Curious Gallery 2015

An arts festival of the wunderkammer revival, January 10-11, 2015 at Crowne Plaza Downtown-Convention Center, Portland, OR. Capacity is limited, so register below for your weekend pass.


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We are pleased to announce Curious Gallery is returning for 2015! Save the date for January 10-11, 2015 at the Crowne Plaza Portland-Downtown Convention Center at 1441 NE 2nd Avenue.

Vending applications are CLOSED.

Programming applications are available here.

Art show applications are available here.

Long before public museums became a feature of many cities, private citizens in Europe and elsewhere formed their own extensive collections of scientific specimens and cultural artifacts meant to educate and inspire their beholders. A longtime collector of natural history specimens, Portland artist and author Lupa wanted to increase awareness and appreciation of wunderkammern (“wonder cabinets”), or cabinets of curiosity, and their eclectic contents. Curious Gallery is the result, a weekend featuring an art show, exhibits, presentations, hands-on workshops, and special programming for lovers of taxidermy, natural wonders, and strange treasures old & new.

Get news, updates, and info on special deals on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. Please note that we do not have pre-registration for attendees under the age of 18; discounted admission will be available for attendees under the age of 14 at the door, and children 6 and under may attend for free. All attendees 18 and up may preregister here, or purchase tickets at the door.

If you are a business or individual interested in sponsoring Curious Gallery 2015, or are an individual wishing to volunteer at the event, please contact us at

We are pleased to announce that Rewild Portland will be receiving a portion of the ticket sales for Curious Gallery 2015. We will also be taking additional donations from attendees who wish to support this local nonprofit organization that educates children and adults alike on a variety of earth-based creative and practical skills. You can find out more at


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We are now accepting programming submissions for Curious Gallery 2015; please send us your proposals using this form.

Curious Gallery’s 2014 programming received a strong positive response from attendees and presenters alike, and this year we’re expanding our event to include even more panels, workshops and other presentations to pique your curiosity. Possible programming selections may include, but are not limited to:

–Presentations/panels on the history and modern revival of cabinets of curiosities and their contents; specimen collection and preservation, scientific advances of the Renaissance and beyond, and other natural sciences topics; the cultures behind archaeological artifacts; handcrafting skills old and new; and other subjects to inform and inspire the audience.

–Demonstrations of relevant technology and skills, whether the mad scientist fare of quack medicine, or the rebirth of “archaic” skills by modern makers. Obscure tech and skills that no one else has ever heard of are a bonus!

–Hands-on workshops were very popular last year; we’re looking for teachers of theme-appropriate skills and crafts accessible to a general audience. Materials fees per participant should be free or in the $5-$15 range as attendees will be paying for materials above and beyond the registration fee; however, we have limited space for workshops with higher materials fees.

–Cultural performances such as dance, theater, and storytelling that can fit on a small stage. Please be prepared to offer the audience some history and background either before or after the performance itself; the goal is to both entertain and educate.

Not sure if your programming idea will fit our event? Contact us at to ask us for feedback.

As with last year, hands-on workshops that involve creating items will have limited seating capacity (usually 15-20 people on average) and we will have signup sheets available at the registration desk each day. To pay for materials costs you can either pay with cash at the beginning of the workshop, or you can purchase tokens in $5 denominations at registration using your debit or credit card. If a workshop has a materials fee, it will be listed at the end of its description below.

Here are just some of the presentations, panels and other programming that will be featured at Curious Gallery 2015; we will add more as we confirm them:

Inside J.W. Kinsey’s Artifice: Handcrafted Objects of Wonder
Presented by J.W. Kinsey

Makers, creators and artisans, are you looking to expand your repertoire of tools and techniques? This presentation offers an in-depth look at the processes, methodologies, and techniques implemented by J.W. Kinsey’s Artifice, a world-class custom design and fab shop. Over 500 process photos will be presented and discussed, illustrating tooling, construction approaches, casting concepts, concept art and design, as well as a comprehensive portfolio. This presentation is designed with serious makers and designers in mind.

Resurrecting Dead Cosmetics: Historical Inspiration and Cosmetic Crafting
Presented by Kim Damio

As a cosmetic crafter, I have been heavily influenced by historical sources. Historical beauty recipes can be creatively inspiring, educational, and surprisingly accessible. They can also be difficult to interpret, hard to recreate, or even dangerous. Please join me as I relate some of my successful—and less successful—experiences adapting period formulas for modern use.

Weapons as Cultural Curios
Presented by Stephen Couchman

A civilizations’ tools of warfare and defense can tell us much about their history, technology, and values. Learn tips on weapon collecting/curating and discuss the relative merits of antiques, reproductions, and “tourist art” weaponry.

Chinook Indians and the Folklore of Food
Presented by Heather Arndt Anderson

A great deal of the Chinook Indian’s worldview was based on the notion that food was symbiotically linked to people. For Portland’s first people, all food was anthropomorphized. It was not just the birds and fish that told their stories, but roots and berries had a say in the myths as well. As they did with all aspects of life, the Chinook imbued the practices of hunting, fishing and gathering with their all-encompassing spirituality. This talk examines the folklore behind Chinookan people’s foodways.

The Altar of Curiosities
Presented by Lupa

In recent years, there’s been a resurgence in interest in cabinets of curiosity featuring natural history specimens, ancient artifacts and other wonders. The altar of curiosities combines the conscious aesthetics of the classic wunderkammer with the meditative focus of the spiritual altar. Lupa discusses how to find and display curiosities, how to incorporate them into your spiritual practice, how to work with antique and otherwise secondhand sacred items, and more!

Leaf Print Scarves & Natural Dyes
Presented by Sarah Hill

Participants will learn the basics of dying fibers with natural materials, including material selection, mordants, and possible local and invasive dye plants, and resources on regional dye stuffs. We will put some of these principals to action while imprinting local leaves on silk scarves. (Materials cost $5, payable at the event)

Wet Felted Bags
Presented by Sarah Hill

Beginning with raw sheep wool, participants will learn the process of wet felting with a resist, producing a small pouch with an antler or black walnut button. The principals covered in this class can be applied to other projects such as felted booties, hats, or larger bags and pouches, and this is a great beginner project for anyone interested in felting. (Materials cost $5, payable at the event)

Make Your Own Rawhide Shield Wall Hanging
Presented by Michelle Meister

Create art using ancient materials and techniques from the natural world, working with softened rawhide to create a personal shield. We will lace the rawhide to a bent willow hoop and paint it using natural clay pigments. No artistic talent is required. (Materials cost $10, payable at the event)

Curious Gallery Show and Tell
Open to all attendees

Do you have some neat antique or natural history specimen you’d like to share with others? Got some oddity that you haven’t been able to identify? Or are you just interested in other people’s collections of the weird and wonderful? Here’s where you can bring in skulls and tiny terrariums, ancient relics and modern recreations, and share them with like-minded people!

Flint Knapping – The Art of Making Tools From Stone
Presented by Tony Deland

I will be demonstrating flint knapping by making arrow heads and spear points using traditional tools and obsidian. Come find out about this ancient art that has been instrumental to our species’ success for thousands of years!

Steel Sculpture/Torch Welding Demonstration and Workshop
Presented by David Gonzalez

I will be demonstrating how to manipulate and weld metal into creative, flowing and unique sculpture with the oxygen acetylene torch. If patrons are wanting to have something small created, they can help with the creation process. They will learn a bit about steel, welding and tools. Please note that this workshop will be held outside on the venue grounds; please dress appropriately for the weather. Materials fees TBA.

What is Rewilding?
Presented by Peter Michael Bauer

What is rewilding? Director of local non-profit Rewild Portland will give a talk on the emerging cultural movement. What is it? Why is it important? How does it relate to the Curious Gallery?

Raptors, Rodents, and Regurgitation: A Dissection of Owl Pellets
Presented by Amanda Fisher

Participants will discover what owls have for midnight snacks as they dissect an owl pellet and take home their findings. The types of bones will be identified, as well as tips on cleaning, protecting, and using your bones for artistic purposes. (Materials cost $5, payable at the event)

Out With It!: How to Talk to People About Your More Morbid Interests
Presented by Chelsea Mascari

Come discuss the difficult topics of how to tell your family you’re interested in hides, bones, and other dead things, how to deal with opposition, and learn how to “Open The Front Door” with communication.

Make a Tiny Air Plant Terrarium!
Presented by Julie McGowan

Come join Julie McGowan in making small air plant terrariums! Use a container of your choosing, customize it with substrate, and decorate it in various ways– with paint, rocks, yarn, and so much more to make a cozy home for an air plant that you get to take home! Materials will be provided, but you’re welcome to bring some of your own, too. (Materials cost $10, payable at the event)

Cleaning, Preservation, and Art of Animal Bones
Presented by Carla Brauer

Learn how to prepare, clean, and finish skulls and other bones for display, collections, or art. This panel will go over the procurement of raw specimens, how to prepare animal parts prior to cleaning, and the most effective cleaning methods: dermestid beetle colonies and masceration. This will include an overview of the care, maintenance and breeding of beetles as well as the risks and rewards of keeping them. Degreasing and whitening techniques will be discussed, as well as articulation and ideas for using or altering finished bones as art.

Taxidermy 101
Lupa, Chelsea Mascari, more TBA

In recent years taxidermy has become rather trendy, but what’s it take to be a modern-day taxidermist? In this group panel we’ll discuss what taxidermy is (and isn’t), some basics of legalities and ethics, where to get supplies and how to start creating your own taxidermy creations. We’ll also have a Q&A session, so bring your questions about this ancient art in the 21st century!

Morbid Curiosities
Liv Rainey-Smith, more TBA

In the classic wunderkammer, the “wonders” weren’t just your run-of-the-mill natural history specimens; they also included medical oddities, strange mutated specimens, and supposed remnants of fabulous creatures known only to myth and legend. Our panelists will discuss this stranger side to the cabinet of curiosities, including how you can create a weird collection of your own, and a chance to ask our panelists any questions you may have about the weirder side of the cabinet of curiosities!


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skinny1Lupa is a Portland-based artist, author, and amateur naturalist. Since 1998 she has incorporated hides, bones and the like into her mixed-media practical creations, with a special emphasis on honoring the beings who once wore these remains in life. Lupa has published several books on nature-based spirituality, to include her 2010 Skin Spirits: The Spiritual and Magical Use of Animal Parts. Her primary website, The Green Wolf, serves as a portal for her work in general. As organizer for Curious Gallery, it is her wish to create a place for those who love the natural world and the creativity it inspires a place to meet, learn, and share their works and accomplishments.

Carla Brauer

Carla is a bone obsessed nature lover living in the gorgeous Willamette Valley. Carla began teaching herself the art of bone preservation many years ago while working on a goat meat ranch and being unable to discard the beautifully horned heads of the bucks that they were slaughtering for meat. Over the years, she has refined her craft to produce impeccably cleaned bones that can be passed down for generations. She uses a colony of flesh-eating dermestid beetles along with other processes, both natural and chemical, to achieve museum-quality specimens. She also does bone carving, painting, metalizing, and repair and restoration of bones, horns and antlers. She may be found online at

Julie McGowan

Julie McGowan is a creative enthusiast now living, working, and going to school in the Portland area. Her curiosity sprawls through subjects of alternate history, subculture communities, local creative endeavors, music, and whatever art projects she can get her grubby little hands on. Julie is a friend of the Curious Gallery family and helps to run other annual Portland events such as GEAR Con, HOWL Con, and the Steampunk Film Festival.

Chelsea Mascari

Chelsea Mascari, better known as wolfforce, is a born-and-raised California girl who has always had a fascination with animals…even the less-than-lively ones. Chelsea followed a quirky artistic path that led to an intense interest in taxidermy and similar subjects in 2006. She has since sought after knowledge on topics related to bone and fur, along with the animals that bear them. Graduating from Humboldt State University with a bachelor’s degree in Communication, Chelsea hopes to use her acquired skills to educate people about animals, challenge everyone’s thoughts on animal parts, and help those with a more morbid interest find ways to express their passion.

Amanda Fisher

Amanda Fisher is a Portland-based artist and educator. She has spent over a decade developing and teaching classes to youth on a wide variety of science topics, and more recently discovered how to combine her love of science education with her craft of creating jewelry. Midnight Snack Jewelry features the bones of rodents, birds, and shrew dissected from owl pellets found locally on Sauvie Island. Each bone has been eaten, regurgitated, dissected, and reconstructed into wearable artwork!

Peter Michael Bauer

Peter Michael Bauer, Executive Director, Lead Instructor. Peter is the Executive Director and lead instructor for Rewild Portland adult programs. A fourth generation Portlander, his first merit badge in the Boy Scouts was basketry. From there he went on to receive his Eagle Scout rank. It was during his years camping during the scouts that he began to yearn for a deeper connection to place. At sixteen he traveled across the United States to attend Tom Brown Jr.’s Tracker School and Wilderness Awareness School in Washington state, where he attended several Art of Mentoring workshops. He has worked as an environmental educator for nearly every environmental education organization in Portland, including Cascadia Wild, Friends of Tryon Creek, Audubon, and Echoes in Time. He loves basketry, playing the banjo and is a fluent speaker of Chinuk Wawa (Chinook Jargon), the Native trade language of the Pacific Northwest. During the summer of 2012 he attended Lynx Vilden’s Stone Age immersion program. Aside from running Rewild Portland, he currently works at Shining Star Waldorf School in Portland as an instructor for their Nature Immersion Program.

David Gonzalez

David Gonzalez was born in Albuquerque, N.M. in 1976 and started creating steel sculpture 23 years post birth. He started with steel fabrication on oversea storage containers moving into structural steel which evolved into self taught sculpture. By following his intuition and the having the skills & knowledge of steel fabrication he has migrated to Portland, Oregon creating pieces for local shows, private clients & businesses within the states & internationally. David is a member of the Pacific Northwest Sculptors and also is on the board as show coordinator helping organize shows, demonstrations, work shops and ideas. The sculpture that comes through him has been called gothic, medieval, dark and has a esoteric energy to it. David creates on how he is feeling or holds a specific intention for each piece to hold that energy. You can find him and his works online at

Tony Deland

Tony Deland, Bowyer, ancestral skills instructor and practitioner. Tony has a Masters in Art Education and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer (Kenya, 2005-2007). While in Kenya he began to learn many of the ancestral skills in real world practice, and was part of building a mud brick and cob home as well as learning the traditional way of making ceramic cooking pots. Through that experience he has been extremely passionate about traditional and ancestral skills ever since. He has been an instructor at the Buckeye Gathering in California and at The Sharpening Stone in southern Oregon. He has also taught at Trackers Northwest as their lead instructor for adult and teen programs. His experience as an Art teacher helps him to simplify these skills and make them accessible to people who may not have any experience with them

Michelle Meister

Michelle Meister is the owner and primary drum maker at Gaia’s Workshop. Her lifelong fascination with rhythm and vibration has found expression in the instruments she creates. Her major fields of study are anthropology, archaeology, mythology, history, quantum mechanics and ancestral technologies. Her strong connection with the gods, the ancestors and the spirits of the natural world imbue her life and her work.

Sarah Hill

Sarah is a teacher, naturalist, indiscriminate animal lover, and pun master. Her desire to connect young people with the outdoors brought her to Rewild Portland. Raised in Ridgefield, WA, Sarah spent her childhood fishing with her father, gardening with her mother and wandering her families forested property. This passion for the natural world has followed her throughout her life. In high school, she was a councilor for her local outdoor school program, and later became a science education intern at OMSI. She holds a degree in Life Science from the University of Portland, has developed educational materials and served as an outdoor educator for the Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center in Orange, TX, the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, and is currently in charge of the cultural education programs of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and the Cathlapotle Plankhouse. Sarah uses her unbridled curiosity, passion for learning, and life-long connection to the wild lands of the Northwest to aid youth in developing their own sense of place. Sarah coordinates Rewild’s Young Woman’s Nature Skills Program, the Monthly Skills series events, volunteers with 8 Shields Portland, and in her free time can be found felting cat caves for her best kitty friend Sabine.

Heather Arndt Anderson

Heather Arndt Anderson is a Portland, Oregon–based food writer and plant ecologist. She is the author of Portland: A Food Biography (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014) and Breakfast: A History (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013), a contributing writer to The Portland Mercury and the magazines Narratively, The Farmer General and Remedy Quarterly.

Stephen Couchman

Stephen Couchman is Curious Gallery’s operations manager and an operator of several Portland-area film festivals & fan conventions. Upcoming events include HOWL CON, the horror/fantasy convention for werewolf lovers; the 5th annual Steampunk Film Festival; and GEAR Con, Oregon’s largest steampunk gathering.

Kim Damio

Kim Damio is the founder of Portland Black Lipstick Company, an independent cosmetic company that specializes in natural makeup and historically based formulas. Kim’s enjoyment of cosmetic crafting and love of research have allowed her to uncover strange and glorious mixtures from the past. She has been experimenting with cosmetic recipes for over fifteen years and has survived one resultant explosion, an accidental essential oil poisoning, and continuous over-exposure to absolute beauty.

Liv Rainey-Smith

Portland artist Liv Rainey-Smith specializes in the superannuated art of hand-pulled xylographic prints. Her unique woodcut process incorporates a mixture of traditional and modern tools as well as a blend of European and Japanese printmaking technique. Each print is an original impression direct from the hand-carved woodblock. She draws inspiration from early woodcuts, folklore, dreams, nightmares, and esoteric traditions.

Rainey-Smith was introduced to the art of printmaking at Oregon College of Art and Craft where she received her BFA in 2008. Her work has graced the pages of volumes published by Three Hands Press, and most recently appeared in “Starry Wisdom Library: The Catalogue of the Greatest Occult Book Auction of All Time” from PS Publishing.

J.W. Kinsey

My background is in fine art, and I have a degree in Computer Graphic Imaging. My career path began in the Silicon Valley workforce as an interface designer and digital artist. From there I owned and operated a high-end custom cabinet shop: it was here that I began to develop and nurture my wood and metal working skills. This has culminated in my current endeavor, J.W. Kinsey’s Artifice, a small artisan shop specializing in the creation of unique, design-driven projects focusing on timeless beauty and craftsmanship.


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Ticket Type Ticket Price Quantity Total Price
USD 35 USD 35.00