Crafty Holidays!

Crafty Wonderland's Pop Up Shop is now open for shopping! Hooray! I recently learned that the city of Portland's Downtown Marketing Initiative is behind Crafty's latest project. A handful of building owners, with vacant store fronts, have graciously allowed crafty persons of Portland to occupy and display local artists' work! Hooray for Portland and it's love of art and creativity.
Be sure to checkout my jewelry found on display all over the store!
Crafty Wonderland Pop Up Shop
802 SW 10th Avenue
(corner of SW Yamhill + 10th)
Portland, Oregon
10am – 6pm Monday through Saturday
12noon – 5pm Sunday
Extended hours after Thanksgiving

Mark down my upcoming shows and events!

Portland Saturday Market
Naito Parkway and Burnside on the Waterfront
Saturdays and Sundays until Christmas Eve's Day

Crafty Wonderland's Super Colossal Holiday Sale
The Portland Convention Center
December 11th & 12th 11am to 5pm

Handmade NW Holiday Artisan Show
The Acadian Ballroom
1829 NorthEast Alberta Street
December 19th 11am to 5pm

And you can always shop online! www.amiramednick.etsy.com



Art in the Burbs

Art in the Burbs turned out to be a successful and fun show! I sold a lot of jewelry, had some great conversations with customers, and met some amazing and interesting new artists with whom I hope to keep in touch! Shout out to some of my favorite designers/artists of the weekend:

James DeRosso

Stuart Breidenstein: www.breidensteindesign.com
Renee Hartig: http://studiohartig.blogspot.com/

Daria Knowles: velvetpumpkins.typepad.com


Gotta love Love and Knit

Circular Vest by Love and Knit on Etsy - one of my new favorite shops featuring hand knit chunky and whimsical cozy scarves, hats, shawls and more! Just beautiful!
Check out their Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/LoveandKnit?ref=seller_info


The inspiring Sarah Sze

Sarah Sze, one artist I was following a few years ago, who's work still strikes something inside of me. Light, air, movement, color, form, line, texture, space, chaos, organization, disorienting and coming to...
Today in my studio I uncovered an old 3 ring binder that I kept while in Art School. Inside were computer print outs, magazine images and articles, and sketches and notes of images and ideas that intrigued me. I feel that I have yet to address the intrigue that I felt back then, or, maybe that my intrigue was strong then and is still strong today. This is exciting to me, because, you see, I have a blank canvas, newly stretched, propped up against the wall of my studio! And, this fervent desire to paint! (smile)


A striking ETSY post!

I love browsing through the infinite creative abyss that is ETSY. So many ideas, artists, designers, crafters, creators, inventors, shoppers, resellers and collectors - it is a place one may easily spend countless hours drooling over colors, materials and original ideas!
I found the above posted image today and love its color, attitude and fun! Perhaps I have never seen such large earrings! Oh my, work it girl!


New Studio!

I recently moved to a new studio space within the Switchyard Studio Warehouse in Southeast Portland. I am no longer crouching over my knots and beads under lamps clamped to the top edge of the 5'8" walls built by the previous artist. Today I spent all day in the studio with not one lamp turned on. I felt peaceful sitting by the window in natural light, no longer feeling disconnected from the outside world.
The framed painting on the left of this photo montage is hanging on a wall Noah and I built. Well, we used the wooden easel made from 2' x 4's also built by the previous artist in my former space as the frame for the wall. We then bought more wood and a 4' x 8' sheet of drywall, which we cut into smaller sections and screwed onto the wooden frame. It was good practice for what might be an up and coming project - building a wall to close our space from the communal area. I share this space with another artist, a painter. Her space is in the background on the right of the picture.
After a full day in the studio, I feel worn out, but definitely fulfilled by my productivity. I have a three day holiday fair in about a month and the Portland Saturday Market.
Here are some photographs of some recent pieces.



Ring-a-ding-ding, honey!


Summer Styles

Hand painted and hand cut canvas circle earrings on sterling silver chain and ear wires. These earrings are lightweight, fun and fresh. Miniature paintings dangling from your earlobes!

I am currently working on some new canvas necklace designs. The necklace above is one of my favorites. Gypsy Style!
Delicate. Simple. Elegant. Mini canvas circles on antique brass with Calcite dangle attached with hand formed and filed sterling silver wire work. I am enjoying filing metal wire to create a more raw, matte and unfinished surface.

My goal this summer is to experiment a bit with my jewelry lines and paint. As soon as I wrote that sentence I thought, "two months off of teaching is not enough time!!!!!" But an artist has his or her entire life to work - its an ongoing living, breathing entity, an artist's body of work. I sometimes stress on time lines, deadlines, lines binding to time, but great work was never made in a day or two. Ongoing... Everything an artist sees affects his or her work. An artist is never not working.

I will be participating in some summer fairs, too! Of course, there is the Portland Saturday Market, and then I've got First Thursday in the Pearl July 1st, The Mississippi Street Fair July 10th, The Gresham Art Walk July 17th, First Thursday August 5th and The Hawthorne Street Fair August 15th. What a summer!
Hope to see some of you at one of these family friendly events!
Who loves the sun?!?!?! I do, I do!
Ciao for now!


I just love ripping fabric!

Beside my desk sits a large clear bin over flowing with scrap fabrics, a bin I have had my eye on since I moved into my studio. It's home was first under the desk closest to my easel and farthest from my main work surface. I then rediscovered it and moved it a bit closer, under the desk in the middle of the room. Once again, my eyes laid upon it and felt a need to bring it just a bit closer to me. I was not ready just yet to rip it apart! Until now! Oh, how much fun it is ripping fabric! And that raw frayed edge - ah, be still my heart!
You can twist one side for a subtle flow, or let them hang wild and light. Check back in to see some more soon!

My delight in making art for the ears, neck and wrist has crept its way up to my head - and yours! The first headbands in the AMiRA jewelry collection are here and going fast! Ripped canvas, Tibetan yarn, and antique brass chain with various stones and crystals dangling on the side. These funky head decorations may also been worn around the neck with the dangle at the side for some asymmetrical fun!


Clusters of Asymmetry

Here's a little unbalance for all you lovers of order! These pieces feature a single stone, dramatic and bold, yet dangling lightly with an asymmetrical cluster of canvas, leather and recycled vinyl hand cut leaves on an antique brass chain and sterling silver wire rings. I am very into the mixed metals right now, love the contrast of the old and weathered brass accented by the sparkling fancy silver. Just about ready to paint a new set of canvases of different colors and patterns. I'm thinking details; lines, honeycombs, contoured floral patterns and animal print! Also excited to incorporate more salvaged and hand-me-down fabrics I have acquired from my sister, a textile designer in NYC, and from one of my favorite places in the whole wide world (for real), SCRAP!


one shnazzy piece of razzle dazzle

I finished this custom order mixed media bracelet today. The request was for a feminine and whimsical piece in muted purples, pinks and grays. I am pleased with the result and am looking forward to using elements of this work in future pieces, like the rose quartz and crystal dangles resting on the greenish/gray feather adding a little bit of silly to the more serious macrame work. I think I just described myself!

I will soon be posting more photographs of recent work. Some more mixed media bracelets with zippers, felted wool, torn fabric, macrame, stones and canvas, and some fallen leaves macrame necklaces - one with rough cut pyrite stone - so funky!

Mailing out samples to the buyer at the Seattle Art Museum tomorrow.
Send positive thoughts my way please!



Custom Orders

This past weekend marked the beginning of my 2010 season as a vendor at the Portland Saturday Market. While the build up was an intense mix of stress and excitement, it felt good being back under my pop-up tent surrounded by new displays, new pieces, new faces and even some familiar ones.
On Sunday, after a slow period, as sells tend to occur in waves, I heard a very relieved voice, "Amira! I found you!" A returning customer all the way from Wisconsin, here in Portland visiting her brother, had been searching for me at the Market. She visited my booth last summer and had asked me to create a custom made pair of earrings. Well, she was very happy to see me and inform me of the loads of compliments she receives every time she wears those earrings. This time around, my devoted customer wanted to purchase a gift for her friend who had been expressing a deep craving for some of my jewelry! So, she bought a bracelet for said friend and ordered yet another custom order for herself. She particularly liked this one bracelet, but wanted a slightly different feel, something whimsical, feminine and in muted purple, pink or gray tones.

I have searched through my bottomless pit of materials and am now focusing in on this collection of treasures.

How will it turn out? You'll have to wait and see!


What inspires you?

The other night, as I was driving home, eager to start cooking dinner, tummy rumbling, ancy to relax, I pulled myself away from myself for just a moment and saw the sky. Oh man, what an amazing sky. I spent the next few minutes just barely keeping my eyes on the road in awe of this incredible world above me. Looking North, I saw subtle variations of blues mixed with purples, whites and grays. Looking East, those blues became richer and deeper, and towards the West, the sky was golden, brilliant and glowing. To the South exploded billowing clouds, rich in contrast, deep in pinks and blues and bright in whites, crisp edges and a striking illusion of depth. So, try keeping your eyes on the road with all this going on - I kept cursing the fact that I didn't bring along my camera. Fact: Always bring your camera wherever you go!
I finally reached our apartment. I parked and raced inside to get my camera. This is what I saw as I left my building.

The sky had already changed drastically from the moments before when I was driving home. But, I had to attempt documenting what I saw, or at least create a collection of images that allow me to remember the experience, even if they don't resemble the exact beauty I saw while driving. It was still an amazing sight at this time of day. The colors inspired me. The light inspired me. And when I say "inspired me", I mean they literally filled me with energy, a surge of excitement, an eagerness to be in it and to be moved by it.
This canvas circle necklace was created from a mix of inspirations. The soft blue/gray/purple/pinks of the sky and the mossy greens/whites of the forest influenced my color choice. I believe that everything we see, hear, touch, feel and smell stays with us. Whether or not there is a direct connection, they stay with us.


Harper's Magazine April 2010

One of the many benefits of having a studio space within a community of artists is that there are tons are art, social, fashion and other magazines lying around at my disposal. I came across this poem today in the April 2010 Harper's Magazine and it made me feel warmth. It was written by Jorge Luis Borges (1988 to 1986), an Argentine writer who's progressive blindness, according to some Scholars, helped him to create innovative literary symbols through imagination since "poets, like the blind, can see in the dark". Having lived in Buenos Aires, the city where he was born and spent most of his life, I feel very connected to his words. While reading his poem, I could see the narrow streets, the European influenced buildings decorated with authentic wrought iron balconies, artesanos in the ferias, plazas commemorating fallen Argentine Heros, brightly colored walls and incredibly rich and detailed graffitti, and, of course, the tango dancers in the street.

Sonnet For a Tango in The Twilight

Who was it that said it all in a homegrown tango
Whose drawn-out, lovely sweetness made me pause
Under some unassuming little balconies
In that leafy neighborhood that isn’t even yours?

All I know is that in its sorrow I saw a simple yard
Within whose earthen walls the whole sunset fit,
A place I’d glimpsed a few months ago in some slum,
And that I loved you more than ever, hearing it.

Caught in that music, I stayed there on the sidewalk
Facing the lonesome moon, the heart of the street,
In the relentless wind that came down driving the night.

That infinite tango pulled me toward everything.
Toward the fresh stars. Toward the chance of being a man.
And toward that clear memory my eyes keep seeking


materials, materials, oh how i love thee!

Everywhere I go, the hardware store, pharmacy, post office, on a hike, supermarket, you name it, I lose track of time. I end up wondering what I could create with whatever object my eyes have noticed. Ace Hardware is amazing! Chains, screws, electrical wire in tons of colors! Needless to say, it sometimes takes me close to an hour to run a 15 minute errand. Going to SCRAP, A School and Community Reuse Action Project in Portland, Oregon, is a trip never under 45 minutes in length. Leather, wood, yarn, donated clothing tags, styro-foam, TONS of fabric, old magazines - this place is a 7 days-a-week yard sale! (www.scrapaction.org)

I recently returned to Portland from the East Coast where I spent 7 days visiting with family and friends. I cannot tell you how much I loved and needed their hugs, kisses and talks. On the last day of my visit, I packed up the belonging I brought with me, and a few extra items, clothing, an old painting, and a purse. As I shoved these items into my backpack, I realized the purse I was bringing home was actually quite gross and that maybe I could use its components (buckles, straps, fasteners) to make something really cool. So, I grabbed some scissors and began cutting. In walks my brother, also frantically packing for his trip back to Switzerland, and gasps,"What are you doing?" I replied, "What. I can use these pieces to make jewelry!" He gave me that look. He knows me very well. What probably flashed through his mind was the time I "destroyed" his Bronx Zoo wallet only to put it back together with collaged imagery covered with clear packing tape (so cool), or maybe the time I cut his olive green cargo pants to make a cute mini skirt. He knows me very well.I love materials. While on the East Coast, I also made a trip to the Fashion District in New York City. My mother and I spent about an hour drooling over brilliant stones of varying color, shape and size. We went to Phoenix Beads on 37th between 5th and 6th Ave. I am eager to start working on some mixed media necklaces, earrings and bracelets. I envision delicate necklaces with chain, a few stones, and canvas cutout leaves or feathers. Whimsical and feminine. Very sexy. Also, some macrame circles with dangling stones and canvas.

This is what I do. I turn these little treasures into pieces that make sense to me. I'm not sure how I reach a finished piece. I do research what other artists are creating. And nature, fashion and the city influence me, as well. Often times I'll start with one idea and end with something entirely different. I don't always know what a piece needs. A button, a buckle, a bead. Some canvas, some leather, some fabric. A braid, a knot, a chain, a crystal! Variety is crucial. It is so important to play with materials. Get a sense of what you are working with and break down those fearful thoughts - "I'm gonna ruin it", "I' m gonna run out of material", "I don't know what I am doing" - these thoughts freeze you as an artist. You'll never get anywhere with these thoughts hanging around.
And get messy. My studio is usually covered with scraps of string, canvas, fabric, wire, etc. But this is what it's all about. Organized chaos. And sometimes just chaos!