Long ago, during the dawn of the internet, I introduced you to the Dollar Shave Club—which is basically a subscription service for razor blades. "Fun idea!" I thought, and promptly forgot about it... UNTIL NOW. The funny brain behind the very legit Dollar Shave Club company is back with a new product: One-Wipe Charlies. Apparently, they wipe your butt better. Here's the ad:
Waitasecond... they're PEPPERMINT-SCENTED??? I am sooooooo IN!!
The trouble with learning how to do stuff is that it takes too damn long! Luckily there's Max who used his Vine account to make the most encompassing compilation on how-to-do stuff in the history of humankind—and each how-to is only six seconds or less! Oh, and did I mention some are disgustingly hilarious and NSFW? I knew I forgot something.
Awhile back I mentioned Portland Made, a collaboration between Supportland and ADX that Supportland's Katrina Scotto di Carlo described to me as an "ecosystem" for products manufactured in Portland. It finally launched yesterday. The official lowdown:
Portland Made is a collective of Portland-based designers, manufacturers, and local goods retailers. We connect consumers to high quality, locally made goods and designers to Portland-area contract manufacturers who can fabricate their products.
Portland Made’s aim is to promote grassroots job creation, by the people and for the people. By collecting and sharing knowledge and resources, we’ll build the local manufacturing base, create more local manufacturing jobs, and help export Portland Made goods to the world.
The public-facing website, www.portlandmade.com, features written and video profiles of Portland makers (designers who craft in wood, metal, leather, and other materials), the contract manufacturers who produce their designs, and the retailers who carry their goods. The site’s members-only portal allows participants in Portland’s manufacturing economy to network, collaborate, and discuss issues of design, production, and business development.
Sounds promising, and it will be interesting to see how well this is embraced, especially by maker members. I like the idea of a centralized online source for local products, but versions of the concept have been done before and the networking/resource tool for members seems like more of a concept that's currently missing. Regardless, I'm very intrigued—Supportland and ADX don't fuck around. If you are too, you're invited to the Portland Made official launch party scheduled for April 18 (7-10) at ADX, replete with introductory remarks by Mayor Charlie Hales and State Representative Jules Bailey, DJ Leftovers food from Salt, Fire & Time, beer by F.H. Steinbart Co., and Merit Badge on cocktail duty with—of course—liquor from local distillers.
Oh! And a video:
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!
The mainstream popularity of moccasins that comes and goes is definitely in its "going" stage, but making your own pair is pretty baller, regardless of the trend forecast. Plus these are beautifully made—check out the crazy combination and real, durable sole at right especially:
Halo Shoes—which in addition to being one of the better shoe sources in town has taken up a commendable interest in teaching the public about various forms of leather crafting—is hosting two weekend workshops next month where you can sign up to make a pair of your very own, which is a pretty amazing accomplishment for one weekend and a roomful of n00bs. Click over to MOD for the details on the unique opportunity.
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.
Color me a sucker for anything with the suffix "-rama" (yes, even diarrhearama). So I'm super jazzed to announce the call for submissions for the second annual Kick Ass Oregon History Diorama Contest. It's put on by the excellent local podcast Kick Ass Oregon History, who had no small amount of fun with this last year. It's easy enough—take some element of our state's rich and seedy history and depict it in a shoebox full of brightly colored construction paper. Aside from spawning a fourth grader from your loins, you're not going to get another opportunity to craft up a diorama anytime soon. This be your golden opportunity!
Here's the press release with the sweet nitty-gritty:
Basically, we are inviting you to:
1) Make a Kick Ass diorama about Oregon History
2) Email some photos of said diorama to this address by Oregon's birthday (Feb. 14)
3) Bring your Kick Ass diorama to the Jack London Bar on February 19 at 7:30 pm for extra credit points (note: that is also our "Oregon's Birthday Party"—and we will have cake—along with guest speakers Finn John and [Merc contributor] Joe Streckert!)
4) Bask in internet fame and glory!
The prize? A complimentary guest pass to an upcoming Kick Ass Oregon History Tour!
Here are some pics from last year's winners.
December is a mess of local craft and art shows every weekend, but one of my favorites is coming up: Bike Craft is at Sandbox Studio (420 NE 9th Ave) this Saturday and Sunday.
If you're going to be spending money on holiday presents, you might as well spend it at Portland small businesses. About 50 vendors set up shop at Bike Craft every year selling Portland-made bike-related stuff like knit hats, screenprints, wooden fenders, and panniers. It's the place to snag stuff like a convertible backpack-pannier from North St Bags (which someone can buy for me if they're really feeling generous, please).
Check out this very funny and goddamn ADORABLE shot-for-shot remake of the Iron Man 3 trailer—you won't be able to tell the difference! (That is, if you're both blind and deaf.) As Buzzfeed says, "I vote for these guys to direct the new Star Wars films."
The Museum of Contemporary Craft's Gallery Store has always felt a little under-appreciated. For a shop that specializes in the work of some of the region's most particularly skilled work, it has a surprisingly low profile in the minds of boutique patrons. This month the museum is aiming to change all that with a redesign that will see its doors close on November 4 and reopen with a member's preview on November 14. The museum's Communications Specialist Lisa Radon says the new direction will "include some great contemporary jewlery, fresh glass and ceramics, and new recycled leather bags, designed and made in Portland. Also, there will be indigo-dyed Museum totes, Museum Scout Books, postcards, and more. Namita's restocking Nikki McClure goods and bringing in more paper goods from Red Bat and others." Our craft museum is widely known as one of the world's most progressive, and it's only fitting that its retail outlet should reflect that. Stay tuned for a glimpse of the new store once it's up and running.
If you like crafts, origami, puppetry, and primates, this is the video for you. And if you don't like those things, what are you, a monster? This charming video from the Ocean Floor was a full year in the making; it's for the song "My Shelf" off their new album Falling Star Castle. (We premiered another track from the album here.) Main Ocean Floorer Lane Barrington wrote us with this to say:
"My Shelf" is the product of a year of Thursdays of folding, cutting, gluing, and laughing. The video portrays the song's narrative interpreted by "Dolores" the Loris and "Arthur" the Orangutan. This tale of poorly timed feelings and unspoken longing sets the stage for the rest of Falling Star Castle's journey into imagination and dreamings of perfection. It was directed by Kurtis Hough (Six Organs of Admittance, Colin Stetson, Rachel Graves).(Science tip: A loris is a kind of lemur, I think.)
The record is available for pre-order download on Bandcamp, and you can also pre-order a cassette edition of the album from Single Girl Married Girl Records. Meanwhile, get "My Shelf" for free over on Soundcloud. The Ocean Floor are playing a release fall for Falling Star Castle on Sunday, December 2 at bike bar Velo Cult (1969 NE 42nd) with Hot Victory, Grapefruit and a band from Tucson called Young Hunter.
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.
Martha Stewart has been the butt of many a joke, and I'm not even talking about her brush with white collar crime. Say what you will about boner-killing homemade Christmas decorations, but the woman has done an incredible amount to keep Americans engaged in the making of physical objects with their hands, bridging the gap between the days when doing so was a matter of course and when DIY became cool again.
Stewart's now in the midst of something called the American Made Awards: "Martha and the editors of Martha Stewart Living magazine are searching for the rising stars in a new generation of small-business owners. Ten American Makers will be selected. Their work will share the quality, beauty, inspiration, possibility, and creativity embodied by Martha." The judges' top choice will be featured in the magazine, and—huzzah—nab $10k to further their endeavors. It's no surprise there's are Portlanders in the mix. Clothing designer Kate Towers, small batch ice creamer Ruby Jewel's Lisa Herlinger, textile/home goods designer Anna Joyce, and ceramicist Lisa Jones of Pigeon Toe are all finalists for the Audience Choice Award, so go vote. Who the ultimate winner is may be out of our hands, but presumably the judges will at least take into account the contestants' popularity with us plebes. Voting closes on Monday, but you can vote once a day, which means you can vote for one of them for each day left in the voting.
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.
iPods are okay, but they don't have quite the same cachÉ as strolling down the street with a handsome boombox on your shoulder, or as sufficient power to annoy other people at the park with your obscure taste in music. Michael Davis-Yates' local company, Jammy!, is updating the must-have of yore with modern hookups, better sound, and trading in molded plastic for wood while maintaining a retro aesthetic. They're one-of-a-kind, and pretty goddamn handsome:
Davis-Yates is just getting the company off the ground, and unsurprisingly there's a Kickstarter involved. However, unlike some Kickstarter videos, he put a little elbow grease into it. He even raps the whole thing. Watch it, and check out other pics, over on MOD.
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!*
MacGyver is on Netflix Instant! GUESS WHAT I DID THIS WEEKEND
Surely my friend did not know what she was doing yesterday evening when she sent me an Etsy link to these:
Because before I knew what was happening I found these:
And then: Harry Potter (HOW DOES IT MAKE SENSE HAGRID IS THE SMALLEST?! THAT SHOULD BE DOBBY IF IT IS ANYONE). Queen. Star Wars: Episode II—Attack of the Clones (ICE CREAM NATALIE PORTMAN! Also, same complaint about Hagrid and Dobby, but with Mace Windu and Yoda). Avatar. Michael Jackson. Princess Di. Justin Timberlake. Santa Claus Presidents! The Fellowship of the Ring, the members of which, in this configuration, terrify me for reasons that I cannot express in words. Green Day. Star Trek. The Dark Tower. Motherfucking Forrest Gump, including a legless Lieutenant Dan and a shrimp.
Craftspeople of Russia. I salute you. I did not even know that these things existed, let alone that they were things I wanted. Now my life feels empty without them. Without all of them.
It's been a while since we heard from Donovan Skirvin, one of the few people in this town full of makers who makes handmade shoes. He's back on the scene now, though, with the Elske Project, a Kickstarter campaign in which he's pledging to make 10 pairs of shoes using only non-mechanized tools. The tagline for the campaign is "Proof That High Quality Goods Can Be Produced By Hand Here."
Donors of $75 or more will get shoes! But the point is bigger than that.
By combining traditional practices with new ones, Elske has found a way to produce beautiful shoes that do not require machines to be produced in an extremely efficient way. This is important because it shows that it is possible to create a production system that employs humans in a way that engages mind and body in a manner that modern humans seem to want in the work place. The process also demonstrates the feasibility of producing quality goods in the United States. The process will be documented from start to finish with writing and photography. At the completion of the production phase of this project, a final exhibit will take place. This exhibit will show all tools used in the process, all design notes, detailed explanation of the process, photographs of production, ten pairs of shoes, and interactivity with the shoemaker.
Spotted last night in the window of Happy Knits on Hawthorne:
Hit the jump for closeups of Mario, Bowser, the Fire Flower, a star, and a Bob-omb.
If you haven't already heard about next Saturday's (July 28) free Dig A Pony one-year anniversary party, you may want to update your iCal. There'll be live sets from Miracles Club and Thanks, rounded out by awesome DJs Cooky Parker and Rev Shines, but they've got something else in store too, something that represents the collaborative efforts of some of the city's most talented creative contributors:
But of course. Southeast craft/DIY hub ADX recently announced the launch of Camp ADX, a series of weekly events geared toward teaching adults to make the supplies they need to survive any imminent apocalypse, whether of the economic, environmental, or zombie variety:
Join Troop 417 at Camp ADX every Wednesday evening this summer for hands-on, how-to training on making your own DIY survival tools and you'll be more prepared!
So, if you're a paranoid sort of adult who would rather make a backback than buy it at REI, look no further. Other how-to-makes include fishing poles, radios, and booze. The series runs Wednesdays at 6, starting this week; it's $10 for ADX members, $20 for nonmembers. More details here.
I feel a little ashamed to admit it, but despite its close associations with other area institutions—most notably our incredible, progressive Museum of Contemporary Craft, whose gift shop is one of my favorite places to shop—I've never actually made the trek out to the Oregon College of Art and Craft mainly because it is on SW Barnes, and every time I have ever ventured anywhere off the grid in SW I become terribly lost, confused, and angry.
However, this weekend there will be a flurry of activity on campus, with their 19th Annual Tea Party happening on Friday from 2-4 pm, showcasing a project every third-year Metals Department student is tasked with: fashioning a functional tea pot out of flat metal. A display of all of this year's pots will be displayed at Steven Smith Teamaker June 1 through June 15, but the event will get you a first glimpse as well as first dibs on a new Steven Smith tea to mark the occasion (it is described as a "blend of herbs and flowers, including African rooibos, exotic spices, and Oregon-grown mint."
The action continues all weekend, too: Saturday and Sunday is also the spring art sale, with "functional, inventive, and sculptural ceramics, book arts and fibers pieces, as well as limited-edition original jewelry" from up-and-comers who are currently unknown, meaning original pieces you've likely never seen before can be snatched at low prices in the $10-50 range. Admission is free, and runs from 10 am-5 pm both days.
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