Sunday, October 04, 2009

Pushing and pulling.

Punching and painting.

For me, making art is a physical act. I cut copper sheeting or aluminum screening and push it into a beak or nose, round it into a moon or rock. Whether I'm making a mask, landscape or pendant, it takes strength and delicacy to get the images and textures into the copper or aluminum.

I've been working very hard the last few weeks to get new work done for this year's Portland Open Studios Tour. I wanted to have a variety of pieces in copper, aluminum mesh and clay to show the people who come through the tour. I want them to see that although the stereotype of an artist is working in one medium all the time, that's not necessarily the reality.

I love masks. And I make masks in clay, copper, aluminum, as well as teaching mask making to children and adults in clay, plaster and collage. I love animals and landscapes and jewelry. And I make animal sculptures that have human qualities, landscapes that have faces in the rocks and sky. When I was a teenager, I loved making jewelry. This year, I decided to do more of what I love, so I've been busy in the studio making earrings, pendants and pins out of the copper I love so much. It's a great way to use the good pieces left over from my larger work and to play again in a familiar and happy playground.

The tour starts next weekend. I still have work to finish like an aluminum eagle sculpture, a lamp, as well as mounting, glueing and setting up all the work for display. I'm feeling a little stressed with the deadline looming right now. But I know that next weekend, I'll be ready. And I look forward to meeting the people from all around my city who come to peek over my shoulder, watch me work and ask questions about how and why I do what I do.

Before I was on the tour, I took the tour. I loved seeing all the different work, studios and meeting all the artists. It not only gave me a better idea about art but it gave me the courage to do my own art.

My hands may be stiff. My shoulders and back are achy. My mind is reeling with to-do's that still need doing, but I'm happy to be working in the studio. I'm grateful I get to do what I love and next weekend on the Portland Open Studios Tour, I get to share that with all of you who visit me.

If you live in or around Portland, Oregon, take the tour October 10, 11 and 17, 18 from 10am to 5pm. Just pick up a Tour Guide at Art Media, New Seasons, Powell's Books or online at Celebrating our 10th year, the Portland Open Studios Tour brings 100 artists and art lovers together to share the process of creativity.

I hope to see you! If you want to know more about the art and artists in Portland Open Studios Tour, check out our blog at

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