City of Roses, Little Beirut, P-Town, Stumptown, Bridgetown, Rip City, PDX...Portland!!!! I hate to say that I ‘ve never been to Portland. I did think about moving there a few times so I was thrilled to finally see what everyone was talking about and check out this place first hand.
It ends up an old friend/neighbor from NYClives in Portland, Rebecca, who was as excited as I was to be coming to her city. She showed me her Portlandia that included a nature hike somewhere beautiful, of course. We did have to drive through some traffic that I wasn’t excepting from this green hippy place but it turns out to be WAY more of city then I had even envisioned. But like all new experiences, let's roll!
-----With Rebecca hiking....Getting The Band Back Together!!-----
After taking in the endless beauty and blackberries from our hike we headed to one of Rebecca's local hang outs “Mad Hanna’s”. I instantly fell for the dive bar feel that was spewing from the bar, then I became smitten with the delicious cocktails and then it was luv, after I met the plethora of diverse characters....ahhhh....Rebecca has such great taste!!!
I met a badass taxi driver talking about how Uber wants to shove them out while playing on an unleveled field (won’t get into it but wow very interesting). There was Ian, a musician with The Lonesome Valley Pussyfooters (country, bluegrass band...yes please!) and fellow adventurer. He just got back from hitch hiking to/from the Grand Canyon and is really longing to go rail riding. Ryan who helped start City Bikes Coop, a community bike shop and he also let me park Jones on his property for two nites AND he let me use his shower. He even left out a towel for me, so amazingly kind!
The next day I was starting to feel a little like a local, which helps fuel my exploration and silent my shyness. Time to check out the arts in the city. Portland, What ya got???
I googled arts area of Portland and Alberta Street came up. So I drove there, parked the car and took to the street with India. There were coffee shops, pet shops, boutiques, food trucks, food trucks, food trucks, a mini hotel (where you could stay the night in a space a bit bigger than Jones for $145 a night, wow!) and a ton more cool places.
Right off this street, in a little bit of a sketchier spot or the perfect place for an artist to really live and afford a space, was where I met up with Catherine Chandler, a jeweler and artist.
-----Outside of Catherine's Studio------
When I arrived at her apartment (which was super cute and had two bikes in the living room, yeah, she’s cool) Catherine told me that a professor at her old school owned the building and wanted artists to live there. He had converted the garages into workshops and didn’t jack up the rent so they were affordable. He wants a place for artists to live/work and not have to struggle. Well that’s at least what I got from our conversation!! HELL YEAH!!
We walked down to her studio and it was small but perfect. The walls were painted white, she had a workbench, a table to work at, a solder station and a few shelves. It looked to be the perfect little studio filled with many more tools than I have!! Jealous, are you….nnahhhh…okay….a bit. Catherine showed me around and I was taken with her work. Her materials ranges from brass to silver to fibers to much more and she has true craftsmanship. Her technique and attention to detail are spot damn on!
As we chatted about the area, the jewelry biz, what we are doing we totally hit it off. It ends up Catherine lived out of her car…maybe jeep…for about 6 months. I knew we were kindred spirits. She also is part of Co:Operation Garnish, as am I!!!!
We also talked about making what we love and doing what we love. This was becoming one of those moments from the road. Those moments when you connect with someone you have never met, know nothing about, from two different works, only connect is jewelry or bikes yet we have so much in common with many of the same values and points of views to boot. Awesome!!!
My visit to Portland was a short one which I will always cherish. It showed me how strangers are willing to open up their homes, studios and hearts to share just a bit of them with a bit of you.
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