Bags? For me?

Hello everyone,

I have been fortunate enough to receive used bag donations from many nice people. Thank you everyone who’s saved these ‘one time use’ bags after their proposed uses, and gave them to me to be made into things that will last thousands of years as art instead of out in the environment causing chaos and death! Art saves seals, whales and albatros! Yay!!!

I am looking for more bags too! Always!

I had a ‘bag drive’ at my last installation, but didn’t receive any bags! Ha! I didn’t advertise very well, nor did the gallery. I am not sad, the closing event was great.

If you or anyone you know has tons of (or some) bags that you don’t want or don’t know what to do with please let me know. I’d be happy to arrange some kind of something with you.

In Portland I’m happy to meet with you and take your bags off your hands, or if you’d like to ship bags to me I’d be happy to reimburse your postage.

I am looking for colorful bags, primarily. Whatever colors. Brown even. I am also looking for clear bags, like drycleaner bags. As big as possible with these ones, I’m going to do an installation about water soon.

I just wanted to offer up my art as a place for the bags to go.

Thank you so much for considering this!

I need brown and red and yellow bags, fyi, for a commission. I am excited to do this new sculpture. I do make the art for the good of the world, but I don’t often sell the pieces (yet) so it is always very exciting when people are interested in having them! I’ll post a photo on here of it… it’s a bit like the edible tuber pieces I had at the Jungle show.

I’ll post a photo of the newest one of those… it’s on the pedestal below, I am imagining it will look similar, but smaller. And brown, I think. I’ll know about that later today though. And then, the best part (for me) the making!

Thanks for reading!



The new piece will be like the one on the pedestal, the rad-radish-ish

thank you everyone who came to see my installation


I wanted to give a big thank you shout out to everyone who came to see my installation!

It was really nice to see you or to meet you. I am so happy to have been able to share this art with you! It’s been a long tough road to this point. But, as some of you said (can I quote you Ben?) this is something that I’ve made into an art, and I do have complete creative control over the media now, after 2 years creating sculpture out of plastic bags. The sculpture is like nothing else that exists. So I am going to make as damn much of is as I can, before I die, so at least I’ll be famous and recognized for my achievements after that.

After my closing party yesterday I took the installation down. Soon the sculptures will go up at HELD, but I will not paint their walls. And the way they are installed will be different of course.

I am excited for that show! If you weren’t able to see the Jungle, please come to HELD.

Here are a few photos, for those of you wonderful folks who have been asking.

Thanks so much again.

Love, Katie

DSC00790fisheye jungle k. spainjungle, guardians, branchrootsthrough guardianthe old tips k. spainguardian, nyc branches, vines, k. spainnyc made branches, k. spainthe blooming vines, k. spain

ps. all of these images are copyrighted by me, dude, so if you use them for something you’ll have to tell me first and give me royalties! thank you!

pss. i am happy to do interviews, or send you better photos to publish.

brand new sculpture! finished today!

I just wanted to post a photo of my brand new sculpture! I just finished it tonight!

I needed something to show the folks in the workshop I’m going to teach on Saturday, and worked on it as an example of process though the open studios. But, I finished it tonight so I’d have it to show the folks at Mission Mill Museum…

This piece will debut to the Portland Public at the HELD Vegan Belts show in November! Come on over and see it, it is one of my favorites to date!

The blue body of the piece comes from New York Times bags, sent to me from New York by the fabulous Lisa Banner. Thank you Lisa! Thank you so much!

The flowers are a bit bigger than I usually put on this sort of sculpture, but thank goodness things are always changing. I love this piece! This is not the best photo. It is much longer than it is wide, and was very hard to photograph with my computer’s camera. Just fyi, it’s around 3 feet long.


PS people always tell me that these pieces are oceanic, and FINALLY I see it. Yes, this ‘freeform crochet pattern’ could be the structure of seaweed, most certainly. Good point people! Thank you!

Exciting plans for November show at HELD Vegan Belts!


I am really excited, I talked to my friend Micah today, who’s just opened a new store…

So! In November you will be able to visit a new installation of my crochet reclaimed plastic sculptures at the fabulous new & wonderful HELD Vegan Belts – that’s 3033 NE Alberta. Come over to see the art after the 6th. Please come visit this wonderful new store, and see my sculptures up close! HELD has belts and such made of reclaimed material! Very vegan & no carbon footprint! They are the coolest belts ever, and some of the best people you will ever meet. Please come support them and me by coming by the store!

On Friday November 6th there will be a fundraiser event for one of the folks who started HELD. He recently had a cancerous tumor removed from his head – which was, of course, very expensive. The fundraiser will help him pay for some of these crazy expensive bills. This super fabulous event will include music, a raffle (with rad prizes), and lots of other fun things. My art will be up too, and if you buy a piece of my art during the event a percentage of my sales will also go to his medical bills. If you want more information about this event please contact me and I will give you details. Here is the HELD website so you can see the coolest belts ever:

I will have a closing event for my show at HELD too, for Last Thursday, November 26th. I will update you about this closer to the event itself.

Thanks for your support!



k spain guardian tip

10/25/09 Plastic Bag Drive at ‘Our Own Jungle’, Tyson Gallery


I’m having a plastic bag drive and closing event for my show, Our Own Jungle, at the Tyson Gallery in Portland, Oregon. The address is a bit misleading, it’s 625 NW Everett (it’s part of the Everett Station Lofts), but the actual space is on the Broadway side. The address of the gallery itself is 116. You will find it, it’s on NW Broadway, between Everett and Flanders.

The gallery will be open on Sunday October 25th, from 3 pm to 6 pm, come on by! If you haven’t seen the installation yet, this is your last chance! I’ll be disassembling it right after the event!

If you haven’t heard about it already… I make these intricate and organic sculptures entirely out of recycled plastic grocery and other bags. I do all of this myself, mostly by crocheting. I do sew a bit, and bunch the plastic up too. They are very hard to describe. The sculptures are abstract, but based on plantlife and many other things. Each person who views them has a different experience and interpretation. I’ve also painted some of the walls.

Come see, if you can!

Also please bring me your used (not moldy please) plastic grocery bags! I really like the light brown ones (ie Freddies), and any bright color that you have! Any color at all, it doesn’t have to be bright. I’m really excited about different bag colors! Purple? Gold? Turquoise? Red? I will happily use them up! I am, however, not as excited about the white ones (ie Safeway) but I’ll take them off your hands for sure! I will turn them into art! Or I will take them to be recycled.

You will see some examples, and you may have already seen some! Here are a couple of photos of part of the installation. Come by to see more! Ge up close to these intensely complex gorgeous 100% recycled sculptures.

I hope to see you there!


Katie Simpson Spain

Our Own Jungle, 10/2009, fisheye Our Own Jungle, w/ Guardian detail

Portland Open Studios day 4


Thanks so much everyone who came to see my studio! You all rocked my universe.

I was so happy to talk to you all, and to let you into my heart and world.

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The 4th day was the slowest, but I made the most money. I made back my entry fee, and enough to buy some food! Mmm! That is, I guess, the ultimate goal. Food and shelter. Yeah!

There was a bunch of interest in the sculpture I am working on. And I think quite a few folks will make it to the closing event of my installation next weekend.

I did sell things, I only sold art that was old and in a bargain bin. None of my current art. Bargain bin cards too. Old paintings. Tiny paintings.

Does that mean I should give up my current work? NO! My paintings are important historically and locally and culturally. They are an important piece of the current state of art in the world and of Portland. They are also beautiful and I love them. People liked them too, but nobody has any money right now for experimental painting. At least nobody I met. Darn abstract contemporary art. Sigh.

I will persist. I will be famous! Dang it!

Thank you for being part of the excitement!



Portland Open Studios Day 3


Today was pretty slow, but it was fun. I got a bunch of work done. I got to talk to some nice folks.

My favorite part was a highschool class (well, maybe 6 girls and a teacher) who kind of interviewed me. One girl filmed it! She said she’d put it on youtube or something. I was excited.

It was pouring for much of the day. That torrential portland randomness, it was sunny sometimes too.

Some people said our signs weren’t very good. That they had a hard time finding the studio. Sad! Next year the signage will have to be different, since apparently it is not ok with the city to have the kind of signs we do. Not that I will necessarily do this next year. It is not lucrative really. I haven’t made my entry fee back yet. I hope tomorrow will be a bit better. But today at least I made five more dollars than last sunday. So I got to buy soup for my sweetheart and myself!

I’m just tired. I’m not trying to complain. No days off, no weekends, it’s sleepymaking. This is a bad year for some of us just starting out in the artworld. No, I know, I’m not just starting out. But I’m not famous either. Not yet. And the stinky economy is stinky. And things have been tough. Portland has a really high unemployment rate. The pay rate is not high here and the prices of homes and such have been going up still. SO times are tough, I know, I know. For real.

But all in all this experience has been really good. I’ve really learned a lot, and met a lo of great people. And learned how to talk about my art in a really good way! How to kind of teach painting. How to teach the plastic bag yarn making/crochet too. I have taught both before, but not given short demos. The past 2 weeks I’ve learned how to explain the painting technique that I use. Oh! I made up a name earlier, but I can’t remember it anymore! Dang.

I’ll post it when I remember.

Tomorrow is the last day of Portland Open Studios! I am excited to be open to talk to people for one more stretch. It should be a blast!

If you have time, please come see me. My studio is going to be open from 10 to 5. I’ll be there, making art, and will be happy to talk to you about it. If you’d like more information please message me. I look forward to talking to you soon!

Also, if you are not free tomorrow, I am happy to set up a studio visit for you.

Thanks so much for reading.



Portland Open Studios Day 2


Today was fun! It was slower than yesterday, people wise, but fun. I got some good work done, and talked about art with some folks. And I made 10 bucks. So that was good. That’s about $1.15 and hour. I get to buy something to eat for dinner. Yay happy hour!!!!

I love my studio. I just love it. What a great space to work in. I even love the train that goes by only 20 feet from my paintbrushes. I have such a wonderful community too. There are so many great folks that also work at the same studio. In case I didn’t mention this before, it’s called Switchyard Studios. We will have a group event in the spring, the space is still a little under construction. We need some floors that aren’t tretcherous and a few more walls. Oh the studio is just gorgeous when there are so many folks around. There is a juicy creative energy that is hard to describe. Sparkle!

And some of my friends came to visit yesterday too! Natalie St.John took some photos! I know, I haven’t had any pictures of myself making art, it’s usually a solitary process… so this whole studio being open stuff is really crazy for me! I like it. But it is crazy. I’m all like, “Welcome to my studio, come on in. I paint with acrylic paint and I mix the paint with water or clear acrylic medium. And I maybe sand or wash some of it off, then paint some more. I am trying for compressed depth of 100s of layers of drips. I most often paint on wood panels that I build myself.” Etc, etc, etc.

You’ve got to come visit to really see what I’m talking about.

Oh! I finished a painting today! I really love it! It’s got a lot of black in it. And is very abstract. Gorgeous. I will show you when you come over.

I’ll update some more next weekend. Please come on the tour if you are able. I’m number 29. Maggie Casey is a wonderful artist, also in Portland Open Studios, and works in my studio complex too. She is number 28. Follow the yellow signs from MLK or Grand. Also there will be red and yellow balloons around our front door!

Thanks so much for reading.


Katie Simpson Spain

PS Check out these photos of my space… don’t you want to come over next weekend! It’ll be fun!


Portland Open Studios!


Today was my first ever day of Portland Open Studios! It was awesome!

So many people came by and talked to me about art! And watched me making art! And some people even purchased some old art!

Dang! How cool! I am so tired though. I wish I had some photos to post, but I was nonstop. It took me until 2 to eat lunch, I was so nonstop.

And now I think I will sleep, but I wanted to update this and say how much fun the day was, and how awesome tomorrow will be too!

I think tomorrow will be more busy, today wasn’t too busy. I expected like 200 more people to come, but I have never done this before. So I really don’t know. I’ve heard somewhere around 300 people per weekend, but there are 2 of us on the tour in my studio building, so I htought we’d get more crossover and have twice as many folks.

Not that I am complaining. I am not. I am just tired. So I am going to go get some sleep and get ready for another full day in the studio! I am so excited to be able to spend so much good time there. I love the art, and I love to talk to nice people! So it’s a great combination!

I hope all of you, readers, have a great sunday. If you are in town come see my studio! I’m #29 in the Portland Open Studios tourguide calendar.

Oh! Bedtime.

Happy beautiful October!