Sunday, February 23, 2014

We Make Portland Awesome: BatikNotion

"We make Portland awesome" is a twice-monthly series. I’m interested building our community of artists by helping us all find out more about each other.
This week: Mandy of BatikNotion

Who are you?
I am: Mandy Barberree

What do you make?
Besides Batiks: I push paper in a law office. However -at the heart of me - I’m a teacher, writer, and photographer; I’m a punk rocker; and I’m a Whovian with Tolkien tattoos. I’ve almost always got my hands on a good book and I’m a fairly good gardener whenever I get my hands on one. My musical tastes lean heavily toward the dark and angry genres, yet beautiful and vivid things in the world are what often inspire me – like flowers and birds.

Besides making things, what do you do?
I make batik tapestries. However, instead of the traditional beeswax and silk of this craft, I employ a method instilled in me by the strict budget of my current life, and my Grade 9 art class – where I learned this skill. My pieces are made from cheap canning/paraffin wax, on 100% cotton fabric. Instead of the traditional tjanting tool – something that is truly beyond my skill – I use a motley collection of simple paintbrushes. This gives me a different type of control over detail, and a unique style.

The majority of my pieces are images from photographs I’ve taken myself. Some, on the other hand, are of literary and pop culture creations that inspire and influence me.

When I first rediscovered this medium (back in the early 90’s) I limited myself to tracing the art of others. My choices often featured distinct and easy lines to follow – such as Celtic knots. Nowadays, I venture into pieces that require more of my own artistic decision-making and vision and use my own photography. As a result, my pieces are paintings rather than the paint-by-numbers they used to be.

What inspires you?
As I mentioned, the beautiful world we live in, with its breathtaking color, light, shadow and drama, is what inspires me. Additionally, so do my friends. I strive to stay active and creative; and being around others who are dynamic and creative keeps me on my toes. In this regard, my closest friends are what often motivate me the most. Whether they communicate with whit, play music, build cabinets, chef great food, or teach – it all serves to enrich my art, my mind and my heart.

What do you love about Portland?
I love Portland for its routine trimmings of outdoor patios at bars, bikes and vegetarian options; I’m vicariously proud of lifestyle staples like Friends of Trees, Scrap, and Forest Park ; and I could not live without my community - Portland's amazing punk scene. All this, and more, contribute to how damn lucky I feel to call this city home.

Make sure you check out Batik Notion's Etsy shop. Thanks for sharing, Mandy!
And if you'd like to read more We Make Portland Awesome interviews, you can check out the full collection HERE.

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