I’m really excited to introduce to you the next artists in our Showroom series: Cyan Bott and Rebekah Scheer.
Both have a deep love of woodworking and use reclaimed cut-offs to create beautifully designed wooden canvases with geometric and industrial-edged patterns.
The artists will be at our Showroom this Thursday, March 7th for our next Open House. Come kick back with us and celebrate some truly inspired art! Keep reading for a hilarious and touching Q + A with the artists —>
Caravan Pacific Showroom
Open House: Thursday, March 7th
6 – 9pm
Lovejoy Activspace Building
1720 NW Lovejoy
Suite #120, Ground floor
Entrance on NW 18th Ave.
Q+A with Cyan Bott and Rebekah Scheer
Years as an Artist:
Cyan: Dog years. My parents were artists. I made my first Jasper Johns rip off when I was 7. But I never thought it was art then. I’m still not sure if I do.
Rebekah: I also come from an ‘art’ family: my grandmother was an artist and family lore states that she strictly forbid my parents to dole out coloring books. Instead we got remnants of water color paper, Grandma Ilse’s old paint supplies, and nibs of conte crayons to mess about with. I started painting on canvas probably in junior high or early high school, but I also always messed around in my dad’s garage spaces… yes spaces plural. I am the daughter of a man with two garages.
When did you first start collaborating?
Cyan: About 5 months ago.
Rebekah: I started working at a restaurant where Cyan worked and found out that she’d also studied fiber and materials. I think we sort of secretly spied each others facebook pages until we figured out that we had a pretty similar aesthetic and that we were sort of “makers” in the same ways. I knew I liked her when she brought her drill into work one night to hang up a sign and muttered something about never trusting another man’s tools.
What is it about wood that speaks to you as an artistic material?
Cyan: We both grew up in garages, shops, around wood workers; we were both inspired by those experiences. I think it was a natural progression to gravitate toward wood as a medium, and posses and innate love for it as a material.
Rebekah: There’s something about the warmth that wood brings to a space, and the accessibility of it, plus it’s empowering to be able to build a useful, lasting object. I once heard the painter Lari Pittman talking about his innate tendency towards “fixing up”. Wether it was outfits for his pet chicken, the abandoned art of painting, or his California home, he feels drawn to fixing things up and ‘making pretty’. I think I sort of mash up that idea of “fixing up” with “making do” . You use what you got and you make it look good. I think wood lends itself quite readily to both those ideas… which leads into the next question: I kind of like the idea of making do with found wood and fixing it up into somethin’ nice.
What’s your favorite wood to work with?
Cyan: Found wood, reclaimed CVG Fir, broken chairs.
Rebekah: I also really like working with reclaimed wood. It comes with all kinds of charming flaws and character built right it. I’ve also started experimenting with hardwoods (due to my brief stint as Goby Walnut’s part time office girl) so right now I’m into black walnut.
Is there anyone or anything you’re influenced by?
Cyan: Necessity. Function. Other artists. My ability to afford materials.
Rebekah: Ditto. We’re both object junkies and have delightfully jam-packed homesteads. Right now, I’m super influenced by interiors/spaces/homes and the potential that a space has to influence the experiences that take place in and around it.
How do your surroundings affect your work? Is there anything about living in Portland that inspires or challenges you?
Everything. We cull a lot of inspiration from the domestic sphere. A love for things found in the home, things that can be made for the home, even Portland’s relatively low cost of living is inspiring in that we (coming from SO Cal and the East coast) can finally afford the luxury of making a studio space, whereas that used to be the kitchen table.
Cyan: Portland is at once beautiful and dreary; the chipped and faded facades it’s urban landscapes, the muted palate of the city, the woods, the rivers, that melancholy opaque grey light. I think for me the biggest challenge is that this city is so saturated with makers and part time waitresses, I feel a bit banal at times.
Rebekah: The immediacy of nature in/around Portland is really inspiring. Feeling like a mammal on a planet instead of a human in a city is good for the brain and all the other parts of you that need to function properly to be doing good work. I agree that it’s simultaneously inspiring and challenging that Portland is so saturated with artists. It’s like there’s a large art community, but also a thousand other people who could totally do your job if you just disappeared one winter into the mist of Forest Park.
Rebekah, how did working at Goby influence this project?
Rebekah: I actually started working at Goby because I’d been spending time in the SAIC wood shop back in Chicago, right before I moved out to Portland. I had just learned how to turn wood and was using a bunch of really awesome tools, I think I just wanted access to all those tools again. The main benefit I got from Goby was learning things about wood: stuff about figure, quilting, spalting, and burl. I don’t have the constitution of an office girl so it wasn’t too long before I moved on, but I know more about wood than I did before, and it’s kinda fun to throw around the word chatoyance at a party.
What would you most like to create?
Cyan: A house.
Rebekah: Oh yeah, good answer. I’m also super into upholstery lately and have
been teaching myself how, through a string of little projects. I worked my
way up from kitchen chairs, to 60’s club chairs, to the bench seat of my
GMC, and just recently did a vintage office chair with the loveliest little
gold casters. Next I’d like to do a full blown arm chair and see how that
What’s the most challenging thing about creating this type of work?
C+ R: Always wondering if the cute boys from the wood department will laugh.
That, and the splinters.