Wednesday Vignette – creative cleansing

Received word the other day that yet another one of the great features of our neighborhood will be disappearing – or at least moving – to yet undetermined new digs. Delia – a collaborative of three metal artists cranking out fabulous and marvelous stuff (more on that here) have been notified the building they have been in for ages is being sold, and they have to evacuate. I’m mortified, and I imagine that emotion pales in comparison to what they are feeling.

These days, when every scrap bit of surface in Portland – occupied or not – is being repurposed for more polished and profitable use (usually condos), artisans and purveyors of things other than culturally appropriated cuisines and carefully curated boutique selections of everyday wares, find it very difficult to find affordable space to work out of. Especially when working at a scale where you need cranes to move things. Knowing full well that we too, were part of gentrification when moving here a dozen years or so ago – the reasons that made us move here are all but gone now. And therein lies the irony. The newest, elevated level of gentrification actually displaces the very thing that made Portland an intriguing place to live in, in the first place – the artisans and creatives. I will keep my eyes peeled for a space for the guys at Delia. If you live in Portland, I ask that you do to. Thank you.

Here is a massive dragon from this past spring. It can now be seen at various festivals around the country. It was built in one piece, and then cut it into pieces that would fit on trucks.

Here is a detail of its head. The tube would later be attached to a propane tank that would enable it to breathe fire.

Each identical scale was cut separately. There was an entire pallet with stacked scales in the shop when I visited.

This was my favorite part of the dragon when I first saw it – the golden ball in the grip of the massive claws. After the news this week, this last shot gets to represent the plight of communities dismembered by the forces of gentrification and greed. How does one battle a dragon of such might?



About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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17 Responses to Wednesday Vignette – creative cleansing

  1. Tina says:

    The same thing is happening here in Austin–yuk! My husband grew up here, I moved here in 1978–whew! The changes we’ve seen–often not for the better. I love your shots, though!

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Tina. The whole thing of moving in, moving out, makes me think of a stadium of people doing ‘The Wave’. When your time comes, and the wave reaches you, you move. I’m starting to feel ready to move on. Cities need a little grit to be exciting, and visionaries with ideas – and room to implement them. IMHO.

  2. That is too bad. Real estate developers rule; I hope we as a society can find a way to change that.

    • annamadeit says:

      One can always hope – but I sincerely doubt it. For that to happen, we would have to put a value on diversity – both in terms of race, creed, socioeconomics, culture, and so on. As long as money is the great measuring stick, society will always make the most monetarily profitable decisions – to the continued detriment of the intellectual, cultural, and artistic portions within that society. Unhindered gentrification is gutting the soul of our communities. Such a shame… and although we were part of it, we didn’t really know it at the time. As the years passed and our neighbors moved, we have gradually understood what was happening, and also that we were part of it. But by that time, the damage had already been done. I can’t even imagine how the original Portlanders feel. Not to say that all change is bad, but it really hurts when landmark businesses shut their doors and disappear.

  3. What we’re seeing here, now, reminds me a lot of what I saw in Seattle in the 90’s. The place I moved to became something entirely different and I left. The fact the house next door to ours (the same except for the fact it’s in horrible condition), is now on the market for roughly double what we paid for ours. We couldn’t afford to live in our own neighborhood now!

    And then there’s gardening…

    • annamadeit says:

      I know, right? Same here – we could never afford to buy here again. But, I just heard yesterday that PDX real estate prices are coming down. Even so, it would be a stretch for us to do this over again. And, I keep sending you good thoughts that some nice, gardening couple will settle in next to you, and that the developers will be kept at bay for at least another few years.

  4. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Sorry to hear about Delia’s displacement. This sort of “gentrification” and homogenization of our cities seems to be a sad fact of life in any area that doesn’t have a depressed economy. Like you and Loree, we couldn’t afford to buy our own house at today’s prices and Tacoma isn’t as pricey as Portland and Seattle. I remember an older, more unique Seattle/Tacoma and miss it. Cities by Ikea – neat.

  5. Kris P says:

    I sympathize, Anna. I’ve seen that same gentrification affect communities in which I’ve lived (negatively in my view). I hope these superb artists find themselves another location that doesn’t involve a massive dislocation for them or people like you who so enjoy visiting their work space.

    My WV reflects the product of my visit to one of LA’s most cherished destinations: Unlike Delia, the Huntington’s operation is so well-funded, dislocation is impossible to envision but commercialization does creep in even there.

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Kris – I hope so too. Yeah, this market driven homogenization is so depressing. As Peter remarked – it is everywhere where the economy isn’t depressed. Another sad example of polarization, I suppose. Either over the top, or not at all. Again, the middle is gone. Here is to bringing back the Golden Mean in reality as well as in concept!!

  6. I immediately thought of my friends at Manifestation, but my guess is that they probably don’t have the kind of space Delia would need. I bet they know each other already. I hope something comes up!
    Meanwhile I *finally* did a WV post. 🙂

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh – I just googled Manifestation… had never heard of them before. That looks like a great place too, and I bet you’re right that they know each other. Do you know if they own their building?

  7. Alison says:

    I swear there’s an article in the Seattle Times nearly every week lately about how the housing market here has skyrocketed to the point that normal folk cannot afford to buy a house in town. Everyone blames Amazon. My Wednesday Vignette is a home of a different sort.

    • annamadeit says:

      It’s crazy, isn’t it? Word on the street here is that prices are falling somewhat. I wonder if it is because of that very reason – most folks can’t find work that supports mortgages of that heft. I remember hearing on NPR a few years ago about a similar situation in Bend. Those expected to do all the service jobs to serve all the retiring baby-boomers could not afford to live in town, so all the small businesses (restaurants, shops, etc.) were suffering, as they couldn’t find anyone to hire! There has to be a balance in there somewhere, between jobs, wages and affordability….

  8. Hi there, Great tips by the way and thank you. I did have a question though.
    I’m hoping you can answer it for me since you seem to be pretty knowledgeable about gardening.
    How should you plan out a 180-square foot vegetable garden?
    If you had some insight I would greatly appreciate

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