merrily fiddle around. Here’s a pair of blends I made on January 1, 2019. These colors could be jungle leaves, Carmen Miranda flowers, or eye-popping polka dots.
Stop by Artistic Portland in a few weeks to see what they become!
This week's blog was written by visual artist Jennie O'Connor.
I first joined Artistic Portland in June over five years ago; it was the first month the co-op initially opened in the Hollywood neighborhood. I was very excited to belong to a group where I could meet like-minded friends and have a brick-and-mortar home for my paintings. I was there a year and then rejoined the store a few months after it moved to the current location on SW Taylor downtown. In total, I’ve been a member a little over 4 years.
I have been painting and drawing on and off most of my life, but became more serious after I moved from Seattle to Portland 18 years ago. I began by working in watercolor and after several years began to experiment with acrylics and collage. While I loved watercolor, making beautiful hues by mixing water with paint it began to feel a bit tedious, acrylics gave me a kind of freedom that I enjoy.
When in my creative modeI I tend toward messy whether it be in the kitchen, garden or in the studio. I have the most fun when I am slinging paint around, hopefully, getting more of it on the paper or canvas than myself, walls, and floor.
I currently work in a very small studio that I have created in my home, the size of which can be a problem given my tendency to be messy.
Inspiration comes to me in various ways, sometimes a reference photo is helpful or a scene out-side my window but most of the time I am simply inspired by the process of adding color, shape and texture to the painting surface.
I like to listen a book on tape, or podcast when painting. I find that it helps to keep my brain busy so that I can be more creative. I actually do like to start out in a somewhat ordered fashion. It’s nice to have cleared my workspace, lay out chosen paint colors, brushes, texture making tools, and perhaps collage papers, etc. However, that often changes rather rapidly when I get inspired in the process and there I am again, messy!
When I first started working in acrylics, quite by accident, I was introduced to collage. I put together my very first collage piece which has always been my favorite, it is an abstraction of my brother’s home which sits on the Gulf of Mexico in the Florida Keys. I love the scene, the colors and feeling that I was able to create.
If I could magically be a different artist, I would like to be a sculptor. It would be awesome to play with and mold clay.
When I am not creating art, I can often be found in the kitchen stirring up a stew or some other equally yummy savory dish.
It’s that time of the year again. A brand new shiny year means brand new shiny New Year’s resolutions. A blank slate! I once took a poll of my friends to see who partook in this yearly ritual. To my surprise, not many of friends like to create yearly resolutions. The reasons vary from “I can’t be bothered” to “Why would I set myself up for disappointment if I don’t follow through on my resolutions?” I read somewhere that less than 10% of resolutions are kept by year’s end and there is a failure rate of 25% by the end of January. Yikes! Even though I’m equipped with this information, I still enjoy creating resolutions.
This year I thought I would create New Year’s resolutions related to my art. My 2019 mantra is to work smarter, not harder. In order to do this, I need a plan which is where resolutions come into play. Also, by putting my resolutions out there to the world so to speak, perhaps I’ll be more likely to stick to them.
In no particular order…
I created small actionable steps for each resolution to help me get and stay on track as this is the only way I will be able to achieve my goals. It’s all about knowing myself and knowing how I work (play). I’m excited to get started! I love blank slates, especially ones that are 365 days long! Are you an artist? Have you created resolutions? Feel free to share them in the comments section!
Happy New Year!
This week's blog was written by jewelry artist Marty Hogan of Marty Hogan Jewelry.
Having a space to work is critical for an artist. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy. Each artist’s needs will vary depending on what they do, but it seems to me the space needs to be big enough to accommodate whatever tools and equipment the artist uses to create art, and it needs to be a space where the artist can have quiet time to think and create. The space needs to be their space. Every artist I know has a personal story about how they created space to work on their art. Here’s mine.
I’ve been making jewelry for several years and my workplace has changed and evolved with my jewelry. I started out on the kitchen table, which was a challenge. My husband gently vetoed my presence there and suggested he help me set up a little work station in the basement. We acquired some old boards which we placed on sawhorses and bed risers. This worked for tasks like designing, cutting and sanding metal, but hammering was often disastrous and ended with the table and its contents on the floor. I solved this problem when found a sturdy chopping block at a yard sale and it became my delegated hammering station. A portable table served as my bead and stone area, with all the stones organized in fishing tackle trays. They were now visible and readily available to whatever project I was working on.
As my work progressed, I bought a torch, some propane and oxygen, and I learned to solder. I soon realized that soldering in this enclosed area was dangerous and not good for my health, so I set up a table outside. This worked fine in the summer, but the cold Ashland winters bring snow, wind and freezing temperatures, so this was an uncomfortable option in the winter. I really needed a roof over my head for soldering, so I moved this area to a little shed attached to our garage. The only problem was that I had to trek through the yard, carry my work up 6 steps and walk about 100 yards down the driveway to the shed. After about a year of dealing with this inconvenience, I made the decision to move my studio to our garage.
Although I now had more space, sturdy tables and the soldering station just outside, this arrangement had a few drawbacks. The garage was some distance from our house and we lived in a forested area in the mountains above Ashland that is inhabited by a large population of black bears. We often saw them on our property and I noticed they had a nightly habit of wandering past our garage in search of an open garbage can or a carelessly tossed apple core. I bought a bear bell, bear spray and a good flashlight for my walk back and forth to the garage at night. I took precautions, made a lot of noise and looked over my shoulder a good bit when making the walk.
When I relocated to Portland about 18 months ago, I moved my work area into the garage attached to our house. My space here isn’t fancy. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter and I share it with our washer and dryer, lawn tools, wheelbarrow, stored boxes and everything else garages seem to accumulate. There is no room for cars. My husband observed these issues this summer and proposed a solution; “Let’s build a studio for you behind the house!” What? A designated jewelry studio, just for me? Unbelievable! The prospect of not having to share my space with anything or anyone else was delicious! We would design and build a 140 square foot studio in our backyard with electricity, windows, an inside soldering station, a vent to exhaust fumes, sturdy tables, enough light to see what I’m working on and ample space for my tools! Oh my!
Too good to believe? Stay tuned for the progress of Marty’s backyard studio!
This week's blog features an interview of illustrator Ellen Cranch, written by Carl Sandeen of Kristi Usher Fine Art.
Ellen Cranch will say that working with artists older than her and that have spent many years perfecting their craft inspire her. But as Artistic Portland's youngest artist, Co-op members will say they are the ones inspired by Ellen's obvious talent and the desire to spend her life creating art.
Ellen travelled back to Oregon from Calgary with a BFA focused on Character Design and Illustration from the Alberta College of Art and Design. She carried with her a wonderful body of work which includes Bear & Bunny, a children's book she wrote, illustrated and published.
Along with that, she brought to her display area at the store delightful illustrations, prints and framed pieces that customers love to linger over.
Ellen started making art at a very young age and was encouraged by her family to draw and create. She says, "I was the pre-pre-schooler who would answer questions like, ‘What color is this?' with ‘Green, you make it by mixing yellow and blue.’ "
She grew up regularly taking various art classes and was able to explore all sorts of media, though most of her work these days is either in ink or is digitally produced. The watercolor shown here was her first attempt at a children's fairytale that she wrote and illustrated many years ago.
Ellen, a Canadian, chose Alberta College of Art and Design for its excellent reputation and for its affordability to Canadian citizens. It also offered a Character Design major which was exactly what she wished to study. Ellen will comment, "It has a studio class focus and a drilling of the basics that most art schools let slide. And it's small, easily navigable and invested in incredible teachers rather than dorms or sports facilities or after school activities."
Good Grief was created early in her schooling. Ellen notes that "ACAD was fantastic at making sure we understood art and design in order to create the best and most professional work possible. The first year was 100% traditional art and drawing skill including perspective, shading, and shape design. Second year added new mediums and color focusing on graphic design, illustration, and so on. Third and fourth year was when the streams branched off. Illustration and Character Design broke away from Advertising and Graphic Design. Our projects focused on our majors and brought us to where we are today."
Currently, Ellen is finishing a coloring/doodle book which is a collaboration with her youngest sister, and has started a comic project with a friend. On top of other smaller art projects and drawings, she has worked on two larger commissions that she says, "Were really fun and turned out really well." One was a series of Selkie illustrations for a return customer and the other was illustrating a book The Discovery of Mi-A-Kon-Da for an all-girl’s camp.'"
About the future, Ellen says, "My skillset is at once narrow and impossibly wide. My drawing skill buys me more leeway than most graphic designers, but what I truly look forward to are illustration and character design projects. If I was able to join a studio to create stories and characters for any media, I would be ecstatic!"
The amazing benefits of participating in an artists’ retreat: Pojoaque Pueblo, New Mexico, November 2018
This week's blog was written by polymer clay artist Laurel Swetnam of Sequels.
This year I had the pleasure of meeting a group of artist friends for two weeks of working together during the day and sharing long, discursive dinners around a massive red table in the evening. There are usually about 6 artists from around the country and their partners, plus local artist friends who come to Butterfly House to work for the day and share dinner.
It’s an opportunity to disconnect from the usual distractions of daily life and to focus. I found time both to play with new ideas and to produce work. There’s time to look at images, sketch a new idea, plan an approach, try and fail then try and succeed. I spent a couple of days experimenting with a technique learned from Utah artist, Jana Roberts Benzon. Jana is a master at manipulating polymer clay to create luscious 3-D shapes. This one involves layering colors, cutting, turning slices and recutting. It’s complicated! Here
are my experiments with Jana’s technique.
Next I worked on a class I’ll teach on January 19th called Romancing the Wave. The idea is to create swirly patterns using ripple blade techniques with very sharp serrated knives and mokume gane, originally a Japanese sword making technique. Mokume gane adapts very well to polymer clay. I was also inspired by the stunning work of Britain’s Carol Blackburn, a former fiber artist whose palette is inspired by fabric designs like Missoni patterns, who has perfected her own variation in clay. The photo shows my wavy forays.
Working together, we have a rare opportunity to observe each other’s strategies for designing and perfecting new techniques. This was an eye opener. Maggie Maggio, who is both an internationally acclaimed artist and a color expert, used her time to work on a project to teach for upcoming engagements in South America and to celebrate the tenth anniversary of her book with coauthor artist Lindley Haunani, Polymer Clay Color Inspirations. Maggie worked tirelessly on making, tweaking, critiquing her new designs, and then repeating the entire process. Watching was a tremendous lesson in learning from mistakes and working day after day with intention. Here are Maggie’s prototypes.
As we work together, there is camaraderie, jokes and joyful sharing; there are observations and suggestions for each other’s work, sometimes helping to push towards a new design or a new level of artistry. This is, of course, also a motivation for belonging to Artistic Portland! Although I always take advantage of the glorious, sunny New Mexico high desert for a little outside time, I managed to make the components for new pieces headed for shows and, of course, Artistic Portland. It was a reinvigorating and relaxing time.
This week's blog was written by visual artist Jennie O'Connor. Jennie interviewed paper collage artist Lavaun Benavidez-Heaster.
How long have you been a member of Artistic Portland, and what appealed to you about joining the Co-op?
I've been a member of Artistic Portland since June of 2018. I was feeling very isolated working at home in East Portland and not having a work community which often takes the place of family and friends in this day and age. I didn't expect that being part of an artistic community would have such an impact on my artwork which has evolved and grown.
What’s your background?
What the heck is meant by what is your background? Well artistically my background is that I went to college and within my first year of junior college realized that being an artist was probably not the right career choice for me. I went on and did work in Social Services for 20 years then after being laid off and not being able to transfer with my government employer due to disability-related job barriers I ended up unemployed. Distress of the situation helped push my health to a bad place, and all my friends and family came together to get me through a kidney and pancreas transplant. This is what brought me back to art because I felt a need to give something back these people have been so generous during a really bad time for me. That's my background as an artist.
My human background is that my mother was orphaned and not raised within her cultures (Navajo, Ute, Latino) so I was always trying to get more understanding of where we came from. My father was not part of my life growing up, so I'm not highly influenced by my Irish heritage except my appearance. I have a great-great uncle Benito Sanchez who was a Navajo Rock painter, my mother was an artist in Greenwich Village before she had me, and my sister doodled on anything she could get her hands on throughout her life. So my background is rich in experience, culture and the DNA to make art but not so rich in the education or training.
What does your work aim to say?
My work is ever-evolving meaning it changes all the time. Sometimes it aims to say women of all sorts are beautiful and have amazing attributes that strengthen our world. Sometimes it aims to say let's find the common beauty that we share because we need to find a bridge between ourselves. Sometimes the message is just isn't this pretty and aren't we lucky to live in a world where beauty can be found when people slow down and let the creativity take over.
Who are your biggest influences?
My big joke is that early South Park and late Matisse are my big influences but quite honestly that's a joke. I do admit to loving the organic feeling of Matisse's paper collages which I remember staying on a Margaret Mead book as a teenager. The artist that I grew up loving was Diego Rivera. I love his earthy colors and his beautiful women with their indigenous brown skin which reminded me of my mother. Later my mom fell in love with Raul DelRio because of his whales and dolphins and I fell in love with his bright bold colors, sharp edges and graphic nature which he called modern primitive. I've actually written to Raul Del Rio and had some lovely written conversations over the years.
Probably my earliest influence was La Raza art exhibits, Dia de los Muertos art, murals in the Mission District of San Francisco and our neighbor painting traditional brightly colored tropical flowers on a black chair when I was just a kid.
Describe yourself in one word. Why that word?
Determined. We are all a complex jumble and the thing that people always say about me is about my courageousness or bravery but that's really not at my core…it’s just a means to get to whatever it is that I want or feel driven by.
What and where do you create?
I create visually accessible paper collage with clean sharp edges, high contrast colors and the tactile structure created by layers of card stock. I called my work visually accessible because it can be seen usually from pretty far away and is created for people with low vision not no vision, plus anyone else who likes bold, colorful graphics.
I don't work in the studio; I work at my dining room table, on little TV trays, sitting on the floor, at coffee shop tables or anywhere else that I feel like creating.
What inspires you?
I tend to be inspired by visions that float through my brain when I'm meditating or having an interesting conversation. I also get inspired sometimes by trying to figure out how do we as humans share and care for each other.
What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?
My one indispensable item is scissors and now paper is also necessary but somehow the scissors are more important. I use cheap Dollar Tree scissors that I buy two or three sets at a time and somehow still lose. I oftentimes have a set of scissors in my bag and I have put numerous holes in canvas bags with these scissors.
What kind of creative patterns, routines, or rituals do you have?
I don't really have rituals around my art. I do tend to create art late at night or at least in the evening but sometimes I wake up and immediately start on a piece that I didn't finish the night before. The other thing that I'm trying right now is creating art everyday. This doesn't mean I create a piece of art every day—just that I put some scissors in my hand and a scrapbooking glue stick for at least an hour.
Is there an artwork that you created that you are most proud of? Why?
What part work I am proud of changes constantly but there is one piece that lives in my heart. My Happy Mother's Day piece is very special to me because it has an image that I could never find for my mother growing up. When I was growing up I worked really hard to find beautiful brown women to reflect my mother which sometimes can be hard to find. Only when I started making my own art did I realize that I had been forced to choose cards that did not reflect my family. The beautiful brown women always had beautiful brown children but my mother had two little cute white babies. So I created a beautiful brown woman with her two little white babies and to this day that is my favorite piece of my work.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you do?
If I wasn't an artist I would probably put a little more effort into my activism and advocacy work. Somehow I think that my place is to be a bridge so when not creating art and focusing my energy there I have been active in the equity and inclusion community asking where people with disabilities fit into the efforts and opportunities.
What do you like to do when you're not creating?
What I enjoy outside of art, activism, and advocacy is cooking, my yoga class, and playing games. I used to like socializing in small groups with my friends, but it seems like since the advent of social media people think that an online connection is enough. Online connections aren't enough for me so I found a way to build it into my art by becoming part of an artistic co-op.
This week's blog was written by fiber artist Ammi Brooks of Ammi's Art.
I was just told about this wonderful podcast: 99% Invisible! It is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. With over 250 million downloads, 99% Invisible is one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes and is available on RadioPublic, via RSS and through other apps.
The latest episodes are about clothes and clothing. Like the very interesting: When and how did plaids come about!
Be sure to visit Artistic Portland to check out Ammi's beautiful and unique fiber arts!