Expansion Update: Maker Shrine.
Posted on April 30, 2014
If you don't live in Portland, I'm sure you've you heard & seen (thanks, Portlandia!) a lot about us who live here in the Rose City. How we're a community of thinkers, makers, doers, and artists. How the barista at your favorite cafe not only has another job, but maybe even runs his/her own side business. How we're happily content to sacrifice some luxuries in order to work jobs that fuel our passion(s). Well, I'm here to tell you that – for the most part – all these notions about Portland are true. Not being from here (what up, Indianapolis?!), this supportive, tight knit community of makers is extremely refreshing to me. As it goes for any group of humans, us Portland creatives have our faults, but it's always been my experience that the maker tribe here is one that's supportive, inviting, and just plain nice. In the early planning stages of our new space, Betsy shared an idea she had: a commissioned artwork comprised of scraps from different types of makers in town who produce a wide variety of goods. Once assembled, this Maker Shrine would hang on a wall in our new production space. Is your mind blown yet at the possibility of all this amazing creative energy coming together??? With a lot of hardwork, personal solicitations, and driving around town, Betsy's idea is now in the process of becoming real. The scraps we've collected from over 40 Portland makers are now in the hands of Betsy, who will assemble them into a 5'x4' shadowbox framed artwork. We're all so excited to see how this project comes together and will share it with all of our party attendees & social media fans on May 9th.
I had the pleasure of picking up materials from makers all over town; here are some teaser images. Top L to R, clockwise: Jessica Hickey (fiber artist), Anna Joyce (print, textile, bag designer), Revolution Design House (wood workers), Make It Good & Nell & Mary (textiles, clothes), Portland Garment Factory (clothing), Mazama Wares (ceramics), Spooltown (textiles), MapleXO (goods & accessories made from recycled skateboards. Betsy in the middle measuring for the Maker Shrine frame.
I want to share some of what Betsy wrote in her initial call out to these Portland makers to provide further insight into this labor of love. Although it's come to fruition over the course of the last few months, this idea has been in Betsy's mind for many years.
The genesis of this project started long before I moved to Portland and started this business. After graduate school, I lived in Mexico City, an experience that deeply influenced how I saw the world then and how I want to see the world as I continue living. I didn't know it at the time, but it was there where I got the real inspiration and impetus to start betsy & iya. I was addicted to the weekend mercados (markets), meeting the artisans, touching the things they made, and hearing their stories. I think it was the first time I felt a real connection as a consumer to the products I was buying. Continuing this connection of consumer-to-maker-to-product is something I’ve tried my best to do with betsy & iya and it’s the theme at the heart of this project.
My vision for this artwork starts with you, the incredible folks who make things in this city. People who are getting their hands dirty, people who inspire, people who get what it means to pour your heart and soul into your work. The idea is to collect raw materials, scraps, fabric/textiles, design duds, fixtures, an empty bottle that got you through a long night---pretty much anything that you feel has been some part of your process---and assemble them into a giant shadow box of sorts that will live on one of our new walls.
As you read this post, the shrine is being put together and is one step closer to hanging on our walls. I know that for us and all who view it, the Maker Shrine will be a source of inspiration and motivation, as well as a testament to the power of the Portland maker community.
See you & the shrine on May 9th; RSVP now & invite your friends!
***Song of the Moment: The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson***