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423 Southeast 69th Avenue
Portland, OR, 97215
United States

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Filtering by Category: Portland Love

Jo's Spring '14 events: BUCKMAN Art Fair, MT. TABOR Art Walk & 3 all new Art CLASSES!

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MARCH 8 (11-7) & MARCH 9(11-5), at Buckman Art Fair: I am pleased to be selling at Buckman again and hope you will join me in supporting this great arts elementary school. 30% of every sale goes to the school's arts programming! Come and find my table and shop for new Jo Brody jewelry!   MAY 17 & 18, 10-5 on the Mt. Tabor Art Walk: a wonderful way to see inside artists' homes and studios and shop extremely local! Mark and I throw open our doors wide, and share our passions for 3-D mosaics and handmade silver jewelry! 

CLASSES: register at https://jo-brody.squarespace.com/classes/Carved ErasersBasic Beading and Found Treasures

 

Timeless

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Well, it sure has been a while since I posted and I have no excuse except that as the saying goes, " life is for living". To my knowledge no one ever said, " life is for blogging", so there's my excuse. I been living! Art school at PNCA ( much drawing, some painting), jewelry design( yes I'm still at it so look for a post next week about my upcoming December shows) . Oh yes and parenting two teen boys. Whew! That's the real work and I love every minute of it ( on good days).... Please look at this incredible video my husband Mark Brody made for our 20th anniversary which we celebrated this August. My eldest son had a party for us. We were not invited. I digress. The pictures in "Timeless" are mostly mine. The editing genius and musical timing is all him.... I love you Mosaic Mark!  

Felting Fun

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crochet tree
crochet tree
Gossamer storefront
Gossamer storefront
felt earrings
felt earrings

I was driving along SE Burnside the other day and I pulled the car over abruptly to inspect a curious and tactile piece of street art: a crocheted tree whose trunk was covered in rich green circles of granny-esque doilys knitted together with expertise and Portland DIY humor. The tree had been attacked by yarn bombers. The yarn bombed tree was right outside Gossamer, a shop that has been celebrating the art of felt making and other yarn-y crafts since its arrival in 2007. The crocheted tree? A gift from local knit and crochet artists to the humored shop-owner in honor of Gossamer's 5th anniversary. Granted Gossamer's relative longevity in the world of SE Burnside shops might be attributed in part to the rise in the early 21st century of Portland, Oregon as the world epicenter of homespun craft-makers. Still, Gossamer has all of the elements of a mainstay supplier for crafters working in the fine art of felt making: a knowledgable and kindly founder/owner, Rose Sabel-Dodge, well-stocked supplies with surprises and necessities alike, exciting exhibits demonstrating accomplished work in the felted arts, and intermittent classes ensuring a new crop of felt-makers will be grown right here in Portland.   I was in the shop that day to source organic-looking felt for earrings I make using hand-stamped silver discs. The earrings are like little billboards for quirky two-word sayings. A way of wearing one's sentiment on the ears. I make a crop of these earrings periodically to satisfy my love of working with felt.   I have high hopes of working more in felt, having learned several types of felting techniques already at the healing arts workshops I facilitated when I ran the breast cancer healing program I co-founded. I plan on taking a needle felting class as soon as possible. Mostly I love knowing that there's a shop in Portland for every creative pursuit under the sun. Or clouds in the case of my dear hometown of Portland. Let your felt flag fly, Portland crafters! And make it out of felt, please!

Far Away in Portland--theater you can be in

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"I saw you looking at that fair boy's hat. I hope you told him it was derivative."

-Todd, played by John San Nicolas, in Shaking The Tree's play, "Far Away"

 

While not the most important line in this brief and intense play (playing Thursday-Sunday at SE Portland's Shaking the Tree theater company until September 22nd), it was a hilarious delivery and made the audience laugh. A lot. That's saying something, given the serious nature of the play--a dystopian (I looked for another word for this cliché but this was the best one) war piece with little in the way of pat resolution. (The "derivative" line was all the more funny to me, having worked as a silly hat maker for 7 years).   The line was delivered during the second of three scenes and takes place in a silly hat factory where Todd is woo-ing Joan, whom we saw as a younger girl in the first scene. In that first scene, young Joan uncovers a dark reality--she is living in a time of world wide war and no one is to be trusted, even family. Although the specifics of the war are left vague, we know that Joan's Aunt Harper is involved, along with her husband, and that abduction, torture, and deaths are becoming common place. I saw the play twice, and found the following review in the Oregon Arts Watch website very helpful, in order to get a framework for the nature of the storyline and more information about the English playwright, Caryl Churchill.

Upon further investigation, I turned up this review in an online science fiction journal, of the play itself rather than a particular production. It gives an incisive look into one man's passion for the play and it's staying power.   I strongly recommend seeing the Shaking The Tree production of the play before it closes. Director Samantha Van der Merwe's staging is incredibly fresh and creative, especially given that Churchill gave no stage directions at all in her manuscript. The four actors, Annabel Cantor, San Nicolas, Beth Thompson and Patricia Hunter, are all wonderful. The talented and experienced ensemble does an admirable job of delivering brilliantly Churchill's lines and insinuations about war, corruption, and brutality, infusing them with wit, mystery, and raw emotion. It is an intriguing and thought-provoking play, particularly if you have ever railed at the absurdity of war and it's trappings.   Here's one of the most original moves Director Van der Merwe makes in her staging: she opens up the cast to local artists and community members who wish to participate as set designers and casting extras! What fun! She put out an open call this spring and summer for artists to make preposterous hats to be used in a "Spectacle March" during the September run of "Far Away".

My husband and I couldn't refuse and contributed an enormous dragon hat made out of a 5 gallon jug for the head and eggshell cartons for the teeth. The hat is worn by means of a bicycle helmet to which the dragon sculpture is attached. This outlandish collection of hats are then parceled out to a gathering of local folks who show up each night of the play's run. After choosing a hat to wear and being given drab prisoners' costumes, the "prisoners" parade through the play led by a surly drummer, cigarette dangling from mouth. The audience sees the fruits of Joan and Todd's millinery labor in action. Death marches dressed up with couture. No matter how artfully designed the propaganda is for war, it still comes down to blood and guts.   Portland's small theater scene offers up some surprising and iconic gems. Get to "Far Away" before it closes for some dark yet tasty food for thought.  

Betty Love!

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I went on an artist's date today. An artist's date is a concept from Julia Cameron's Artist's Way, a runaway bestseller that promotes, among other nurturing practices for artists' block or insecure artist syndrome, the taking of a couple of hours for oneself, alone, to be inspired and re-filled when the cup hath run dry. The idea is that during an artist's date, simply spending time visiting an art gallery or museum, or walking in the forest, or eating brunch at a cute diner with only your sketchbook for company, provides inspiration and self soothing that is often missing in one's busy life.  

This is exactly what I did today, when I visited Portland's wonderful Museum of Contemporary Craft to see the Betty Feves exhibit. Betty Feves(1918-1985) was a pioneering modernist ceramicist living and working in the Pendleton area of Eastern Oregon. Her use of local clays, colors and monumental landscape forms put her at the forefront of the "think globally, act locally movement" that has morphed into the regionalism that is all the rage in nearly every art media today. Her humble persona as a farmer's daughter and a working mom is appealing and down-to-earth, but it is her mastery over form, color and texture that make her a giant in the world of modern ceramics. Some of her works are lighthearted, almost humorous, with big faces and a clash of textures that make one smile. Much of the work is so large and muscular it feels as if it were forced up through the ground by a seismic event. Namita Gupta Wiggers, the museum's curator and now, Director, has done a marvelous job of elucidating Ms. Feves' artistic process and personal voice, as described in an informative article in Oregon Arts Watch.   My artist's date was a huge success.I feel inspired, moved to make work that is truly me, as Betty Feves insisted upon throughout her career. Fortunately The Contemporary Crafts Museum on the Park Blocks in Portland's Pearl District will be open through July 28. Please go!

Mt. Tabor Art Walk Is Coming Up

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  How do I love Studio Tours? Let me count the ways: 1. You can peek into other artists' houses. 2. You can peek into other artists' houses. 3. You can peek into other artists' houses.   Seriously, walking around different neighborhoods is always interesting, especially in a city with as wonderful neighborhoods as Portland has. But when you add the added bonus of having a map which shows you dozens of artists' homes that are open to the public, with artwork for sale and working art studios cleaned up, and demonstrations of their work process happening, this is the simply the most fun that I can think of!   Mt. Tabor, my neighborhood for the past 12 years, is a leafy, elegant old 'hood with loads of classic bungalows and other cool architecture. Mt. Tabor Artwalk has been an event for the past 7 years, but this is the first year that I have shown my jewelry! My husband, Mark, has been a part of the art walk for many years, showcasing and selling his mosaics and it has been a great time to meet and greet neighbors and art enthusiasts as they walk from artists' home to artists' home, checking out (and buying) art.   If you live in Portland, please make time to jump into the Mt. Tabor Art Walk and make sure you visit #8 on the map! That's us Brody artists, making good use of our huge bungalow basement, cranking out jewelry, mosaics and other works of art! See you on May 18th and 19th! Visit the Mt. Tabor Artwalk website and download a copy of the map today!

Silver Clay is Cool!

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 I spent this past weekend selling my jewelry and prints at the Buckman Art Show and Sell, a fabulous annual fundraiser for the only Arts Elementary Magnet School in Portland. My silver jewelry was of great interest to my customers, because the details and textures you can get in a small, intimate scale are almost like little prints and tiny things always charm people! I love the metal clay work for this reason--it is akin to printmaking, a discipline I am in love with and am continuing to learn about in my 2-year Fine Art Certificate Program at Pacific Northwest College of Art, here in Portland, Oregon. Currently I am taking an etching class, learning about the techniques the old masters used to make intimate and intricate artworks that we still admire and emulate today.  

When I form a lump of Metal Clay into a piece of silver jewelry, I start by rolling out the clay to make a flat ground, much like a prepared substrate for the printing press. Onto this surface I push textured material from diverse sources, including rubber stamps, polymer or fiber. In this sense, I am working the surface into an intaglio print, with the indented surfaces being able to take a darkening agent, or patina, so that the image or texture comes into sharper focus. The result is a miniature etching, a small piece of unique art, because each image is printed individually and is one of a kind. Each time I press my texture into the clay, a different result happens.   The piece pictured in this blog post is a thistle, one of my favorite flowers. The thistle is the symbol of Scotland, where I spent a semester in college. The thistle and other wildflowers feature in my artwork regularly. I was happy when I found I had an old rubber stamp with the image of a Celtic tree, including thistles, a bird of paradise and other flora & fauna (I love using that phrase!). I use this texture plate frequently since there are so many little areas from which I can grab a texture. Do you see which thistle I used?

Volunteer Today!

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A year ago I was laid off from a job I had for six years, a job I created because I felt a need in the community. (You can read all about it in the Healing Arts section of my website.) It was sort of an accident that I ended up getting paid for work that felt so good to my core. The Healing and Empowerment Program at Quest Center for Integrative Health served many people but it also served a need in me, the need to express gratitude for having made it through cancer treatment and for getting a big reality check every day about how lucky I was /am to still be here, living my life. That's what volunteering can be like! Not only are you helping others, you are getting something out of the bargain! 

CHAP Volunteers! from Celine O'Malley on Vimeo.

  Recently I have been volunteering at Portland's Children's Healing Art Project, a very cool organization that brings the joy of art making to sick kids in area hospitals and their families who are needing support too. You might think that I am working directly with kids, stringing golden beads with them for the Million Bead Project or getting messy with paint and glue side by side with smiling kids hooked up to IV's. Nope! The way CHAP differentiates those people who just need some extra community service or school credits and those who are going to be able to make longer term connections with the kids is to have volunteers make a 6-12 month commitment to working on projects in the CHAP art-y offices, gathering up art supplies, splatter painting their signature envelopes for event invitations or, and this is the fun activity everybody loves, gluing sequins on the brightly kid-painted items to be auctioned off to further support CHAP's mission. My 16-year old son has started accompanying me to volunteer, needing to do some volunteer hours for his High School Honor Society Club. I am trying to model how it's not the glamourous work that really needs the getting done but the behind the scenes work that any service organization runs on. And it's fun!   SO.... here's my pitch: Want to feel good about a couple of spare hours during the week that you weren't using any way? Volunteer Today! Maybe at CHAP or maybe at some organization whose mission you can really get behind. It feels good and makes the world a better place.

Getting My Gem Geek On

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This weekend I am teaching a workshop at my home studio, "Let's Get Knotty", focusing on perfecting the art of knotting gemstones and pearls on silk thread. I love this technique because the softness of each silk knot really highlights the beads and the spaces between each bead allows the piece a gentle movement.I love sourcing gems from all over, but I especially love getting my inner Gem Geek on by going to the gem and rock fairs around the Portland area that pop up in County Fairgrounds and other quirky locales. These Fairs are often held in parking lots encircled by chain link fences and featuring other glamourous trappings like craft tents and fry bread!This weekend will find me at one such event, the Tualitin Valley Gem Club show, where my Gem Geek will be raging and my wallet will be frequently opening to purchase some really special gems and stones.Ordinarily I would give you a hyperlink to the show here, but these Rock Hounds are so serious about their rocks and gems that they simply have NO time to update their skeleton of a website. Anyway, if you want to go, meet me there on Friday, Saturday or Sunday at the Washington County Fair Complex

It is at these fairs that I really learn about the stones I am buying. I can usually see an example of the stones in their natural form and I can often meet the people that carve the beads and stone pendants themselves. This proximity to the stone's source adds a great deal of character and connection. Then, when I am stringing the beads or knotting them on silk, I have a better idea of the journey the bead or stone has made to get to me, and then to the buyer of the piece I am making. Another wonderful place to learn all about stones and gems is the fantastic Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals. I was first introduced to this cool and extensive museum located in Hillsboro (very near the site of the Tualitin Valley Gem Club show!) on a 5th grade field trip with my son's class. I think I had the most fun of all the kids, seeing the endless rooms of a former private home in the forest encompassing vast quantities of examples of all kinds of fossils, petrified wood, huge meteorites, amazing fluorescent rocks, and a wonderful agate gallery. My personal favorite is the display of giant chunks of amber with real bugs inside! One of the highlights of the museum is "Alma Rose", the rhodochrosite from the Sweet Home Mine in Alma, Colorado. Rhodochrosite is one of my favorite stones, having a lovely pink hue and many shades and forms to choose from.  

Valentine Video From My Sweetheart

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  My favorite thing about Valentine's Day (this is one of my fave holidays & there are a lot of things I love about it--heart socks, lacy pink teddies, chocolate all day long) are the beautiful handmade cards my husband makes for me. They are insanely romantic, hand-painted and the sentiments are truly unique; funny and quirky, just like him! I have them saved in a pretty, hand-made box in my bedroom and I often take them out and remind myself how lucky I am to have Mark Brody for my Valentine!   This morning at our annual Valentine's Day family breakfast, which I started years ago as an excuse to shower my boys with stuffed animals and Dutch baby pancakes, Mark told me that he was sorry, he didn't have a card for me but that he was sure I'd like my present if I could find it. Later in the day, he asked if I had read my emails and I said no. He told me to do so and I found a short email telling me to check my computer desktop for my gift. There I found a link to my first ever video Valentine's Day card; not just any old commercial video card but one made on iMovie, pieced together lovingly with a song by his favorite band, Gomez, made with a sense of musical timing and a lover's eye. There are dozens of family photos, mostly taken by me, pictures of the two of us, or of myself (hand-held self-portraits) or with friends or my kids.   I love that my man is a romantic. Thank you Mark! Happy valentine's Day, y'all!  

Happy (White Album) X-Mas!

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William Batty

Last week I was treated to the best thing going on in December in Portland. My dear friend Lara Michell, a wonderful musician and angelic singer in the Nowhere Band (a collection of local Portland talent) gave me a comp ticket to see the Nowhere Band and the vaudeville-style Wanderlust Circus, perform the White Album in it’s entirety. This was their 4th annual tribute to the miracle that is the Beatles’ White Album. The event was held in the star-spangled Alberta Rose Theater, a jewel-box of a venue.  The evening extravaganza offered the unmatched songs of the Beatles’ story-filled White Album (you know them--Blackbird, Dear Prudence, Sexy Sadie) as performed by the electric and magnetic members of the Nowhere Band, appropriately dressed in shades of white. The band was tight, Lara Michell rocked Martha My Dear, and the eye -popping performances by Wanderlust’s troupe were unforgettable. They included the mesmerizing acrobatic Troupe Kazum, the phenomenal aerial dancers AWOL,an insane trick roper named Leapin’ Louie, a Monk Mime doing crazy tricks with swords, jugglers, and much more.   The Master of Ceremonies, William Batty, is the elegant and eloquent frontman and circus co-founder, Noah Mickens who made the audience (at least this member) feel as though we could make the world a better place if we agreed to do our part. If you know what’s good for your soul, you will make plans to see next year’s White Album Christmas at the Alberta Rose. I’ll be there in the front row!