Sunday, May 27, 2012

We make Portland awesome: Polly Danger

"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: Polly Danger

Who are you?
I’m Polly, a twenty-something lover of fine workmanship, cuteness, and over-the-top home interiors. I’m married to the cutest redheaded boy I know and we have 3 very quirky dogs and one snuggle-loving cat. Cuddling is at the center of our universe and is pretty much the fuel for my day.

What do you make?
I have a line of handmade sewing notions that includes bias tape, covered buttons, and kits and I also make accessories like button earrings and scalloped clutches. Everything I make is infused with as much cuteness as sewing notions and button earrings can possibly handle.

Besides making things, what do you do?
Normally this would seem like a trick question because my time is spent either making things for work, or making things for me! But I’m currently in the fifth month of a 9 month long crafty project- makin’ a baby! Being pregnant has put a skidding halt to my typical twelve hour crafty day and forced me to relearn the art of relaxation. Now I work in the mornings and spend the afternoons gardening, snuggling my dogs, and taking naps. When the weather gets warmer I’ll start working on our Mary Blair themed nursery and probably start on some baby-inspired sewing projects, but for now I’m really enjoying the downtime.

What inspires you?
I’m inspired by so many different things, but usually it’s either a fantastic piece of fabric or a really specific place and mood. Although home decor and appliqued clutches may not seem to have too much in common, I find that environment and creativity are impossible to separate. So when I feel stuck I put down my project and take a long look around my studio or my living room. I usually find inspiration just by resting my eyes on a green scalloped lamp shade or a vintage still life painting of flowers. If that fails then I go to my most sacred sources- an issue of The World of Interiors (March 2004) or I put on Amelie without subtitles. These are guaranteed to get my creative mojo working.

Where can your work be found?
In Portland my work is at Crafty Wonderland, where I am currently Artist of the Month. Beyond Portland I’m pleased to say that my work is represented from California to Massachusetts to Georgia, and internationally you can find my wares in France, Norway, the U.K., and Australia. A complete list of shops can be found on my website.

What do you love about Portland?
I love that it is possible for makers to earn a living here. My husband and I moved from Los Angeles where earning a handmade living involves the crafty equivalent of selling-out; screen printing snarky catchphrases or guns onto baby onesies was never something I would consider doing. So living in an area where I can explore and create from the heart while actually earning an income and meeting supportive peers and customers is like living in a dream. I also love the amazing network of crafters that exists here. There’s a spirit of camaraderie between artists that’s like any professional network, minus the ladder-climbing competition, that doesn’t exist in any other city I’ve lived in.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Good words: Symphony, by William Ellery Channing

To live content with small means
To seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion
To be worthy, not respectable,
and wealthy, not rich
To listen to stars and birds,
babes and sages, with open heart
To study hard, to think quietly,
act frankly, talk gently,
await occasions, hurry never-
in a word, to let the spiritual,
unbidden and unconscious,
grow up through the common-
this is my symphony.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

We make Portland awesome: Ohlnu

"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: Amy of Ohlnu

Who are you?
My name is Amy Clark, I am an art student at PSU and the creator of Ohlnu.

What do you make?
I make bags from Pendleton wool and leather, accessories from natural gemstones, and paper roses from old books and vintage comics.

Besides making things, what do you do?
I am also an art practices major at PSU and a wife. I spend most of my time trying to balance going to school, creating things for Ohlnu, and still keeping a social life.

What inspires you?
I’m inspired primarily with my life experiences. My family is Ogallala and Rosebud Sioux and I have always been influenced by our Native American heritage. I have lived in the Southwest, Midwest, and Northwest regions of the US and always draw my inspiration from my adventures there.

Where can your work be found?
My work can be found at my etsy shop I also participate in local craft fairs, two large ones that are coming up are Crafty Wonderland’s Super Colossal Spring Sale on May 12 here in Portland, and this summer’s Urban Craft Uprising on July 7 + 8 in Seattle, Washington.

What do you love about Portland?
My favorite part about Portland is how eclectic it is. You can do or be anything that you want and will be accepted and loved for who you are. I also love how close it is to hiking trails and amazing wilderness areas.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

We make Portland awesome: Walnut Studio

"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: Geoffrey and Valerie Franklin of Walnut Studio

Who are you?
Geoffrey Franklin. Age 33. Grew up in Beaverton, now living in SE Portland. Graduated U of O with a Bachelors of Architecture.

What do you make?
I design and make awesome stuff that I really want for my life and can't find. Then, if other people want it, I make it for them, too. I design and make gear and accessories out of wood and leather for bicycles, business, beer, and more.

Besides making things, what do you do?
I run a small architectural firm, Walnut Architecture, alongside a good friend and partner, Doug Ouderkirk.

What inspires you?
The smallest details can inspire me. The design of an object, which at first glance seems like it couldn't have ever been designed in any other way. But with deeper reflection reveals that all it's variables and components were harmoniously arranged, each decision adding to the greater whole. It's a rare thing.

Where can your work be found?
We are almost all online, on and on our own website, Boutiques and bike shops have begun carrying our products around the world, from Melbourne to Toronto to London, but nowhere in Portland yet!

What do you love about Portland?
This is going to sound a bit nerdy, but I love Portland Metro's 2040 plan for growth. We're a model for the county in that respect. I love the infilled and mixed-use (walkable) neighborhoods. I love that I can ride my bike anywhere in the city; all the way to the airport, for example. The only limiting factor to riding your bike becomes the hauling capacity of your bike. And I love that Portland's bike builders are working to design the best damn utility bikes ever!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Crafty Wonderland in summary

The Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Spring Sale 2012 was today! It was a pretty good day. Somehow, hundreds (thousands?) of people managed to pull themselves away from the 85-degree sunny loveliness outside and come into the Oregon Convention Center for this event. Despite being rather tired and fuzzy-brained, I had a decent time selling and shopping and socializing.

My favorite part of the day was meeting and visiting so many of my "internet friends"– some whom I've interviewed on the We Make Portland Awesome section of this blog. Some of them were:
• Sofia of Buttonlandia
• Emily of Hedgehog Hiker (my neighbor at this show!)
• Sara of Kitty Baby Love
• Brooke of Little Canoe
• Cassie of Mag-Big
• Pepe and Ale of Muluk and The Blind Insect (You are some of my favorite people!)
• Emily of FunShine Creations (Thank you for the wonderful trade! I love my new earrings!)
• Amy of Ohlnu
• Alysia of Prost to the Host
• Anna of Roots Soap Co (I can't wait to try that laundry soap!)
• Monique of Where The Moon Goes

...And I know there were lots of others who are now escaping my very tired mind! With over 200 vendors, we had a pretty good group of wonderful makers and artists and friends, and it was really fun.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

We make Portland awesome: Roots Soap Co

"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: Roots Soap Co

Who are you?
My name is Anna, and I live in Southeast Portland, Oregon, with my fabulous graphic designer husband and our two little kids (with a third joy on the way this fall). I'm originally from Montana, and he's from Spokane. I am the maker in my business and he is the designer behind my logo and packaging.

What do you make?
I am a second generation soapmaker, and I make about 18 different kinds of soaps as well as herbal salves and am getting ready to offer all natural laundry soap as well. My mother taught me basically everything I know about the things I make, and instilled in me a love for all that is natural, close to the earth and handmade. She had me stir my first batch of soap when I was about eight years old, and I still use her same recipes (with my own unique touches) to this day.

Besides making things, what do you do?
Besides being a business owner and full time mom, I pour my creative energy into sewing things for my kids and friends' kids, gardening in my backyard, cooking whatever we're craving for the day and reading animatedly to my kids. When we get the chance we love to get out and go to Mt. Tabor to walk and explore, see the taxidermy animals at Paxton Gate on N. Mississippi, get wet at the Jameson Square fountain, eat ice cream at Fifty Licks on Belmont, and go for bike rides. We obviously love summer.  

What inspires you?
Definitely my older sister Jen who is also a soapmaker, runs a farm, is an amazing mother, and probably the strongest woman I know. She helped me so much when I first started my business and has been an immense support all the way through. I am also inspired by the many local makers in our community and by really amazing design.

Where can your work be found?
My soaps are sold at Powells on Hawthorne, EtCetera in St. Johns and Aster and Bee on Division. I'll also be peddling my wares at Crafty Wonderland on May 12th at the Convention Center.

What do you love about Portland?
I am endlessly amazed at how beautiful and diverse this city is, and how friendly the general feel is. I love how it somehow has a small town feel while having all the amenities of a big city. Plus wilderness and ocean are right out the backdoor! I think that's why it attracts so many young wanderers; you can really make this place your own and fall in love with it. We sure did! We have all our favorite spots where we feel at home; Hopworks on Powell, Stumptown on Division, The Landmark Saloon, walking in Ladds Addition, picnicking on Mt. Tabor, and many others.
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