January 25, 2011

Junk to Funk: "Transformation"

“Imagine a world in which there was no such thing as trash; that everything that we ‘threw away’ was perceived as a valuable resource…What if the ultimate measure of coolness was how little you bought and how much you creatively reused?”

Portland-based trash fashion organization Junk to Funk asks these questions, and through a combination of performance, contemporary fashion, and sustainability education tries to inspire answers. From catwalk to classroom, Junk to Funk provides audiences young and old new ways of conceptualizing sustainability, reuse and consumption by creating, teaching about and displaying garments and accessories made out of ‘trash.’

Best known for its annual “Recycled Fashion Show Contest,” Junk to Funk has led the city in showcasing the most sustainable fashion around—trashion. The organization has a solid community and political following (Mayor Sam Adams again expressed his appreciation for Junk to Funk’s eye on sustainability at Portland Fashion Week 2010) and regularly features garments by very talented local designers such as Jen Lamastra, Rio Wrenn, and Ruth Waddy (image at left by OnScreen Imaging, design by Ruth Waddy at Pre-Soiled Couture). Junk to Funk designers assemble their wears almost entirely from recycled or reclaimed materials, such as vintage shoulder pads, Oregonian newspaper bags, bicycle tubes and used coffee filters.

Turning away from 4 years of high profile, in-your-face style production, Junk to Funk has recently unveiled new directions in programming. The reconfigured Trashion Collective will integrate trashion into education (at local schools and a summer camp), into business practice (by offering to custom design a garment from a business’s waste), and into the private sector (with opportunities to rent Junk to Funk garments). Junk to Funk’s upcoming 5th anniversary party, called “Transformation,” on February 5th, will both celebrate Junk to Funk’s legacy as Portland’s largest trash fashion show and reveal Junk to Funk’s plan of action for the future. Fourteen new garments from Junk to Funk’s “House of Trashion” will be showcased up close and personal in a gallery installation.

What: Junk to Funk’s
Anniversary Party

When: Saturday, February 5th, 7-11pm

Where: Boothster, 521 NE Davis St.

If you missed Junk to Funk’s fashion shows in year’s past, there are still opportunities throughout the year to see the garments, at Junk to Funk events such as “Transformation,” nonprofit fundraisers like SCRAP’s Incognito or in installations in places such as the Portland International Airport (see image above right from Junk to Funk). You can also check out photos and video from past shows on Junk to Funk’s website.

January 03, 2011

Heaven's Teas with Paul Rosenberg

The experience of tea with Paul Rosenberg of Heaven's Tea in one word: lifted. In his private tea drinking retreat in the top floor of a SE Hawthorne area home, Paul’s tea sessions beckon the visitor into divine realms. Stepping into the intimate space is like stepping into a Taoist sanctuary: antique Himalayan statues and paintings exude a meditative calmness; cakes of tea and handmade pottery with mysterious labels line dark shelves.

Guests/students sit on cushions, sipping rare teas such as rich dark Chinese aged puerhs and fragrantly floral green oolongs from Taiwan, while Paul shares his deep knowledge about the tea plant (camellia sinensis), its healing properties and the range of effects that teas can have on the mind and body. The art of tea in the West is rarely carried out as professionally and serenely as by Paul of Heaven's Teas.

Heaven's Teas is Portland's very own School of Tea Arts. In addition to tasting sessions (such as tea and chocolate pairings), Heaven's Teas offers tea class sessions with a variety of themes, such as Tea and Ecstatic poetry or Understanding Tea and Chi. In the summer months classes are held in an outdoor tea pavilion. For renewal and inspiration, as well as a rare glimpse into a private collection of Himalayan art, Heaven's Tea is the place to spend an evening.

Visit Heaven's Tea website for the current class schedule or to reserve a private tea session.

Photos courtesy of Heaven's Teas. Bottom photo (c)2010 Terry Asker.

Written by Eleanor Williams.

January 02, 2011

PDX Guide: Independent Publishing Resource Center

Located in a historic building downtown, the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) is the place is Portland for D.I.Y. publication, offering facilities, tools and machines for the production of zines, comics and handmade books. Besides offering the resources and tools for self-publishing, this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization also aims to help individual adults and youth (especially at-risk youth) explore and express issues of identity.

Founded in 1998, the IPRC facilitates creative expression, identity and community by providing individual access to tools and resources for creating independently published media and artwork. Membership to the IPRC is affordable and well worth the myriad perks. Members to the IPRC enjoy access to:
  • copy machines
  • printers
  • computer workstations with up-to-date software and internet
  • a letterpress print shop
The Center offers self-publication related workshops (including Letterpress Printing, Zinemaking and Design and Publication Software) and houses one of the largest circulating zine libraries in the world. Want to go even more in depth? You can now apply for a year-long certificate program in Independent Publishing with a concentration on fiction/nonfiction, poetry, or comics/graphic novels. Read about current projects of folks involved at the Center now on the IPRC blog.

Anyone can sign up for a live tour the IPRC, and the zine library is open to the public (once you sign up for a library card). Oh- and I forgot to mention that the Center also has a Yeti Research Center. A must-see for the true Portland experience.
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