Denise Sirchie has a passion for making mosaics, one hand-cut piece at a time. Her sculptures and panels begin with the selection of a form (think vintage mannequin, gazelle-shaped knickknack or Plain Jane frame gleaned from a thrift shop or estate sale) and the gathering of materials—mostly recycled items such as jewelry, china, stained glass, marbles, tile and slingshot pellets—from different shelves in her studio, a former detached garage behind her Multnomah Village-area home that her contractor-husband transformed into a cozy mosaic-making place.
As CJ Rench Design Studio, Chris “CJ” Rench manipulates metal into sculptures with organic lines and shapes (imagine circles, orbs and super-cool squiggles) that he finishes off in either rustic or sleek patinas, or powder-coats in eye-popping colors such as Granny Smith green and School Bus yellow. “You have to have a passion for working with metal to do it because there’s nothing easy about it,” says the 43-year-old, who is also a national sales manager for a couple of companies that make wind-surfing equipment. “Metal doesn’t always perform the way you want it to, but it can take on so many shapes and forms. Luckily, I have a mind that can visualize and draw in 3D. I love getting metal to work with me.”
For embroidery artist Emily Katz, the best kind of art is art you can do with a needle and thread—or a hook and yarn. “I’ve always been interested in tactile arts,” she says. “I went to a Waldorf school, and we learned to knit, crochet and quilt. I did things that were hands-on, and that really taught me to think outside the box when it comes to making art.”
A trip to Greece inspired ceramic artist Marilyn Woods to begin sculpting the human form. “Eight years ago, my husband and I went to Greece on vacation, where I saw all these beautiful sculptures,” she says. “I’d never done figure work before, but after we came home, I started trying to make my first torso.”