Recap: WeMake Celebrates

Go beyond the trend, start your own trend, and move on.
— Paul Octavious (@pauloctavious)
WeMake Celebrates Finals-29.jpg

Early this October, local, national and international makers and designers took to the stage to share their insights into the creative process during the inaugural, day-long design conference WeMake Celebrates at The Armory in Portland’s Pearl District. 350 attendees laughed, cried, and left inspired by the diverse and talented presenters. It was a day of make-believing.

Keynote Speakers

Artists in the spotlight included Australian typographer Gemma O’Brien, New York designer Timothy Goodman, Chicago-based photographer Paul Octavious, Chicago printmaker Veronica Corzo-Duchardt , local legends The Official Manufacturing Co. (OMFGCO), and poet/strategist Leah Noble Davidson.

I became much more interested in these little moments—the moments that slip away from us.
— Veronica Corzo-Duchardt (@winterbureau)
It’s about taking the expected and making it unexpected.
— Timothy Goodman (@timothygoodman)
Sometimes you find that you just moved into a different version of the place you just left.
— Leah Noble Davidson (@poetscientifica)

Small Scale

The conference was honored to host “Small Scale" moderated by Oregon Public Broadcasting’s April Baer and featuring four local makers whose products have received nationwide acclaim: Phloem Studio , Betsy & IyaPigeon Toe Ceramics  and Tanner Goods.

Pieces of this discussion can be heard on an upcoming broadcasts of State of Wonder on OPB Radio. 

I have the most success as a designer when I make mistakes and I let those mistakes show me where to go.
— Betsy Cross (@betsyandiya)
I like growing, but I like growing at a nice steady pace.
— Ben Klebba (@phloemstudio)
We could have scaled a lot quicker but we would have had to give up a certain level of control.
— Sam Huff (@tannergoods)

Two local innovators presented their latest creations. 

First Patrick Triato demo’ed a revolutionary sustainable toothbrush and biodegradable flossers and challenged makers to make good, not just good design.

Patrick Triato , photo by Susie Morris

Patrick Triato, photo by Susie Morris

Ian Coyle followed with a look at a new app that takes digital messages and releases them into tangible letterpress notes delivered via USPS. 

Ian Coyle, photo by Chris Hoge

Maker Market

On the mezziane  level of The Armory, a pop-up Maker Market  featured goods created by Dan Stiles, Egg Press , Meg Hunt , Anna Joyce , Sam Larson , Rory Phillip, Nathan Yoder , Finex , A Pot Spot , MadeHere PDX , and Orox Leather.

Supporting Arts Education in Portland

In addition, more than $6,000 dollars was donated to local arts organizations (Schoolhouse Supplies , Ethos ( and SMART ) to make art, to make music and to make readers.

A Big Thank You

We'd like to thank all the amazing sponsors for this year's WeMake Celebrates. Their commitment to the creative community in Portland is outstanding. Because of their generous donations, each sponsor helped to create inspirational content and support of WeMake's mission of design-in-action.  Donating sponsors of the conference were Campaign Monitor, Adobe, Weiden + Kennedy, West Coast Paper, Vitamin T, CreativeLive, Scout Book, OPB, Guild, Uppercase Magazine, HouseSpecial and Widmer Brothers.

I’d like to thank our volunteers for their amazing efforts, our vendors and sponsors for their donations, all the makers who traveled across the globe or down the street to participate, our growing WeMake community and my teammates in organizing this event.
— Yvonne Perez Emerson, WeMake Founder

See You Next Year!

The conference will return in October 2016 with more makers and new ideas. Soon in the calendar, WeMake will bring inspiration via community-based events during Portland's Design Week in April 2016. For more information about upcoming events including workshops and sketchXchanges, sign up for the WeMake Newsletter.  

Intro video to WeMake Celebrates by José Diaz of House Special