Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Craft exchange, anyone?

I've been invited to participate in a craft exchange but it involves recruiting a few other people. Anyone interested? You'd have to send something handmade off to 6 people one person and recruit 6 others to do the same. In return you'd get 36 unique handcrafted thingamabobs in the mail. I happen to know a few people who are participating; the crafty loot promises to be pretty high quality.

If you are up for it, email me (wendy at buildmakecraftbake dot com) and I'll send along the full details. If not, that's cool. Note: I'll update this when I have 6 volunteers. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

[Update 12/06/09: Thanks to the careful reader who pointed out that I had the wrong details down for the exchange. You only have to send something to ONE person. Much easier. A few spots are still up for grabs if you're interested.]

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Book-making process



My friend Anna is in a book arts program right now, so I imagine her making the books in this video, but they're actually the work of Abigail Uhteg at the Women's Studio Workshop. I find the stitching that starts around 1:30 particularly mesmerizing. Seeing the process video for an intricate project like this makes the end product seem like a steal at $700, don't you think? (A free PDF of the book is also available here.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Stuff, moving, and a link to a cool giveaway

Packing to move is forcing me to sort my art and craft supplies. I'm getting rid of a lot and what's left will be much more organized. It will be great once it's all done but for now it sort of feels like a minor amputation every time I toss something into the "donate" box. 

I try to not get attached to Stuff, but my weaknesses are books and craft supplies because they're not just Stuff. The knowledge and imagination in books is worth schlepping a dozen boxes of them from state to state every time I move. (And yes, I also make use of the library.) Art and craft supplies are similar -- they are Stuff with Possibility -- and it's even worse now that I've developed an interest in re-use art because I'm better about seeing potential uses for otherwise ordinary objects. 

I've come up with a little test for what to take and what to leave: 
  • If I look at an object and I immediately start thinking of projects it could be used for, I ask myself, "Do I already use it, or could I see myself using it within a year?" Yes to either and I keep it. No and I put it in the donate pile. 
  • If I think of a project another person could do with an item, I set it aside for that person. If he or she doesn't want it, it goes in the donate pile.
  • If thoughts of potential uses are mixed with hesitations that it's heavy/it's breakable/it's large/I have too many, then I put it in the donate pile.
This process has been successful so far with all but the most unusual items, like my box of blue railroad signal light lenses. I'm not sure I'll use them in 2010 and they're certainly heavy, but I can't bear to part with them. So it goes.

Speaking of re-use art, yesterday Dude Craft reviewed Terry Border's brilliant new book, Bent Objects, and he'll be giving away a copy with a signed bookplate. Check out this trailer for the book, then click on over to Dude Craft and sign up to win. (And when you do win, send it to me! Books about re-use art transcend mere Stuff-ness on multiple levels.)


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Piano key stairs



The stairs in this subway station in Stockholm have been transformed into piano keys that play when you walk on them. It may be an attempt at a viral marketing campaign by a car company that shall remain nameless here, but even so, it's a pretty damn cool project. And the best part is that they tracked how many more people used the stairs before and after the musical transformation -- an increase of 66%. 

Friday, October 2, 2009

"Illuminate" opening reception tonight at Re:Vision Gallery


Hey Portlanders!

The Re:Vision Gallery at SCRAP is having an opening reception tonight for their newest re-use art show, "Illuminate." There are a lot of great pieces, including some interactive ones, all on the theme of light. I hope to see you there. 

When: Today, October 2nd, 6 to 8 pm.
Where: Re:Vision Gallery at SCRAP, 2915 NE MLK, Jr. Blvd., Portland, OR

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pickled garlic


Well, this should take care of those pesky winter vampires, don't you think?

Oh, and on a completely unrelated note, I'd love to hear your recipe suggestions for pickled garlic… 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Golden cloth from the silk of a million spiders

Photo: AMNH

It sounds like something from a fairy tale: a golden cloth, woven from the silk threads of more than a million spiders. But it's real. In Madagascar, a team of over 70 people spent more than 4 years collecting spider silk, which a dozen weavers spun and wove into an 11-foot tapestry that is now on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. 

Photo: AMNH

It's the largest cloth in existence made from spider silk, which is stronger than steel by some measures. Scientists have been trying for years to synthetically produce the silk in usable quantities. 

The project, led by textile experts Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley, relied on the silk of golden orb spiders, which were caught, milked for silk, and released. My apologies to the arachnophobes in the audience for this photo:

Photo: Peers and Godley

The New York Times and Wired both have interesting articles on the cloth, which will move to London after six months in New York. See it while you can. 

Those of you who haven't been scared away by this post may also be interested in reading this interview I did last year with UC Riverside spider silk researcher Cheryl Hayashi. 

Monday, September 21, 2009

Crafty writers

My neighborhood is pretty rad. Coffee shops and bars are welcoming and comfortable, hidden gardens abound, and it's an easy walk to art stores, grocery stores, a farmer's market -- and the library. 

Have I mentioned how much I love the Multnomah County library? It's fantastic. Just yesterday I stopped by my local branch for a presentation by craft book authors Diane Gilleland, Susan Beal, and Alicia Paulson. I was inspired by all three authors and also by the size of the audience. Crafty creative types are everywhere in Portland!


The authors talked about how they got started writing craft books and gave advice and technical tips for aspiring authors.

A couple of highlights:
  • Diane, who wrote Kanzashi in Bloom and produces the CraftyPod podcast, pointed out that publishers want you to have a platform -- that is, people who already follow your work. Do you blog? Do you have a huge Facebook following? Have you gotten publicity for your craft work? Those details should go in your book proposal.
  • Susan, who blogs at West Coast Crafty and has written three books -- one without an agent and two with -- said that getting an agent was the best business decision of her life and that agents can increase book deals by more than the cost of their 15% commissions. 
  • Alicia, who wrote Stitched in Time and blogs at Posie Gets Cozy, suggested just focusing on the quality of your work and not trying to predict craft trends. One of those pieces of advice that seem really obvious, yet I wish more people would actually follow it. 
The library recorded the talk and will be posting as a podcast sometime in the next few weeks. Hopefully you'll be able to hear the speakers over the uproar of knowing laughter when someone asked the question, "How do you keep crafts from taking over your home?"

[Edit 10/13/2009: The podcast is up on the Multnomah County Library website now.]

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Call for art: light

The Re:Vision Gallery at SCRAP in Portland, OR, is looking for art for a juried group show in October. I'm reposting the call here. 
Perhaps you create art that is illuminated, sculptural lamps or chandeliers made from lightbulbs? Maybe you create portraits from lamp parts. Whatever your focus, if it has to do with Light, we want to see it!

All work must contain 75% reused materials.

To apply, please send 3 jpgs, a description of your work (including dimensions) and a statement on how your work directly relates to the theme to revision-gallery@scrapaction.org. 
Deadline: ASAP!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Skating with Scissors!


The Rose City Rollers are having a craft bazaar this Saturday with over 100 vendors. I'll be there…will you? 

What: Skating with Scissors Craft Bazaar
When: Saturday, September 19th, 11 am to 7 pm
Where: Oaks Amusement Park (in the hangar), 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland, OR (map

More info here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

An email forward I can get behind [creative reuse]

I got an email forward from my parents yesterday. Silly joke? No. Safety warning? Nope. Super cool example of creative reuse art? You bet. 



Telephone sheep by Jean-Luc Cornet at the Frankfurt Communication Museum. 

I saw these phone cord sheep wandering around the internets a while ago, before I started this blog. I love that people are so inspired by this charming example of creative reuse that they're still emailing it to friends and family a year (or more) later. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Microbes in glass

"E. Coli", a glass sculpture by Luke Jerram
 
I think a lot of people assume that when you look at bacteria or viruses under a microscope, they're colorful. Mostly, they're not. Often they're clear. 

Color loses it meaning for organisms that are are no bigger than a single wavelength of visible light, like E. Coli bacteria or smallpox viruses. The color seen in many biological images is there for one of two reasons: (1) because the technique used to image the microbe produces color (for example, fluorescence) or (2) because it's nicer to look at when color is added, either more aesthetically pleasing or just plain easier to see.

"Smallpox", "HIV", and "Unknown Future Mutation", by Luke Jerram

So Luke Jerram's blown glass microbiology sculptures, in addition to being timely, are that much more interesting because of their transparency. 

Check out this great video of the process of making an HIV sculpture: 



I came across these sculptures while reading the blog of Carl Zimmer, who is a fantastic science writer. Many of his articles are available online here

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Jeannie Paske's Obsolete World [Sunday spotlight]

"Let Me Tell You a Story", by Jeannie Paske

Last December's Crafty Wonderland holiday sale started off with a bang -- the sound of my car skidding into a curb as I tried to navigate the icy roads on the way to the convention center. It was the first day of Portland's Great Snows of '08, but even so, more than a hundred people were lined up for the sale. 

And can you blame them? I was lucky to be there, vending alongside fantastic artists like Jeannie Paske, Faryn Davis of Fernworks Fine Art, and Jenny of Orange Peel Enamel

I was particularly excited to see Jeannie's paintings and prints, which I recognized as I passed by her booth. In retrospect, I'm pretty sure I went a little fangirl. Fortunately she didn't hold it against me and recently agreed to a brief interview. 

B/M/C/B: Can you tell me a little about the world inhabited by your characters?

JP: Obsolete world was created by me as a place for the various creatures and monsters inside my head to reside in 2006. I view it as an older, long abandoned world where the residents had spent much of their time pondering their surroundings, usually in vast fields under sweeping skies. I strive to create a bit of curiosity and introspection in my work. There is always a childlike side of me that wonders, whatever became of this place and where are all of these creatures now?

"In Search of a View"

"Forgetting the Sky"

When did you first begin making art?

I started drawing with my older siblings when I was very young. It was one of my favorite things to do as a child. Second only to cartoon watching and most of the time, the two went hand in hand. I remember my dad bringing home scrap paper from work and it was like Christmas.

"Such is the Cost of Immortality"

What's the creative process like for you?

I am a day-dreamer and an observer, so when I see something that catches my eye or sparks my interest I'll do a rough sketch in my sketchbook and later, I'll go back and rework it onto canvas or watercolor paper.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

Shaun Tan, Jim Woodring, Quint Buchholz, Michael Sowa, Bill Waterson, Theodore Geisel and Jeff Smith

"Away from the Order of Days"

What are you working on now?

Just finished work for a show at Rivet Gallery in Columbus, Ohio and I am taking a break for a few weeks.

"Former Lives Rain Down"

Where can my readers find your work?

On my blog and website, or my Etsy store. I sell originals at BoundlessGallery.com and at Trunkt.com I have a list of brick and mortar stores that carry my work.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Rug designs based on aerial landscape views


I'm really digging these handmade wool rugs by Liz Eeuwes (please don't ask me to pronounce that last name!). They're like colorful countryside views from an airplane. The one above is based on the Scottish countryside, and this one is inspired by tulip fields in the Netherlands: 

Brilliant!

[via MoCoLoco]

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Knitted and crocheted science

Knitted dissected frog (and photo) by Emily Stoneking

Discover magazine has a small but cool image gallery of science in knitted and crocheted forms, including a knitted brain, the great crocheted reef and, yes, a turquoise and pink sweater with the periodic table of the elements. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A semi-scientific approach to homemade vanilla extract

Months ago I saw a post on Chocolate & Zucchini about making your own vanilla extract. After my past adventures in infused vodka (for drinkin'), I was intrigued, especially by Clotilde's comment that using rum instead of vodka as the base results in a tastier extract for baking.

Mad scientist that I am, I decided to test this out. Luckily, Costco sells normally pricey whole vanilla beans for a song. I picked up a pack of 10 for something like $11.

The plan
  1. Make vanilla extracts with vodka, rum and -- why not? -- 190-proof grain alcohol (a.k.a. Everclear).
  2. Judge the deliciousness of each in a series of blind taste tests. 
  3. Take over the world. Give the tastiest to foodie friends for birthday and Christmas presents.

Vodka-based extract after 2 days. Is it just me, or does that bean look like a leech?

The recipe
  • Slice each vanilla bean lengthwise so the alcohol will reach the tasty seeds inside. If necessary, cut up the beans so they will fit in the jars you're using. 
  • In a 1-pint glass jar, combine at least 1.5 beans with 1 cup of rum, vodka, grain alcohol, or other potable solvent of your choice. By the way, these do NOT need to be top shelf alcohols.
  • Cap the jar and shake vigorously. 
  • Store in a cool, dark cupboard for a minimum of 6 weeks. I sort of forgot about mine…they sat for 4 months. 
  • Check for color and flavor periodically, if you remember. Shake the jar to help the infusion process along. 
  • Don't take the beans out, just use it as-is and leave the rest to infuse more and more and more.
Here's what my extracts looked like after 4 months of infusing. The grain alcohol is in the middle. See that difference in color?


The taste tests

I decided to test out the extracts in both this vanilla wafer cookie recipe and homemade whipped cream. I also decided to test them against store-bought vanilla extract, in this case Trader Joe's bourbon vanilla extract. 

To make sure the vanilla really stood out in both recipes, I doubled the amount I'd normally use. However, there was no way for me to use the store-bought and homemade vanillas at the same strength, as I didn't know how much vanilla went into the little jar from TJ's

For the cookies, I made the dough, divided it into four portions, and added the same amount of the different vanillas to each portion, and baked everything for the same amount of time. 

For the whipped cream, I whipped 1 pint of cream with about 1/2 cup sugar, divided it into four bowls, and added the different extracts. 

I labeled the cookies A, B, C, and D and the whipped cream bowls 1, 2, 3, and 4. This made it into a blind taste test because my guests didn't know what was in each. 

The results: whipped cream

Whipped cream tasting samples. 

1. Whipped cream with TJ's vanilla. People said (without knowing which vanilla it was):  
 "Natural." 
"Nope -- too strong (more than 4)." 
"Wendy-made (could be store)." 
"Good attack, finish kind of disappears. Super vanilla?"
"Strong vanilla, store bought I think. Perfumey."*

2. Whipped cream with homemade vodka vanilla. 
"Natural."
"Dig it. Subtle." 
"Wendy-made, a little sweet"
"Store bought, very sweet."
"Sweet. Second favorite."*

3. Whipped cream with homemade grain alcohol vanilla
"Fake." 
"Between 2 & 4." 
"Store-bought."
"Even taste throughout, sweet, light, least favorite (mild)." 
"Mild."*

4. Whipped cream with homemade rum vanilla
"Natural."
"Too strong."
"Wendy-made. Bourbon whiskey? My favorite." 
"Even taste throughout, deeper than #3, eggier."
"Complex. Rum? Favorite."*

The results: cookies

A. Cookies with homemade rum vanilla.
"Natural."
"Halfway between B & C."
"Delicious - nice & buttery, my other favorite."
"Good, tasty."
"Good. Can't tell."*

B. Cookies with homemade vodka vanilla
"Natural."
"Strong vanilla."
"Too sweet for me, but still good."
"Good, mild."

C. Cookies with homemade grain alcohol vanilla
"Natural."
"Better, more buttery."
"Store-bought."
"Good, mild, least flavorful."
"Spread out less when baked, more tough texture."*

D. Cookies with store-bought vanilla
"Fake."
"Very strong vanilla, but buttery."
"Awesome -- my favorite."
"Good -- most vanilla. (Same as #1?) Store? Favorite -- most intense."

* My comments are singled out because they weren't quite blind (that is, just because I forgot which was which didn't make it an officially blind taste test).

Results summary

Overall, the consensus was that the rum-based homemade vanilla was best in the whipped cream (the vodka one was a close second), while the store-bought vanilla tasted best in the cookies. People expected the homemade extracts to be stronger than the store-bought, but that wasn't the case. The store-bought extract smelled much stronger than the homemade ones, and I think that adding more vanilla beans to my extracts to to beef them up would make them better for baking.

Have you tested your own vanilla extract? Let's hear about it in the comments. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Beehives and other cool woodwork by Pete Michelinie

At the Hollywood Farmer's Market the other day, in between the tomatoes and the pints of blackberries, I spotted this: 

All images by Pete Michelinie. 

Turns out it's a beehive — specifically, a top bar beehive — made by local woodworker Pete Michelinie

Top bar hives are a low-fuss approach to beekeeping: no need to smoke the bees, no funny-looking protective suits. The bees build honeycomb in vertical slabs hanging from the bars on the top of the hive (hence the name), and you can watch their progress through the window in the front.


A stripe of beeswax down the middle of the bars tells the bees where to start building. 


Now, I don't know the first thing about beekeeping, so I'm taking Pete at his word when he says that he'll have to wait until next spring to catch a swarm. But expect a follow-up post when he does!

Pete's other woodworking is beautiful, too. Check out this French corner cabinet. I love the design of the inlay. 


Also, I'm seriously coveting this workbench, although it's almost too pretty to use. 


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A season of plenty, especially blueberries


The harvest is upon us. Farmer's markets are overflowing and friends and family have more fresh produce than they know what to do with -- and that's where I come in. In the last 2 weeks, I've eaten, given away, or put up large quantities of: 
  • blueberries (14 lbs. of late-harvest organic beauties, plus what I ate while picking them)
  • plums (eaten fresh and made into plum kuchen and no-sugar freezer jam)
  • fresh salmon from British Columbia (froze what I couldn't eat right away)
  • cherry tomatoes (salads, salads, salads!)
  • cucumbers (salads, or marinated in vinegar)
  • zucchini and yellow squash
  • fresh garbanzos in the pod (which I had never seen before)
  • bunches of basil (pesto, yum!)
  • peaches and nectarines
I think my eyes have been bigger than my stomach, fridge, freezer and fruit basket combined. It may be time to take the plunge and finally learn to can. 


In the meantime, I've been freezing blueberries on cookie sheets so they don't all stick together, then transferring them to double-thickness freezer bags. Because there's nothing like a smoothie in December…

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Flight of the garbasail [How-to Tuesday]

This is a guest post from Jesse Dill, a fellow scientist and good friend of mine from Berkeley. He's always coming up with brilliantly wacky ideas to try, like this one. You can find more from Jesse on his blog and his Flickr page

*****

I first found out about Garbasails when they were featured as Urban Dictionary's word of the day. A few curious clicks later, I was completely hooked on the idea. It's a simple formula: trash bags + duct tape + a lot of rope = one very large, very impressive-looking kite. My friend Harish and I decided to make it happen, and we hit the hardware store.

Duct tape, rope, and trash bags. Oh my.

Total cost for the materials was about $70. We thought we'd go medium-scale, with a 40-bag kite of single-ply, heavy-duty trash bags (“single-ply" means that we cut each bag along two seams so that it was just one layer of plastic thick).

Harish assembles the first row of trash bags

Assembly took three hours. We didn't have much space in the house, so there was only enough room to see one row at a time as it was added. After the panels were taped together, we knew that adding the reinforcing tape along the diagonals would require a bigger space to spread out the garbasail; fortunately it wasn't hard to locate an empty parking lot at the university on the weekend.


Our final garbasail design used 40 heavy-duty trash bags in an 8 x 5 arrangement, but with the longer edges making up the row that was five bags long. The result was a nearly square kite. One face of the kite had tape along all the edges, and the other face had a double-layer reinforcing line of duct tape along the diagonals and splitting each edge. The corners were reinforced with about six layers of duct tape, and the ropes were threaded through holes we punched at each of the eight attachment points (four corners, and the middle of each edge).


In the first test flight, we taped several of the ropes to lamp posts in the parking lot. We were stunned (and pretty delighted) to find that the kite caught enough air to rip through the duct-taped corners in just a few minutes.

Harish wrestles with the kite during a gust.

The power of the elements: our "reinforced" corners were no match for the wind.

The only camera we had on hand was my cell phone, but I did get a quick (albeit low-resolution) video of our test flight. Harish is holding down the corner that had already ripped at that point:



Fast-forward to the flight day: we’d toughened the attachment points by linking three rope loops through each of them and then running a single rope through the loops. This distributed the force across a wider area, and prevented the tear-through we had on the test flight.

Attaching handles to three short loops through each attachment site helped to keep the rope from ripping through the duct tape.

So how did it fly? Better than we imagined--with eight people holding onto the ropes, on a pretty windy day at the marina, we had serious trouble keeping a grip on the ropes. [Ed. -- And when we did, it was hard to stay on the ground.] I’d highly recommend wearing thick gloves when flying large garbasails, as the friction during strong gusts can be intense. We got several hours’ enjoyment out of the garbasail--though it did eventually tear to pieces, we all agreed that it was worth the investment.


It took a couple of tries before we got the garbasail off the ground. The red moped helmets were purely for decoration—garbasailing is a family-friendly activity.

The garbasail catches some wind at low altitude.


We also got some tips from a professional kite flyer. His main recommendations: include a ninth rope attached to the center, and buy some thick gloves.

The garbasail takes flight at the Berkeley Marina.

Can't get enough garbasail?
  • See the entire album of Wendy’s photos from the garbasail’s flight at http://bit.ly/garbasail
  • Check out the website of Josh Levine, an artist who created the first documented garbasails: garbasail.com

Friday, August 7, 2009

Opening reception tonight at Re:Vision Gallery

Don't forget to head over to the Re:Vision Gallery at SCRAP tonight for the opening of gallery's first solo show, by metal sculptor Brian Mock. 


Also, check out my interview with the artist here

Monday, August 3, 2009

Time-lapse cake creation

Wow. This video of Leslie Evans preparing her entry for the Threadcakes competition is utterly mesmerizing. She says that the process took about 40 hours. Check out the individual scales on that koi…



Saturday, August 1, 2009

Interview with metal sculptor Brian Mock [Sunday spotlight]

This month, sculptor Brian Mock will have the first solo show at SCRAP's Re:Vision Gallery. I'm particularly excited for the exhibit, as recycled metal art is a favorite of mine. Brian's work spans a wide range, from rustic metal fish to tables to tall, elegant, painstakingly crafted statues. 

"Round 'n Found 3". All images courtesy of Brian Mock. 

"Winged Woman"

"Handstand"

The opening reception will be this Friday, August 7th, 2009, from 6-8 pm. Here's a map to the gallery, which is at 2915 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. in Portland, OR. 

I caught up with Brian at Re:Vision for a conversation as the exhibit was going up.

BMCB: How did you get into making metal sculptures?

Brian Mock: I grew up drawing, painting, taking electronic things apart, dismantling things, putting them back together. I went into wood carving and sculpting a little bit. I started doing bird houses and putting metal on the roofs (this was before I was welding) so I ended up getting a welder -- no, actually I was doing this auto sculpture and there was no welding. It was all just very time-consuming handcraft. Then from there I just naturally went into welding. 

I liked the idea of using recycled and found objects and reclaimed metals, otherwise I'd be working in a fabrication shop or something. So it was kind of, let's see what I can make out of something I found off the street or collected.

"Bromwells," non-welded auto sculpture

So where do you get your materials?

I've collected over the years and made connections during shows or exhibits -- people that have worked in the construction industry, people that might have a garage that they want to go through. And to have a box of goodies in my driveway some morning is kind of nice. 

I don't do a lot of dumpster diving. I used to dumpster dive when I first started. I spent a lot of time hunting and over the years just accumulated a lot of stuff, but never enough. There's never enough. I'm always looking, still.

Are you mostly self-taught?

Yeah. I've never taken a welding class or sculpting class. I've taken painting classes and drawing classes. That's where my true love is, it's painting, but I just haven't had the time to do it, to cultivate it. I'd like to incorporate painting in sculptures and stuff. To make my own canvases out of recycled material and paint.

Who are your artistic influences?

Not really who, but where. I see it every day when I'm around artists. It's pretty influential. I don't have any one particular -- I think it's just a wide range, just a family. You know, here in Portland, in the Northwest, I just feel like I belong. I don't feel like an outcast. So I can't really think of any one particular artist. 

Some people have said some of my stuff reminds them of H.R. Giger.

"Bowl"

What's the creative process like for you? This wing nut bowl seems very time-consuming to put together.

It's monotonous sometimes, working with the same material. The wing nut woman consists of about 7,000 wing nuts. I know by weight. By the time I was done with that I didn't want to work with a wing nut for a long time, so I didn't do my wing nut things, and I'm out of wing nuts now. I got them from a machine shop -- they were offs. These weren't all done together. I had to wait a while in between to work with them. 

I made this bowl so you couldn't see any of the welds from [the top] but on [the underside], like the outside of [the winged woman], you can see all of them.

"Winged Woman," detail

What are you working on now?

I'm working on commissions, and I'm actually working on a painting, too, this week.

Trophy commissioned by NW Energy Efficiency Alliance

Do you plan out the way things are going to look ahead of time or form them as you go?

I do plan, but I'm not meticulous about what it's going to look like because I never know what it's going to look like. It's always a surprise to me. That's why commissions are so interesting for me to do. I always tell the person I'm doing the commission for, this is vaguely what it's going to look like. They usually understand, but if someone wants something a particular way it becomes difficult because I say, I don't know what I have to work with. I just find stuff. 

*************

You can see Brian's work at the Re:Vision Gallery through the end of August, 2009. An online gallery of his work is also available on his website

If you liked this interview, be sure to check out the sidebar to the left for other artist spotlights.