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Outside In / Project Erase – Floorcloth Project


Portland’s Outside In is an organization that “helps homeless youth and other marginalized people move towards improved health and self-sufficiency.”  Outside In was founded in 1968 and Kathy Oliver, Executive Director, has been with Outside In since 1981.  Kathy pioneered one of the first needle exchange programs in the United States in 1989.  Outside In has launched ancillary businesses such as Virginia Woof, a dog daycare center which teaches marketable skills to Outside In affiliated youth.  Recently, Outside In has launched Project Erase which offers low-cost tattoo removal.  The success of the Project Erase had Kathy finding a new, dedicated space in downtown Portland.

Ken knows Kathy from our local dog park and they got to talking about the new space and determined that floorcloths would be a great way to brand the space while providing  rugged, easy to clean floor covering.

We got our first look at the space in June: Project Erase

It was agreed that we would create two floorcloths, one for the reception area and the other for the waiting area. We discussed some concepts and decided that “erasing” a motif across the floorcloth was a good way to honor the work of Project Erase. Kathy put us together with Dirk Benson, a graphics artist, who was tasked with creating mock-ups for the two floorcloths. We agreed on using a rose as the primary theme but creating two different rugs, one which would bear the Outside In logo and have a vanishing rose motif and another that would have some derivation of the rose motif. Here is Dirk’s initial version of the rose motif:

Rose Pattern

After feedback from us and the Outside In staff, a number of iterations were done resulting in these two floorcloth layouts: Outside In Floorcloth

Benson Rose Floorcloth

Now we were ready to make some stencils and begin the decoration on the already prepared canvases: Project Erase Production 1

Project Erase Production 2

Making this piece was fairly straightforward.  To get the vanishing effect, we started with full strength colors and added an increasing quantity of kleister medium to each color, which adds translucency.  Here is a photo of the finished floorcloth: Outside In Floorcloth

The second floorcloth was much more difficult as it has a large version of the rose superimposed on top of a grid of smaller rose motifs. The size of the large rose (about 5’ across) rendered it unsuitable for creating by stencil. Instead, we projected an image of the rose from the attic of our studio, one quarter of the motif at a time, in order to get the sizing right and penciled the outer form: Benson Rose Production 1

We taped that off, and painted the dark grey background: Benson Rose Production 2

Once the paint was dry, we reprojected the image and traced and taped the petal elements: Benson Rose Production 3

We then painted the untaped areas… Benson Rose Production 4

…and then removed the tape: Benson Rose Production 5

We were now ready to add the smaller rose motifs. Benson Rose Production 6

We then added the crown of thorns around the rose (more taping) and the partial roses that are “behind” the large rose (still more taping!): Benson Rose Production 7

Benson Rose Production 8

Here is the finished floorcloth: Benson Rose Floorcloth

Here are photos of both pieces, installed a few days before the July 20th, 2015, opening of the new Project Erase offices at 1717 W Burnside Street in Portland,Oregon: Benson Rose Floorcloth

Outside In Floorcloth