fall 2015

Creating with Queen Bee

We make things out of fabric and thread, with inspiration & intention.
— Rebecca Pearcy

Rebecca Pearcy uses print and pattern to bring inspirations to life. Her store, Queen Bee has been crafting original creations since 1996.  It all started with a series of waterproof faux-leather bags & wallets with graphic applique stitched details. Since then they have expanded their collection with a new line of waxed canvas bags, and other materials. They make bags for everyday, the bike commuter, travel, school, baby and more. They also have a line of home goods, accessories, and apparels

Rebecca learned the art of printing on fabric and using repeat patterns through an apprenticeship program she did at Philadelphia's Fabric Workshop in 1997. It was there that she learned how to screen print by hand on tables that were 25 yards long. She fell in love with the process and began incorporating the art of textile printing in her own shop from then on.

We are excited to collaborate with Rebecca on a print making workshop this fall! Attendees will have a studio tour of Queen Bee and the opportunity to see behind the scenes of the process they use to create. Everyone will learn simple print making techniques and produce a sweet canvas pennant, along with gift wrapping and tags. Space is limited. Refreshments and materials are provided.

DATE: Saturday, November 21st
TIME: 10am-1pm
PLACE: Queen Bee, 3961 N WILLIAMS STE 101 PORTLAND, OR 97227

Adobe Shape Battle with Jolby & Friends


The eye of the tiger would be the theme song for this workshop. As usual, Jolby & Friends rock the house with a fun and interactive workshop in collaboration with Adobe for the WeMake 2015 celebration conference.

The workshop was actually a hands-on design competition with attendees teaming up to battle live in order to create original drawings and wow the judges using Adobe's Shape app. 

Attendees were guided through the process of using Adobe Shape, Color, and Brush to create assets on the fly and see how they can be utilized on the desktop. After the workshop, attendees split up into 2 teams to use what they learned in a battle against each other for prizes from Adobe and Jolby & Friends. It was super fun, fight songs were playing, taco's were ate, and beer fueled the creative process. Good times, had by all!

See more photo here!


Gemma O'Brien Lettering Workshop


We were thrilled to have Gemma O'Brien in all the way from Australia as a keynote speaker and workshop instructor for the WeMake 2015 design conference earlier this month. Gemma is delightful. She's young, talented, and a pleasure to learn from. During her class attendees had a chance to browse through her original sketches and learn the ways of lettering from her process.


All attendees received a limited edition Scout Book, pens from Sakura, and all supplies needed to create various lettering techniques, including working directly with indian dye and balsa wood.

I really enjoyed how she included the students into the process of learning by having them put up their work on a wall together. With each practiced technique the wall got added to and in the end it looked like a work of art all on its own.

We look forward to having Gemma visit again, I think she may have fell for Portland just a little :)

See more photos here!

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 https://www.schoolhousesupplies.org/ , Ethos (http://ethos.org/) and SMART http://www.getsmartoregon.org/ ) 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

Narrating the Process with Leah Noble Davidson

Find where all of those stories intersect and to tell it again—bravely, honestly, and respectfully.”

Everyone sees the world differently. They way we each experience moments is directly affected by our past. We all recall scenes in different ways, interpret phrases in other fashions, and see different shape in a passing cloud. Our perception, shaped by our past, carves out our unique realities. When we begin to share our personal takes on the world, we begin to understand each other’s story. Sharing narratives allows us to pass on feelings and perspective-taking. It allows us to truly feel what it’s like to be another person. This is the power of storytelling, a power that design researcher Leah Noble Davidson knows quite well.

With beautiful blonde hair and horn-rimmed glasses that sit on her button nose, Davidson is a firecracker of talent and insight. She combines a decade of art and sociology schooling with successful career jaunts as a poet, storyteller, The Moth producer, and most recently the lead design researcher at OVINQVE. The two things that might outshine her resume would be her drive and karisma. She’s found a profession that inspires her beyond all means. What better person could there be to help makers find, tell, and celebrate their story and the narrative of their product.

“Everything we see is wrapped in a story we've been telling ourselves.” Davidson says. “A design researcher's job is to find where all of those stories intersect and to tell it again--bravely, honestly, and respectfully.”

Davidson graduated high school at the age of 16 and went on to be a personal assistant to a professional storyteller. Watching her work with professionals and students, Davidson learned how to walk people through their own internal biases in a story. “I learned then, that we create our memory,” she said. “It was later, when I began studying design research, that I knew that understanding how someone used a product (physical or digital) was ABSOLUTELY wrapped in the same light.”

To date, Davidson has helped people from all walks of life tell stories--from the mom and pop cafe shop to the executives at Microsoft. “I think there are a lot of ways to tell a story,” she said. “What's important about all of the methods is that they emphasize the need to break the expectations of the listener, to allow the listener to explore their own weaknesses, and then to bring them back to reality safely (even if the story doesn't end happily).”

Davidson will be presenting an amazing keynote at WeMake Celebrates conference on Friday, October 2, 2015 at The Armory in Portland’s Pearl District. Don’t miss this great moment between this powerhouse storyteller and our local maker community. Grab your tickets here.