Inspiration & A Good Fun Day!

Last weekend offered me a variety of opportunities to hang out with friends or hide in my garden. I chose friends, not because I’m much of an extrovert but because friends are finite and gardening is infinite: I can always redo a garden, but miss an opportunity with a friend… It’s a regret you can never mend.

One set of friends was meeting at a restaurant in downtown Troutdale, which is a neat antiques venue. We get together twice a year, for Spring birthdays and Fall birthdays. I chose not to go to this party because a couple weeks ago I spent the entire day at a quilt fair with two of the principals of this party and I felt like I needed to devote my energy to the other gathering of friends. (The quilt fair was fascinating and inspiring, but I don’t sew. I do love textures and textiles, just not sewing machines so much.)

The second set of friends were gathering to celebrate the birthday of one (hmmm: birthdays. Sounds like a theme!) by going to the “Gathering of the Guilds”, an event of artisan’s and their arts, separated into the guilds (think Renaissance Faire guilds): Glassworkers, Textiles, Woodworkers, Beadworkers, and Metalworkers. Those are probably not the correct titles for each guild, but you should get the idea. This trip was a little out of my comfort zone because while I know the Birthday Girl quite well, I am merely an acquaintance to some of the others and beyond an introduction, I really don’t know many of her friends. I was a little nervous about it, but I knew this was the party I wanted to be at – and I should not have worried at all.

We hopped into Friend Mary’s big SUV and headed into Portland with the Sunroof open. Yes! It was a perfect day to be in the garden! And I was in a car instead, listening to the banter of sisters and a best friend. they were quite amusing and entertaining – and so girly! I mean, talking about pink hats and driving with the top down while wearing scarves like Thelma and Louise – and making fun of men lost in Home Depot.

I’m such a guy. I’d buy a camo hat, some good work boots, and I get lost at Home Depot.

The Gathering of the Guilds was held at the Portland Convention Center where we met up with #5, the daughter of my friend, Mary. The next few hours were spent drooling over merchandise and artwork. I collected business cards from the places that inspired me the most (I go back to their websites and take closer, longer looks at their artwork to get more ideas).

Briefly: Glassworkers had beautiful stuff and not too much fused glass art. There were hand-blown glass, fused glass, painted glass, glass shards for resale, eyeballs, and more. Yes, eyeballs. I almost bought some. Octopi seem to be a prevailing theme this year. Hummingbird feeders were prevalent as well.

Woodworkers. Oh My. They displayed a lot of apprentice work and if that is the quality of beginners’ work – well, it was beautiful! I found an easel to die for (and luckily, it was already sold and it cost $900 so I did not purchase it). I did make the artisan who made it show me all the bells and whistles, however.

Textiles. I’m lost. I mean, seriously! I’ll have to come back to textiles.

Beadworks. This is Mary’s forte. I saw beadwork that compared, but most of the vendors were bending over backwards to ask about the beautiful beadwork necklace that Mary was sporting for Spring. Yes, she’s that good.

Metalworks. It was actually kind of ho-hum. I’ve seen more fascinating garden art, but I suspect my disinterest is exactly that: I am looking for garden art in metalworks, or – at the very least – some Brian Mock sculpture. Very unfair comparison since most of these folks work Ren Faires, Pirate Fests and the like. What they were selling is what patrons of those festivals are looking for.

Textiles. I spent money in this section. Not much and not for traditional reasons, but when it comes to texture and textiles, there really aren’t a lot of rules, even if you hate to sew.


Dyed mohair and dyed silkworm cocoons. I am so excited about the possibilities in my artwork! I saw a lot of non-traditional art at the Gathering of the Guilds that helped inspire me in my non-traditional approach, so… Very excited.

We left the Convention Center to visit one of Portland’s wonderful food cart pods (isn’t people-watching an art form? It is in Portland. People are an art form: everything from old hippie to neo-hippie to grunge to Goth to something somewhere in-between… I love Portland and I love that it’s weird.

There was a lot more that we did, including a stop at Pendleton Woolen Mills store (ooooh- wool textures!!), but the end of the day was spent cruising Thrift Stores.


I found this very loud clock at the Red, White & Blue.


It had a plastic insert with a card about flowers – so it must have been a prop for a flower shop, perhaps a funeral gift? I don’t think my mind wants to go there. What I saw (and I think Mary saw) was a sort of faerie-house-clock-shop theme going on. This needs to sit in my studio and tick-tock awhile so I can picture the exact sort of faerie house it is going to become.

And it is not going to be Tinkerbell’s clock.

That was a perfect day. No stress, no thoughts about my commuter job, no worries about the future.

Just a lot of ideas.

And tonight I worked some clay into my first whimsical dragon face.




This was actually a practice piece for a magic wand.

I may have to throw a rock at that darn clock. It is LOUD.

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