Community Warehouse – Chair Affair

Over the past few years, I’ve been involved with a great non-profit here in Portland – Community Warehouse. They have an incredibly simple model – you give them your extra housewares and they give them to people who need them. Really, it’s that easy. Their clients are referred by social services agencies, so they don’t have to screen people and they have no waiting list. People who are transitioning from homelessness, shelters, hospitals, etc. can get the things they need to furnish their new homes. Often this means giving children beds to sleep in and bowls to eat from.  I’ve seen it in action – people bring stuff to the warehouse and folks in need take it home.

Community Warehouse has a big fundraising event each spring called the Chair Affair. I had the opportunity to go to the Chair Affair for the first time last year and had a fantastic time! A wide variety of local artists use chairs, tables and other items donated to the warehouse to create functional artwork and tablescapes which are auctioned off at the event.

That brings us to the purpose of this post – I’m doing a chair for this year’s auction!

I started with a well-loved wooden rocking chair with a cane seat and back and nice broad arms. Here’s a before photo. The paint (all three layers) was chipping and drippy. The caning was dirty and broken at the edges.

Here is a photo of the stripping and dismantling process. The top two layers of paint peeled right off with a heat-gun, but the bottom layer of dark green paint wasn’t going anywhere.

Once the stripping and sanding were done, I reassembled the chair, gave it a coat of strong primer, and painted it a fun new color!

The next step was replacing the cane seat and back. After exploring lots of options, I settled on Shaker tape. It appeared to be fairly easy to work with, comes in lots of colors, and gave me the look I was after (understated, traditional but not old-fashioned). Of course it was more complicated than it should have been. Shaker tape is hard to find and surprisingly expensive (it wouldn’t have been so bad for the seat of a small chair, but this one has a large seat and large back). The weaving process is basically pretty simple – you just go around and around front-to-back, turn the corner and weave through the first set of strips going side-to-side (weaving both the top and under-side of the seat). Here are the directions I followed. My wonderful mom helped, and we only made a couple false-starts before we had it figured out. Turning the corner ended up being the most difficult part, followed closely by getting the spacing right and weaving the final strips (where it’s tight against the wood of the chair). Keeping 75 yards of tape from getting twisted and tangled wasn’t terribly easy either. We did a pretty fine job!

That bit of green paint you see at the bottom is an experiment – I considered highlighting the knobs and spindle areas with green to pick up the green in the fabric, but once they were all painted I wasn’t crazy about the look. Green in the fabric? Yep, the chair isn’t done yet! Still to come: alien cushions! Plus I still have that green paint… not sure if that will end up on the chair or some other craft project.

If you’d like to see the finished project (and bid on it!), come to the Chair Affair on April 18th!

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And again…

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Holiday Sale Time Again

It’s that time of year again!  Yep, Holiday Sale time.  I’ll be doing two sales this year — an open studio as part of Cathedral Park Place, and Crafty Underdog at Mission Theater.  Here’s the info.  Hope to see you!

Cathedral Park Place Open Studios
Saturday, December 7, 10am – 6pm
6635 N Baltimore Avenue, Portland

(note: My studio will be open but I’ll only be there part of the day. I’ll be at Community Warehouse the rest of the day, a great organization that I support via my day job. They’re in the WWeek Give!Guide, by the way.)

(I love the fox on the lower right)

Crafty Underdog
Sunday, December 15, 12-5pm
Mission Theater
1624 N.W. Glisan, Portland

(note: The poster says the 1st and the 15th.  I’ll only be there on the 15th)


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Maryhill and Blueberries

I know, it’s been ages since you’ve heard from me!  Lots has happened in the past several months — new ideas, new firings, and lots of new pots!  Plus a new camera to better show them to you (I think it’s smarter than me).

First — let me invite you to come see them in person at Maryhill Arts Festival next weekend.

Next, I’m excited to show you the results of a new project!  My talented mother drew some beautiful botanical drawings for me to carve on pottery.  I fired them in Hiroshi Ogawa’s wood/soda kiln last month and they came out absolutely perfectly.  I’ll have lots of cups and beer steins at Maryhill next weekend and the vases will be displayed in White Salmon sometime in the next few months.

 The beer steins have hops on one side and barley on the other.  These are two of the least soda-hit of the batch — some have an amazing amount of soda-gloss and carbon-trapping.  They’re lovely, but the images got somewhat obscured on the most soda-covered.

I’m also excited about these batter bowls.  I like them for mixing up omelets and salad dressing, but the one on my counter is currently full of blueberries.

The beautiful dark brown clay of the blueberry bowl is another project I’m pretty excited about.  The clay and glaze are both based on clay that I dug locally.  I’m still working out the formula, (it doesn’t like to go past about cone 9-10 — at woodfire temperatures it has a tendency to bloat — that means it gets bubbly and lumpy looking), but when it gets what it wants, it’s beautifully rich and a tiny bit metallic. The blueberries are from the St. Johns Farmers’ Market and they’re every bit as good as they look!

 And a late addition — more blueberries (worried I might end up like Violet Beauregarde…).  I made this set of plates for myself, much to the annoyance of my mom who has been asking for a set of plates for ages. Plates are not my forte.  They’re no good in the cupboard (they stack terribly) but they’re just right for eating saucy french toast.


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It’s Holiday Sale Time Again!

Wow, it was just Spring and now here we are in the holiday shopping season again.  The summer flew by.  Lots of opportunities for you to see my work out in the world this winter:

  • Mud Sweat and Cheer downtown at 10th and Yamhill (tons of amazing art by local potters and other artists, plus events on Saturday evenings).
  • Pistils Nursery on N. Mississippi Ave has lots of cute hanging planters.
  • OKO Gallery on Thurman St. still has a few vases and planters.
If you want to see me with my pottery,
  • Come by the studio this Saturday (December 8, 10am – 6pm)
  • Crafty Underdog (at the Mission Theater) on Sunday (December 9, 11am – 5pm)

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