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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Artwork You Can Share with the Neighbors

Or the Changing View of My Porch

It is wonderful when you can put the money for a piece of artwork into the hands of the artist. That was one reason that last summer while in Arizona we made certain to visit Native American artisans to purchase keepsakes for ourselves and family during our weeks there. This summer I was in Oregon in June for the Oregon Lavender Festival and browsed the Yamhill Artisan & Lavender Fair in Yamhill. It was there that I met Elizabeth Gurklys as I perused her stall filled with glass jewelry and art.

Among the treasures she had samples of house numbers done in glass. That got my attention because I have been looking to replace our corroded brass house numbers on our Ilwaco house. Had they been big heavy numbers a nice patina might have looked well, but as it is our cheap little old house numbers leave much to be desired. I had been promising myself new house numbers and when I saw Elizabeth Gurklys sample it seemed like a good fit. Glass doesn’t corrode!

I chatted with Elizabeth about the possibility of getting numbers made. She told me that they were $40. If I gave her a check she would not deposit it until the artwork went into the kiln the first time. I took her card and my friend and I continued around the fair intending to come back to Elizabeth’s stall before we left, but when we returned her stall was filled with people and the temperature was in the 90s. Since her card included an email address as well as phone number we continued on our lavender excursion in an air-conditioned car. That night I emailed Elizabeth reminding her of our conversation and asking if she could do numbers for me with lots of purple flowers, either lavender or lilacs. Her quick response was certainly. I mailed her a check. Really where are you going to get commissioned artwork for $40?

At last the day arrived and Elizabeth wanted to know when I could come and pick up the numbers. Since I was not going to be near any of the festivals she would be showing at we opted for UPS for an extra $9.40. Elizabeth had decided that her metal hangers wouldn’t stand up to the corrosive salt air and for an extra $5 she had the numbers framed so we can screw the whole thing to the house.

Only one day after Elizabeth told me that she’d sent the numbers off to me a big Brown truck pulled up in front of the house. I eagerly opened the box, dug through the Styrofoam peanuts (which I loathe), peeled off the bubble wrap and unwrapped my carefully framed house numbers! They are perfect. I cannot wait for my husband to put them up.

I am so excited about this process that I’ve commissioned Elizabeth to create house numbers for our daughter’s cottage that sits on our property at the back of our barn. It is not visible from the street, but should there be a fire it would be important for the fire department to be able to find it so now we await a pink creation for pink is Amy’s favorite color and we spoiled her enough to paint the barn pink.

If you are interested in having glass artwork by Elizabeth Gurklys commissioned she can reached at or (503)962-0035. Check her website for a list of places she will be exhibiting this summer. She is a Portland artist who shows her work primarily in Oregon.

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