Thursday, January 31, 2008

DIY Lounge - A New Teaching Venue For Me!

I have been accepted as a teacher at the DIY Lounge in Portland! The DIY Lounge has a workspace located in the back of the sweet little, but well-stocked, art store on Alberta, collage. I had to submit my application and supply a reference that could veryify my art-teaching abilities. For my reference, I used my friend and mentor, Gretchin Lair of Scarlet Star Studios. She wrote such a nice tribute to my talents, that I share it with you here:

“I’ve both taught and hired Dayna to teach at my own studio, and am looking forward to doing so again. I value her because as a teacher she is dynamic, encouraging and talented. But as someone responsible for organizing a regular schedule of events, I also appreciate her responsiveness, attention to details and dependability. I highly recommend Dayna; I definitely think she’d be an asset to DIY Lounge.”

So, because I took the step to promote myself in Portland and because of Gretchin's lovely endorsement of my skills, I will be teaching two classes at collage in the DIY Lounge! Here is the info on the classes in case you are able to join me:

Itty Bitty Pretties on Saturday, March 15, 1:00-3:30 p.m.

Matchbox Shrines on Saturday, April 26, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

For more information about the classes or to register, visit the DIY Lounge website.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Artist's Way Week Four: Recovering a Sense of Power

We always begin our weekly sessions with some sort of stretching or breathing exercises, usually led by me. Last night I turned over this activity to the group, asking each woman to lead a stretch. Well, these women know how to boogey! The first woman, "K," led us in some gentle standing lunges, followed by another "K," who led us in some nice spine stretches. Then "A" jumped into action and had us all doing the Hokey Pokey, right up to putting our head in and shakin' it all about. Not to be outdone, "L" taught us the Time Warp dance from the Rocky Horror Picture Show and we were rockin' the living room. To bring us back to reality, "B" had us sit back down and do some gentle arm and neck stretches, which helped us get focussed and ready for our evening.

Our creative activity for the night was making a Life Map, also known as a "geography of self." (A fun book that goes along with this theme is Katharine Harmon's Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination.) Each woman was encouraged to think about some of the events which have occurred in their life and then translate those events into some sort of map, or personal geography, using any vehicle they wanted, i.e., a geographical map, a house, DNA, a bus route, a game board . . . I supplied the women with watercolor paper, water colored pencils, oil pastels, and a fun assortment of colored pens and they were free to do their map using any and all of these materials. Their results were astounding, reflecting their diverse and creative approach to this assignment.

Something I have added to this Creative Cluster, is I am having each woman take a piece from the center piece each week so they can build a shrine at home as a reminder, or monument, of this weekly process. The first week they each took a rock, the second week a shell, the third week they chose a Scrabble tile, and last night they each got to take a word of their choice from the dish of poetry beads spread across the plate. One woman was absent last night, "S," so each of the women chose a word for "S" and when she returns next week, she can choose from the five words specially selected for her. I think the ladies are enjoying this added feature of the Creative Clusters.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


A week ago I had the privilege of taking a mini winter vacation. Some friends of ours have a beautiful condo in Sunriver, right on the Deschutes River and next to the National Forest, and we were allowed to use this beautiful home for six days. We also had the good fortune to make this trip with our best friends, Dave and Vicki, friends we have had for over 30 years (man, that makes me feel really old! maybe we were two years old when we met them, which would mean that I had my frist child when I was 10 -- oh, never mind, we've been friends for a long time).

Dave and Vicki picked us up on a Wednesday, a day earlier than originally planned (the stars were aligned in our favor). We took their Subaru, a good little snow car, and loaded up all of our usual gear along with snow clothes and containers holding our art supplies. We were quite a sight, all packed in. The drive over the mountain was a little dicey and at times slow, and after a stop in Sisters for lunch and shopping, we made it to Bend, stocked up on groceries, and drove the final leg to Sunriver in the dark. Once settled, we got a fire going, made a pot of chili, and plopped ourselves on the couch with a sigh of relief. But we weren't down for long, as Vicki and I appropriated the dining table as our art table. We spread two vinyl tablecloths across the table (we were prepared) and began taking out our art supplies and getting our little areas organized and ready. It wasn't long before our organization bit the dust; we not only had the table, but we were also piling supplies on the chairs and eventually in an arc around us on the floor.

Here is our table all organized and ready for us to begin:

And here we are "playing" away, yes in our PJs, which we wore for long periods every day:

We did eventually get dressed and even managed to be cajoled into strapping on snow shoes so we could enjoy the beauty surrounding us. Here's proof:

Beautiful, beautiful scenery, cold, clear, and sunny!

Vicki and I spent many hours working primarily on our art journals, starting and sometimes finishing pages. We shared our supplies and ideas, inspired and cheered each other on. Here are a couple of my early pages:

The time came when it was time to pack up our supplies and load the car (a little trickier because we had made treks into Bend to shop at a their Goodwill and a couple of funky little second-hand stores, so we were going home with more than we arrived with - Vicki and I both had baskets on our laps for the return trip). But a trip to Bend is never complete without a stop at the Funny Farm, located on Hwy 97 right outside of Bend near the cut-off to Sisters.

The Artist's Way Week Three: Recovering a Sense of Identity

Man, here I am posting a week late. This blogging stuff takes dedication! I wanted to comment on last week's group. One woman was missing from our group due to her work schedule and it is amazing how an absence changes the dynamic. During our closing time, one of the women wanted to share something with the woman who was absent, how something she had said the prior week had given her hope and encouragement; it was touching and sweet and I was sorry the woman was not present to hear it. Another woman who was present, had rearranged travel plans so that she would be back in time to attend our group. Being in a group is a privilege and takes committment and determination to make the time and energy to get to the meeting. Most women who share they were tempted to stay home, are always glad they made the effort to come. I hope that is the case for tonight.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I received some pretty special news last week and it is time that I shared it with you: the piece of art I am submitting for the 3rd Annual Love Show at the Launch Pad Gallery in Portland, was chosen to be included in their show card advertising the February event! I have only seen the card on-line and not in person (that will be happening this week), but my work is seen in the background with the show information superimposed on top. When Ben Pink, the curator of the show, called and informed me of my inclusion on the card, I worked very hard to act composed and cool, but inside I was bursting, my heart was pounding, and I was beside myself with disbelief, gratitude, and crazed excitement! Soon enough he'll see my red hair and know that I'm not all that cool and composed. . . but a wee bit crazy and nutty. Anyway, my piece is made up of 64 individual tiles, thus the title of the piece, Sixty-Four, each tile made from a family photograph: the good, the bad, the strange, the odd, the wonderful - they're all there and all represent love in some way. A sampling of the insanity:

Dolls, dolls, dolls

I don't know what it is about dolls, but I just gotta have 'em, the creepier the better. Before we left on our little mini vacation, I was surfing e-bay, on the hunt for doll parts. Well, I hit the mother lode with one of the auctions and for not too much money (about $17.50 before shipping and handling), I was the proud owner (mother?) of an assortment of dolls and their parts. The box was waiting for me when I returned home last night. After putting everything away from our trip, sorting through the mail and papers, I finally sat down with my large box (which had served as the home for an artificial Christmas tree in a former life) and a knife. Ta Dah! A plethora of dolls and their parts (yes, that is the Pillsbury Dough Boy and Dennis the Menace):

The Artist's Way Week Two: Recovering a Sense of Safety

I wanted to post about last week's group last week, but we left a day early for a winter wonderland vacation and just returned last night. So I'm going to post about last week before this week's Creative Cluster meets (tonight!). First a word about the six women in my newly formed Creative Cluster: amazing. But it is difficult to limit myself to just one word in describing these ladies who have met only two times, the first two of the 13 weeks they will spend together exploring themselves and reconnecting with their creativity via Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. In the short time they have been meeting, they have already been willing to be vulnerable, honest, and courageous. Once again, I am in awe of the process and feel humbled to be a witness, or as Julia would say, a "believing mirror."

Last week our creative activity was Touch Drawing, a technique developed by Deborah Koff-Chapin. I first learned about this when I took Bridget Benton's Artmaking as Playful Prayer class in the fall. I was so impressed with the concept, I decided to include it as a creative activity in my Creative Clusters. The process involves blockprinter's ink, a brayer, rice paper, and a smooth glass board. The women inked up their glass board, placed a piece of rice paper smooth side down, and while listening to music, began to move their hands across the paper. Occasionally I would give them prompts, i.e., draw with your eyes closed, with your eyes open, with your non-dominant hand, do a self- portrait . . . . , but basically, they just listened to the music of Steve Gordon's Drum Prayer, and made marks on pieces of paper, one after the other.

Sinatra, my six-toed cat, liked some of the Touch Drawings so much, she snuggled in and posed for a photo.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I Just Can't Help Myself . . .

Okay, I'm a grandma (nicknames: Bammie, BAM for short, and Whammie, depending upon which grandchild is calling), so occasionally I have to post about my grandkids (and this is the first time I've done it, I believe). Last week I kidnapped my 4-year old grandson, Jackson, and brought him home for a few days of play like only a Whammie and grandson can have. Of course, our activities eventually turned to art (you knew they would). Jackson loves tinkering with my Caran D' Ache watersoluble wax crayons. Wanna have some fun yourself? All you do is use the crayons to draw a design, then mist half of the picture with water, fold over the paper, and viola! a beautiful piece of art. Here is Jackson creating and displaying the lovely little piece he made for his Mama and Dada. (Oh, and you can never go wrong with a touch of glitter!)

Artist's Way Creative Clusters Begin

The first session of my 13-week Artist's Way Creative Clusters began last night. Six lovely ladies gathered, full of anticipation, excitement, and a tinge of anxiety. One of the ladies was taking my class for a second time, saying she needed a "refresher" on living creatively. I had met all of the women through previous workshops or retreats, except for one, who came with her friend. It was such an honor to have my Creative Cluster fill without having to do any outside advertising; it was all through word of mouth and a little self-promotion. In fact, I have five or six additional people who are interested in joining a Creative Cluster, so I have decided to add a spring cluster, which will begin the end of March and overlap for a couple of sessions with the current group (a different night). We'll see if that one takes off as easily as this one!

Friday, January 4, 2008


I remembered to head to a local scrapbook store this morning at 10 AM and am I ever glad I did. I joined the throngs of women who had the same idea, to look through the castoffs of other scrappers and artists. "Scrap Yard" is a three-day event at Scrapbook Fever. Scrap Yard allows whoever wants to get rid of their supplies to sell them at the store, but the seller sets the price and most prices are low, low low - think garage sale. I made off with three bags of stuff (I spent about $40) not to mention a few nifty organizers (those are still in my car). This pile of artsy, painterly blocks (with funny little alaphbet rubber stamps on one side of each block) was only 50 cents!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Alley Art Studio: New Year's Day 2008

Essentials and Influences

I was recently sitting in a coffee shop in Portland while Hubby was at a continuing education class. As I sipped my gingerbread soy latte, I gave myself the treat of reading through a fun and inspirational book by Lynne Perrella, An A-Z Creativity Guide for Collage and Book Artists. The last chapter of the book is entitled, "The Masters: Artists Workshops." In this section, each of the featured artists list their "Studio Essentials" and their "Influences." I grabbed my pen and started to jot down my own studio essentials and influences. Here is the list I came up with (and believe me, it was difficult to keep each list to only ten!)

Studio Essentials:

1. Acrylic paints

2. Paper, paper, paper

3. Books and dictionaries for cutting up

4. Caran D'ache water soluble crayons

5. iPod

6. Glitter

7. Old photographs

8. Embellishments galore, i.e., keys, game pieces, charms . . . .

9. Golden's Matte Medium

10. Doll parts


1. Julia Cameron

2. Anne Lamott

3. Joseph Cornell

4. Maurice Sendack

5. Peter H. Reynolds (author the the Dot and ish)

6. Gretchin Lair of Scarlet Star Studios

7. My four grandkids

8. Nick Bantock

9. The Beatles

10. Karen Willock