While staying at home binging Netflix, cooking endlessly, working my way toward the worst teacher award, and doing home workouts during commercial breaks (which means not very often when you are watching Netflix). I've been revisiting the Hebrew prophets (It's all about balance) and their warnings against Empires being built on the exploitation of the minority: the slaves, the women, the immigrants...using stagnant religion to justify the end and the means. The prophets warned, grieved and then dreamed of a "New Jerusalem." I don't identify myself with any religion, though I've studied a lot of religion and spirituality, and that exploration is an important part of who I am, but those old prophecies seem to be rising to the front of my mind right now as we examine our culture. There has been a lot of grief and anxiety, and yet I still hope and dream of our own New City. Old walls crumble and new architecture erects structures out of light, diversity, nature, femininity...This series is my own prophetic imagination of The New City.
It's been awhile since I've posted, but I've been busy working hard on a couple of new projects. The first is another show at Luke's Frame Shop on N Mississippi this April. (I'll post details about opening night as we get closer.) I'm really excited about this show. It's completely different from my last show at Luke's where I was doing large scale pen and ink drawings of birds and other creatures. Those drawings taught me patience, study of the details, restraint....This is much more expressive and is representational of doing a lot of work looking at myself and my patterns while I was injured and ill this year. They are layered, messy and beautiful: explorations of the connection between all the layers of life that seem chaotic most of the time, but are rich with meaning. I spent time reading, meditating and asking myself some hard questions. I also had a couple of great opportunities to do this reflective inner work with some amazing women through Lotus Lantern Healing Arts and Innerland at Beam & Anchor. They were so supportive of this process and helped me open up to new possibilities .
Through all this reflection I honed in on a business plan that is getting closer and closer to actualization. I can't wait to share this project with everyone one, but I'm not quit ready to give any details yet. Stay tuned, be on the lookout and cross your fingers that it all continues to come together!
When we built our home 4 years ago we put in some pretty basic and affordable lighting. I choose some standard outdoor marine lights for the porches and garage and used the same ones for the hallways/stairways inside, along with some coordinating barn lighting for central areas. Our house has a Scandinavian rustic vibe, so these lights fit in well for the time being. I was out of cash and out of steam at that point of the project and I really wanted to spend time upgrading to the right lighting when we were ready.
I've recently been revisiting some of the lighting , and when we were in the other Portland (Maine) this summer, I found these amazing brass marine lights in one of my favorite shops, Blanche + Mimi. They have these beautiful, unique, delicate lines that are both elegant and rustic at the same time. I had to have them for our primary staircase. So, we bought them and carefully shipped them home.
Once I got them home, I needed some help with installation since these lights weren't going to fit on a standard installation sconce plate. I took the lights over to Nash Martinez from Current Collection. His studio is on the second floor of one of my favorite shops in this Portland, Beam & Anchor. Nash is truly amazing! He's an artist who prides himself in the details of his work. He gave me some great information on what I needed and where I needed to go to get new plates made...as well as sketched up the new plate, gave me matching brass screws, stripped the wires, and let me use his tools to polish the brass once I got the new plates back from Profile Laser. Such kindness! And I love talking to artists and craftspeople who are so passionate and knowledgable about what they do!
After an hour or two wrestling these guys into the wall, I proved my husband wrong who took one look at this project and told me I needed to call an electrician. (Fingers crossed the house doesn't burn down.) They look beautiful and I can't wait to coordinate them with some new lighting in some of our other spaces!
I have a kiddo and a young lab , so the bathroom is not just a place to take care of business, it's also where I go to catch a breath, get myself together, and spend a narcissistic moment in front of the mirror....Being that bathrooms are also used for some not so pretty details of humanity that I don't want to be reminded of, the place should sparkle with cleanliness. Chrome, porcelain, marble, tile, perfectly scrubbed grout lines are a must, but can seem cold and uninviting. I've warmed up these spaces with some vintage pieces, old wood and some greenery. They have become just what this tired mama needs when I can't get to the spa and really need a 5 (or 60) minute breather.
In our master bath, I salvaged the old clawfoot tub from the previous home that was here before we did a massive remodel (I know Portlanders, don't start...it was not a cute little Craftsman, and we did not transplant from California! ) I refinished the base of the tub myself with some elbow-grease and a can a matte black paint and had the enamel refinished by the professionals. I added a simple tray by using a slab of scrap lumber that was left over from the deconstruction of the previous home. (We hand deconstructed the old home and reused much of the gorgeous old tight-grain fir throughout the new one.) With a few low maintenance succulents, it feels like a place I want to hang out.
Our downstairs bath serves many functions. It's the primary bathroom downstairs, the guest bathroom and I also the sink I use when I'm working in the studio...which means that I wash out a lot of muck in it. This old utility sink is one of my favorite things in the entire house. I love the character of it and it's perfect for cleaning messy kids and paint brushes. We used an industrial grade Chicago Faucet with exposed plumbing to give it a timeless, utilitarian look. The vintage mirror was found at a flea market for less than $50. I found the old vanity next to it at an estate sale for $15 and sanded the finish down to reveal a rustic patina. It's perfect for storing all the bathroom tidbits that guests don't need to see. (If you come to my home feel free to rummage through the drawers...you will be bored and perhaps grossed out...I warned you! )
Bathrooms don't have to be cold and boring. They can also be a place where you and your guests take a minute for themselves, clean-up, ground and emerge in a slightly better state of mind and body.
Over the last several months I’ve been doing some big internal work as my physical body has been dealing with a major injury. I’m a very active person, so everyone assumes injury must be really difficult for me, and in some ways it us, but, I also treasure it as every injury has forced me to slow down and reflect. Past injuries have led to massive growth and understanding about myself and, in turn, led to some pretty amazing physical transformations as well.
During this reflective time, I was gifted the opportunity to attend the Homeward series at Innerland Studios located above my favorite Portland store, Beam & Anchor. Taught by the amazing Jocelyn Rahm, owner of the store and studio, the class has been truly amazing and transformational. Each week I sit with a small, incredible group of lovely women while we share our stories, behavioral patterns, dreams and souls and then dive into creating art with one another. These women have all become my teachers and inspiration. All so different, so powerful, so beautiful…I’m in awe. This group has been so key to this growth period.
I’m getting ready to have surgery in 2 days and am looking forward to moving through another stage of the recovery process and the learning and awakening that will be the byproduct of it. I can’t wait to see what’s on the other side of all this, and while some of the lessons have been painful, I’m so grateful for this journey of self-discovery. I’ve learned to be kinder with myself and especially my emotional self, abandon some old survival patterns…namely, feeling overly responsible and throwing myself against the wall to fulfill those responsibilities, and that I can and will fly. I’ve learned some compassion for myself and compassion for others. And, I’ve been able to walk through the door of endless possibility. I’m so grateful for this time to sit with myself, other beautiful women and lots of art.
One of Jocelyn’s quotes that I love from the Homeward series:
“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” - Alan Alda
Things are getting real right now. I'm working on a large project redesigning a mid-century building in NE Portland for veterinary clinic and teaching space. This is no ordinary vet clinic. It's for a Chinese Medicine Practitioner who was originally a traditional vet. The space is going to be amazing. Nothing like the sterile and scary vet offices that stress our pets out. It's warm and healing. The flooring is heavily textured and soft, and it's not carpet! We did away with the fluorescent lights and are installing LED's with linen shades on dimmer switches. I'm making and refurbishing furniture from some old and some new wood, with wool upholstery for ultimate comfort and durability. I'm totally excited to be reimagining this space. Making it sensible, cozy, healing, purposeful....all fostering connection!
But, time to get on with the real part. This large project has also meant that my family and I have to switch up our routines a bit. Oh, and did I mention I blew my knee skiing this weekend...like really blew it! So, I'm hobbling around barely able to walk. can't squat down. Meaning my husband is juggling. He has to help out more with our daughter, and the house in general, and he has to walk the dog. Me walking our pulling puppy is completely out of the question. My daughter also has to be more independent. We are all taking on new roles right now as I'm embarking on an adventure, expanding into my career. I'm making the transition from being at home taking care of everyone and everything around here. We are all feeling the growing pains, yet, I know it's good for all of us.
I'm up at 3:00 this morning. My daughter had a nightmare, the dog had to be let out and I couldn't get back to sleep with an aching knee and so much racing through my brain. I'm whirling a little this morning thinking of all that's going on around me and reminded of a quote from Viktor Frankl that my daughter's school shared at the last parent coffee (she has an amazing school!), "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." Aaahhhhh.....
This week I worked with a health care professional on styling and decorating her new office space. Her space is in a beautiful old Portland craftsman home. We wanted to warm up your typical health care office and make it a calming and inviting place for people to come and heal.
To spice things up a little we decided to challenge ourselves with a very limited budget. Given the age of the building and our love for things old and new we tried to be as resourceful as possible. New linen curtains from Ikea to bring in some air and light, a rustic old stool from the flea market for a comfy place to set a warm beverage, home made pillows, and collectables from both of our storage closets. The result was a cozy, yet professional atmosphere for the client and her patients.
I've been working on these chairs off and on for over a year now, I think? I can't even remember. I do some work on them and then have another more pressing project come up and forget about them for a bit. Art shows, puppy training, commission work, sick kiddo...they were neglected until recently when I finally got some momentum to finish them.
I took them apart and quickly realized they would need all new stuffing as the original foam had turned to dust. Once I figured out the right amount of foam to batting ratio, I thought I would cover them in a light gray/tan wool. I clearly changed my mind and went with another Pendleton classic. Matching up patterns and seams on curved backs, arms and seats was not as easy as most other chairs I've done, and so as these are my first of this type, they have some small patterning flaws. I don't care. I love them and they are so comfortable. So, this pair will stay with me, or someone close to me who will accept their small flaws and love them anyway. I was the student on this one. Hopefully, I will have learned a few things for the next pair of these that come my way.
This winter was tough in Portland! Lots of days trapped at home not getting much work done....school cancelations, sick kiddo, two big falls on trail runs that I have been recovering from....
But now, it's time to clean house and get back to making some new stuff! First, though, I want to do a little clearing out, so the chairs I've had sitting in my studio need to get out of the way. They are on sale right now for 20% off.
Hope you all enjoy a little sunshine coming your way!
This weekend I am having an opening at Luke's Frame Shop for my drawings and a pop-up shop at the same location for my chairs. Please stop by and check it out. It will all be up through the month of December.
Luke's Frame Shop
4703 N. Albina Avenue
Reception: December 3rd, 5-7pm