Buckman School Art Show

Dear Liza,

Well, you can tell it’s spring when the festivals start! With our damp, chilly weather, Portlanders sort of go hermit-y from New Year’s Day until mid-March. It just makes since. If it’s cold and nasty outside, and warm and cozy inside, I’m inside, thank you very much!

So, since it’s March, this past weekend was the Buckman School Art Show. This is a wonderful old-style school built in the 1920s, like so many schools here on the Eastside of Portland. It has an imposing brick facade, interior hallways, and a gymnasium high and wide enough to hold the whole school!

This art show featured work by both professional artists and students, and I enjoyed both. These hardware-store mosaics by Gretchen Wright were so much fun to look at! She used things that are normally stored in chaotic little drawers, like tacks, game pieces, and electronics bits, and made them fun to look at.

By Gretchen Wright

Ceramicist Erica Gibson’s work also caught my eye. Her peaceful but oddly disconnected faces seem to say, “Yes, my body has gone, but I’m cool with that…” They were very relaxed in a room full of parents and kids, a full-on Marimba performance, and the occasional pet dog.

Erica Gibson’s work

I found our friend Nicole Curcio, selling her lovely ceramics.

Then there was Flip Frisch, whose business name Flip and Scout. She takes photos of her daughter and uses them in collages. They were interesting, like an action comic hero’s family photos.

The student work for sale was fun to see, too. There were comic books by Ozwald Star, called “Captain Underpants and Donald Trump”, were the most controversially-minded. There were jewelry, coasters, and friendship bracelets, but what caught my eye was Charlie’s Origami.

oh, do these take me back!

These throwing stars and other pieces were done with such precision and color that they reminded me of Ethan Magauey, a third grader I taught years ago. He has grown into a fine young man. I hope Charlie has the same good fortune.

The art show was fun, but after my many years of school-oriented pandemonium, I could only be inside for a little while…. I don’t know if other retired teachers get “triggered” by rooms crowded with loud children, but I sure do! This is weird, because while I was teaching, my classroom could get quite loud and it didn’t bother me.

Maybe my nervous system finally said, “Enough, already!”


Grandma Judy

Mosaics in Portland

Dear Liza,

This will be a short post today. I have a story idea in my head that won’t let me think about much else. But I wanted to share something I have noticed about Portland ….mosaics.

You know I love mosaics. I make mosaics. I teach my students to make mosaics.

Student mosaics

A Mosaic in Progress

There is a lot of public art in Portland, statues, murals, and fountains for playing in. I have posted pictures of your cousins and Auntie Bridgett with statues of deer and lots of other public art. Even some of the buildings are like art. These are all public art, as in, paid for by public money. I respect this, and love it. I like that my tax money goes to make art that I enjoy.

Buckman School Mosaic in Public

The Calico Room Mosaic

The other kind of art that everyone can see is privately funded art that is in public. The Buckman School, in our neighborhood, decorated their retaining wall with mosaics made with donated tiles and dishes. The Calico Room restaurant in East Portland advertises with a wonderfully modern cat mosaic.

These are interesting, pretty pieces of art that we walk by all the time and get to enjoy. They help me see things differently. They inspire me to make my own art. I am grateful for the creative people who share their art with all of us.

“Tell them, dear, if eyes were made for seeing, then beauty is its own excuse for being.” Emerson


Grandma Judy