The Art and Craft of Serena Blossom Appel

Posts tagged “Portland Oregon

Lightboxes at Goodfoot Last Thursday August 2016

I Am Therefore I Think

I will have a set of 3 new works up at the next art exhibit at the Goodfoot in SE Portland! Opening this coming Thursday, August 25th, upstairs lounge & pool room open 5pm-2:30am.

The “I Am, Therefore I Think” show will feature original works from artists all across the Portland Metro area, and will serve as a platform for creative sociopolitical, subjective/personal, expressive, and diverse commentary, questioning/challenging, and observation.

I’m excited to participate in this show, as I had been strongly affected by the ongoing shooting tragedies going on in the news over this past summer, and have been trying to come up with a creative response to the thoughts, fears and feelings that recent events had left me with. I had been encouraging those around me to do the same.

Art and creative expression can be powerfully healing, eye-opening, & transformative in the wake of tragedy, horror and the distresses of life. I haven’t been the only one, now or historically speaking, to try and find a way to process world events and personal experiences through art making. It is the basis of what I believe, and have come to know, both through direct, personal experience, through making my own work, as well as fostering and witnessing the creative works of others.

What I wound up envisioning, takes a nod from my parents’ era and the formation of art commentarists such as Leon Golub, Anselm Kiefer, Jenny Holzer, Andy Warhol and the like- but in this instance,  it turns the 1950’s habit of “world culture” appropriation & exploitation on its head.

I was easily able to find some images of Adinkra, or West African cultural symbols, online. I can’t help but appreciate the almost-too-simple convenience of being able to get this info directly from an African blogger and peace activist who’s kindly made these resources freely available to the public, along with clear descriptions of the meanings they hold:

“Adinkra are visual symbols, originally created by the Ashanti of Ghana and the Gyaman of Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa. They represent concepts or aphorisms, and are extensively used in fabrics, pottery, logos and advertising.

The symbols have a decorative function but also represent objects that encapsulate evocative messages that convey traditional wisdom, aspects of life or the environment.” – Mawuna Remarque Kotounin,

From the list of symbols, I chose three which I felt represented a healing energy & commentary that could be displayed & enacted through the use of transforming them into illuminated art pieces on display. These three certainly aren’t the only ones that have such potential, but given just how many symbols I had to pick from, it provided me the luxury of fine-tuning what I wanted the artworks to convey to the viewer.

This has led to a light box series that focuses on the specific meaning of each symbol:

God Never Dies litebox web.jpg

“NYAME NNWU NA MAWU- God Never Dies, Therefore I Cannot Die”- Mixed Media on Canvas Board, 2016


As I constructed the pieces, I noticed that the way the LED light hits the front of the piece- normally a frustrating part of the process for me to try and mitigate- actually enhances the “message” of the work in this case:


The Adinkrahene

‘“I am the King, and everything comes from me, everything shall return to me. I link you with everything. Your actions affect others, no matter wherever you are. Your thoughts influence others, therefore watch over your mind. Think positively, constructively and scientifically.”

Chief of the Adinkra Symbols Symbol of greatness, charisma and leadership. This symbol is said to have played an inspiring role in the designing of other symbols. it signifies the importance of playing a leadership role.

This is a symbol of the waves of thought impulses. You are in the middle of The One Life, the Life that permeates the whole Universe. This is a wonderful opportunity offered you to positively identify yourself with Universal Mind, with the Ultimate Source of Life.”‘- Queen Nzinga Maxwell

… I love it when things come together like this!

I hope you can drop by the Goodfoot this coming Thursday evening, or any evening this coming month, to check out “I Am, Therefore I Think” & see all three of my pieces on display. May they shine a little light out into the world. I hope to explore and expand further with the light box series- stay tuned for future offerings!









Now Showing @ Proper Eats


I just hung artwork at Proper Eats Market & Café in the charming St. Johns neighborhood in Portland, this past Memorial Day. I have something like ten pieces, mostly in the dining area, plus this stained glass piece in the front window:

frontdoor view web

This piece was a miracle “rescue”, of sorts, as it had been just about finished several years back- but the vintage carved wood frame that the image had been collaged and painted on to had started to split and fall apart! I would suspect it was a piece from the 1930’s or earlier, as the frame had been cleverly assembled from many smaller pieces of wood, and the molding that held the glass to the frame was one long piece of twisted paper, secured by tiny nails. I was so afraid that the exposed glass would shatter! And I just couldn’t, at the time, see how to reconstruct the piece. So it was wrapped up in a spare tablecloth and some cardboard, stored in a corner, and forgotten for a long time.

Finally, in search of some new pieces to put in this show, I got bold enough to unwrap it. By this time, it had sustained several moves and a number of reshuffles from one corner of living space and/or art studio to another. There was some rattling going on inside the package. I was worried. What would I find?

When the piece was eased gently out of its casing, I saw that the rattling had come from a random piece of plastic that had somehow gotten inside the package, hastily wrapped as it had been. The glass was completely intact, all of the frame pieces present. What’s more, it had been packaged together with a number of other pieces of raw glass that had been saved for other projects- with no extra wrapping or padding. Somehow, it had survived all of that traveling and jostling around, and so had all of the other glass inside. Unheard of!

DNTs close up web

So, I carefully reassembled the frame, resealed the glass with sturdier, more modern means, and carried it on down to the show. Eh Voilá: You will get to see a piece that almost wasn’t meant to be.

The remainder of the works show off my interest and focus in the past few years, of combining assemblage and fiber arts/beadwork techniques on canvas and 2-D works. Here you will have a chance to examine them up close.

tall corner web

And if this weren’t enough: I have the space for TWO whole months- June through August- so expect some changeup of work, and hopefully some intriguing new items, part way through the season.

And if THIS, plus the chance to visit one of Portland’s fine independent markets and their tasty food & beverages, were not enough- the show will be up during “The Constitutional”, St. Johns’ yearly art celebration event, happening June 11th. Read more about it here, then come out and have a good time up on the N. side!

OneDer Gallery & AIR Opening This Weekend

OneDer PostcardHey all, check out opening night for a new gallery in the Pioneer Place Mall art complex, this Saturday, November 21st, from 5-9pm.  OneDer Gallery!

This new rendition of the gallery space will replace the Sculpture Gallery that had graced the top floor for much of this past year. (hopefully you locals had a chance to check out their work, it was some really good quality stuff.) OneDer will function as an extension of the People’s Art of Portland space across the way, and will provide a place for what curator, Chris Haberman, terms “merch”, after the tradition of rock concerts to sell affordable items with their band’s artwork to take home or give as gifts. Like a merch booth, OneDer will feature postcards, prints, small or less expensive art pieces, books, T-Shirts and more, from current People’s artists as well as some fresh blood, all work cash and carry for under $100. Just in time for some holiday pre-shopping!

I will have some of my felt wristicuffs, amulet pendants, 8 x 10″ prints, and greeting cards for sale at OneDer. This opening also debuts the hand illustrated T-shirt art of my ever loving hubby, Kristoffer Godwin. Each is a one of a kind design. He also takes custom requests, so if you don’t see something you love, hit him up and he will be happy to paint something just for you.

Happening concurrently will be the re-presentation of the Artist In Residence gallery, or AIR, which will now be home to artists Fred Swan, Linda Robertson, Theresa Andreas-O’leary, Suzanne Vaughan, and Jo Grishman. Say welcome and view the current exhibit, Voices of Nature, while you’re there, before it closes this Sunday the 22nd.

It’s all happening on the top floor of Pioneer Place Mall, West wing, 700 SW 5th Ave, Portland, OR 97204. Hope to see you there!



Lesley Burke at Blondie: A Salon


I recently went to my friend Lesley Burke’s art opening at Blondie: A Salon. It was a friendly, inviting atmoshpere in one of downtown Portland’s vintage office buildings, still operational as a mix of apartments and street front businesses. The elegant backdrop served to show off Lesley’s visionary and dream like, richly layered oil paintings and small works quite well. Later in the night, DJ’s had the intimate but enthusiastic crowd bumpin! You can visit the event Facebook Page for the event to see more photos and info from opening night.

You may still be able to catch the show while it’s up. Visit Blondie: A Salon at 1225 SW Alder St., Ste. D, Portland, OR 97205. Stop by and say hello to the owner and you might earn yourself a discounted first time hair cut too!



Guess Who’s In the Big 500 Show?

Big 500 Poster

…That’s right- This gal!

This year’s show, held at the Pioneer Place Mall in the heart of downtown Portland, will be bigger than ever- over 500 artists with scadillions of works available, created exclusively for this event. If you’ve never been to a “Big 100 (now 500)” show, it is truly a sight to behold. All works will be for sale at $40 each. It’s an invitation only show, and I am honored to be able to participate alongside a great cross section of works that include some of Portland’s already well known and loved artists, as well as local creativity enthusiasts from all walks of life. The pieces are shown without any notations, other than identifying names on the back of the work- so you can browse the collection exclusively on each piece’s own appeal and merits.

I will have 5 panels up- I won’t spoil the surprise yet, but I am thinking they will be based on circular/mandala themes I have going for another painting in the works… Come say hello at the opening on December 13th and I just might point them out for you…


A Clarification

It was recently brought to my attention that my emphasis on the controversy related to Place Gallery’s closure, earlier this year, may have implied bias or partisanship on my part.

So, I am here clarifying that I support all of the gallery efforts at Pioneer Place Mall, and generally, most all of the art activities offered in Portland. I don’t typically get into politics about whose approach or style or efforts are better or worse, who was right or wrong, whose drama was about who said what to whom, etc. If you want to know more about my personal biases and views (yes I do have some, as do all of us), contact me! Maybe we can get to know one another better, and we can each learn something and share something.

We have a beautiful, supportive, inclusive, diverse, and vibrant creative scene here that has grown and sustained itself really successfully over time. It is a special thing that has thus far outlasted outside attempts at categorization, exploitation, or explanation. Having come from a background of the “formal art” world (academic instruction, conservative gallery representation or juried art competitions = the only route to success, having to “make it” in NYC or LA before people take you seriously as a “real” artist, etc.), I have been amazed and delighted to be a part of the progressive art scene of Portland. There is room enough here for everyone’s viewpoint, room enough for even controversy to fuel productive thinking, debate, discussion and problem solving towards furthering our collective goals. It is truly like no other place, and I support efforts to keep it that way. It works best when we all work together to keep it going.

Update on the Place Gallery Eviction

The Portland Mercury has released this article that goes into more specific detail about the shutdown and eviction of Place Gallery at the end of this month. This appears to confirm that the eviction is directly linked to the most recent shows the gallery had displayed- including one that poked fun at shopping and consumerism.

My questions are these: Is Portland becoming so absorbed with finding a way to make a profit off of the “creative class” (who came up with this term, again?) that we are now going to be told what art we can or can’t make? What does this say about the property owner of Pioneer Place, and of Portland as an (up until now) fertile ground for innovation and progress in the realms of community, art, and social analysis/social structure?

Note that there will be a closing show on March 30th- I encourage people to come out and show their support of Place Gallery. Or, at the very least, get a view of some art that is on display for reasons other than mere abject consumerism.






Pioneer Place Art Gallery May Lose Out

The lease is set to be terminated for this art gallery, hosted on the top floor of the Pioneer Place shopping center in downtown Portland. Was it really all about the money? Or was it about the message? Read more details here.

Afternoon Tea Party and Art Show

Live singing, art vending, yummy tea & snacks, tarot card readings, art & craft displays, and more were at this afternoon’s event, hosted by the Notorious Mrs. S. I showed off my felt accessories, cards and wire crochet jewelry, and hubby Kris did live painting. A fun time for sure!

Gearing up for Splendorcraft!

wristicuff rainbow spread

I’m a busy little elf these days- I’m having fun deepening my skills with free hand machine embroidery and playing with so many vibrant colors and beads and fun felt shapes. I hope to have all my new goodies done in time to show off the full inventory to y’all this weekend at the Splendorcraft Holiday Sale. But wait! There’s more:

In addition to the already awesome Splendorporium event, which is going to feature pictures with your favorite pin up girl and your pet, and pugs from Pug Rescue- not to mention their already awesome gallery and children’s art exhibit space- I will be hosting a THIS-WEEKEND-ONLY drawing to win a FREE custom designed felt pendant. Winner to be announced here on my blog by next week. You heard correct- I will make you a custom piece, you get to choose the design and the color, in my current style format for free. The catch? You have to show up and visit my table to enter. Hope to see you all there!