Ms. Bathtub

Musings from Carye Bye of Portland, Ore.

My Photo
Location: Portland, Ore., United States

I may be Ms. Bathtub, but I hardly ever take baths.. I do shower that is, so don't worry!

I am the director of the Bathtub Art Museum and also run my own printing card & novelties business under the name Red Bat Press. I live in the great bike fun-friendly city of Portland.

I'm always up for a good adventure; however anything goes here.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Last Thursday Magic

I'm always a little tired and out of sorts in the first hours of the Last Thursday Art Walk on NE Alberta. Now in my 5th summer of selling my art on the street, finding a spot, or getting that same spot gets trickier every warm summer month. Artists are getting there earlier, and more kinds of folks looking for a buck for their cause are coming out and setting up too. But always my mood turns around, friends come by, I sell art, and meet new people - and by the end of the night the Last Thursday Magic is back.

Last night followed the same formula

*Early Hour Grumps*
I arrived by bike (first time with larger folding table, chair, and card rack bungied to my back rack) around 4 pm - A couple was setting up glass jewelry across from my usual spot - Instead of feeling welcoming, I immediately feared a future bottleneck when the sidewalks get really busy with people from 8 to 9 pm, but was happy when the restaurant owners made them move across the way. Soon Devon, my roommate, arrives (usually I catch a ride down in her car, but tonight she had a late appointment); she was also out of sorts from running around all day for work. Already the night was looking good, I had a few early buys and the weather was sunny and warm. Then the aggressive neighborhood foodbank folks arrived and set up across on the corner - a friend pre-warned me that they were out last month (It was rainy so I didn't come out) causing a lot of folks to run by (and miss a chance to look at artwork nearby). While of course I think the foodbank is important and that they need to raise money - but to spend all night at the artwalk aggressively talking to everyone who comes by to give a dollar. Turning people's attention away from the artists’ set up nearby who depend on income from the artwalk. Other folks do benefits for Last Thursday too, but they do it more creatively - sell clothes, or draw pictures, or play music to raise money - That's how you do it at an artwalk. Hmm. I think I'll write a letter.

*Last Thursday Magic*
But soon the sun is out of my eyes, and it's a nice balmy evening in June - Across the street a Mexican band plays and drowns out the repeated speech of the food bank. Sarah L. joins Devon and I to sell her lovely collaged cards & handmade belts. And friends, new friends and good friends come by - some walk by others bike over to say hi - Sang always with plate ready for his dinner at the Thai cart set up. Joanne - we hug and talk about the Portland Art Museum bourgeois stance in Portland. Christine & her daughter - regular collectors, buy a few more postcards to complete what they have (always insisting I sign the back of each one). Carl L oohs over the Union Station and Burnside Bridge (his bridge!) and walks away with many more as he had $10 of Red Bat Bucks to spend from helping out at the Bunny on a Bike ride. By a blue tall bike Melissa comes by, we talk mail art and celebrate leaving old jobs. Elly comes by with news of her birthday party - inspired by by the fact that she was born on the day the bikini was invented - before pedalling off. Dan also arrives by bike - his last day of work is next week and I'm invited to help him build his new cob house during July. Another regular buyer turns the card rack, and purchases little blank bird books for party favors for her daughter's 9th birthday. Alessandra, whom I knew originally at Monsterland (online collaborative drawing site), shows me her bathtub tattoo. Debbie drops off photos of me as a giant carrot (bunny on a bike ride) and Red Bat (Pedalpalooza Kick-off parade) and we make plans to bike to Smith & Bybee lakes. Madoka, another visual artist, escapes from her table, and promises to be my July Tub Artist at the Bathtub Art Museum. Levi gives me a hi-five as he passes with his dad Greg. Later Cathy (his mom) shows me the art Levi bought, and a portrait someone on the street drew of him. Steve, whom I'm working with on bike advocacy issues, stops by and we have a long chat about transportation and Amtrak travel - I randomly relay a story about taking the train to Oakland - and having a 5 hour conversation with the person next to me who was eventually ending up back in Hawaii where she lived. No less than an hour later, I randomly look up from chatting with Melissa and Kathleen, and the person from the train, who I just mentioned, walks by. Without even saying, I'll be right back, I jumped up and chased her down - Re-aquainted, and amazed, Robin comes back to my table - we do a little catching up - (she lives here now, Hawaii didn't work out), and we leave without any exchange of info, knowing that will just bump into each other again. It's getting dark now, in between sales, and friends - soon 6 hours have passed effortlessly. I'm no longer tired or grumpy - but happy and hyper. At the very end of the night, Deanna and Aaron stop by - and instead of the usual 2-minute hi-bye. The night is slowed down, and we can chat and catch up about art, work, school, and boyfriend. After 10:30 the shoppers are now looking for beer or have gone home, and the non-hard core artists pack up. I throw all my stuff in Devon's trunk, and ride by bike home. On the way in the darkness two bikers pass, I crane my neck to see if I know them, as I pass, they yell out, "Carye!" I stop to visit with Ian & Shawna on their ride home from a benefit clothing sale they had up the street. I get home, unload the trunk, have an otterpop, count my money, and pass out - once again touched by the magic of Last Thursday

Yee Haw!

Matt & I at the Multnomah County Bike Fair

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Not going to Stop having the Bike Fun

(Photo by John Boyd)

Curious to what the bathtub lady has been up to? Well she's been riding her bike - a lot - Here in Portland it's Pedalpalooza - 2+ weeks of bike fun - with over 140 events this year, I've made a personal goal to go on at least a ride a day. How am I doing so far? Let's recap:

June 8: Red Bat comes out for the Pedalpalooza kick-off parade
June 9: AM: Breakfast on the Bridges (Hawthorne), PM: "Happy Hour on Hawthorne with "Burma Shave" style signs, Evening: Malty Beverage ride lead by Deepak - super fun new group of folks including 3 other Kari/Carrie's
June 10: All day ride to Boring, Oregon "Buttes, Bike Trails, & Bonds lead by Jim & Amy - broke two spokes on the ride up, so had to leave the ride to go to Gresham to get them fixed
June 11: Dead Freeways ride by Shawn of the Urban Adventure League - Really Cool history tour of what could have been and what was - I unfortunatly had to escape early to get ready for a wacky-mini-golfing birthday atop a downtown Portland Building.
June 12: Ride Pad Thaied - by Dr. Wasbi (Jeff) & Dr. Ginger (Jeff) - 4 restaurants and Thai Culture, I then tried to join the Night of the Living Donut Ride - but after the first stop off far out Sandy, I decided to give my stomach a rest.
June 13: Taco Ride lead by Ben - Nevermade it to the first stop - was last to leave, then stuck at a light, and after pushing myself to try to catch up without success, I decided to NOT chase after my dinner, and left the ride
June 14: Bike to Skate led by Jeff - Ride to Oaks Park for a lovely potluck & skate - Skating to Def Lepard's "Pour some sugar on me" made my night
June 15: /// Vertigo Gorge Ride led by Kiran - All day MAX train & bike ride out to Crown Point Vista House in the Gorge with portable Karaoke and pints at Edgefield aftewards. Highlight - Singing "I will follow" karaoke in Corbett while riding bikes.
June 16: Interactive Small Museums Tour lead by moi. We geeked out at the Museum of Modern Materialism, 3D Center of Art & Photography, Ground Kontrol, IPRC, & the Bathtub Art Museum Studio.
June 17: Portland Bike Summit: Gathering of many a local Bike "Rock Star" & Politician. I felt I was apart of an imporatant historic event. Following it was Shawn's "Sullivan's Gulch" history tour - but after the 2nd stop, my attention span was nil, so I sent myself home
June 18: Mobile Mystery Dance Party led by Captain Clash, Dan - We grooved & boogied all through downtown. I had big hair & a sparkly shirt
June 19 Architecture Tour led by Carl - 50 folks showed up on this mysterious tour all through town down alleys, to homes, churches, fountains and more - small after party afterwards.
June 20: Solstice Ride - Ah didn't go - made plans with Matt but he caught a cold, so instead of riding our bikes all night to watch the sun rise, we stayed in a watched a movie
June 21:Communified Ride by Jonathan - Lovely evening out with a photoshoot.

Ah today is the Kiss-in - I was looking forward to it, Last year I made a whole bunch of signs: "Make Love, Not Traffic" and "If you rode your Bike, you'd be Kissing by now", but unfortunately my kissing partner Matt still has a cold, so making it is doubtful.

With only two days left - we have my 2nd Museum Tour - Fame & Glamour themed & the finale the Mulnomah County Bike Fair. Yee Haw.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Secret Thriftstore No More

Pssst. I have a secret thrift store. However the sad news is my secret thrift is closing. I am sharing my coveted store now with all of you, so you may take a piece of it with you in its last breath. The days are numbered for this basement oasis of amazing finds that is open only Saturdays and goes by the name Store II. Located off of Killingsworth near Michigan in North Portland across from where the rowdy Jockey Club lived & the long gone Renaissance Market where one could buy grape Shasta. The neighborhood is changing, the rent is going up. Old favourites must go. That's life I guess. This store is not where you go for clothes or furniture, but the place you go when you need a jello mold for a wedding, or 1/4 hole punch (it was there!) or pink dollhouse bathtub.

[True Story] About twice a year Store II has a half off basement sale, so sometimes when I see something I want but want a cheaper price I'll hold out. On one such day when I knew I could get a little pink dollhouse bathtub for $2 instead of $4, I marched down to the shop to make it my own. I looked where it was, and *gasp* it was gone. So I asked the white-haired elegant owner if she knew where it might have gone. She said she hadn't sold it, but maybe it was moved to another area. So she lad me back in the layered depths, and as we turned the corner, She looked back in horror, and whispered, "oh no, that lady has it in her hands! Maybe you could make a deal?" When I turned the corner I had a big laugh. It was my friend Cathy Pitters who had told me about the tub in the first place. She had it, but was saving it for me.

Last week I stopped in to say goodbye and stock up on some goodness. It was half off, but I know I got a deal since for $5 I left with a garbage can, gardening gloves, gardening tool, vintage 50s beach towel, cutters, plastic case with a handle, a scrabble board, jar of paint, and a 50s toy iron.

Go friends Go, I give you Store II. The secret is no more. (By the way, the bargains are downstairs! Upstairs it looks like a traditional antique store)

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Imagine building a bench, outdoor covered area, or even a home with your own hands - using mostly a mixture of straw, clay, & sand, that will harden to form walls & decorative elements of the main structure. Even small children can help build & mix the building ingredients - A community affair, part social, part hard work, and a little dancing thrown in.

Last week, I participated in the building of my first cob (earthen) structure - as part of City Repair's Village Building Convergence. Matt & I worked on a new outdoor classroom for the International School in SW Portland. The end result will be a cob & wood beamed round structure with built in benches with a partially covered roof. This new structure sits on a hill near their community garden. Interesting enough, the International School is a elementary school with three language tracks - Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese - and is tucked between freeways in a nice little green space that is easier to get to by walking or bike.


It seemed best to take off ones shoes and get dirty. Taking big globs of mixed cob and slowly hand building a desired structure. It was like taking a pottery or clay class on the large scale! The project was going on for the entire week and with all the school kids helping out during and after school great progress was being made.

Before the end of the day, we mixed a new batch of cob - which was a bit like a trip to an outdoor gym club - We ran in place and boogied down to mix the clay, sand, and straw together. In fact Matt and I did a few do-si-dos and locked arms to spin around.

Matt is the real enthusiast as he just attended a week long class at the Cob Cottage Company in Coquille, Oregon to learn the basics of cob building from some real experts. My friend Dan Miller also attended the workshop and is in the process of building his own little cob home in North Portland - maybe he'll have a square-dancing cob building party this summer after he has the foundation set! Ye Haw!