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Bytesmiths

The Bytesmiths Editions Newsletter August 2002

Topics

Essay: Grief, Hope, Joy
And The Winner Is...
Downtime
Recent Exhibits
This Month
Future/Ongoing Events
Retired Images
Top Ten Titles

Essay: Grief, Hope, Joy

It strikes when you least expect it. You don't plan for it. Sometimes the real hurt comes months later. Sometimes, you're never quite the same.

She opens the tent on a sunny Sunday morning in a lovely, grassy park. Surrounding artisans are busy opening up their tents and getting ready to greet today's art festival patrons.

Something seems amiss. The tent isn't buttoned up quite the way she remembers doing it last night. The drape she had put over her hard work is wrinkeled and pulled back a bit.

"It must have been windy," he says, not noticing the lump forming in her throat, nor the tears forming in her eyes. As she pulls back the drape, her empty displays greet her with blank stares. A broken bracelet clasp skitters across the table. The loose jeweler's "U" pins scatter about, like dreams strewn to the wind by harsh reality. The scrawled words "MONEY IS EVIL" cruelly laugh out from the guest book, where blank paper was the day before.

It isn't crying, really. It is the wail of one who has lost a friend or close relative that first catches the other artisans' attention. They recognize the raw, inconsolable grief that comes from sudden, inexplicable loss, the despair that comes when deep faith -- in God, humanity, whatever -- is suddenly shattered. "How could they do this?" she sobs, over and over.

But life goes on, faith slowly restores. Although her artistic gems were gone, her internal gem could not withdraw from the gems around her. The other artisans and event staff take up a collection, purchase from her tiny remaining inventory, bring gifts of their art, hug her, cry with her.

They return two days later, and distribute flyers with photos of the stolen jewelry to the event organizers, police, pawn shops, and used clothing/accessory boutiques. It isn't much -- what can you really do? But taking action, any action, helps them feel less like victims. Perhaps it only prolongs the grieving process; perhaps it only builds false hope.

And so hope remains. The phone rings, he answers and tells her, "It's Phyllis." She hears, "It's Eugene," and rushes to the phone, only to discover it was not the Eugene Police, and there would be no news in this call, at least.

And so after nine days, when her cell phone rings in the supermarket check-out, she is unprepared. It's probably her mom or sister, calling about plans for tomorrow's trip.

"This is the Eugene Police. We caught him, trying to sell one of your pieces. It was recognized from the flyers you distributed. We think we've recovered much of your work."

How is it that despair and joy can sound so similar? The supermarket patrons stare at the crazy woman, jumping up and down, crying into the cell phone. They don't understand that it is as if her surrogate children had been found, after a forced separation.

To be continued...

We would like to thank the Art in the Vineyard staff, the Eugene Police Department, and most of all, our fellow artisans, for their tremendous outpouring of support during this trying time.


And The Winner Is...

Congratulations Kim Gales, you've won the free print drawing this month!

Kim is a talented mixed-media, paper, and watercolor artist whom Carol and I met through our work for Portland Open Studios. I remember her tireless efforts on the Executive Committee last year, along with the helpful offset printing expertise of her partner, Mike Poole.

Each newsletter, I give away a signed, open-edition opaque print in an acid-free mat, ready for framing, to a random email newsletter subscriber. (Winners are ineligible to win again for a year.)


Downtime

As if a major theft were not enough of a problem, my upstream Internet provider sent email after business hours on the day before a four-day holiday weekend to let me know that all my IP addresses were going to change the following Tuesday. This sort of change generally requires weeks of planning!

We had returned to Eugene on Tuesday to talk to police and event organizers and distribute flyers, and came home to find that we were completely off the Internet. Since I run my own DNS "name service" and host numerous websites, getting completely back was much more complicated than simply re-configuring computers. It was five days before things were working properly again.

If you were unable to reach Carol or I via email, or if you were unable to reach our websites or those of other artists I host, please accept my apology, and try again!

Do bad things happen in threes? I don't know, but I'm much too busy to waste energy wondering what will happen next. Let's hope "the othe shoe has dropped," and that the creature who dropped it only has two feet!


Recent Exhibits

  • July 4th, Fort Vancouver Historic Park, Vancouver, Washington. Jan was busy getting ready for the weekend, so Carol and Andie brough a sampling of smaller work, as well as Carol's jewelry, to the gathering preceding the area's most popular fireworks display.
  • July 5-7, Art in the Vineyard, Eugene, Oregon. Despite circumstances, we still like this festival, and look forward to exhibiting here again. The staff is wonderful, the variety of food is outstanding, and the public is knowledgeable and appreciative. But we will be pressing for improved security, which would assuage any taint that might have been cast on this event.
  • July 11, "Natural World" exhibit reception, Skylight Gallery, Clackamas, Oregon. This "First Thursday" style event was bumped to the second Thursday, due to the 4th holiday. It was fun having the participating artists together, as well as prominent arts supporters like Sherrie Cole-Kalar, Berdine Jordan, and Cheryl Snow.
  • This is a lovely exhibit space, and I hope that despite the "business hours" limitation, many of you will make it a habit to drop in when you're in the Clackamas Town Center area during the day. The exhibit rotates quarterly, and Carol will be showing off her fine beadwork there during the winter.

  • July 13-14, Sandy Mountain Festival, Sandy, Oregon. This is an unusual event, and hard to classify into a neat niche. As a free event, it attracts all sorts, including tough-looking bikers and energetic kids jostling breakables as they cut between booths, as well as a great number of wonderful people who really appreciate art.

    Meinig Park is a rolling, heavily wooded area. Sunlight and level ground -- two staples for my display -- are rare.

    During set-up, I grabbed a part of the crooked tent to lift, and a pole slid into a support, sucking a large part of the web of my left hand into the joint. I screamed in pain; we both paniced. Carol was running around, pulling on parts of the tent; I seriously considered getting out a pocket knife and cutting the web of my hand off!

    Now I know a bit about how an animal in a leg-hold trap feels. But we humans are supposed to be smarter than animals who gnaw their legs off to escape. "Calm down!" I said to myself as much as to Carol, "Come over here and pull this piece that way as hard as you can!"

    I was expecting to see raw hamburger when my hand was released, but luckily, it was only a deep, painful bruise and a large water blister. If bad things really do come in threes, we've now fulfilled our quota. I guess I'll try work gloves next time!

    In stark contrast to Art in the Vineyard, this festival had a strong and constant multi-jurisdictional police presense. We'd like to thank the police of Gresham, Tualatin, West Linn and other jurisdictions for assisting the Sandy Police and Clackamas Sherrif's officers -- we felt secure with you strolling with the crowd!

    We had decided to avoid shows that have carnival rides, but let this one (as well as Taste of Tacoma) dodge the bullet, primarily due to the excellent event staff.

  • July 19, Walk the Art Beat, Redmond, Oregon. This was a rather interesting experience. We thought we were going to have the entire lawn of the Chamber of Commerce to spread out in, but were suprised by the unexpected presense of an antique show on the CC grounds!

    However, that didn't stop up from enjoying the marimba music of "Hearing Voices" and talking to the many art lovers strolling the evening streets.

    Although the proceeds were barely enough to pay for the gas, I'll take any excuse to visit Central Oregon, and we did a lot of photography in Newberry Crater the following weekend that I hope to publish soon.

  • July 27-29, Art Splash, Tualatin, Oregon. The lovely Tualatin Commons provides a lakeshore setting for this unusual event. Unlike most outdoor festivals, where individual artisans set up their own booths, this one was under two large tents, with supplied fixtures, and with a central cashier handling all sales.

    Such organization is great for emerging artists, who haven't invested in canopies and display fixtures, and who don't have credit card processing ability, but those of us who regularly exhibit felt cramped by the format.

    They would not allow me to use the specialized fixtures I've developed for my work. I was only able to show about 1/10th of my work, and only had direct sunlight for an hour or so, and the inventory and check-out requirements were onerous and inaccurate, with eight inventory discrepancies at the end of the sale. Artists who are used to using the proceeds of one weekend to buy gas for the next weekend may have to wait up to 60 days to get paid for this festival's sales.

    While we think it's great to give newer artists a way to "get their feet wet," we hope that as this event grows, the organizers will consider letting artists (who are capable and have a special needs) manage their own booth space and sales.


This Month

  • July 3 through October 14, Skylight Gallery, Clackamas, Oregon. (free) Eight of Jan's large translucent prints are featured in the group show, titled "Natural World." Unfortunately, it is only open 9-5, Monday-Friday, but if you're in the Clackamas Town Center area during business hours, please stop in and have a look! See my Events link for more details, including a link to a map.
  • August 2-4, Homer Davenport Days, Silverton, Oregon. (free) This festival celebrates Silverton's favorite son, Homer Davenport, who was one of the best known political cantoonists of a century ago. Besides the best of the area's fine crafts, you'll also enjoy a chicken BBQ, a 10k fun run (walkers and families welcome), a parade, cartoon contest, and much more.
  • August 10-11, Coupeville Art Festival, Coupeville, Washington. (free) Enjoy the work of nearly 200 of the best artisans in the Pacific Northwest at the oldest arts festival in Washington.
  • August 14, Second Wednesday Beading Bee, West Linn, Oregon. (by invitation only) Carol Wagner teaches semi-private beading lessons in an informal setting. Contact Carol for information.
  • August 17-18, Silverton Fine Arts Festival, Silverton, Oregon. (free) This new festival, named Northwest Festivals Directory's "Best New Event" last year, includes music, art demonstrations, food court, beer & wine garden, and a children's activity center.
  • August 23-25, Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival, Vancouver, Washington. ($10 Fri, $15 Sat/Sun, $30/all) This festival features the best of regional and national musical acts, fine wine and food, and of course splendid arts and crafts.

    This is our second year at this festival. Last year, we were impressed with the quality of music, art, and management. Unlike many "this is the way we do things" festivals, Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival management seems to be responsive to artisan feedback, and we look forward to an even better experience than we had last year.

  • August 29, Last Thursday, near 12th & Alberta, Portland, Oregon. (free) We finally get a weekend off, so we're hoping to exhibit "on the street" this month, since we won't be furiously preparing for a festival!

(Our complete events schedule, with links to event websites and maps to event locations, can be seen on the Events page.


Future Events

This month brings the end of our outdoor season, but also brings the beginning of our classes and other indoor events.

  • EXHIBITS:
    • July 3 through October 14, Skylight Gallery, Clackamas, Oregon.
    • September 21-22, Village of Willamette Arts Festival, West Linn, Oregon.
    • October 12-13, Portland Open Studios, West Linn, Oregon.
    • November 23, Pacific Luthern University Yule Botique, Tacoma, Washington.
    • We also have been "sidewalk exhibiting" at "First Thursday" near NW Glisan & 13th and "Last Thursday" near NE Alberta and 12th -- look for the Van d'Art!
  • CLASSES:
    • October 1 (Tuesday evening): Digital Photography Overview (Jan): $8. Rosemont Ridge Middle School, West Linn, Oregon.
    • October 2 (Wednesday evening): Digital Photography Overview (Jan): $15, Canby High School, Canby, Oregon.
    • October 7, 14 (two Monday evenings): Beading 1 (Carol): Rosemont Ridge Middle School, West Linn, Oregon.
    • October 8, 15, 22, 29, November 5, 12, 19, 26 (eight Tuesday evenings): Art & Science of Photography (Jan): $60. Rosemont Ridge Middle School, West Linn, Oregon.
    • October 9, 16, 23, 30, November 6, 13, 20, December 4 (eight Wednesday evenings): Photoshop for Photographers (Jan): Canby High School, Canby, Oregon.
  • October 21, 28 (two Monday evenings): Beading 2 (Carol): Rosemont Ridge Middle School, West Linn, Oregon.
  • November 4, 18 (two Monday evenings): Beading 3 (Carol): Rosemont Ridge Middle School, West Linn, Oregon.
  • For Rosemont Ridge classes, contact West Linn/Wilsonville Community Education at 503.673.7190 to sign up.

    For Canby High School classes, contact Canby Community Education at 503.266.2086 to sign up.

    (Our complete events schedule, with links to events and maps to their locations, can be seen on the Events page.


    Retired Images

    I am excited to be putting some new images into production soon, including some new large format work and collage, from Central Oregon, the Columbia Gorge, and elsewhere.

    But maintaining an image in production is expensive -- not so much in dollars, but in the labor of maintaining inventory, re-packaging damaged shrink-wrap, promotion, web-site maintenance -- you get the picture.

    So to make room for new images, I'm announcing the early retirement of the following images:

    Bear Claw Shell
    Fisheye Driftwood
    Frozen Fungus
    Snakeweed and Pinnacles
    Surfwood
    Water Fall Leaves

    I will not be making any new prints of these images, and when my existing inventory is gone, there will be no more.

    If you have a limited edition print of one of these images, you will receive written notice from me that the edition is retired, along with notice of the actual number of limited edition prints distributed.

    If you want one of these images, you can't count on picking one up sometime in the future, so let me know now!


    Top Ten Titles

    Here is a list of my most popular images, based on sales of over 1100 prints to date in all media combined, from 25 cent postcards to huge, custom-sized framed prints of nearly $700.

    and the most popular image this month is:

    There are a few changes this month, including three ties, one of them four-way! Although "Sunrise Tree" remains a run-away favorite, many of the others are clustered in a fairly tight pack.

    Thanks to observant reader Ira Frankel, I've fixed the three links that were pointing to the wrong images. (Oops! :-)

    I've had problems keeping up with demand on some of these, selling out some popular ones. If you don't see the image you want at a show, email me, and I'll let you know when it's available again.

    Do you have a favorite image from my Top Ten Titles? Let me know what you like!


    Links


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