Lettering Love—Design Week Recap

This was our 7th year celebrating and supporting Design Week and it was one to remember.
— Yvonne Perez Emerson, Founder/Director
IPRC helped folks make their own screen print at our lettering show, 26.

IPRC helped folks make their own screen print at our lettering show, 26.

From a talk at The Portland Art Museum to a workshop and gallery show in our headquarters at Tillamook Station, our Design Week Celebration was full of Lettering Love.

WeMake typically has some sort of design in-action take place during Portland Design Week. For our first five years we did a little thing called Put A Bird In It, and then Pin That Shit. As part of our mission to give back to the community the Lettering Exploration was no exception.

We want to thank everyone who came out to support and celebrate Design Week with us. We are happy to say that we raised $6000 for arts education that helps to support underserved youth in our community. Our benefactors this year include:

Caldera Arts $2,000

Caldera is a catalyst for the transformation of underserved youth through innovative, year-round art and environmental programs. Caldera serves Oregon youth from both urban and rural communities with limited access to educational and economic resource opportunities. Our programs nurture individual creativity to ignite self-expression and transform the way young people engage in their lives, families, and communities.

Friendtorship $2,000

Friendtorship is built on a foundation of creative collaboration and strong personal friendships. The program aims to increase access to design and arts learning for underserved high school students, empowering them to engage in experiential creative processes that better their communities. The personal relationships that develop between the university and high school students are fundamental to the active engagement that drives the program.

Creative collaboration and positive relationships are the pillars of our program.

School House Supplies $2,000

Schoolhouse Supplies is an award-winning nonprofit that supports public education in Portland by giving students and teachers free classroom supplies.

The program serves classrooms in need by operating a volunteer-run Free Store for Teachers, which is stocked with supplies donated by the community. The mission is based on the belief that every child deserves school supplies and has the right to a quality education.

This brings the total of giving to arts education over the last 6.5 years to just over $100,000! We think this is incredible and it’s because of you that we can make it happen. 

I would like to personally thank everyone who helped this year. High -fives all around! If you volunteered THANK YOU! To our super talented sXc speaker Jordan Metcalf and moderator Eric Marinovich (who flew in on short notice to cover for Luke Choice, who got stuck out of the country before the event, yikes!) THANK YOU!  To the Portland Art Museum for graciously being our host three years in a row, THANK YOU! To the amazing Jessica Hische for coming to celebrate and share her knowledge so freely at our lettering workshop, and to all of the awesome artists who contributed their time, and talent to be in the 26 show. THANK YOU!

But most importantly I would like to thank our team, without their tireless commitment we could not have made it happen. THANK YOU! Alise Munson, Cinnamon Williams, Morgan Braaten, and Rowan Bradley. Lastly, I have to thank my husband Nathan Emerson. Nathan is a 4th grade teacher and rushes back to The Station every time we have an event to serve up drinks and smiles, but he also hangs lights, and art and supports me through everything. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

What a blast this year was! Be sure to check out the photos from the events and if you haven't picked up a print from the show we still have a few left! Grab them here.

Until next time, always be making!

Yvonne Perez Emerson, Founder/ Creative Director


Photos by Rowan Bradley & Yvonne

Make Believing with WeMake Celebrates and Put A Bird In It

Portland’s Creative Community Raises $13K for Arts and Music Education.

As we helped wrap up the festivities of Design Week Portland last Friday night, Portland’s creative community came together to celebrate with us for the third year in a row. We filled a packed house at LeftBank Annex with well over 800 people, and showcased 78 birdhouses with an eclectic mix of style. What I love about this event is that it brings together communities to support each other. The design community, the art community, and the maker community intersect for one night to make it all happen. Building a birdhouse might be the catalyst, but giving back and raising money for Portland’s aspiring designers, artists, makers, and creative thinkers was our main goal.

Every year this event keeps getting better. We started early in the evening with our final sketchXchange of the year featuring Lisa Congdon as our guest artist. Lisa was the perfect speaker to wrap up the year, particularly because she encompasses so many things we love. She’s an illustrator, she’s an artist, and she’s a maker. She spoke to a sold out crowd of 200+ people and inspired and delighted us all. After sXc, we switched gears and the party really got started.

The night’s success goes out foremost to our WeMake team: Scott Baker, Tiffany Jennings,  Emily Oliva, Jessica Caldwell, Celestia Grace, Susie MorrisRachel Coddington, Robert Woodward, Megan Gex, Daniel Cole, Lea Loo, Chloe Miller, and Spencer Groshing for the many, many hours of work needed to pull the day off. Also, a big high five to Nathan Emerson, Jeremy Pair and Alise Munson for their contributions. Plus, a big thanks to the handful of volunteers who worked the night.

The night could not have been possible without the generous support of our main sponsors. THANK YOU! Vitamin T, Big Cartel, LAIKA, Campaign Monitor, and The Study. A special thank you to in-kind donations from Rose Bean Events, Scout Books, Jill Dryer, PrintGraphics, and Jeremy Pair. Lastly, thank you Adam Porterfield of Golden Rule Design,  School of Rock, Tanner Goods, DJ Coast2c, The Wine Nomad, LoveBomb Go-Go, the PSU graphic design student volunteers, the awesome Put A Bird In It judges and Design Week Portland.

For me, this year was especially close to my heart because of the organizations we are giving back to. As a kid growing up without much, I coveted my sketchbooks and guitar. It took me a while to discover that if I wasn’t making art, I was sad. I was classified as at-risk of not succeeding all through school because of race and economic status—much like the kids benefiting from Friendtership. I remember the day when I understood the path I should be on and I remembered the people that helped me to discover it within myself—people like you who care and believe in dreams.

For everyone who made a house and attended the event, thank you for coming out and celebrating with us. You’re super awesome!

Thank you to Daniel Cole,Susie Morris, and Jeremy Pair taking some great photos! Check out more photos herehere, and here

Put A Bird In It for Arts & Music Education—The Line up

For the last three years we have been holding a celebration for design and making with the spirit of community in mind. We call it WeMake Celebrates. Each year we have closed off the festivities of Design Week Portland with a big-o-party, inviting the community, our friends, and families to come play, learn and make. During the event we host live maker activities and music, as well as our design in action fundraiser—Put A Bird In It. We’ve raised close to $20,000 for arts & music education, and last year we raised $11,000 in just three hours, Boom!

This year we hope to out do ourselves, and need your help!  80+ makers have been invited to create a unique one-of-a-kind birdhouse that will help us with this goal. These makers are illustrators, designers, furniture makers, ceramists, industrial designers, painters, and general creative geniuses. 

For this week only we offer these houses up for a BUY NOW option in a pre-sale. Check out the store here

The silent and live auction happens on Friday night, Oct. 10th, at the Leftbank Annex. Starting time is 7pm—we hope to close the auction by 9-ish, so be sure to come on time to get the house you want! We are happy to have Andrew Dickson as our MC and auctioneer, he will definitely add some fun to the show! 

It’s because of the community and generous sponsors that we are able to hold such gala event. Friday night will be one DWPDX event you won’t want to miss, and it’s FREE!


• Big Cartel is planning a collaborative maker activity with Jolby & Friends called “RAD LIBS”—a make your own poster station using custom stamps illustrated for the event.

• Tanner Goods is pulling in their truck and setting up shop!  You can make some nice leather swag for free and get to know some of their guys behind the scenes.

• A special edition print made by Jessica Hische (when she had her sketchXchange with us back in May) is the art we are using to silkscreen whatever you like! Golden Rule Design is once again operating the press, so bring a t-shirt or buy one on site and you can pull the screen for free. This is a one-of-a-kind print made especially for WeMake and we are thrilled that Jessica is letting us share it with you!

• School of Rock is performing two sets and these kids can rock! There will also be great food by Bunk Sandwiches, Home Plate Sliders, Fifty Licks and CHOP. Plus we have an assortment of libations for any pallet.

Proceeds from this event will help fund arts & music education. Come out buy a house, buy a beer, and make with us. It will be a night to remember!

A NOTE ABOUT PARKING: There is parking in the Rose Quarters West Garage for $5 a car. The street car and The Max also runs right in front of the building. The Leftbank Annex is the very large building on the corner of Weidler & N Vancouver.


Directly before the party is a private sketchXchange with celebrated artist Lisa Congdon. She’ll be talking about process, pattern making and sharing her sketchbooks. Plus we’ll have a few of her books on site for you to get signed. All attendees of sXc will also receive a free special edition 5x7 Scout Book designed by Lisa.


We couldn’t put on this amazing event without the help of our sponsors and in-kind donations.


In-kind donations from: Rose Bean Events, Scout Books, Jill Dryer, PrintGraphics, Jeremy Pair

Put A Bird In It—Featured Maker, Justin "Scrappers" Morrison

Written by Chloe Miller

Earlier this year, Justin "Scrappers" Morrison launched the magazine Stay Wild, a publication centered around the unconstrained adventurous spirit and journeying into nature. We’re excited to have this Creative Director/Art Director/Art Producer/Illustrator/Maker take part in Put A Bird In It, and we appreciated him taking the time to answer our questions.

CM: What inspired you to launch Stay Wild?

JSM: I wanted to work for a magazine that brought travel, action sports, sexy-nature-loving, art, and all the other stuff that totally inspires people to stay wild. I looked everywhere for that magazine, but only found it once we made it.

CM: Describe a typical day.

JSM: Here we go: fart really loud, wife (Amy) pushes me out of bed, announce “I’m Up!”, son (Camper) walks in on me peeing and punches me in the butt, boil water for coffee, stretch, push ups, stretch more, sprinkle brown sugar & honey & maple syrup on healthy boring cereal for Camper, check email titles to see if there is anything that can’t wait till I get to work, Instagram, drink coffee with Amy, talk about dreams (both asleep and awake kinds), Camper jumps on me spilling coffee on my swim trunk peejays, pack lunches for me and Camper, put on pants from yesterday, put on fresh t-shirt with awesome friends art on it, walk Camper to school early to play on the jungle gym, drop him off at kindergarten, try not to cry, hop on bike, go to work, surf an endless wave of emails and try to make fun stuff happen all day long until I wash up exhausted in bed with a belly full of ice cream. That ice cream will make me fart really loud the next morning and start the whole ride over again.

CM: Tell me about your birdhouse.

JSM: My first idea was a giant hand flipping the bird. Get it, “birdhouse”. Then I decided that was too obverse and the world doesn’t need another middle finger. I really like big goofy, yet graceful seagulls, so I wanted to make one of those instead. Somehow I’m turning the bird into a house. Should look pretty stupid/genius since I’m paper mâche-ing it out of back issues of Stay Wild. I don’t have a process. I don’t want a process. Get your laws off my body!

CM: Beverage and music of choice for birdhouse building?

JSM: Pineapple soda pop & old exotica records.

CM: What do you make in your “free” time?

JSM: Driftwood forts, sand castles, Lego space ships, retarded doodles of human animals, bathroom graffiti, camp fires, and Stay Wild magazine.

Put A Bird In It—Featured Maker, Maryanna Hoggatt

Written by Leah Noble Davidson

First, she shared the secret thoughts of bartenders with her hilarious two-volume-comic Adult Babysitting. Then, she created a jaw-dropping illustrated series about “the internal struggle to bring ideas and dreams to life against our most powerful enemies: Fear and Doubt.” (We know, right?!) THEN, as if to taunt us with her genius, she taught herself to sculpt, and blew Portland’s mind with some of the most gorgeous and soul-wrenching collections created. Now, beloved Portland illustrator gone sculptor, Maryanna Hoggatt brings her Animal Battle to Put A Bird In It, and boy are we excited.

All Photos Courtesy of Maryanna Hoggatt 

LND: Tell us about how you ended up building your first birdhouse for WeMake.

MH: I was at WeMake last year, and I had a lot of artist friends who were participating — there was such a great variety of results! Last year, I wasn’t sculpting, and this year I am, so it totally makes more sense for me to participate this time around. Last year, I made a silkscreen poster of one of my Animal Battle houses— I started playing around with the environments that they were going to inhabit, and that was the first one I did. Now, I can flex my sculpting muscle, and it’s for such a good cause.

LND: Can you tell us more about your process? How do you do this?

MH: Well, it’s very rich in fantasy, and there’s a really strong narrative in this world that is taking place. All the animals are named and have roles and purpose in this world. What I normally do for the process, is start with a drawing that I’ll turn into a sculpture. And then, I color the drawing, and measure it out. And I just start sculpting and I make sure that everything matches those dimensions as I go along. 

LND: How long does it take?

MH: All my sculptures usually take about two weeks.

LND: So the sculptures are to scale for your drawings?

MH: Yes. Everything I sculpt is to scale. I thought about making this birdhouse bigger, but then, I decided not to. …Birds are small. I don’t know what’s going to happen to it after Design Week, but I’d like to make sure it’s at least functional, like, there’s even an actual birdbath in here. It’s funny how this project came along, and I already had an idea that I painted months ago, so it only seemed natural for me to run with that I idea.

LND: Is there anything different about the house that you’ve done?

MH: It’s a very basic process, but if I don’t map it out, then there could be some very big mistakes in the foundation of it. I hadn’t built a structure before, so I expected that this was going to be new and interesting. This was a big experiment for me. I’ve been watching some Youtube tutorials and nerdy dollhouse tutorials, and on building model train towns— educating myself. Oh, and there are lights incorporated in it! [Click here to see them in action]

LND: So, you have this story. Can you tell me more about where it came from? 

MH: This is the furthest I’ve taken it. I don’t really go so far when I’m doing 3D work; it sort of just lives in my head. I guess, that’s working towards someday, maybe, an actual storybook, and I’m playing with it.

LND: We should be so lucky.