Monday, November 30, 2009

Winterview Series, Part 4-Brehan Todd

You may have noticed the heavy flood of amazing new jewelry at Flutter, and if you come in often enough you also may have noticed that it flies out of here as quick at Brehan Todd can make it. Ms. Todd is the mastermind behind these wearable works of art, whose eye for colors and materials is like a painter's (she comes from a family of artists). Her pieces are magical and timeless, incorporating rare and precious charms, ribbons, beads and bits. They attest to her commitment to re-use materials and leave a small footprint. She is also the dearest lady, despite being so incredibly talented. Read her interview below, you'll see what I mean.

the Brehan Todd interview, Flutter 2009

-what works of art do you find inspiring? music? film? books?

As a very sensory person, I find all forms of art so inspiring. I’m also a huge media user. I’m probably most influenced in design by film, but music is the largest part of my exploration of art these days. Lately, I listen to John Lennon- for his ideas, Animal Collective (A Brooklyn Band) -for their experimentation, ”Au Revoir Simone”-(Trio of women and keys) to relax, “Beirut” (indie rock big band)- for the horns,” Carla Bruni”-for romance, but I’ve been obsessed with “The Handsome Furs”,” Wolf Parade” (Canadian Sub pop success stories) and most of their side projects especially “Sunset Rubdown”, “Frog Eyes”, and “Fifths of Seven” ( a classical album that sounds like a modern Godfather soundtrack). I get sort of obsessed with music and listen to it, sometimes kill it by listening too many times over and over. I like to resurrect it later, and see which songs and artists are still relevant. I spend so much time alone, making things in my studio, or working at the computer, I’m constantly listening. Sometimes to nothing, just the birds outside, owls, hummingbirds, robins, blue jays, swallows, we have everything in our yard, hundreds of birds, it’s like living in the middle of a private park. The sounds in nature are the most amazing to me. I also listen to a lot of Satellite radio, regular radio and, podcasts. I love ”Radio Lab” and “This American Life”. I get all of my news from podcasts because I don’t have time to read it. I listen to Keith Olberman and Bill Moyers, and Fox News to get a few different perspectives, and then sneak in others whenever I find them.
I don’t own a television so I watch movies exclusively, save for a few programs I rent on Netflix and watch in marathons as if it were a movie. I do love the show “The Wire” on HBO and Project Runway. Lately, I have been watching a lot of older Italian films, mostly from the 50’s and 60’s, I don’t speak a word of Italian, but I love the way everything looks and the way people dressed themselves. Obviously, Fellini is amazing, usually, but I’ll watch anything, even the most obscure, to peek at the clothing. I like films that literally look like moving photographs, which is more common in classic films. Some modern directors are using this style with highly saturated colors that I find very inspiring. Some examples I like are “Amelie”, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" and "The Fall”. The opening sequence in The Fall is one of the most beautiful moving photos I’ve ever seen.
I don’t get into a lot of modern, fine art, honestly, unless its fashion related. I love paintings of many sorts. If I had to pick an era, it would be fifteenth to sixteenth century European paintings. Jan Van Eyck, “Arnolfini Wedding”, Jean Fouquet, “Virgin and Child”, Roger Van Der Weyden, “Portrait of A Woman”, to name a few. I also, love anything by Botticelli, Botsch, and Vasquez. I love Henry Darger and a modern painter who seems influenced by Darger, named Donna Huddleston. I love many fashion illustrators like Paul Poiret, Amelie Hegardt, David Downton and Kelly Smith, and Sara Singh to name a few. I’m also intrigued by artist Heather Benning who created a life size dollhouse in Saskatchewan.
I could write for years on this topic, but finally I’ll mention my love for photography. I love so many but to pick a favorite would be impossible. I’ll mention Richard Avedon, my boyfriend David Paglia (a constant inspiration) and much of the work in Lula Magazine is the best out there.
Books are amazing, but they are a luxury at this point in my life. I wish I had more time to spend with my nose in them. I’m the most boring reader on the planet. I love design books of course, but I can’t get enough political non-fiction. I love Richard Wolf, he has a new book coming out I can’t wait to get my hands on. I also enjoy reading any nonfiction to do with the Middle East, sociology and psychology, or marketing.

-if you could choose a few other professions, any at all, school-be-damned, what would they be?

I love writing, especially about fashion and politics. I also love movies and photography, so I would do love to work on sets in costume or makeup. Perhaps a marine biologist? A circus performer, of course. A teacher. Rock Star. How many?

-if you had an astronomical budget for materials, what strange and beautiful things would you work with? where would you live?

This is hard to imagine, but I would probably still try to keep it as affordable as possible, except for a few couture gowns. I like my work to be accessible to anyone because I don’t think fashion should be about class systems. I would move to Spain, Italy or France and travel all over Europe to Bohemian Flea Markets searching for silk, embroidery, sparkles, feathers, lace, beads, pearls, sea creatures, bones, flowers, birds and anything discarded that could be made beautiful again. I would bring my dog Eva with me.

If you could live in the past, in any era, when and where would you live? why?

I f I lived in the past; I would be frustrated by how far back I was set in rights, but that aside? I would like to live in 18th century France, so I could be Marie Antoinette’s stylist, stroll around the gardens and eat cake. If you’re going to live during a ridiculous time, you may as well have a ton of fun and wear as much flounce as possible over a corset. There is no other time in history when everyone was so over the top.

the best way to spend a rainy day is..

At home with some wonderful movies or a book, with my dogs, my boyfriend and some Chai.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Winterview Series, Part 3- Sandra Rokoff-Lizut

Sandra Rokoff-Lizut is an enigmatic, artistic powerhouse. She explores texture through a lucid assemblage of collage, printmaking and painting that is as vibrant as she is. She emanates artistry, so it comes as no surprise that both of her children and grandchildren are artists; even her daughter-in-law is a successful local artist (Cindy Rokoff, ever heard of her?)! Her current project, El Gato, is a small book inspired by a rogue alleycat she encountered in Mexico. The 6 poems and lush tinted monotypes were first shown in a gallery and make gorgeous accordion-style handmade books. She has thoughtfully decided to donate a portion of the proceeds to medical care and spay/neuter programs for feral and abandoned cats. She will be doing a book signing at Flutter in the afternoon of November 28th. Check out her profile at

Flutter- What works of art do you find inspiring? Music? Film? Books?

Sandra Rokoff-Lizut- Art: Kandinsky, Bonnard, Chagall. Music: Beethoven, Bach, Vivaldi (lots of other classical), Johnny Cash and early folk and "oldtimey" i.e. the Weavers..and I clean house to Abba. Film: Fanny & Alexander, Muriel's Wedding , Mystic River, Brother Where Art Thou, Groundhog Day and, when I was young I'd get out the tissues immediately when Waterloo Bridge played on TV. At that time I also loved all movies about the undead, i.e. The Island of Dr. Moreau. Books: Those by authors with a great sense of time and place: Flannery O'Connor, Isabel Allende, Barbara Kingsolver, John Steinbeck, Toni Morrison, Joanna Trollop, Doris Lessing, Richard Russo, and those with wonderfully weird characters like John Irving, Anne Tyler and whoever wrote Fall On Your Knees---I could go on and on ---I love to read!

F-If you could chose a few other professions, any at all, school-be-damned, what would they be?

SRL- I'd just want to try lots and lots of professions for a few weeks to see what life in them would really be like. Lets start with "A": actor, archaeologist ----and go right through the alphabet.

F-If you had an astronomical budget for materials, what strange and beautiful things would you work with? Where would you live?

SRL-I don't know how to answer . I feel that I have plenty of strange and beautiful things (I'm a collage artist with closets full o wonderful stuff). Places???? Lots of exotic ones but only if I could fly 1st class (the charm has gone out of roughing it ).

F-If you could live in the past, in any era, when and where would you live? Why?

SRL- Paris in the 1920's (I lived there in the early 60's and that was pretty wonderful too)

F-The best way to spend a rainy day is..

SRL- In my house, fire on, good books, great food, lots of art supplies and music.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Winterview Series, Part 2-Susan Hashem, Seamstress Extraordinaire

For an antique store, Flutter has a surprising amount of consistency. We always have great jewelry and perfume, we always have terrific couches and chairs, and we always have gorgeous handmade pillows and throws made by our excellent seamstress, Susan Hashem. She began her career in design at the Academy of Art in S.F., made her way accross the continent to become a fashion stylist in New York, then came back to the lovin arms of the west coast to work her magic through interior design. Susan's got a sharp eye for color and texture, and she makes absolutely perfect seams. She can sandwich thick loops of grosgrain in the seams and still manage to make it all nice and neat. How do you do it, Susan?

FLUTTER- What works of art do you find inspiring? music? film? books?

SUSAN HASHEM- My favorite artist of all time is Henry Darger, a self-taught reclusive artist with questionable mental capacity who made other peoples trash into fantastical fantasies.

I think the most inspiring music for me is dark and moody. Music that conjures up the grey rainy weather of the Northwest. Nick Cave's "The Boatman's Call" is my favorite album of all wait.."No More Shall We Part"....Hmm. I also love anything by Mark Lanegan. He has one of the most beautiful voices, he brings me to tears.
But there are those nights when I like to blast Mudhoney at top volume. Can't be mopey all the time!

Film: All time favorite..Wings of Desire. Beautiful film. Wim Wenders is genius. I love the poem in the movie "When the Child Was a Child" by Peter Handke, and angels roaming Berlin listening to peoples thoughts, Peter Falk, a trapeze artist, circus wagons, NIck Cave, profound loneliness and profound love. How could you go wrong?

Books? I read a lot. Helps me sleep. So many I can't remember mostly. I have two exceptions- #1, Roald Dahl: his short stories, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and James and the Giant Peach. I love his fantastical imagination. I wish he could have been my grandfather!
#2 exception: Kurt Vonnegut. Dead Eye Dick and Galapagos are my two favorites.

F-If you could chose a few other professions, any at all, school-be-damned, what would they be?

SH-I would be a collector of the bizarre . Medical oddities, wax anatomical models. Taxidermy. Maybe have a traveling trunk show. Or maybe I'd be a perfumer- patchouli, vetever, coconut and vanilla...mmmm

F-If you had an astronomical budget for materials, what strange and beautiful things would you work with? Where would you live?

SH-I would buy the most beautiful old fabrics and trims I could find. Dark cut velvets and old embroidered silks. Oh, and feathers and silk ribbons. Trims! Mountains of it! Heaped around me! I would have to live in a big Italianate Victorian that has hand painted wallpaper and dark heavy drapes and a big beautiful green tufted sofa. I like Portland. I will stay here.

F- If you could live in the past, in any era, when and where would you live? why?

SH- Although I love the Victorian era it would be too stifling as a woman. I like my freedom....I like it now. I would live now.

F-The best way to spend a rainy day is...Sleeping late, listening to music, making things, and stirring up a pot of soup.

P.S.- Check out Sonia (URCHIN) in the Eco-Elegant fashion show this saturday!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Flutter Holiday Celebrations

Join us at Flutter for our Holiday Celebrations and Trunk Shows.
Throughout the month of December, four of our amazing Flutter designers will each host a trunk show! This is a fabulous opportunity for our customers to meet the designer and view/purchase from their extended collection. As always a little pink champagne will be available for your sipping pleasure! For more information on each of our designers, please visit our designer page on the Flutter website or our blog for an interview series with each designer

Friday, December 4th Jesseca McCloskey of Paper Treasure
Saturday, December 5th Brehan Todd of Brehan Todd
Thursday, December 10th Sonia Kasparian of Urchin
Wednesday, December 16th Vicki Wooten and Beth Olson of Gossamer

Also don't miss our Holiday Party on Thursday, December 10th. This year our annual party will feature Urchin's trunk show and Cowboys from Sweden DJ @ 6pm. Of course a little more pink champagne will be served for your extended sipping pleasure!!

We hope everyone has a happy and healthy Holiday Season and please join us at one or all of our celebrations of the season!
Happy Holidays!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Winterview Series, Part 1: Zelda English of Captain Cat

This winter we're awash with art from our dear cadre of designers, everything from handmade dresses, jewelry and millinery to homestitched books and paintings and papier mache masks. In order to better document and display all this great art, we are doing a winter interview series (winterview! ): I'll showcase one artist a week and attach as much juicy pictoral as I can. Enjoy!

This week: Zelda English, of the multimedia art duo Captain Cat . The name comes from Dylan Thomas' poem "Under Milk Wood", an epic which addresses the casual beauty in everyday life. Their art reflects this literary reference conceptually and substantially, as each portrait depicts a writer or inventor as an animal. I definitely see some rakish Kerouac quality in the ram, maybe a Joyceishness in the squirrel. English and her collaborator Rodrigo Neto also create folkloric papier mache masks celebrating old world songs and stories from their childhoods- hers in Portland, Oregon and his in Porto, Portugal. They met at a bus stop about 88km south of Salamanca Spain a couple of years ago and have been conspirators ever since. -sk

Flutter- Have you always worked in papier mache, or were there earlier incarnations of your artistic inclinations?

Zelda English-I was a costume and set designer for a theater company for years . I have worked in many mediums but paper is a texture i am especially drawn to and costumes have always enthralled me so papier mache masks were a natural endeavour for us. This project was the product of a Collaboration between myself and Rodrigo Neto. Initially when we came up with the idea I think it was in part because of our time constraints, I remember we had talked about a collaboration briefly on my visit to Portugal last fall and at that time were unsure what medium to peruse but when Rodrigo arrived this spring to the states we knew we would have around 6 months to come up with a presentable body of work, we chose papier mache because of its sculptural quality and also its availability. We filled my truck with cardboard from dumpsters and paper grocery bags from recycling bins and began to build. We transformed the living room of my old Portland farm house into a temporary studio and promptly filled it with salvaged supplies. over the summer we carved the cardboard on the front porch and papier mache-ed out under the clothes line.

F-Did you study art in school?

ZE-Rodrigo is a formally trained painter with a degree in fine arts. He now works as a college level professor of art in Portugal. My Training was much more informal and came from various mentors, the first and foremost being my parents who were both painters and all-around creative, innovative people. I am 26 now and have been very lucky in this life time to have been in the presence of brilliant minds all throughout my years. I teach art and music through a summer workshop program to children aged 5 and up. I feel Art and Education should be Synonymous especially in a town so renowned for forward thinking. I want to be apart of making that happen. I have always planned on starting my own school.

F- You work with a partner. How does that shape the artistic process for you? How do you guys divvy up the work?

ZE- I am a natural at working collaboratively, I love being a part of something that takes on life and meaning because of the life and meaning of the interactions of those creating it. I even love the challenges and frustrations that come along with it because of the way that those obstacles force you to grow as a person in order to overcome them. Being a strong willed artist and working closely with someone as skilled and intelligent as Rodrigo Neto is a great ongoing experience, I think we definitely learn a lot from each other and from the projects themselves. As far as sharing the work load, it definitely comes easy. Rodrigo has such a strong set of talents diverse in certain ways from my own strong points and so it seems things candidly take their form. For the most part he is the painter, I am the photographer, he is the tech support, I am the show coordinator, he is the voice of reason and I am the voice of certainty. We accomplish most tasks together. At the end of the day typically we are both covered in paint, paper and glue. We also do a lot of idea building, where one person says one thing and the other adds to it or alters it just slightly and then back and forth till a master plan has emerged. That process is fun and includes espresso and a lot of sarcastic jokes. When Rodrigo is home in Porto Portugal and I am stationed in Portland that process is nearly the same except via email. We tease each other a lot. We are currently in the beginning stages of our newest collaboration which is an elaborate puppet series. We hope to bring in a third collaborator on this project, a dear friend and terrifically talented artist also living in Portugal, Pedro Esperan├ža.

F- You grew up in Portland, Oregon. How have Portland's social changes in the last decade affected you?

ZE- I like being one of the few people who remember when Portland was a dilapidated Ghost town, run by Loggers, Pirates,
Wenches and Shanghaiers (I am speaking of the late 80's / early 90's of course). Recently I was at a bar and after about 4 minutes of menial conversation with some drunkie, I was asked where I was from, when I replied " Here, I am from Portland " the inebriate gasped and exclaimed "oh my god, you are like a UNICORN, i have heard your kind existed but still no one has ever seen one!!! "
you just have to laugh.

F- What music do you like to listen to? Do you listen to music while you make art?

ZE-While working in the studio we listened to Portuguese Radio a lot, also Rodrigo is an incredible Musician. The official soundtrack to the summer was him playing the piano in our house. In part, I even equate our ever having met each other to his music which inadvertently lead to our first interactions and subsequently our friendship. Everyday I wake up with music in my head. I like wild violins.

F-What are your feelings around collectives and art?

ZE- If the word collective at all refers to joined energies with a common goal, i think its an extremely necessary and beneficial thing. Whether the goal be artistic, community based or otherwise. I think in the aggregate we find ourselves stronger and more capable than ever a single particulate could be, having the ability or capacity for so much more than one energy alone can produce. That's not to say I don't enjoy solo projects, at least 80 percent of my art is a solo undertaking but the ability to join forces is a powerful one and seems to instill a rare satisfaction in its fruition.