I had a no idea of the artsy Portland fun I would have by simply having a meeting at the Oregon College of Art and Craft. (OCAC). I have lived in Portland for over 20 years and never taken that left turn off of Barnes Road. Well that’s what I did today, and I found myself in a delightful open air cafe on this campus. When the meeting was over, I wandered. I wandered into the “Gallery Shop” where I was met by Curt Shaffstall, his official title being the “Gallery Shop Associate”. However, rumors tell stories he has been around for a long time and is now spending his time in the Gallery educating others in appreciation for fine art.
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8245 SW Barnes Road, Portland, OR
OCAC is one of the oldest Art schools in the nation. Founded in 1907, and only accredited in the past 20 years. Curt informed me that, “most art colleges focus primarily on film. OCAC also focuses on metals, painting, fibers, ceramics, woods, and book art.” As I looked around the Gallery Shop I was very impressed with the assortment of crafts. Curt also shared that, “85% of products in the Gallery are handmade by alumni and faculty.” I asked permission to snap some photos and take a few notes. As I stood at the counter jotting down the details of my conversation with Curt, I was greeted by MaryAnn Deffenbaugh. She is “Director of Public Programs.” We connected first on fashion, as she complimented my dress. I love how women can become fast friends over an amazing dress! MaryAnn shared her passions and stories of local artists who have taken a break from their day jobs to express themselves through art.
My first image is a collection of Hand Dipped Scarves. Judilee-Fitzhugh is an adjunct professor of fiber and textiles. Her knowledge was deepened while stationed in Japan serving with the Navy. Her interest in authentic fibers & dyes is now being appreciated many years later. I love the hues of blue in this collection.
Hilary Pfeifer creates wonderfully animated sculptures. She takes many of her designs and then writes them into a story. Her whimsy, fun, and artfully crafted sculptures brighten the spirits of this Portland girl’s crafty heart.
Shane Blitch is one of the evening teachers of ceramics. It was his hearty crafted mugs that caught my eye. I thought I might buy up these four polka dot mugs. Then I saw this next collection in primary and could not decide. His eye for color, placement, style and shape are what make his ceramics stand out.
Whoever ever thought felt could look so classy? “Moufelt” by Jeanie Lai thought so. Jeanie is an architect by trade, but steps into her craft and elegant designs by way of felt. With placements, trivets, and coasters, these art deco pieces with clean lines of design will look lovely when I go back and purchase some ceramic pieces.
Marco Polo Designs not only captured my eyes, but my pocketbook. I had to buy a piece that day. Each bead is hand made in Mirano, Italy and then shipped back to Portland where each piece of jewelry is designed.
I spent a good hour in the “Gallery Shop” and if you are like me, and love to support local Portland artists this is truly is a shop you will want to visit. A few steps down the hall is the Cafe that serves a beautiful lunch and coffee, too. I know for a fact that the chocolate cookies are something you will NOT want to share. I love Portland. I love the artsy fun of Portland. If you live in Portland and want to enjoy some artsy fun, give me a call and lets go together and explore the arts and crafts at the Oregon College of Art and Craft!