Rekoj at First Thursday Arts Walk

Seattle Etsy Street Team, ETSYRAIN Kick off the Holidays Show!

I'm super excited - not only will it be my first time participating in a 1st Thursday Arts Walk (instead of just wandering around taking it all in) but I'll also get to hang out with all of these lovelies - many of which I find super inspiring just to talk with!

The show isn't until Thursday, but I'll be heading over to set up tonight. Good thing I'm feeling much better finally - because this really is a kick off of the holidays for me -- I got LOTS of work to do!


Yachats OR Bust

If you get a chance to go to Yachats, Oregon then by all means - go!
It is in all honesty one of my favorite places on earth. In fact I even blogged about it here before.
One part sandy beach and one part perfect NW coast tide pools and all parts a chill, relaxed town.
And if you can manage to make it there during a negative time then feel truly blessed. I saw way more sea life and tide pools than on any other previous trip. The tide was out so far that we could actually walk out past the rocks!
This first picture is the view from the house we stayed in. Luscious!
And here is a lovely little cluster of barnacles and starfish:
And with a turn to my right more rich tide pool action!
All in all a lovely trip, despite the sickbug that I had caught. Which still hasn't entirely gone away - probably because I was having so much fun this weekend the bug wanted to stick around. Can't have that so off to an early bed with me!
I'll leave you for the evening with this gorgeous sunset and in the distance is my boyfriend doing what he does best: goofin.
Hugs, cheers and welcome back all!


currently on the studio table...

Sitting strewn among the various projects are some little bottles of nyquil, some vapor rub, some Airborne and a bunch of vitamins.
Yep indeed... much as I was oh such a good girl trying to fight it off with early bedtimes, lots of water and good food I still managed to come down with the sickie bug that's been going round.
And I'm supposed to be leaving tonight on a weekend trip to the Oregon coast. At least I'm not the one driving. And the coast will look just as pretty from inside the house in my pajamas right?
So in summary, excuse my little absence this week. Fate willing I'll be back up and posting lovelies in no time.
And yes, there in the background on the studio table is the source material from the previous post's drawing - it's the album cover of Resist by kosheen. Lovely lovely natural history photos in that album's booklet.
Okay. Back to bed with me!


Elk Spirit Circa Milepost 42

Throughout my past I have had many attempts at keeping a sketch journal.
I’m often not very consistent with it. But it isn’t because I don’t enjoy drawing and sketching. Lately it is because I’m drawing all the time for the Rekoj line – drawing on clothing, bags, check book covers, cuff bracelets and pendants! So my drawings rarely make it into my sketchbook these days.
But before Rekoj, my sketchbook would be filled with words and quotes instead of drawings because I was often too excited to make a sketch – I would just jump right into the “real” work. The work that was to be big and finished and whole. My sketchbook would house the catalog of experiences and ideas that brought me to the art of it all.
And it still works that way.

But for quite some time, I’ve tried and tried to integrate actual sketches and drawings in there just for the pleasure of seeing the lines peek out from the words as I flip through the pages.

My last reiteration of an attempt was by marking a series of pages as drawing pages. I couldn’t touch that particular page with words until I had drawn at least something on it first. It worked for a time… until I would get busy and then just skip ahead to write down a snatch of something with the intention of coming back and adding a drawing later but more often than not I would forget – until I was next flipping through the pages and came across I white gaping hole of a blank page.

So over this past weekend I developed a new strategy which coexists with a previously budding and brewing idea for a new series. The elk illustration posted here is what I hope will be the first in a long line of play.
The black line drawings will be taken as scanned jpeg files from my sketchbook. Which I will then import into Photoshop to integrate the backgrounds. Which means that the only “original” of this future line of prints will exist solely for me in sketch.
I have yet to fully understand why I love this idea so much. I never really expected to see myself as a digital artist. I love doing things the "old fashioned" way too much to be exclusively digital.
But this budding and brewing series idea I've had for some time? The realization came in the fact that digital is perfect! For some of it anyways. I'm eager to see where it takes me.
In the meantime, does anyone out there have any suggestions at all on where/how to make good digital prints?


Studio Time

My oh my did this week go by fast!
I'm looking forward to the weekend though when I will have almost an entire day devoted to studio play time. No set task to accomplish, no merchandise to package and no impending show to prep for. Just me and an open studio table, some blank canvas and about 6 months worth of pent up ideas.
Here to the left is an old commission I did for my friend Jeff. Couple years ago while standing in front of the Victrola coffee shop he asked "Could you paint me a portrait of a lady pirate? Ching Shih was a super cool one." So I researched Ching Shih and ended up painting 6 of these foot square portraits -- which really look nothing like her but I sure did have fun.


Crafty Wonderland Debriefing

As my previous blog post indicated, I spent this past weekend in Portland Oregon to attend the Crafty Wonderland show and see family. Overall it was the kind of weekend where I tried to cram too much into too short of an amount of time that come Sunday night I ended up feeling like I didn’t really fully do anything!
Except for fully sitting in a fully closed in basement on a fully GORGEOUS sunny fall NW day ALL day Sunday…
Much as I loved the show, met tons of great crafters and left with inspiration in my heart, I really just wanted to be outside walking around in Portland – not sitting down in a basement.

It was rough.
I did get to walk and play in the leaves with the family dog the day prior so I really shouldn’t complain. But it was SO lovely and the intensity of the colors filled my heart such to the brim that it really felt a shame to have to leave the leaves.

The Crafty Wonderland show is really a GREAT show though. It is held in so much better space than I Heart Rummage. (Did I mention yet that I fell in love with the Doug Fir Lounge? I ate all 3 meals there on Sunday!) It really shows how much more thought and time and effort that the Crafty Wonderland organizers put into the event. All of the craft items were really well placed in context with each other and if you attend one month you aren’t allowed to return until the 2nd month following. They trade artists off every other month to rotate variety and give more people a chance. And the place was packed – it was obvious that the show has quite a following with Portland shoppers.

So the question I am now stuck asking is --- why didn’t I sell a single thing?
I wasn’t in the best of spots – the organizers put me in a spot meant for a table top and I had my 6 foot tall display screen. It made for an awkward space that people didn’t want to linger in. Not to mention that the height of my screen was directly blocking the spotlight I was supposed to have. So it was dark and awkward. For a while I thought that perhaps my prices were too high for Portland – but then when I had a chance to look around at other crafter’s merchandise and prices mine was actually cheaper than most, and different than anyone else’s.
I’m trying really really hard to not get discouraged. I almost didn’t want to admit here that I had a bad show. I’m afraid that if you all know then “word” will get out ---“She wasn’t cool enough for Portland so I won’t buy from her either” kind of mentality? But if I’m going to keep going with Rekoj at all then I can’t linger in those thoughts too long. Everyone has off days. You can’t have a great show every time. And I really was in a tough spot. At least that is what I’m going to keep telling myself.

For now I’m going to try to bounce back into Etsy. I’ve been making little changes and improvements to the shop the past few weeks so now it’s time to start doing the daily lunch break updates again. I’ve been doing my updates in the evenings but I don’t think that is the highest traffic time. Oddly enough – everyone is shopping at work these days I guess!

I’m also going to be working on some paintings in the following month. With all of the shows lined up one after the other since summer I’ve been neglecting that other side of my muse. Now it’s finally her time to play.


Going Down South

Day after tomorrow will find me back "home".
I actually have 3 "homes" I could potentially be referring to any given time you hear me say "I'm heading home". Currently, the home longest in the running is the ever expanding Vancouver, WA where I attended high school and my parents still reside. Though second place Olympia is catching up to it.

The teenage "cool places to hang" that hold the most nostalgia for me (surprise upon surprise) but hardly NONE of those cool places were in Vancouver. Most were found within the city limits of Portland, OR.

Some of youthful Rekoj's favorite spots were and still remain:

Anna Bananas Coffeshop

Powells Bookstore (best on a NW rainy day)

The Roxy (though no longer the same)

The Church of Elvis (currently struggling - go buy their stuff!)

Twist (I SWORE that someday I would have Twist dining set)


Uretech (was always the second part of an afternoon to Powells)

Hawthorne District (first "city" neighborhood I ever fell in love with)

And so many more. These are my "old school" spots of Portland. Things have been changing these days in Portland. What used to be more rough around the edges is being softened by a mass epidemic of knitted cozies, coffee shop communities and gentrified neighborhoods. It seems that even the puddles attend a weekly stitch and bitch.
In summary, Portland now has the kind of artistic support network that I left home looking for all those years ago.

Would my life be different if I had stayed and attended school in Oregon? No doubt. Could I really look back and say I'd change things now if I could? Nope.

Yes indeed Portland is established and hip and cool and filled to the brim with artists of success. Seattle is trying, but it just ain't there yet.
But it is kinda exciting to be a part of the ground level of getting it there.

At least that is how I feel right now. We'll see if I'm still singing the same tune after this Sunday's Crafty Wonderland show at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland.
Monday mornin's blog post could find me humming up a moving van?
Not too likely but dreaming sure is fun ; )



Originally uploaded by Rekoj Design

Ah the joys of an artist in an office - post-it note sketches! This paticular sketch is of a custom order I have for someone's birthday. Shhhh! Don't tell!
This will be my second commission in a month and I'm coming to realize just how much I love doing them. I get to make a piece of art special for someone that they will love ....Well, we hope anyways =)

I'll post pictures of the final product after the aforementioned birthday. In the meantime, this has reminded me to upload the pictures of the custom bag I made ages ago. Obviously I am in need of more post-its to remind myself of such things.


Photo Shoot Sucess

Originally uploaded by Rekoj Design

Much fussing, cussing, box cutting, paper tearing, lamp shade scorching, battery draining hours later, Rekoj FINALLY has some worthy pictures of her infamous wood burned pendants.
I'm absolutely THRILLED with how well they (eventually) turned out and I can't wait to start listing them in the shop . Some folk may be disturbed by the excessive use of cow skull, but me - well - I love it. Rekoj has a pretty long term connection with cow skulls. In fact, it was with cow skull line drawings that got me started into the Rekoj style anyways. I even have a commemorative "coming of age" as an artist tattoo of you guessed it - a cow skull.
This cow skull that will soon play a major role in my etsy shop is completely vegan however - no cows were harmed in the acquisition of this skull because tis ceramic. Yippee!

I'm pretty well tuckered from the whole process - took 5-6 pictures each of 20 pendants total. I've got about 60 more to go but I figured I would get 20 of favorites listed at least. I'll be using the Etsy spacing out trick of only listing 1 or 2 a day though. You can check out the whole lot on my Flickr page - if you're interested in one before it's up in the shop just shoot me an email.

In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts on my friend the skull. A minor poll if you will - Is using a skull in every shot to display my jewelry overbearing and creepy -- or will it finally give my etsy pics a consistency I've so longed for?


Donation to DIFFA

I've got four Rekoj Men's shirts all packed up and ready to go to the silent auction for DIFFA. My involvement in this is very last minute - I didn't really know about it at all until last week when the girls at the Urban Fashion Network put out a plea through the email begging for Men's items.
I had just one Rekoj Men's button down shirt left - a piece called "Flock" with seagulls floating up one side. In the process of saying I would donate "Flock" I decided why not donate a few more?

I had a small stockpile of discarded men's button downs just waiting to be painted... I had a free evening and it was for a good cause so I went for it.

I painted three "new" shirts:
Autumn Leaves

A few hours of my time doing something I love to do anyways and it will help people living with Aids?

So if you happen to be attending this oh so hip and fashionable Party at the Mansion, be sure and say hello to these 4 Rekoj shirts - they'll be having a blast and living it up like they belong amongst the finery!


Today's Inspiration: Stella Im Hultberg

I am so completely in LOVE. These peices of lovely gorgeousness were created by Stella Im Hultberg - who just had a show at one of my favorite galleries and I didn't even know about it until now. I'm going to go by a.s.a.p. to see if by chance, the show is still up.
I can barely contain how inspired I am by seeing her work. I can only imagine how wonderful they would be in person. On Stella's blog she has added a post about her show at RoqlaRue with some very beautiful pictures. I am floored by all of them but if I had to pick a favorite it would be "Nothing Remains" - of course I'm a sucker for crow imagery. She lists it as being tea stained paper with oil and ink. But I know that there has to be some magic in there.


DPD Jungle

An unexpected trip out into the rainy wet to pick up some plans from Seattle's Department of Planning and Development was my artsy afternoon experience. Elevator lobbies that only go so far and then you must switch to a different lobby to continue and the rustle bustle of thousands of workers on lunch in the concourse on the main floor. It was all astounding really and my muse just rattled her cage the whole time. Not to mention coming across this fabulous newsstand with a rainbow of magazines and right there was the magazine that Kelly Rae had published an article in (Cloth, Paper Scissors) so I went in to buy it and ended up not being able to let go of 3 others. (Juxtapoz, American Craft and good ol' Bust) An unexpected splurge but now I have little pockets of inspiration stashed at my desk – yum!
And what exactly is this fabulous illustration you ask? A "commission" for an African safari returning co-worker that's what. Yep - drawing at my desk and I didn't even have to pretend I wasn't. Sweet!


Travel to Sumac

This past weekend brought me a new love in my life…Sumac. It is the plant you see pictured here and at this time of year it is streaking the desert hills with the most brilliant bursts of color. It was a reprieve to travel out of Seattle these past two days. I got on Interstate 90 early Saturday morning, armed with my coffee and an apple muffin. Snoqualmie Pass was spectacular. I feel quite daft for not realizing the mountains and the forest were so … right there.
And then the sweeping descent into the Yakima valley that followed? Spectacular. For me the “fall colors” in the desert take the cake on any New England deciduous.
Not only was the desert shape shifting itself into the fall of subtle greens, burgundies and golds, but my return journey on Sunday was under a rain cloud. Rain. Rain in the desert like I have never had the pleasure of experiencing before. The softness to the air and the rich loamy earth smell. I took the Old Canyon highway between Yakima and Ellensburg yesterday on my return and I ended up stopping what felt like every half mile to take another picture. Photographs will never capture it though. The richness of color.
Today, all I want to do is start painting after painting. I want to take that leap into the unknown of full time artist. Just so I have some ACTUAL time to paint all these paintings I want to paint.
Now would be a fabulous time for a return of my insomnia…