mirka…and ceramics and metal and beads and fiber arts: The gigantic Portland crafts show is this weekend at the Portland Convention Center, the Oregon Glass Guild is in hall B, and the quality of the work in all media is just outstanding.

(Also the quality of the demonstrators, she said modestly…) I spent the better part of the afternoon demonstrating pate de verre history and techniques to a surprisingly interested audience.

Now, while I love PdV dearly and it’s a lot of fun to DO, watching someone ELSE do pate de verre is slightly less interesting than watching paint dry. I did a lot of different things to make it more interesting, i.e., prepared samples at different stages a’ la cooking shows, and I brought a lot of examples of my work so everybody had a bunch to look at. Even so, the enthusiasm was kinda gratifying.

So gratifying, in fact, that the demo went for three hours instead of one and my feet have formally seceded from my body.

Highlights: A boy of about 12, Mirka, moved from the back to the front row during the demo, asked a lot of questions and then, at my casual, “Want to try it?” leapt to the table and started making pate de verre. In about five minutes he was mixing frits, tamping them down in the mold and listening for the “tunk, tunk” that says it’s compacted.

It was great to have someone else doing the work while I yakked, and he stayed until his mother literally yanked him (nicely) away. Alyssa, about 10, quickly took his place, but I gotta admit that Mirka was a master.



The incomparable Molly Barnes, quite possibly one of the best blown glass colorists I’ve ever seen, has donated the Oregon Glass Guild door prize for this year’s show. It’s a beautiful blue-green-creme bowl, all swirls and serenity, in a plexiglas case up front. People have been stopping before it, thinking it’s a museum piece.

Nope, that’s what we’re giving away, and it can be yours just by filling out an entry form at the show. Admission is free; how can you beat that? And there are almost equally nice door prizes at the other crafts exhibits as well.

Show ends (and the raffle takes place) tomorrow evening, so if you’re near PDX, stop by.