I’m totally dating myself but save for the ten years I spent in Seattle and a few brief stints in Texas that I try my best to forget about, I have lived in Portland since 1979. Having grown up here, and as part of a family that was more artistically inclined than not, I’ll admit most “Portlandia” references – especially those about our more creative residents – tend to make me bristly but the truth is, Portland really is home to an amazingly large pool of creative talent. It’s also true that Portland creatives tend to be very open with and supportive of one another. It’s something that is wonderful to see and even more wonderful to experience.
Case in point: I recently attended the first Lady Makers Dinner, conceived and hosted by Breyell Payne & Jess Ackerman of All Bad Days and illustrator Tea Leigh, who was visiting from Brooklyn. Held in a private space within the Cardinal Club, the atmosphere was warm and inviting, with multiple strings of soft lights setting a relaxed mood, very attentive staff serving up delicious food and drink, and lots of great company. Some of Portland’s best and brightest makers were there including illustrators Michelle Erickson and Meg Adamson, metalsmith Lane Walkup, herbalist Teresa, musicians Nicole Oda and Jimi Hendrix & Lily Maher of Thanks Band, painter and tattoo artist Eva Bryant, weaver Sam LaMont, model Cassondra Pittz, stylist & makeup artist Chloe Alexandra Thompson, and jewelry designer Anna Evans. That’s a lot of talented ladies!
Throughout the evening hosts Breyell, Jess, and Tea encouraged us to step outside of our comfort zones, switch chairs every so often, and make a point to get to know everyone. I had to make an early exit but left feeling happy and inspired by the spirit of camaraderie I enjoyed having gotten the chance to chat with (almost!) everyone.
The first in what will potentially be a series of Lady Maker Dinners, the overall response from attendees was enthusiastic. Having benefited myself over the past two years from meeting and pow wowing with other creatives, I know just how vital it is to be able to connect on this level as you discuss processes, tricks of the trade, inspirations, motivations, contacts, and more. Big thanks to Breyell, Jess, and Tea for making this happen. Here’s to the next Lady Makers Dinner!