fall 2014

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!

SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NIGHT:

• 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.

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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.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to our AWESOME SPONSORS

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

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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.

Put A Bird In It—Featured Maker, Ezra Cimino-Hurt of Case of Bass

Photo by Christian Columbres

Ezra Cimino-Hurt is a character, in a good way. He’s got a fantastical way of thinking that helped him envision Case of Bass. Case of Base is today’s boombox for those with a design sensibility who appreciate the handmade. These portable music sound systems are locally made from repurposed materials and mostly vintage suitcases. They’re just cool. The lucky bird that get’s this perch is in for a treat.

YPE Where did the idea of Case of Bass come from?

ECH Case of Bass was hatched from the need to have a boombox of my own.  I went to Best Buy and while the TDX model designed by Ziba design no less was the object of my attention, I saw flaws in it, and wanted to tweak my own design.  The ability to want to create something and just allow yourself to go down the rabbit hole and see where it takes you.  I didn’t set out to build what I do today, but my skill set and vision of what I enjoyed and what made me happy shaped the products I make today.  

YPE What’s the most elaborate one you’ve made?

ECH I had the opportunity to work with Lindsay Joy Holmes of MapleXO this past spring to put together some pieces for National Go Skateboarding day on 7/21.  I had been envisioning a boombox made out of skateboards that was a feature you could skate.  Grind the handle as it played your music.  We started talking and her idea was that’s fun, but what about a ramp?  That was it and we ended up designing and building a Quarterpipe Boombox that was entirely veneered with skateboard maple end grain, complete with a horn deathbox and concrete pool coping.  The challenge wasn’t making something that looked good and sounded amazing, it was doing that and building the art to withstand the abuse of thousands of skateboarders hitting it over and over.  We did and it did.  It’s rad.

YPE Have you made them for any celebrities?

ECH  I have, but they aren’t the heroes in this story.  I find out later that celebrities ordered cases through my website and I deliver them their goods like everybody else.  I like to think that you become the celebrity of your block when you order a Case of Bass and drop it on your stoop on a nice summer day.  

YPE Is there a dream Case of Bass you’d like to build?

ECH  Oh boy, I just want to build them all perfect.  The challenge of the perfect assembly while working with imperfect materials and reusing old items is constantly throwing me curve balls.   I move from crazy idea to crazy idea, and once I flush it out I move on.  I have wanted some sort of interactive drum machine and smoke machine case to be built.  That’s my current unicorn.

YPE What about the Put A Bird In It Project has inspired you?

ECH I had to realize that I was building it for myself, and sharing it with the show.  I started thinking about what would people like to see, then was overwhelmed with what I would like to see.  I am pretty weird, so you get something that might be on the weird side.  

YPE Why do you make?

ECH If I don’t I would die.  I don’t have another setting and it’s how I fill everyday of my life.  Even if tied to a tree without the ability to physically put my ideas into reality I would imagine them.  They would probably include creative ways to get untied from a tree.

Be sure to check out Case of Bass on Instagram, he’s got some fun stuff there!

A Journey from the Heart—sketchXchange with Lisa Congdon

Layered color, patterns, and abstract shapes are often combined with hand lettering, creating a body of work that is diverse yet recognizable. This is the work of Lisa Congdon. A painter, an illustrator, a writer, a seamstress, a teacher and more. When I first met Lisa I learned she is a compassionate maker whose journey as an artist tells the story of a woman who followed her heart and shared it along the way.

We are thrilled to be hosting Lisa for a very special sketchXchange happening during Design Week Portland just before our celebration, WeMake Celebrates & Put A Bird In It. We hope you will join us as Lisa takes us through her journey as an illustrator, painter, and writer and gives us a glimpse inside the pages of her sketchbooks.

Everyone in attendance will receive a special edition sketchbook created by Lisa and Scout Books and will also have the opportunity to buy her books and have them signed.

Lisa has also contributed to Put A Bird In It as one of the makers who created a birdhouse which will be auctioned off for arts and music education. Be sure to stick around after the sXc to partake in the party!

When: Friday, Oct. 10th, 2014

Time: 5:30 – 7:00pm

Check-in begins at 4:30pm. Doors close at 5:15pm.

Place: LeftBank Annex - 101 N. Weidler Street,  PDX 97227

RSVP on Eventbrite

YPE How long have you been working as a professional illustrator?

LC I’m 46 years old, and I did not pick up a paint brush until I was 31. I didn’t actually sell any of my work until I was 37, and even then I had a full time day job. Art was a hobby then and I was selling a few things on the side, but only because people expressed interest, and not because I had any desire to be a professional artist. I didn’t think it would have been possible then.

You know how you hit a tipping point and you work really hard for a long time, maybe you’re just playing around at first but then you’re like, wait, I really enjoy this! And then you play around some more. In 2007 I started putting my art on the Internet, and people began paying attention.

Over the course of the last 14 years I began incrementally making more work, growing it from a hobby to a little more than a hobby, to a part time career, to a full time career. I’ve been doing it professionally now for 8 years. Most illustrators my age have been doing it since they were 22 or younger. So in some senses I am a late bloomer.

YPE Do you think the internet had a lot to do with your success?

LC: Yes. If I had become an artist when I was 22 I couldn’t have relied on the Internet, because it didn’t exist. I didn’t go through the traditional channels to get to where I am; I took some art classes, because I was going through a difficult time, and I happened to fall into it at the right time, just as the Internet was exploding.

If I had started making art at 25 it may have always been a hobby because back then there was no way to make it unless you were represented by a gallery or illustration agent or you had gone to art school and have connections. It was really hard if you were self taught to figure out a way to show your work to the world before the Internet came along.

So then in about 2005 I did start to show my work on the Internet and also Flickr and through blogging. I started to share it with no intention of becoming a professional artist. I was just sharing.

YPE Do you have a favorite way to share your work now?

LC I keep a blog and I blog almost everyday, five days a week. In addition to sharing my own work on my blog,  I write about other people’s work, things that I’m working on, and I write essays—sometimes about my life or frustrations, or the hard parts about being an artist. I also promote my work, my books and events I’m taking part of. So my blog is my home base, and then I take that blog content and share it on Facebook and on Twitter. I love Instagram, too. I use it mostly for fresh content or random pictures I take throughout the day. It’s a great medium for a visual junky. 

YPE  What direction has your work taken from the beginning to now?

LC When I started I was just a painter. Back then I was only making representational paintings. I loved painting. I was experimenting in flat painting, graphic painting and also deeper, richer, more painterly paintings. Then I started to draw in graphitel. I also have continued to play around with collage over the years. I love to mix mediums.

YPE How did you decide that pattern making and lettering was something you wanted to explore?

LC In 2008 I signed with an illustration agent. I started to get requests for work and realized that illustration was a great way to make a living as an artist.  I didn’t only want to rely on selling original work and having art shows. If I was going to make a full time living as an artist I had to figure out a way to diversify my income. In 2008 I started making repeat patterns. My agent suggested it because she thought my work would transfer well into repeats. I didn’t know how to make repeats, and so I had to teach myself. Since then I’ve learned a lot about the kinds of work that lends itself well to licensing and different kinds of illustration.

YPE Your painting style has obviously evolved. I love your abstracts. Would you consider that your paintings have roots in pattern making?

LC I love pattern and geometrics and repeating imagery. I didn’t start making patterns until 6 years ago. Now I have a line of wallpaper and a couple of lines of fabric, and I’ve also done some textile designs for kids bedding. Even before I started making repeat patterns, patterns were a consistent theme in my work. In my sketchbooks I draw a lot of patterns. They aren’t necessarily exact repeats. There’s something to filling a whole space with imagery, it’s sort of infinite and grows and expands forever. You can do that digitally or you can do it on a surface of a painting or drawing.

About a year ago I also dove into abstract painting in a whole new way. As artists we talk a lot about having an identifiable style and look and there is a lot of emphasis put on making your work recognizable in one or two particular styles. While I believe that’s important to a certain extent, I also think it’s important to play in your work, and to try new things.

YPE I can see the experimenting you’ve done with different styles in your work but when I look at the body of your work as a whole, (like your vintage stuff, your nordic stuff, and even your editorial) it looks like Lisa Congdon, I know that its you.

LC Somehow, despite the fact that I’m always experimenting and trying different things, my work is still fairly cohesive. That’s part of branding yourself as an artist—figuring out a way to package it all together so people understand it’s all part of what you do.

YPE So what’s your favorite thing you’ve been doing lately?

LC Besides the abstract painting, I love hand lettering. I’m a different kind of hand letterer than many out there. My lettering styles are not at all traditional, and I don’t create fonts. I have a few hand lettering styles with very little script. Lettering is one of my favorite things to do.

YPE You are a plethora of books these days! 

LC I had a book of hand lettering quotes come out in April and there’s another one coming out in 2015. I’m also putting together another book that will be a compilation of all the different forms of my work, that comes out in 2016. I love making books.

YPE What started you onto this path of books and how did your relationship with Chronicle Books begin?

LC I had three clients that came all around the same time, and this was before I had an agent: Chronicle Books along with Pottery Barn Teen and Poketo. It all started when I had a solo show in a small gallery in San Francisco in 2006. I was showing some collage work and also some of my birch tree paintings. A women who worked for Chronicle was there, and she went back to her art department and told them they should check out my work. Within two months I had a meeting to show them my “portfolio.” I say that in quotes because I didn’t have a portfolio or a website. I had nothing. I was like, “Oh, shit, I better get my act together for this meeting.” 

YPE You wrote Art Inc. but someone else did the illustrations. Was that different for you?

LC Because the book was a part of a Chronicle Books series, they all had a similar look and feel of vector illustrations. I don’t do that kind of work generally. I was also so engrossed in the writing, it was a great to have Karolin Schnoor do the art work and keep the look and feel in the series really tight.

YPE Is this your first book you’ve written?

LCYes, and it might be the only one I ever write, because it was really hard!

I can write a blog post, or tell a story on my blog, but that’s so different than writing a book—not just a book, but a business book. I learned really quickly that my natural writing style was going to have to be transformed to write a business book. You have to be very precise in the information you give and as accurate as possible. The book has to be written in language that is simple to understand. People are reading it because they’re seeking concrete advice. 

YPE How do you use your sketchbooks? Are they apart of your daily process?

LC Not too long ago, I didn’t think I had time for sketchbooks. I think in my head I thought of sketchbooks as being one kind of practice, but then realized they are actually whatever you want them to be. Once I understood this I really got into them and decided to be more disciplined with them. I keep a bunch of art supplies at home so I can do free-form stuff, and a lot of that stuff ends up in my sketchbooks. I started posting pictures of the things I was drawing, and people seemed to enjoy them. Sketchbooks can be really private too. I don’t show everybody everything in them.

Making art for other people is fun but there’s a certain set of expectations. Making personal work, even if it’s just a sketchbook spread, is so important. That the work is entirely yours takes the pressure off. They’ve become really important to me.

Since 2007, Lisa’s been illustrating for clients including The Museum of Modern Art, Martha Stewart Living Magazine, Chronicle Books, The Land of Nod, and The Obama Campaign among others. Lisa is known for her intricate line drawings and pattern design.

In addition to illustrating full time, Lisa is the author of Whatever You Are, Be a Good One and Art, Inc. The Essential Guide to Building Your Career as an Artist. She’ll share with us her path to working with Chronicle Books, writing for the artists, and her process behind the work she does. We’ll learn about her thriving career as a pattern designer, painter, and more.

Everyone in attendance will receive a special edition sketchbook created by Lisa and Scout Books and will also have the opportunity to buy her books and have them signed.

Lisa has also contributed to Put A Bird In It as one of the makers who created a birdhouse which will be auctioned off for arts and music education. Be sure to stick around after the sXc to partake in the party!

When: Friday, Oct. 10th, 2014

Time: 5:30 – 7:00pm

Check-in begins at 4:30pm. Doors close at 5:15pm.

Place: LeftBank Annex - 101 N. Weidler Street,  PDX 97227

RSVP on Eventbrite