It’s been so much fun at Flutter lately. It’s a small neighborhood, so I see a lot of the same characters every weekend, but I enjoy meeting new people and getting to hear a different point of view. A lot of out-of-town parents come through the store, dragged by their enthusiastic offspring exclaiming “they have real birds, come look!” or “check out their chandeliers, will you buy me one?”. I really get a kick out of showing people around the store, but my absolute favorite is when someone usurps my tour with their own witty and fascinating stories. A gentleman came in today and wanted a closer look at some delicately carved wood candle holders we have in the window. “See the antlers, how they touch the little branches of the tree? You know why they made it that way?” No, i humored him, why? I got a lengthy explanation of structural integrity in carved wood objects, he had me practically planning my own piece with his involved architectural gesturing and suggestions. This segued into a wonderful speech about bees, I’ll call it “how to fall in love with honeybees”. He told me to go to an amateur beekeeper meeting, find someone with a little hive, and ask if I could watch them when they switch trays. On a nice day, he said, not a rainy one, that would only irritate them (I guess I’ll have to wait til July). He told me to just watch them, to see how they groom each other and tend their young. He told me to watch for huddled groups of male bees ousted from the hive. He told me about these hives you can put in a wall, too small for honey production but big enough to house a little swarm. It sounds so cool to have a little bee colony as pets, to see them turning their eggs and building wax combs, to see the queen strutting her stuff. The best part was his plan for finding out whose bees come to his yard every day. “I’ll catch a few of them by their wings and put them in a little cigar box. Then, I’ll watch the remaining bees for as long as I can. They fly straight home once they eat. If I lose sight of them, I’ll open the cigar box and let one loose. It will circle a few times to get its bearings, then I can follow it to its hive.” I guess he wants to buy the honey the bees make from the flowers in his yard, or maybe he just wants to chat with another amateur beekeeper. What an awesome guy. What awesome bees. I decided to find some local honey, and to check out the book he referenced from the library, it’s called “ABC’s of beekeeping” or something. Above are some pictures of gorgeous things in the store: a silky kimono, a detail from an Urchin slipdress, and the wall of Mary’s crosses.
Here’s the recent article about Flutter in this month’s issue of Portland Monthly. Many thanks to Jill Spitznass and the Portland Monthly for including us in their fine publication!
by Jill Spitznass
Flutter owner Cindy Rokoff admits that, as a teenager in rural Kansas, she was embarrassed by her mother’s then-unfashionable gift for junking. “She’d pull the station wagon over to see if an old chair had potential,” Rokoff recalls. “I’d say, ‘Can’t we just go the mall and buy things?’”
Today, surrounded as she is by the collection of intriguing home and body items at her N Mississippi Avenue shop, it’s clear that Rokoff inherited her mom’s eye for the unsung beauty—or the charming quirkiness—of an object. A jumble of vintage woodcut letters is strikingly handsome, for example, when displayed in an elegant glass jar atop an antique table, while a stunning milk-glass chandelier hovers above a wooden boxful of chrome trophies resting on the velvet cushions of a 1930s couch. Meanwhile, eight finches (Flutter’s de facto mascots) chirp and preen inside an oversize French birdcage, entertaining shoppers who peruse reworked vintage apparel, classic holiday garlands, and imported bath luxuries.
Now the mother of two, Rokoff concedes that history is repeating itself at home. “I recently found my 9-year-old moving furniture around the house, and I thought, ‘Oh, no—it is genetic!’
Published: December 2008
If you haven’t been into Flutter lately, it’s worth an extra trip. It’s full of fantastic art by women in the neighborhood, even more than usual. Julia (Frocky Jack Morgan) and Sonia (Urchin) have brought in silky armfuls of reworked vintage dresses and fur coats. There’s one faux leopard print coat in particular that I love, it has “E S” sewn into the red wool lining- I like to think it belonged to Edie Sedgwick, or an adorable copycat. Up above there’s a picture of a sculpture Sonia made, it’s really pretty, like those jade flowers on mahogany that you see in super fancy chinese restaurants, only hers is made out of…… I won’t tell you. You have to come in to find out. Susan and Sari have, as you may already know, teamed up on jewel toned, silkscreened drapery panels and pillows that are brightening up the four corners of the store. The two of them are like a dream team of interior design, I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. It’s awesome that they thought to do made-to-order curtains, I bet they’ll be very popular. Curtains are the kind of thing people always put off, usually I end up hanging a spare sheet up on a rod and calling it a day. Mary, from Hail Mary on Killingsworth at NE 30th, has brought in a cadre of mosaic crosses and chalices as well as hanging lamps. The lamps are incredible- the chunky bits of colored glass look great when illuminated from the inside. I don’t know how she works in the patterns, it seems so complicated, but Mary is a master mosaicist and the effect is stunning. Every trip I make to Hail Mary inspires me to make more art, and now I get to see it at Flutter too. Another lady lending her talents to the store is the mysterious Elizabeth Johnson. Her crowns have been in the store for a few weeks; they are woven (sculpted?) out of bits of silk, lace and other soft gorgeous things, and her attention to detail makes me suspect there may be a union of elflings in league with her (see Cristin modeling one above). There’s a chandelier in the store done in a similar style, it’s deep blue and scarlet and cream lace and embroidery, I’ve never seen anything like it. Her art is sometimes at Bernadette Breu, like gigantic shell mosaics on bureaus and tables. In addition to all this magnificent talent there are the drawings that Casea and I made. We framed them in gold glitter, they’re in the window looking iconic. Of course, the mama of the operation, the grand dame Cindy, keeps it all looking stellar. Boy, can she move stuff around, no joke. You can check her out in this month’s Portland Monthly, there’s a great photo and interview.
Whew! That was a lot of action!! -sara kolp
It’s that time again…a Flutter Party! Just in time to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season, but we have much more to celebrate too. I am pleased to announce and unveil our exiting, new endeavors at Flutter. The first is Sonia Kasparian, our new clothing designer debuting her clothing and accessories line, Urchin. Sonia is a long time Portland artist. Check out her recent show at Butters Gallery. Her visions and creations will be a lovely addition to the store and the perfect compliment to the very talented Julia of Frocky Jack Morgan. I am so thrilled and honored to have 2 amazing designers/artists at Flutter.
The next exiting news, which you may have been reading about on our blog, is the new home accessories line being developed and designed by Susan Hashem and Sari Gunderson. You’ve seen some of Susan’s work in the shop already, but these 2 have teamed up to make the most intoxicating,amazing pillows and curtain panels. Silk Dupioni in luscious magentas, teal blues and chocolate, silk screened with peacock feathers, pagodas and chrysanthemums that are then sewn beautifully into drapes and pillows. My head is spinning just thinking about these beautiful creations at Flutter. The best news is you can custom order your own!
Hail Mary!! Another long time Portland artist Mary Tapogna will be gracing our Flutter blue walls with her spakling mosaic crosses. What an amazing shrine it will be and so perfect for Flutter.
To further your Flutter experience with visual treats, our holiday ornaments have arrived and turned the back wall cabinet into a spakling feast for the eyes! Oh and the Flutter holiday windows….Sara and Casea have been sketching the most beautiful Madonnas all lined in gold glitter, perched in the window and blessing those passing by.
It’s all so exciting. If all of this is not enough…Frocky Jack Morgan models, Swing Papillon and Peach champagne. I think we will be seeing you on Thursday!
Well as you can see, we kept the election out of our blog posts until now. It really has not been too difficult. The shop/blog/website is such a natural distraction from every day life for me, politics just never really crossed my mind to write about. But, tonight I feel it and felt that I would like to write about it.
On the eve of our presidential election I feel somewhat calm. Yes, I have a vision of how I would like it to go and yes I have a candidate that I want to win. The calm is somewhat strange and uncomfortable. Maybe I think my candidate will win and I can’t believe that anyone could vote differently. What are they crazy…haven’t they seen the debates, it’s so clear of what direction the country needs to go? No, I don’t think that’s what gives me those calm feelings because there are so many out there that hold complete, opposing views and are heading to the polls tomorrow. Business has been incredibly good this past month and according to all reports it shouldn’t be. Are people spending nervously or do they just love my store?, so no that’s not giving me any calm vibes. My husband, Oliver said shouldn’t you be basking in your recent success especially since all odds are against you right now? I think I will just keep grinding my teeth, just in case my good fortune goes away tomorrow with the election. Gee doesn’t a small business owner ever get a good nights sleep? But, for some reason tonight there is calm…I don’t know is it that I can’t quite fathom another election being lost in my view? Can I really go to bed tomorrow night thinking it is certain, I mean after all it sure did change overnight in the last election. You go to bed thinking one thing and by morning there’s a whole new president. Just the thought of that should rock my calmness. No, I think for as corny as it may seem…I still believe in the American people. I believe in my Mississippi community and the city of Portland. I believe republican or democrat, we will come together and overcome our obstacles, build dreams for our future and our children. I have to….I have little ones. It’s what keeps me doing what I’m doing and builds their future to keep them doing what they are doing. What can I say, I’ve often been accused of seeing the glass half full, a sunny personality, blind optimist. Maybe so, but it sure makes my every day living easier along with a glass of wine or 2! We all have a voice and it’s important to express it in a respectful tone. Daily I do business with folks I enjoy, respect and admire their artistry and abilities, who clearly have a major difference of opinion from me on some pretty serious issues. I was asked the other night how I could do business with people who had this belief or had that belief? It was so easy for me to answer. We are free to think what we think and practice what we practice, is that not what our country was founded on? My tolerance and respect is great for opposing views as long as the tolerance and respect is there for me. That’s what Flutter is all about. Put it out there and put it out there well with respect for all to see, enjoy and ponder…it makes life a hell of a lot more interesting when we are all challenged in thought!
So with all my rambling on….the only message I have here is to vote and vote for the candidate who represents you, but please be respectful of those who vote differently than you and realize in the end we all have to come together and work together for the good of our country and our children.
Cindy….the blind optomist
This is the best time of year. I love the feeling in here when it’s nice and warm but you can hear the rain on the roof and the swoosh of cars on the wet street. I love playing the accordion when no one’s in here, and I always get embarrassed when somebody walks in on me. I love helping people pick out presents. I love that I get to have so many random conversations with strangers at Flutter, I am always learning new things. Today I got to talk with this lady about her travels in Laos and Vietnam, it made me want to go. Usually, the tamale lady comes by at noon, and I buy six tamales for $5. Halloween was amazing, I went to a dance party dressed as Captain Hook. He represents everything that’s self-obsessed, sleazy and dishonest about adulthood, and he’s got great style. I just reread the original Peter Pan by J.M. Barre, it’s so deep. At midnight on Halloween I turned 29, and I carried the birthday vibe on to the next night by going out to another dance party. Birthdays always kind of bum me out, I haven’t figured out why. It’s not the getting older part, it has something to do with attention and expectations. In honor of aging and stop action animation, I’ll insert a Penny Cartoon here. These showed during episodes of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse when I was a kid, and I love them so much. The dialogue sounds like someone just turned on the tape recorder and captured a kid monologuing.
Sincerely, Sara Kolp [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suJgK_KltMI]
There is nothing that makes the living room a home more than a comfy sofa. A sofa is the anchor. The place where you snuggle with your most loved people and animals. A place to read, dream, watch movies, and take the occasional nap (every day if you’re my husband). This beautiful little number Cindy found, is a beautiful light pistachio green. In the eighties it was called “sea foam”. I personally have never seen soft green colored sea foam, and I grew up by the ocean. Seam foam is always a scuzzy gray color. Anyway, whatever you want to call it, it is amazing paired with browns and pinks. Oh, and black and white kitty Rizzo.
Oh look at it sitting there, such pretty legs. All upholstered in velvet with down cushions. Down. Oh, there is nothing like sitting on a down filled sofa. Nothing. And what else do you need besides the sofa? Pretty pillows! Look at all of these birds and brown velvet. I don’t know if you knew this, but you can shop the pillows at Flutter too. Yes, Cindy makes it easy for you, doesn’t she! She has a gift…knack. She’s talented in sofas, velvet, feathers and birds. And light pistachio green, not sea foam.
Sofa, so good.
Here’s a picture of our new shop kitty, Rizzo! She’s been with us now for almost two weeks, and is unbelievably well behaved. Well, she is a little too fascinated with our finches, but Cindy just got a new cage for them, and it’s hung on the wall where Rizzo can’t get at it. Cindy told me that the cat got into the old cage when she moved it and just sat there, checking out the bird vibes I guess. The Humane Society gave us these kitty nail tips called soft paws so she wouldn’t scratch the furniture, and they work so well. You just put glue in them and slip them on over their claws. We got a pink set, so it looks like she’s got a manicure. They’re so darn cute.
This is a picture I drew in the virgin mary sketchbook- there’s lots more where that came from. It’s from last week, when the muses were sweeping me off my feet. I finally edited the paper cuts atop action movie that my friends and I made last week, and it was submitted to the student film collective before the deadline! Yes!! I am usually a total loser when it comes to completing tasks. I am always reading three books, finishing none. Of course, I had tons of help, but the point is, we plucked the idea out of the ether and made it real. I learned so much doing it, and I am happy with how it turned out. There are two more that need to be edited, the two that I filmed in the store, and I’ll post them when they’re done. -sara kolp
It’s my turn to post already! Oh, golly. On the mornings I post I generally start going over what my theme will be at around 5AM. In the dark. I just rummage around in the deep recesses of my mind, what I have been thinking about, what I have been working on, things that made me laugh, beauty that I have been in the presence of. This morning it was well, too busy in there. What is it about fall that makes me so crazy busy? I notice a lot of my women friends are the same at this time of year. Of course that includes Cindy who has become the queen of the hunt for sofa’s. Sofa’s! She’s had some swell couches in the shop of late, so swell they don’t seem to stay long enough to get acquainted with. I still long for the green velvet, but I did see a sweet dark beauty in there the other day. Nice legs, beautiful shape, dark….Sigh. So, pretty.
I have been waiting for this fabric to arrive so I can start on these pillows and panels which are due to be in the store for the big November change over at the shop.
Waiting to lay my eyes on these pretty fabrics is hard. I am not a very patient person. While I have been waiting the I have taken to reading home and fashion magazines voraciously. I’m starting to think that maybe this just makes me spin faster, but wow, there is some crazy beautiful stuff out there! Alexander McQueen! Oh, his fall collection is to die for. Feathers everywhere, and then I saw this feather chair and this dress with a whole bird on the front! Oh, how completely not practical, but such an amazing sight. I think I would prefer it in hot pink…Feathers, hmm. I always use them on the insides of the pillows but now this has got me thinking about using them on the outside…feathers, yum.
This weekend I made like the masses and drove out to Sauvie Island (as an aside, I figured out why so many people call it Souvies Island: apparently it was renamed Souvies in the 1850s but the name never was committed to print, and lives on only in Portland vernacular). It was super crowded out there, but gorgeous and clear-skied. The textures of the rolling fields, with their rows of berries and sprawling pumpkins, were best viewed from the tractor-pulled hay ride. I bought some little cucumbers for pickling and some dark red apples that are crisp white inside, delicious fairy-tale apples.
Last week I had a customer ask me to show her around the perfumes of Flutter. She said she was a little obsessed with perfume, so I asked her what fragrances she liked. She looked me in the eye and said “leather”, so I steered her away from the “fleurs petillant” and towards the wonderful Amber by Cote Bastide. It smells like an oak whiskey barrel full of oily black vanilla pods. We talked about Chandler Burr, the brilliant perfume writer for the New York Times, and physicist/critic Luca Turin, subject of Burr’s book “the Emperor of Scent”. Both of them write volumes about perfumes and the heady cloud of culture and innuendo surrounding them. I tend to agree with them about 60% of the time, and they have turned me on to some amazing olfactory works of art, yet they are generally unimpressed by one of my favorite scents, Samsara by Guerlain. Turin said it was “more notable for its absence of faults than for its qualities”. He just hasn’t smelled it on me yet. Anyone who hasn’t been to the Perfume House on Hawthorne should make a trip down there and just smell for hours. Don’t spray one on yourself until you find one that’s just right, and then ask the kind people there if they can make a little tester of it for you. Last time I was in there I got a sample of the pink hand-grenade Agent Provocateur perfume, and the amber by Prada. Any of the Guerlain fragrances are transformative, they sit in these gilded bottles like a row of archetypical femininity; like the greek goddesses. Jardins de Bagatelle is like Diana, woodsy and floral. Mitsouko is like Aphrodite, obscenely perfect rose and peach. I think Samsara would be like Hera: overly sensual and heady, demanding, maybe a little needy. Hmm.