Thursday, January 31, 2013

The end of January

January is a month to regroup, to take stock and recharge. I spent the time rather frantically rebuilding my inventory after the holidays.

But as February rolls around, my thoughts are turning to newness, expansion, and goals. I'm the sort of person who works best when the house is clean and the to-do list is checked off, so it makes sense that as I get on top of things again, my inspiration accelerates. This seems well-timed in the dark damp part of the year; keeping busy, with hope in my eyes, is a great way to shake off winter blues!

I set some high goals for House of Moss at the beginning of the year ("goals" instead of "resolutions" for my business), and I can already see their forms emerging in a cloud of strategies and steps. Keep your eyes open around here– it's going to be great! ...and a lot of hard work. :)

How does the onset of February feel for you this year?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What I'm reading: Handmade To Sell

I bought Handmade To Sell at Powell's during the summer, soon after it came out. I was saving it for the early months of the year, when I knew I would have the time and the mental presence to strategize about my business.

I'm getting to the point where this type of "handmade business" book is more like a review rather than a boot-camp, and I'm starting to recognize all the "famous" crafters that are usually cited as examples.

But I like getting different authors' perspectives, so I chose this one by Hello Craft. Thinking I'd check in on the basics again, I cracked it open a week or so ago– and I haven't been able to stop reading it! It's full of colorful illustrations and features quotes, examples, and soooo many resources that I hadn't heard of before. Hello Craft is mostly based on the East Coast, and apparently their sphere of contacts and websites is wildly different than those I've been exposed to thus far.

It's a fun read, and full of good tips. Whether you need a refresher course as you rev up your business this year, or you're just starting out, this book is well worth reading.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

We make Portland awesome: Laura Cooke Ceramics

"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: Laura Cooke Ceramics

Who are you?
My name is Laura Cooke, and I'm a potter. My business is called Laura Cooke Ceramics.

What do you make?
I make porcelain dishware for everyday use. I strive for clean, simple, modern designs, incorporating thin black lines and a color palette of soft greens, blues, and yellows. I also collaborate with illustrator Jon Wagner to produce a line called Treehouse Ceramics, which features pottery decorated with hand-drawn creatures—everything from whales to river otters to buffalo.

Besides making things, what do you do?
I love to be active outdoors, whether it hiking, running, biking, or backpacking. I recently relocated to Asheville, North Carolina, closer to where I'm from originally, and though I miss Portland, I'm having a lot of fun exploring the mountain town. My new studio is couple blocks from the best brewery and barbeque joint in town. I'm finding that really convenient.

What inspires you?
I find inspiration in everything—in nature, in fabrics, in design. Also, I keep the work of potters I respect in my kitchen cabinets and enjoy being able to admire their shapes, colors, handle forms, etc., as I drink my morning coffee.

Where can your work be found?
In Portland:
Queen Bee
Oregon College of Art and Craft


Shops around the country:
Mary Lou Zeek Gallery: Salem, OR
The Feather's Edge Finery: Bend, OR
Blue Alchemy: Sisters, OR
Crow Valley Pottery: Orcas Island, WA
The Workshop: Jackson Hole, WY
Tyler White Gallery: Greensboro, NC

What do you love about Portland?
Portland is a vibrant, creative city in which I found a strong, supportive community and a lot of inspiration. I love the natural areas within the city, especially Mount Tabor and Forest Park, and how quickly you can reach beautiful places, like the Columbia Gorge and the Cascades, outside of town. The amazing selection of restaurants and the thriving music scene are also things I value about PDX. I plan to make frequent trips back.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

We make Portland awesome: Apak 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: Aaron and Ayumi of Apak Studio

Who are you?
Apak is Aaron and Ayumi Piland we make art collaboratively.

What do you make?
We make rich and colorful gouache/acrylic paintings and paperclay sculpture featuring the utopian lives and adventures of curious little beings exploring lush fantastic environments surrounded by friendly little animals.

Besides making things, what do you do?
We spend most of our time raising our 2year old boy right now, its hard work and fun too.

What inspires you?
We are inspired by the natural world, both internal and external.

Where can your work be found?
We have an online shop:
Locally: New Seasons, Land, Spielworks Toys, Crafty Wonderland shop, and Grass Hut to name a few.

What do you love about Portland?
We love pretty much everything except a majority of public sculpture.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Afghan of 2013

This year I've been really into New Year's resolutions. I think it might be because of my recently-more-flexible schedule, which has been including fewer and fewer hours at my "day job" and more self-directed work time for House of Moss. I begin to crave structure.

Alongside things like "floss more" and "be on time," I have lots of time-based goals like "one new recipe per week" and "one new cocktail per month," which I actually write down in my schedule book like a nerd. I like that type of scheduling because it ensures that the things I want in my life will actually be there, in real time. 

The afghan project falls into this latter category: I've figured out that if I do one (15-minute!) row per day, it should be roughly the right size by the end of the year. I've learned over the years that expecting myself to do a given activity every single day will quickly turn into a dreaded chore, so I've allowed myself to do the equivalent, 7 rows per week. I think the structure and the challenge will be good. And I have check-boxes to mark off to keep me motivated. Seriously, write down anything on a checklist and I will do it.

Do you have any time-based/regularly-scheduled resolutions? I'd love to hear them, so feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Valentine Giveaway!

Happy Monday, friends! With Valentine's Day a month away, I have a little Facebook giveaway for you!

To enter to win a set of 5 felted hearts, all you have to do is "like" House of Moss AND "share" this post.

You have until Monday, February 4th, when I'll draw the lucky winner!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

We make Portland awesome: Totinette

"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: Torie of Totinette

Who are you?
Hello! My name is Torie and I make jewelry under the name Totinette.

What do you make?
I make brightly colored jewelry out of metal and wood. I recently got some new tools and have lots of ideas of new designs I want to make this year!

Besides making things, what do you do?
I am the mother of a very vivacious and happy 4 year old girl. We have a great time together playing, crafting, reading, and relaxing for movie nights!

On top of that, my friend Cathy and I have a retail store in downtown Portland called Crafty Wonderland ( where we sell handmade goods and art by over 170 local artists. We also organize two large craft fairs each year under the same name. It's a lot of work, but so much fun and I'm always so thankful that this is my “job”.

For fun, I love to drink tea, am learning to play the guitar, and I like to look at pretty things (art, jewelry, antiques, etc. both online and in person).


What inspires you?
Color and simplicity are probably my biggest inspirations in designing jewelry. I'm inspired by the creativity that surrounds me and the talent and innovation of all the makers I come across. I also love vintage Hollywood glamour, mid-century fashion and design, France, architecture, sailors, and old jazz music.

Where can your work be found?
My jewelry is available at lots of great shops around Portland, including, Crafty Wonderland, Frock, Mabel and Zora, Queen Bee, Redux, Sweet Jayne, and Union Rose. It's also at Yamhill Valley Dry Goods in McMinnville and is on display at Anne Amie Vineyards through February. And I have an etsy shop:

One of my goals for this year is to get into stores in other cities and states! :)

What do you love about Portland?
I love how supportive Portlanders are of small independent businesses. We have such an amazing community of makers: art, crafts, design, bikes, beautiful music, delicious food, etc. The DIY and shop local spirit is very strong and it's exciting to be a part of all of that.

I love how when the weather is nice everyone goes outside. It really is beautiful here and people seem to really appreciate their surroundings.

My favorite things to do around town are ride the zoo train with my daughter, eat at Por Que No? with friends, walk my dog around different neighborhoods to look at all the cool houses, go to art openings, and catch some live music when I can.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Featured in a Swedish blog!

Over the last few days, I had a whole bunch of views from a mysterious source... I was almost afraid to type "" into my browser because it looks like one of those nonsense spam sites! But I followed the link and found a lovely Swedish blog, whose author had written this post about a pretty amazing knight-armor felt hoodie– and had cleverly linked to my dragon!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

We make Portland awesome: Vitreous Wares

"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: Crystal of Vitreous Wares
Who are you?

I am Crystal Van Wyk, a third generation Oregonian, PNCA sculpture grad, and all around maker.

What do you make?
I make ceramics by either hand building with slabs or slip casting from originals I make in my studio. A lot of my work is functional and I try to keep it simple because what I really want is for it to enhance what you’re doing. I’m steering myself towards making more of what I call ceramic editions in 2013.

Besides making things, what do you do?
I work a couple days a week as a freelance Photoshop person. That usually means working on animations or retouching for the local apparel companies.

What inspires you?
I started my ceramics business out of my own need for a beautiful fruit bowl to replace my ugly wire basket. Other than making things I want but can’t find, I would say cooking and food are high on the list. I also love perspective diagrams, light, and all the weather elements.

Where can your work be found?
In Oregon I have work at Crafty Wonderland and Imogen Gallery. Most of the other places I have work at are out of state. The biggest selection is always in my Etsy shop.

What do you love about Portland?
Spring and Summer in Portland are always beautiful. I love returning home to Portland and seeing how lush the city is in the greener months. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. The food is phenomenal and the amount of great things to do outdoors is hard to keep up with. 
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