Name: Kristy Athens/ithaka repurposed collage cards
Location: In my office/studio in my house in Southeast Portland.
How we met: I was in Reading Frenzy last summer and saw one of your coffee cozies (with the cute squirrel on it). I was on the lookout for locally made merchandise options for my spouse’s band, Pancake Breakfast, and emailed you to see if you would do a special order. And you did! You made coffee cozies with his “logo” on them. They rock!
What you do: I am a wordsmith. I have been a freelance PR and business communications writer/editor since 1997. I started writing magazine articles in 1990. I am currently finishing two manuscripts: a nonfiction book about what it takes to successfully move from the city to the country, and a collection of short fiction about all the things that can go wrong with parenthood. I used to run the Oregon Book Awards and Oregon Literary Fellowships programs, and I currently organize the Columbia Center for the Arts Plein Air Writing Exhibition (in the Columbia Gorge). I also make repurposed collage art, mostly greeting cards so far, which are for sale in a couple shops and galleries, and on Etsy.
What inspires you most when you create: I really enjoy the collage work because of the integration of words and ideas, and hands-on activity. I have also always been something of a scavenger, looking for deals at garage sales and flea markets. I hate throwing things away if they’re still, somehow, useful. So, I can take “garbage” books—things that are hopelessly outdated and/or damaged, and make something new out of them! My collages are visual art but still very word-oriented—the words interact with the images to make something new.
List of 5 things you’re digging at the moment:
• Goodwill Bins.
• Domestic bourbon like Bulleit and Maker’s Mark.
• Being able to walk to so many places (we recently moved to SE Portland from a farm in the Columbia River Gorge).
• The fact that I have two writer’s residencies scheduled this year (Harney County, via Fishtrap, and Soapstone), so I can hopefully finish both manuscripts.
• I’m celebrating 20 years of “item-hood” with my now-spouse!