Saturday, September 27, 2008

(Left)Bill Murray mingling with art lovers.
(Below)Art lovers and their new dragon mask.



Last night was the opening of the new Metalurges Mask Show. It was a celebration of a new gallery partnership of Susan Levine and Bill Murray, the re-connection of mask artists and collectors from the former Graystone Gallery.

My love of masks and Bill’s mask shows goes back a long way. For many years, I would drive across town just to view Bill’s annual show. This was before I even dreamed of making masks myself, but now I know all those visits inspired me to take art classes, learn to paint and sculpt.

When my screening sculptures were chosen for the Graystone Annual Mask show, I was thrilled. Every year, I looked forward to it and when it closed, I was sad. What I didn’t realize at the time, was how important mask making was to me. My studio work slowed way down. I felt lost.

What kept me going, once again, were masks. This time, mask making re-emerged in my life through workshops and after-school classes at schools around the city. I made a few masks in my studio, but more and more, I was helping others learn the magic of mask making. I love bringing the magic of creation to others. I really believe that creativity is a core need no matter what your age or stage.

When Bill called, with the news of a new mask show opening, I dove into my studio filled with new energy and inspiration. I created 5 new masks for the show, 2 in copper and 3 in screening.

The copper repouss√© dragon was inspired by the wonderful new children’s book based on Peter Yarrow’s song, ‘Puff, the Magic Dragon’. I taught a mask makers class at a local elementary school last spring using the book and song all about Puff. So, I knew that one of the masks would definitely be a dragon.

Once again, Bill’s mask show makes magic for everyone involved. Artists get to catch up with each other and share their new masks. Old and new friends get to mix and mingle. Art lovers are treated to a feast of mixed media masks in clay, wood, steel, wire, tile, aluminum and copper.

If you weren’t able to make to the opening night celebration, you can still enjoy the show from now through October 31st. Metalurges Gallery is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday Noon to 5p.m. or by appointment at 3601 S.E. Division Street in Portland, Oregon.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Finding yourself is child’s play.

This weekend, I had the pleasure of teaching another mask making workshop. This time it was at New Renaissance Book Store and the class was for adults instead of children.

The class, called ‘Unmask Yourself’ invited grown-ups to take a creative, artistic journey of self discovery by making a multi-layered mask. This was my first experience bringing this kind of art experience to grown-ups and I wasn’t sure how it would go.

It was great. This wonderful group of men and women jumped right into the spirit of discovery through playful art making. They eagerly sorted through a rainbow collection of colored and patterned papers. Cut out shapes from foam and words from magazines. Painted glittery glazes and shiny puff paint. Drew with oil pastels and forks dipped in paint. Twisted wire and added beads. Glued on feathers, sparkle wire or fuzzy yarns. The time flew by and three hours later, their masks were done.

Were they surprised? Were they pleased? Did they learn anything about themselves? Yes. Yes. And Yes.

Several people talked about the importance of taking chances. Some had dreams of winter. Some just enjoyed the art materials and playing with feathers and beads. I think we all learned that making art isn’t just child’s play, it’s a fun way to get back in touch with yourself. And that’s a joy to be enjoyed at any age!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008



This weekend in Portland, Oregon, I went to Art In The Pearl, a Labor Day weekend art festival with music, food and kid’s art activities. It’s a gathering of local and regional artists showing work from ceramics, paintings, sculptures, fused glass and photography to hand-crafted leather goods, jewelry, baskets, felted coats and hats. It’s also a gathering of artist guilds and groups doing demonstrations and giving out information to anyone in the community interested in learning more about art. This year, instead of just watching the demos and admiring the art, I was able to have a small part in the event.

As a new member of the Pacific Northwest Sculptors Guild, I was allowed to hang one of my copper repousse’ pieces in the guild tent. Every year that I’ve gone to Art In The Pearl, I’ve always checked out their tent, admired the art and picked up a brochure telling myself I’d join. Last year, I finally did it. It’s been an eye-opening experience. I’ve met many talented artists. Learned about a wide variety of sculpture media. Gotten some really helpful advice. And participated in group shows and demos all over Portland that I wouldn’t have had access to without the guild.

I’ll admit I’ve never thought of myself as a ‘group’ person. I’ve always been comfortable working on my own but I have to say that joining this group has been a great experience for me. And although, I don’t feel that I’ve done much for the group, yet, just a newsletter article or two and a contact list for the president; I look forward to doing and learning more. All in all, I'm learning much more as part of a group than just a gawker. Try and see for yourself.