Sunday, March 18, 2012

We make Portland awesome: Where The Moon Goes

"We make Portland awesome" is a weekly series. I’m interested building our community of artists by helping us all find out more about each other.
This week: Monique of Where The Moon Goes

 Who are you?
My name is Monique Soiseth. I started Where The Moon Goes on Etsy in collaboration with my mom (who prefers to remain "behind the scenes") in October of 2010. We've lived at opposite ends of the country from one another for many years and so this is mostly a project I came up with to keep in touch with her creatively. She's a mad crafter with anything having to do with needle and thread and an inspiration to me. I grew up with an eye towards the arts, always drawing and painting, and took that up into my college years. But then I went to work and, for the most part, "put away" my art supplies. So this little business was also a way for me to purposefully reawaken that part of me which has been slumbering for some time. At the moment, my mom and I are simply having fun in our exchange of design ideas and methods and reveling in our little successes. We have notions to get our work in some local shops but who knows where it all will lead!

What do you make?
We're revitalizing bead weaving. We both fell in love with it a couple of years ago and do it all by loom, mostly cuff style bracelets but also chokers, rings, anklets, belts, and headbands can be found in our shop. We each have different styles; mine tending more towards geometric patterns and my mom's more imaginative and free-flowing. Between the two of us we've put together, I think, a rather handsome and diverse collection.

Besides making things, what do you do?
I worked in hospitality for many years at a local hostel and afterwards a guesthouse so I really appreciate the importance of traveling far and wide, especially when you have very little money to do so. I've been fortunate enough to do a little bit of traveling but mostly I do a lot of dreaming about it. I love languages and studied Spanish in my last university bout. I wish I could study so many others. I really enjoy volunteering to aid those learning English as a second language and have so much respect and admiration for those pushing themselves to learn it, be it from choice or circumstance. I like dancing an awful lot but don't get to do it nearly enough.

What inspires you?
I think it's true that both my mom and I grab inspiration for our beading designs from a range of interests; nature, dreams, archaeology, astronomy, art history, textile patterns, etc. Whatever happens to come across our path and we think, "Ooh, how can I transmute this into beadwork." For myself, most recently, would be the beautiful hypnotic patterns in all the Moorish tiling I saw on a recent trip to Spain. Plenty of inspiration there. Of course, it's always very encouraging to hear "I love this!" from a complete stranger and then they proceed to hand over their hard earned money so they can take it with them.

Where can your work be found?
We're on Etsy:
We may also be found at craft events like Crafty Wonderland.

What do you love about Portland?
I didn't grow up in Portland but have lived here now for a little over 13 years, my entire "adult" life. As a small town girl from North Dakota, Portland was a very easy city for me to move to - welcoming, friendly, safe feeling, affordable, slow-paced. Even though in the last decade it's grown quite a lot and rents have gone up and the atmosphere in general is a bit more competitive, I think, relatively speaking, it's retained all those qualities that I initially encountered. Not to mention the temperate weather, great food, undying devotion to personal and environmental health, all the bicycles, the rivers and bridges, vistas, and super close proximity to lots of nature. In my work in hospitality I've had countless conversations with people from all over the country and the world visiting Portland for different reasons. I know I'm living in a very special place…like a dream really.

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