Remember what it used to be like to get a real letter in the mail? As a kid, did you spend hours addressing chain letters you thought would result in pen pals from around the world? Or maybe you mailed secret admirer love notes to cute boys at school (was that just me?). Either way, to reinvigorate the long-lost art of analog correspondence, local letterpress studio Egg Press has teamed up with San Francisco's Hello!Lucky to launch a letter writing campaign called WRITEON.
In an effort to connect more with their friends and loved ones, the two studios decided to commit to writing 30 letters to 30 people in 30 days—and everyone is invited to participate. To help get you started, the two companies created a special WRITEON Letter Writing Kit containing four letterpress printed cards (two from Egg Press and two from Hello!Lucky). The team planned on a small batch of 250 kits, but have ended up giving away almost 2000 kits (or 8000 cards). Check out the traction their hashtag, #write_on, is getting on social media.
It's not clear if Egg Press and Hello!Lucky will continue the campaign once April comes to an end, but it seems like they have the momentum to turn WRITEON into an ongoing event that could inspire people to actually send mail to each other again. Click here to grab your official WRITEON kit while supplies last.
For this week's Sold Out, I profiled the WildCraft Studio School, a creative retreat out in White Salmon, WA started last year by artist Chelsea Heffner, who brings instructors out from Portland as well as the immediate area to teach seminars on everything from weaving to sandal-making to pottery to dye-making in an idyllic rural setting. It's seasonal due to the harsh winters out in the country, and this year's classes just started up at the beginning of April, and will roll through early November. It's definitely something to consider for your fair(ish) weather to-do list. May's schedule is currently up; it includes an introduction to Ayurveda, mushroom growing, and knife making!
The holiday version of Crafty Wonderland is something everyone Portland resident should experience at least once. It is one of the hugest gatherings of (curated!) small-goods manufacturers from the region you're likely ever to see, and a ton of people hit it hard with their gift list. This also means that there can be crushing crowds of folks stumbling around in a panicked daze, overwhelmed by conundrums like whether grandma would prefer letterpress stationary or tea towels embroidered with baby owls. I call that fun, but if it's a little too intense for you, Crafty has also announced the date of its more-mellow spring edition, coming up Saturday, May 10 at the Convention Center (11 am-6 pm). They'll have a few extras going outside of the usual shopping, like DIY craft stations, a wedding-stuff section, and cat adoptions (shrewd). The full list of vendors is available here, in case you want to make a game plan.
Yesterday evening a press release went out announcing that Director and Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Craft Namita Gupta Wiggers is stepping down from her full-time role at the institution after 10 years. Wiggers oversaw the museum's move from Corbett Ave to the heart of the city, doubled the size of its collection, was responsible for landmark exhibitions like Ai Wei Wei's first West Coast show, and remains one of the city's most interesting interviews, in my opinion. Promisingly, she is expected to continue work with MoCC in some capacity in addition to pursuing other gigs in independent curating, consulting, and teaching, as well as continuing to develop Critical Craft Forum, which she co-founded in 2008. The news comes as the museum is on the cusp of big changes itself, integrating more completely as a department of PNCA, which is itself migrating quickly to take over the North Park Blocks. Wiggers has an incredible wealth of insight and enthusiasm to share, so I hope whatever shakes out for her will keep her voice in a prominent and easily accessed place within the city. As PNCA president Tom Manley puts it, "Her impact on the institution and the field will be felt well into the future, and we look forward to this new phase of our relationship with her."
Have you ever wondered how to create dyes from plants? How to construct a bow or craft a knife? How to work a loom? Well good news! WildCraft Studio has launched a plethora of classes in crafts, herbalism and traditional skills for this spring.
Artist and educator Chelsea Heffner hosts Wildcraft classes in White Salmon, WA at the 1500 square foot studio which boasts 2 floor looms, screenprinting equipment, letterpress and kiln. Veggie and herb gardens are available for outdoor activities alongside the fields and forests of the lush Columbia Gorge.
Registration is open and a full list of classes are available here.
Crafty Wonderland at the Convention Center is announcing their 2nd annual Wedding Wonderland section. The annual Spring sale brings many crafty makers together for a huge sale (think a street fair but way bigger and indoors). If you are a designer of anything to do with weddings, check out the application, and please read all the details so you have the best chance possible.
Wedding Wonderland is a grouping of vendors within the Super Colossal Spring Sale who make items that would be great for weddings! Accepted vendors will have the option of being located in the Wedding Wonderland row(s) or not. These rows will be connected to the rest of the craft fair so shoppers can flow through the room as they normally would, but having the wedding goods grouped together will make it easier on the bridal shoppers to find what they're looking for!
Ideas of what would fit well in that area include, but are not limited to: dresses, nice men's clothing and accessories, terrariums and centerpieces, pretty hair accessories, sparkly jewelry, card makers who love to do custom invitations, paper decorations, sweet treats, and jewelry, body care, and small items that would make nice bridal party gifts, etc!
Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Spring Sale!
Saturday, May 10th
at the Oregon Convention Center
Exhibit Hall D
777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd.
Portland, OR 97232
Free Admission! All Ages!
Back in the waning days of summer I met with Sarah Margolis-Pineo about an exhibition she was planning for the Museum of Contemporary Craft that dealt specifically with the production and design of apparel in our region. I must have dropped at least 50 names to her, and then we parted. And now, look: It has come to pass. Fashioning Cascadia is set to debut at the museum on May 9 and run clear through October 11.
And oh, it could not be more up my alley:
This exhibition will ask: What is being made here and why? How does the fashion industry shape the regional identity of the Pacific Northwest? How/why are we known as a locality innovates through research and technology as well as handcraft, finding new models of production and consumption that reframe behavior patterns to be positioned for a more sustainable future?
The details are still something of a mystery, but from what I've heard we can expect a rotating series of residencies throughout the summer, and between word of mouth and perusing the photos on the exhibition's page I know that folks like Mag-Big's Cassie Ridgway, Adam Arnold, Portland Garment Factory, Imperial Yarn, Michelle Lesniak, Seattle's Michael Cepress, and Liza Rietz will be involved... Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
If you're an OPB/NPR type, you are probably already familiar with Destination DIY, the radio show/podcast that covers all sorts of different stories about people's adventures in making things. The show, hosted by Julie Sabatier, is trying to up their game in the coming year, contributing shorter but more consistent monthly audio content along with supplementary info on a new website. "While Destination DIY airs on stations around the country, we are an independent show and not affiliated with any radio station. Our funding comes primarily from our listeners": so reads the—you guessed it—indiegogo page where they are raising money to put their plan into action. They have 16 days to reach their $20,000 goal, with so far just over $5,600 raised. If you're a fan and want to see them take this next evolutionary step, your donations could get you everything from a t-shirt to a (real) tattoo. If you watch their campaign video, make sure to stick with it until the very end, which is my favorite part (involves the second appearance of a cat in a top hat):
In related news, tomorrow is the next Makin’ It with Destination DIY project night/listening party (7-9 pm at ADX), where all are invited to take a break from crafting alone in your basement in favor of a group setting with free pizza, beer, advice, and a DJ. Sabatier is also a storyteller at Friday's Back Fence PDX (topic: "Recipe for Disaster"), so no complaining about a lack of opportunities to connect with Destination DIY this week, mmmkay?
Local champions of creative reuse S.C.R.A.P. are gearing up for this year's Rebel Craft Rumble, a competitive crafting event during which trash talking and bribery are encouraged. If you don't know what "competitive crafting" looks like, here's a mini bout between S.C.R.A.P. volunteers from last year, set to Explode into Colors (don't you miss them?):
This year's craft-off is scheduled for October 16 (that's a Wednesday) at the Hollywood Theater, with bouts judged by local personalities from qualified organizations like Destination DIY and CraftyPod, as well as a "Craft Cop," busting crafters for infractions like "lacking enthusiasm" and "poor penmanship." Plus: raffles and—of course—beer. Tickets!
We may be a crafty, DIY-forward sort of city in general, but the true motherload of all local craft events is the one and only, sometimes frighteningly huge Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale. Hundreds upon hundreds of local makers pack out a large Oregon Convention Center hall, and half the city swings through to do an often hefty portion of their holiday shopping over the course of the weekend. (This year it's taking place on December 14 and 15.)
Needless to say, it is pretty damn competitive to get a booth, especially if you are already working in a saturated market (hello jewelry), but it is completely worth a try. They just started taking applications for sellers a couple days ago, and the deadline is September 15, which... is not that big of a window! Directions and friendly advice on how to proceed are right here. Godspeed, noble crafters!
In April the Supportland/ADX collaboration Portland Made launched. It's a truly excellent, if complicated to explain, concept, so to quote myself back when my interview with Kelly Roy of ADX was still fresh in my mind:
It's an online hub that ultimately aims to include every single product that is manufactured in Portland (not just tea towels and stationary but mattresses, bikes, and eventually food products), where visitors to the site can browse maker profiles, connect with retailers, and even purchase items for later pickup. It's also a quasi-social networking service for its makers, designers, retails, and manufacturers to ask and field questions, pool resources, and form mutually beneficial partnerships... One of the most exciting things they are doing is pairing with researchers at PSU to create metrics tracking the job creation powers of local manufacturing, creating numbers that they can then bring to decision-makers in local and state government, with the idea of collecting evidence for the argument that the economic health of our community doesn't just live and die at the hands of biggies like Vestas and Adidas.
As you can see from my condescending bolding, that last bit is particularly tantalizing to me. But if you are currently occupied—as an individual or company—in making, manufacturing and/or retailing, registration is currently free. But it probably won't be forever, so...
Last summer Jen LaMastra—best know for making truly astonishing, detail heavy clothing out of garbage—did an artist's residence at the dump:
Since then, she's partnered with some of the people she worked alongside during the GLEAN project, Chandra Glaeseman and Sarah Wolf Newlands to create the collective (F)Utility, and this week they're taking over the Museum of Contemporary Craft for another, presumably cleaner, residency. Beginning today and running through Saturday (between 11 am and 6 pm) you can drop by (it's free) to check out a collaboration, "Defining the Grey Areas," that LaMastra describes as "nothing short of magical... Chandra is starting a new series of critters that will include a coyote and a series of rats, Sarah Wolf Newlands will practice non-traditional felting and provide old socks a new lease on life, and I will be working on a new Wearable Trash dress made out of a parachute and human hair scraps!"
Ack, hair scraps! Ewwww. They'll also be hosting daily workshops between 1 and 3 pm on the reuse of a variety of materials. (This part's not free: $10 per workshop.) Today is plastic, textiles are tomorrow, metal is on Thursday, natural materials are Friday, and paper is on Saturday. Theirs is the second to last in this summer's series of weeklong residencies at the museum: Next up is Surabhi Gosh's fabric-based installation project which, if I'm interpreting this correctly, will involve covering the museum's interior in pieced together pairs of old pants. Should be fun!
For the month of July Greg Pitters of HungryEyeball has curated "Stitchers", a group art show with the medium and theme of embroidery at the Redux Gallery. Participating artists include Bo Betsy, Cate Anevski, Cathy Zwicker, Emily Katz, Jaclyn Rose, Pamela Davis, Tripper Dungan, and Tyler Mackie. This is a well rounded group show, with the artists aesthetics ranging from girly and cute to head-scratchingly weird. The show will open with a reception this Friday (July 5th) from 6-9:30 pm.
If you're a crafter in Portland's metropolitan area, your career goals basically begin with showing at Crafty Wonderland, the huge, twice-yearly sale that packs out the Convention Center with makers and their patrons. It gets a ton of foot traffic, and this year's spring edition (happening May 11, 11 am-6 pm) is wisely tapping into the wedding industry, with a new section designated as "Wedding Wonderland." Competition to be included is fierce (the more esoteric your designs the better your chances; jewelers, for instance, are competing against a bazillion other jewelers and the show is committed to offering shoppers a wide variety of wares), and your time to apply is due: The application deadline is this Friday at midnight, so just do it now. We, the public, want to see some fresh crafting blood in this piece!
Attention crafters: The twice-yearly opportunity to take part in Portland biggest craft orgy, Crafty Wonderland, is upon us again. Their spring event, the Super Colossal Spring Sale, is taking place on Saturday, May 11 at the Convention Center, and they're now taking applications from prospective vendors. And! They're also adding a new component to the event, "Wedding Wonderland," so if wedding thangs are your jam, this could be your year. Competition for this is notoriously fierce, so read the guidelines carefully, and may the best crafters prevail.
Hit the jump for a few bonus tips from the organizers on how to improve your chances.
Crafty Wonderland is back with its biannual rotating line-up of regional vendors selling affordable handmade arts and crafts (your grandma in Wisconsin will be thrilled you sent her something that isn't made by slave children in Malaysia), supplementing the brick 'n' mortar version that tides us over in the meanwhiles. But there are many events connected to Crafty throughout the next month, such as:
~A Holiday Wacky Photo Booth!~
Want to send your relatives a Christmas card of you wearing tacky Christmas shit, but you don't actually have any tacky Christmas shit? Well let the Crafty Wonderland shop's Wacky Holiday Booth do the work for you! Bring your ugliest sweater (or they'll provide one), pick out a prop, and they'll photograph you in front of a green screen. Then you pick out your favorite/ugliest background, and FWOOSH! Your family can pretend that you're still a good Christian girl! (Prints are $4, or you can download it yourself later for $1.) Friday, noon-4 pm, Crafty Wonderland, 808 SW 10th.
Mudshark Studios, Portland's premiere ceramic production studio, will be opening its doors for most of the month of December to showcase local ceramic and clay designers' products. Clay artists include Victoria Christen, Chris Basken, Allie Benson, and numerous other people you probably have yet to hear of (unless you're hip to the clay scene).
Also, 10% of this "pop-up shop's" profit will go towards "p:ear," an organization that mentors homeless youth (what's not to like?). The event spans from November 23rd to December 24th, but with special events in the interim, such as a meet-and-greet with the artists, raffles, music events, and p:ear auctions.
Check out their Facebook page to find out about their upcoming events!
Do you fancy yourself a maker of awesome things but just don't really know how to sell your cool wares? For a long time now Etsy has helped many people with exactly the same problem, and many have gone on to have successful businesses. Some people, however, don't really know what they're doing (making-of-things-wise or business wise) and end ultimately end up on Regresty for us all to point and laugh at.
Don't fear becoming a laughing stock anymore because there is a FREE workshop on Sunday November 11th, put on by Siren Nation as part of it's 2012 Festival, that promises to get your Etsy shop up and running and ultimately make it a successful venture. The workshop will be led by Christine Claringbold, a graduate of Etsy's June 2012 Educator training, and she will discuss what you need to set up an Etsy shop, how to get started making your first sales, where to go when you need help, and the four keys to Etsy success. The workshop will be held at McMenamin's Kennedy School from 2PM-4PM. (Hit it up before you head to Content!) For more information on the work that Claringbold does click on over to her Etsy shop here.
Plywerk—those makers and mounters of bamboo panels for displaying art and photos—have become a local small-business classic, building on a surprisingly simple idea. Their team of "bike riding, tofu-eating Portlanders" has outgrown its former HQ, and the business just moved into new digs at 318 SE Main. Tonight, from 5-9 pm, they're hosting an open house/housewarming in the new space, with live music from Sidestreet Reny, a photo booth, FREE BEER and finger food, and a raffle of "Plywerk Schwag," 100% of the proceeds of which will go to benefit p:ear.
I know, it makes the whole town wince every time that Portlandia joke is referenced, but it's IN, not ON, and it's kinda clever: Put A Bird In It is a group show organized by We Make, debuting as part of Design Week Portland (ahoy, more registrations for events go live today), in which "local, national, and international artsits, makers, designers, agencies and more" have created nearly 100 one-of-kind birdhouses (ha!) that are set to be auctioned off to benefit All Hands Raised and the First Octave grant program (read: arts and music education in Portland Public Schools. Contributors include ADX, Amy Ruppel, BT Livermore, Chris Haberman, Emily Katz, Eric Hillerns, Makelike, Nemo, Portland Garment Factory, Sockeye, Tanner Goods, Union Pine, Ziba, and so many more. The event goes down on Friday, October 12 (7:30-midnight) at Union Pine, and unlike many of the Design Week events the "registration" process consists merely of clicking "Join" on Facebook. Just remember: functional birdhouses and house cats do not mix.
I am pretty pleased at the fact that design and craftsmanship seem poised to be the next big Portland selling point, with a new festival at hand and prominent outsiders looking in at us as a potential model. Danner Boots is one of the Pacific Northwest's elder statesmen of local production, and they're still kicking, with collaborations with the younger set (see: Tanner Goods), including an installation in collaboration with the Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC), debuting to the public at the school on Sept 20 (5-8 pm). It's a collection of giant letters—each an homage to something crafted locally, from coffee to music to bikes—spelling out "Crafted in Portland." It's a little cheesy, but it's good to see the old generation of local manufacturers connecting with the up and comers.
At this point I don't believe that festival season in Portland will ever actually come to an end, and that's okay with me. Design Week Portland is one of this year's new additions to the throng, premiering October 9 and running through the 13th. A joint effort between numerous design-oriented organizations, the not-quite-a-week-long schedule is brimming with presentations, tours, talks, and workshops that touch on virtually every department in the design world, and many of the events are free or very inexpensive (like $4) to attend (though space may be limited). Registration for most doesn't start until Tuesday, with more events opening up daily through the 22nd, but you can start planning your busy schedule now.
Even if you're not directly employed in the design world, you can still take advantage of the hands-on events and pick up new crafty skills. Em Space, for instance, is hosting the Print Make Share contest, in which individuals and teams can enter their original designs carved onto 18 x 24” linoleum blocks (basically giant stamps), prints of which will be auctioned off to benefit Em Space’s book arts workshop program. But even if you're like, "Linoleum what?" you can still get in. Em Space is also hosting the charmingly titled "Wino Cut," an evening of instruction and wine drinking on Sept 23 (5-8 pm) for free (though there's a $25 fee per team to join the competition). Get out there and learn something. With your hands!
This year's Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale is on the books for December 8 and 9 at the Oregon Convention Center, and they're currently accepting applications from prospective vendors. The heavily trafficked event is a prestigious one to be a part of—it's probably the hugest gathering of small batch makers in the city, and people come out in droves, dollars in hand and holiday shopping desperation in their eyes. Even though the event is equipped to house over 200 vendors, competition is fierce, so read the submission guidelines carefully, and submit your application by this Saturday, Sept 15. Keep in mind that the organizers choose not only based on quality of workmanship and originality of design, but also with an eye toward giving shoppers a diverse range of products. So, competition is going to be all the steeper if you make something a lot of other people make (tea towels, ceramics) versus something uncommon (decoupage butt plugs). May the best crafters prevail!*
By now you’re probs already obsessed with Instagram, but what is one supposed to do with all the awesome filtered photographs you’ve amassed over the last few months? Send a Postagram! Postagram allows users to upload pictures from their Instagram or computer library and turn them into postcards for just 99 cents. The picture pops out of the postcard so you can frame it, hang it up on the fridge, or keep it in your wallet. Perfect for saying “hi” to Mom and Dad while you’re on vacay, let your bestie know you miss them, and “I love you” to that someone special someone, Postagram has a sweet sense of nostalgia with a douse of modernity. So spread the love, send some snailmail and download the App here.
Don’t miss out on First Friday fun this Friday, August 3rd. Adventures in Milk is a special event taking place at Union Pine. As a little nugget myself I loved nothing more than eating all of the marshmallows out of my Lucky Charms and watching Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons with my brother on Saturday mornings. Bring back a rush of nostalgia with this “multi-disciplinary art event that celebrates the spirit of imagination, fun and the adventures that took place over a big bowl of cereal on a Saturday Morning. “ The event benefits The Friends of Outdoor School, a non- profit focused on keeping Outdoor School Programs in Multnomah County Public Schools. Adventures in Milk features local artists and creatives coming together for not only a good cause, but for a fun-loving night of live music, drinks, art and friends. For more deets scope the FB invite, and their Tumblr here. See you Friday!
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