Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wendy Westerwelle and Renata Dollinger

Great news!
Triangle Productions will produce the one-woman play ROSE starring Wendy Westerwelle at the COHO theater here in Portland, April 1-25.
Jewish Arts Month (JAM) is proud to support this effort.
But wait, it gets better!
 Renata Dollinger will display her work in the lobby of COHO and she will also
join ORA artists at the Elements Gallery March 3-?.
Renata is an amazing artist , now well into her 80s. She paints vibrant pictures of shtetl life.
She has retired to Bothell Washington but is willing to bring her newest oil paintings to Portland where her fan base is extensive.
Look out Portland! The art scene is going to meet a powerful group of Jewish artists!

Monday, December 28, 2009


It's official! JAM is coming to PDX.
Jewish Arts month is actually about 10 weeks long. Our web page will go up shortly.

This project is supported in part by a grant from the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal Agency.

We need donations to help fund this project. If you can help, please send a donation to the Jewish Community Center  5561 SW Capitol Hwy Portland Oregon attn: Beth Germain and be sure to say it's for JAM!!!!! This is a tax deductible gift!

THREE....yes 3 theaters will perform Jewish-themed plays. The Chosen, KinderTransport, and ROSE.
(More info later!)

Elements Glass will host ORA Northwest Jewish artists for a two week show.

Musicians will perform concerts in a variety of genre.

poetry slam

Drash Magazine presents Oregon Jewish Writers

Joanne Greenberg (author of I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN) will adult storytelling.

and the list goes on........and on!  stay tuned......nothing like this has been attempted (that we know of)!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mizrach: facing east

In hebrew mizrach means east. It is a tradition in some households to mark the eastern wall of their house with some decorative element bearing this hebrew word. We face east when we pray, directing our energy toward Jerusalem.

I wanted to create a vessel. Something that could be wall mounted or dsiplayed on a tabletop. Something that incorporated the idea of a mizrach but would carry meditative prayers. I developed a prototype that I am pleased with. It's a little busy but I know how to proceed with the "real deal." In the mean time, I can use this Mizrach for my personal meditation practice....after all, practice is what this is all about!

This plate is asymmetrical and has two copper foil hands (chamsahs) fused between the layers of glass. The back is textured in a herringbone pattern which adds an unexpected warmth to the piece. I don't know if you can see it in the picture.

Gold ink was applied to the fingers. Each finger on one hand carries a hebrew meditation while the opposite hand carries the translations.  The shiny hebrew letters spell the word mizrach in dichroic glass.

I had a wonderful meditative session with it yesterday; filling the dish with water and floating candles.
I focused on shiviti and was able to clear the junk out of my head. Shabbat is almost here and I look forward to meditating with a second verse.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I am pleased to participate again in the annual Chair Affair fund raiser for the Community Warehouse.

I picked up a large round piece of tempered glass....a table top at the warehouse a couple of weeks ago and this evening I went to IKEA to pick up some inexpensive legs.

Now comes the challenge..... designing an elegant table that will attract the attention of wealthy bidders willing to plunk down some big dollars for a most worthy cause.

The picture I have included is actually of a similar table top....being sold  on the web for $200!
(no legs, no chairs, no design elements)

Stay tuned......!
See full size image

Sunday, November 15, 2009

At SAM....Seattle Art Museum

A glorious morning was spent at SAM.

There were two highlights (ok...three!)

1. A large glass case with lots and lots of beautiful coldworked glass....AND, calling my name was.... a stunning piece by Toots Zynski. If you've never seen her work, I recommend you visit this youtube site. Slender glass stingers (finer than raw angel hair pasta!)  fused together, then slumped. Fragile in appearance, the vessel is thicker than I would have guessed. Attractive from a distance...but up close, her work is absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful. ....sigh!
2. Alexander Calder. I was especially touched to see his portrait on display, taken by none other than Arnold Newman. Arnold Newman, of blessed memory was an amazing photographer and this portrait spoke volumes about Calder. As the mobiles gently moved, they cast ever-changing shadows on the walls.

3. A room featuring BEADS!!!!! I don't want to get started on my usual rant about how the Arts World has  seen fit to segregate "fine art" from "fine crafts". Fortunately SAM doesn't engage in that kind of thinking.
The bead exhibit was lovely and elevated the status of beads and bead making to its rightful place.

Sadly, it was time to go home so I didn't have time to visit the Michaelangelo exhibit.....but then, I have been to the Sistene Chapel. On display were a handful of drawings that somehow escaped going up in smoke. Apparently, he burned most of his drawings !

I will say that art is clearly in the eye of the beholder. There were pieces I wouldn't display in my garage and astonishing works that provoke humility and awe. What a gift to spend a few hours with such pieces!

Oh, the Calder piece below is small enough to rest on the palm of your hand! Thank you google images.
I hope it's not a copyrighted image...I just want y'all to know what I'm talking about!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Making the Jam!

Stay tuned.......We'll be jammin' soon!

It looks like more meetings are in my future. JAM- jewish Arts Month, was recently described as "an ambitious project" by a member of the Oregon Arts Commission grants jury panel.

We have more ideas than a month can accommodate but we have numerous organizations involved and lots of good people pitching in to help.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


setting up for the show

thanks Sabina for sending me this shot!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The set up

Celebration of Art 2009 was a whirlwind of activity....set up to take down was precisely that.
I managed to snap off a picture of my booth before it was set up but of course was so busy doing other things (customer service, talking, more talking) that I never remembered to snap off some additional pix.
Hopefully someone else in the group did!

We had a great crowd of customers and it was so nice to see such a festive mood. Lots of hugging, laughter and talk! Some artists had better sales than others....the economy is an easy scapegoat. I felt good about my sales and even picked up a few commissions.

Some folks were new to fused glass so I had a lot of fun talking about the process.

And now, it's time to stop procrastinating....gotta put away everything and really finish the studio organization (again!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back By Popular Demand!

I have had several requests to bring back my Lamed- with heart plate.
The lamed is a hebrew letter- its name forms the root word for learning.
As a teacher, I am an advocate for life-long learning.
The lamed is made from copper foil and is embedded between turquoise iridized glass and clear.
The heart is a fused piece of hot pink striker glass with a second dichro heart.
I am smitten with the shape of the plate. It's called origami and it folds in interesting and asymmetrical shapes. The person who buys it will get a handout with information about the mystical meaning behind the letter!
Come see me at the J this Sunday for Celebration of Art '09!...specific address and times listed just a couple of posts below.

Learning to draw

Thanks to the folks in my critique group, Esther and I enrolled in a PCC class called:
SO you think you can't draw!
We meet for two hours weekly and although I can't claim any talent for drawing I can say with certainty that I am learning how to see and my drawings aren't mysterious marks on paper...they actually bear a resemblance to the objects I see before me. I am gaining confidence and am hopeful that I will eventually be able to apply my new skills to my glass work.

If you are interested in  my instructor's contact it is!
Jill Jeffers Goodell
Monthly Newsletter:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Just playing around!

Monday, October 19, 2009

And The Sea Parted

This is my latest seder plate. Beautiful glass from Bullseye. Very little embellishment because the glass says it all.
The dichroic letters say Pesach (Passover in hebrew.) The six side dishes can nestle in on the plate or stand separately.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


In German Yahrzeit/Yiddish translates to "year time" or "time of year." It is the time we light a candle and memorialize those in our immediate family who have died. During Yom Kippur and again on Shemini Atzeret we have Yizkor which means "to remember."

Remembering my Mom and Dad, I continue to work on my yahrzeit candle bridges. This newest style involves using a kemper pen and gold ink to write phrases from the yizkor service. I plan to have several on hand at the show next Sunday (MJCC, Oct 25 10:30-4:30)

Dad's yahrzeit is only a week away. I miss them both.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Celebration of Art 2009!

October 25th at the Jewish Community Center 10:30-4:30!

lot's of amazing art.....some judaica, some not!

Come see the product of my labor with my new tools....
I promise to dress nicer that I appear in my picture!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

JAM is coming to Portland!

There's a reason I haven't been posting....I've been busy!

JAM stands for Jewish Arts Month. With the grant writing talents of Helen Gundlach of the MJCC, we have been crafting a proposal to recognize the Jewish Arts in Portland....visual, music, theater, film, writing....(still working on a dance component)

Yes there are Jews in OH-ree-gone...
and they will make an artistic plash this spring.

stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

One of my new toys.....

ok, it's still in the box! I put together the simple stand to hold it, but the saw is too heavy to pull out of the box. It's an MK 370..... loud and strong!
Help arrives tomorrow.
I'll unpack toy #2 when I get a table for it (tomorrow, I HOPE!) and then I'll get to play (I mean work!) Lots of glass pattern bars waiting to be sliced, and lots of finished work in need of a final polishing.

The biggest challenge ahead of me is trying to figure out where to put both toys. They both require water- which translates to EVERYTHING IN A RADIUS OF SEVERAL FEET GETS VERY, VERY WET. I wear a very attractive rubber apron and goggles, a respirator and ear muffs with the saw.
Maybe the garage? or toys?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


TODAY new toys arrived...piece by piece!
First came saw blades, followed by diamond embedded steel lap wheel disks, followed by a new wet tile saw and a table for the saw.

It was such a busy day that all the toys remain in their cartons, untouched.
What to unpack first??????
Pictures tomorrow....I promise!

Thank you Patty Gray for teaching such an inspiring workshop in Eugene in July.
I worked hard and learned soooo much. I screwed up the courage to invest in my passion for glass. These tools will allow me to create more professional pieces of work. I am psyched!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dr. Thomas Bowery Takes It To A New Level

Sarasota Florida is host to numerous retirement communities. My in-laws live in a beautiful spot called Glenridge. On a recent visit, my husband and I toured the Glenridge campus with a special stop at the apartment of Dr. Thomas Bowery. Dr. Bowery has created one of the most unique living environments I have ever seen.

This gentleman is passionate about glass and japanese gardens. His apartment contains THREE japanese gardens and the rest of his immaculate home is studded with glass fountains, wall mounted fused glass and show cases filled with cast and blown glass. Aside from a twin bed, there was no furniture...just art!

My photos don't do his space justice, but here is a small sample.
His home is filled with color and light and joy. Who could ask for anything more?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Making Progress!

The studio is coming along, although the organizing of it has taken longer than I would have imagined.

I have moved shelving and racks back and forth and repositioned things like my frit and stringer collection. Taking off closet doors helped a lot. The desk was cleared once but is full, yet again....sigh!

I picked up some rubbermaid shoe boxes and this week I'll be packing and labeling various jewelry components. Sunday is kiln rehab day. After 2.5 hrs of Bar/bat Mitzvah tutoring, I will relax by vacuuming out the kilns and doing shelf maintenance.

A new commission as well as an order for a yahrzeit candle bridge purchased at the P'nei Or auction are awaiting my attention. But first, more studio work and then there's the Bullseye sale starting Tuesday. I will use restraint and only buy what I really, really need! Everything that comes into my studio must have a home! Those are my two new mantras.....only buy what I need and everything must have a home! If only saying this made it so!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Fused Glass Judaica coming glass studio is a wreck. I have ignored order and it bit back!
So, I am creating new homes (with labels) for everything.
Today I cleared off my desk, set up a new case for full sheets of glass and stored all my frit.
Tomorrow I rehab the closet and Friday I tackle my work table.

A week from now I will be ready to start rehabbing the kilns.

In mid July I will go to the Eugene School of Glass to take a 5-day intensive with Patty Gray.
I am excited to learn some new skills and develop some new design ideas.

Thanks for visiting and stay tuned. I'll try to post in mid July during my class.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Seder Plate for OJM

The Oregon Jewish Museum in Portland will be hosting another fund raising auction in May. This is the new seder plate I made for that event. The glass is remarkable and a new experiment for me. The base is a new reactive glass made by bullseye glass. It is a clear iridized reactive glass. That means that when it comes in contact with copper, gold or silver it will cause an interesting reaction. 

I used copper foil to make the letters and decorated the plate with turquoise frit and stringer. The reaction was neat....turned the glass a speckled red in places and cast a reddish shadow in others. Unfortunately the photo doesn't show the reaction as well as I'd like.

The back of the plate is textured offering the plate a depth color (even though the plate is transparent). Six condiment dishes come with the plate. It's called Reactivity and Wandering. We were a reactive people as we wandered the desert trying to learn how to be Jews. There were spiritual and physical highs and lows. This plate brings a reminder to the seder table of our struggles and our successes.

Please come out and support OJM Sunday May 3rd. 
Check them out at

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Looking for just the right chair for this project, I realised that there are just so many chairs a person might buy. Why not create an un-chair for those who don't need one more chair in their home. I hate to iron so the idea of a wrinkle-free tablecloth held great appeal....and the Chair-i-table was born!

Glass top and glass shelf adorn this stool turned table. (See the before photo below)

It drew some interest at First Thursday at the Gallery. Let's see what happens at the Chair Affair Auction on April 23rd.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My Chair Affair Project

The Community Warehouse was kind enough to invite me to create a chair project for their annual Chair Affair. This is an auction that features rehabbed chairs. The proceeds go to support needy families in Portland.

I combed through the selection of old chairs at the warehouse looking for a chair that would speak to me. This sad little stool was once someone's precious craft project. It was painted green with white speckles....OY!

What would you do with it?

I'll share my "after" picture tomorrow!

Friday, February 27, 2009


March 16-20 ORA: Northwest Jewish Artists will exhibit some of our works in the Mittleman Jewish Community Center Lobby! I'll have a few pieces of glass on display.
Admission is free.

We're very grateful to  the MJCC for providing us with this space. The "J" is the living room for the Portland Jewish Community.

Come see us, grab a nosch at the deli and consider the question: "What is Jewish art?"

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Yizkor candle bridge

Here's a candle bridge style yizkor candle holder i made to honor my parents. 
Last Tuesday would have been my father's 100th birthday.

I've made a few other designs and am open to custom orders.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Going to Oslo!

A few weeks ago, Rabbi Leila Berner came to town. We spent shabbat together and I learned about some of the amazing projects she's working on. 

On her trip out west she successfully raised funds to purchase a Torah to be sent to Oslo, Norway where a small Jewish community has been making due without a Torah of their own.

The purchased Torah is actually a "rescued" Torah that was repaired by a sofer in Maryland!
A number of Torahs were hidden away during the holocaust to protect them from the Nazis. Several of these Torahs have been discovered and lovingly repaired. 

Rabbi Leila saw my Shemot themed Torah Adornment or Breastplate and asked to purchase it as an accompaniment to the Oslo Torah.

This is an honor beyond words. My father was a holocasut survivor and he spoke occasionally of his efforts to hide a Torah. In Pirke Avot we read: "You are not required to complete the task but you are also not free to withdraw from it." My father understood that. He couldn't complete the rescue of his Torah but he did teach me Torah. 

The Breastplate is made with a deep purple background. I cut the shape of two tablets representing the ten commandments...and then I smashed them with a hammer! 

The pieces were re-assembled and tack-fused them to the surface. Hebrew letters form the words "na-aseh v'nish-mah";  "We will do and then we will understand."  

When light shifts in the room, the dichroic glass changes colors. Looking at the fused shards of glass one should contemplate the story of the tablets. Moses broke the stone, but he did not break the laws he was given. We were a broken people and his duty was to reassemble us; gather us together and bind us to our covenant with Hashem. Even though the first set of tablets were broken, they were carried with us as we continued our journey through the dessert.

Na-aseh v'nishma.... often we have to practice a lifestyle in order to understand what we are doing. The small Jewish community in Oslo is new and when they receive their first Torah they too will begin a new relationship with God's words. They will do...and they will come to understand.