Ms. Bathtub

Musings from Carye Bye of Portland, Ore.

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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


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