Monday, July 28, 2008


I never went to camp as a kid, but last week, I got the chance to have some fun at a camp here in Portland. I was a guest artist at the Museum of Contemporary Craft's School's Out, Art's In summer camp for children.

What better way to spend a summer's day than playing with clay and making masks. I was there bright and early Monday morning along with Kate, Shir and Jessica to set up for the 'campers'. They set up tables and chairs while I cut and stacked blocks of nice, red clay. When the children arrived, we went on a private tour of the museum's exhibit, "Generations, Ken Shores" led by Kate. This exhibit was filled with wonderful ceramic pieces both functional and non-functional, glazed and painted, as well as mirrored architectural pieces. Looking at the colorful, textural sculptural pieces, we explored the many ways that clay can be used in artwork.

With all this inspiration, we got to work in the studio/lab area. I did a quick demo of slab mask making and talked about shape and form. Then the children went to work rolling out their own slabs of clay and shaping their own masks. Pushing into the clay. Pulling it out. Attaching pieces. Carving lines and forms into it. Or punching holes in it, so that later they could add wire, beads or feathers. Some were inspired by the human face, others by animals. Some worked from photo reference materials, others from their imaginations. Whatever their inspiration, they worked all morning and afternoon building their own unique clay masks. At the end of the day, the masks were taken to be bisque fired and returned to the children for another day of art adventure.

On Friday, I came back to find all the masks had made a beautiful transition through the kiln. Each mask was bisque fired and ready for the next step: Color. We spent the day talking about and experimenting with color. How do certain colors make you feel? What are the primary, secondary and tertiary colors? How can you blend, layer and texture with colors? Then after everyone had painted their masks, we added extra elements. Feathers. Wire. Beads. Ribbons. Yarn. Just like each mask maker, each and every mask was individual and unique.

The week of art ended with a gallery show of all the artwork created by the children, papermaking, woodworking, wire beading and clay mask making. It was a fun, energetic, exciting and inspiring week. And I think we all had a great time at camp!

Friday, July 18, 2008



About six months ago, I answered a call for blog correspondents from around the world to contribute bi-weekly articles on living creatively for Eric Maisel's new blog: Creativity Central. The idea was to have many people 'reporting' from their different parts of the world sharing what was new, creative and artful in their lives and locals. I sent in my proposal and waited for the technical bits and pieces to get put together.

At long last, the site is up and running. I wrote my first article as a new 'blog correspondent'. My life has had some unexpected twists and turns this year and when I wrote the initial idea up, I really had no idea where I would find myself when blog publishing time came. I was to write about 'sculpting a life' and at the time my life was falling apart. But what amazed me last week, as I wrote my first piece for the blog was how far I've actually come in the last few months. What I thought at the time was the end, I see now was really a new beginning. My life wasn't really falling apart but re-forming itself.

To read more, visit my blog on Eric Maisel's Creativity Central at

Tuesday, July 15, 2008



AT CRAFT PDX: A Block Party

The sun was shining. The music was playing. And artists were sculpting stone, metal and clay. Painting. Making prints. Weaving. Carving wood. Basket making. Drawing on eggs. And crocheting with wire. It was all part of the second annual Craft PDX block party put on by the Museum of Contemporary Crafts.

I was there doing my copper repousse' along with many other talented artists featured in this year's Portland Open Studios Tour. There was so much to see and do. In addition to the Portland Open Studios tent, there were many wonderful demonstrations from the city's local art guilds. You could even make your own art. Whether you were a grown-up or still growing, you could make your own raku pot or play with clay.

It was a wonderful day. If you weren't there, here are some pictures I took for you to enjoy. If you see some art that you want to know more about, mark your calendars for October 11, 12, 18 & 19 for the Portland Open Studios Tour. And come watch artists at work. You can buy the Tour Guide from participating artist, Art Media, New Seasons or the website

Thursday, July 10, 2008



I've never really thought about poetry as the ticket to self-help or self-health. But I have to admit to writing some small poems along the way. Were they helpful? I don't know, but it felt good at the time to write them. Were they good poems? Probably not. But according to author, Wendy Nyemaster, that doesn't matter.

"The idea", according to Wendy, "is to use poetry as a means to a more creative, expressive and authentic life." It can help you let go, be more grateful, explore your creativity in a whole new way. And it's helpful for sorting out some of life's sticky situations, as well. Say, for example, you have a relationship issue? Then write a sonnet. You want to stay in present moment? Try a haiku. Feeling a little lost? Let a villanelle help you find your own voice again.
In addition to chapters covering different types of poetry forms, Wendy gathered a few women and formed a 'poetry posse'. This group worked their way through all the chapters and contributed many of the poetry examples used in the book. Each chapter also includes a list of music the posse felt captured the feeling of the poetic form. I found the music suggestions interesting, some definitely not to my taste, but the poems written by 'real' women helped me get over my fear of poetry as perfection.

I must admit, this book intrigued me. I read Wendy's conversational, breezy introduction and I was hooked. I had to try this out for myself. Yes. I wrote a poem. Probably a very bad poem, but it did feel good to write it and it helped me see something a little clearer than before.
So, if you're looking for a new way to help yourself, you could pick up a copy of "Unleash the poem within" and try your hand at writing a poem or two.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


If you're in, out or around Portland, Oregon during the month of July, stroll by the Justice Center windows on S.W. 2nd and Madison, downtown. You'll see some a wonderfully diverse display of sculpture from bronze, airated cement, fiber, metal and clay from some of the members of the Pacific Northwest Sculptors Guild.

I have four new pieces in the display, two new wall-hung copper repousse' figurative landscapes entitled, 'Rebirth' and 'Reflection' as well as two new aluminum screening sculptures entitled, 'Spring' and 'Summer'.