Adventures in Portland
Celia Bertoia's traveling lecture
At the end of April, Celia went to Oregon for Design Week Portland, speaking at two events, one at The Good Mod showroom, and another at Environments NW, sponsored by Knoll
The Good Mod
Barbara Rose at The Good Mod had been communicating with me for well over a month before the event at their spacious 3rd floor warehouse showroom.
From her professional demeanor and efficient manner, I had guessed that she was a middle-aged woman. But no, Barbara is the cutest little bundle of sweetness you might imagine, as well as being a very savvy marketing addition to the Good Mod team.
In addition to the refurbished MidCentury Modern furniture that The Good Mod offers, they also have their own workshop in which they create beautiful ping pong tables, repair old pieces, and make some new designs.
The Bertoia T shirts were popular with the younger crowd attending as part of Design Week Portland. The gong featured on this design is an original Harry Bertoia from the collection of the Foundation.
The questions from the Good Mod crowd were excellent and the interest was high; love it when they make me think outside the box.
What was Harry Bertoia's main interest and how did that overlap with his other work?
Harry's main passion was definitely sculpture, but that was totally intertwined with the early jewelry, the curvaceous chairs and the extensive monotypes. Boundaries were fuzzy or nonexistent in Harry’s world.
The jewelry was art to wear, always completely original with custom clasps. The furniture was quite sculptural in its form, especially the Asymmetrical Chaise which was so unusual that it could only be mass produced much later when computer software made it easier. The monotypes, which had been art in their own right during Cranbrook days, became a planning tool and exploratory method for future sculptures. He felt lucky to be able to construct monumental sculptures for architectural projects.
When asked what he wanted to be called, he said simply, "I’m a metal worker."
The presentation for Environments NW at Centrl Office was a private event for their high-end clientele; Designers and Architects. The building at Centrl Office, used in lieu of their own due to remodeling, is sleek and elegant and eye-catching.
There was a bit more schmooze time and fewer questions. Environments NW is a distributor for Knoll and numerous classic and contemporary designs.
Amy McLaughry, their Director of Design, wore a Knoll-red dress, very stunning, and posed elegantly in the Knoll-red Bird Chair.
The Buttercream Cookie Company made Bertoia cookies – totally fun and original and delicious.
Plus my niece Fawni Ruhf and my sister Lesta Bertoia came along with me to see what the heck I've been doing all this time.
Fawni is interested in finding her place in the foundation someday after she’s had her own career and family, so it was great for her to see what happens at a Bertoia presentation.
My sister Lesta, an artist in her own right, living in Maui, is the proud owner of numerous Bertoia sculptures. She was also a tremendous aid in editing and filling out The Life and Work of Harry Bertoia: The Man, The Artist, The Visionary.
Portland is a gorgeous green city and I know I'll return.
Interested in hosting Celia for a speaking event or presentation in your area?
Celia Bertoia's reputation as a speaker is built on the life experience she had with her father, Harry Bertoia, as well as her heartfelt and clear way of communicating. After writing his biography, she has all the factual data you might require about Bertoia as well as anecdotal stories that bring his art and design to life. She will leave you inspired and eager to incorporate greatness into your own life. Click here to schedule Celia.
Want to know more? Watch the video below of Celia's talk at the opening of the centennial exhibition Bent Cast and Forged: The Jewelry of Harry Bertoia at Cranbrook Art Museum.