Archive for September, 2010

Open Studio


Workspace inspiration from Holly Wales. That light in there is just perfect. Bet you there’s some pretty amazing projects coming out of there too.

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Design Harvest

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Let me backup for a second. In the past two weeks, I’ve been to two out of town weddings, a two day conference, gave a lecture at Columbia College Chicago, letterpressed 200 business cards and assembled 75 wedding programs (also letterpress) AND I’m also helping organize Post 27’s street festival that’s happening this weekend, October 2–3rd. What I haven’t been doing, obviously, is much blogging. Or sleeping, really. You’d think I’d be a complete zombie, but miraculously I am still plugging away!

But back to this festival, Design Harvest. Pretty much every neighborhood in Chicago has their own craft and music festivals, there’s usually at least one happening every weekend. But, in the whole city, there’s never been a street festival that’s centered on interior design. Until now. This weekend over 50 vendors are camping out on Grand Avenue & Damen peddling vintage, modern, antiques, accessories, and handmade furniture for the home. And there’s more too: hay rides, pumpkin ale, a petting zoo, and a SQUARE DANCE. Music is being provided by The Hideout.

And who’s the brainchild of this awe-inspiring event? Angela Finney-Hoffman with help from Renegade Handmade and the West Town Chamber of Commerce. Other sponsors/vendors include Intelligentsia Coffee, Lulu B. Wines, Unison Home, Morlen Sinoway, Grand Street Gardens, the Onion, RedEye and Yelp.

It’s free, 11-7pm. Break out the scarf and mittens, grab a hot drink, and hang out while you rethink your living space, your life. And stop by Post 27 and say hello while you’re at it, there’s even more incredible display happening in-store that is not to be missed.

Cusp Conference 2010 Recap

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Sessions started with selections from One in 8 million, an oral history interactive web project by the New York Times.

Conferences get flack sometimes for being corporate, not intimate enough, and burdening their laden-down participants with cheap swag. Sessions can be dry, networking awkward, and lecture halls bloody freeeeeezing cold. And they all seem to promise the Next Big Thing. But after two jam-packed days at this event, which was far beyond a design conference, I wanted to take everyone I met home with me as my own personal task force of awesomeness. These people really are the next big thing. And not just the presenters either, every time I struck up a conversation with someone a simple “So what do you do?” never really had a straight answer. “Wellllll… ” they all start, and that’s when you know you’re going to hear something good, because invariably a slew of interesting things follow.

I spend so much time focusing on the art and design world that it’s been a long time since my ideas about politics, education, sustainability, and health care have been so directly and radically inspired. I learned about a doctor who’s flipping medicine on its head with the help of social media to schedule house calls and run his own practice from home. Then there was political activists, The Yes Men, who basically punk the media to promote social change, and twelve-year-old Abraham Godson (no website) a prodigy pianist who charmed us with his own compositions. There were Educators advocating new ways to tackle the crucial challenges low-income students and their noble teachers face. We were held rapt all thoughout, even through the Keynote, by Braddock PA’s reluctant Mayor who captivated us with his grassroots movement to rebuild the forsaken community there. And finally, the on the sounds of the Global Fusion Project, we went out into the night.

The Beckoning of Lovely, by presenter Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Between, in the harried off-time there were the usual small moments of inspiration among the hugs and handshakes as well. See over there? That gracious fellow with the white beard and the kind eyes is Steve Frykholm, the legendary Creative Director for Herman Miller. And there’s another industry great over yonder too, Richard Saul Wurman, the fellow behind TED and about a hundred other cool things. Chad and I handed off our fresh letterpressed ephemera, like talismans, to Frank Chimero to take home to Portland to another internet friend, Kate Bingaman-Burt.

One in 8 Million, Abraham Godson on Piano:

The guys at smbolic (Kevin Krueger, Greg Samata and Dave Mason) deserve the hugest thank you of all, both for throwing down and getting such a huge event together and for generously allowing us to attend. They certainly didn’t have to, and I feel so lucky for getting to share in this opportunity. See the full list of presenters here.

Exhausted and exhilarated…and let’s do that again. See you next year?

“Change won’t happen unless people take to the streets. That’s the right moment. In American history, that’s when things change, when you have a relatively progressive president, a crisis, and people who take to the streets. That’s when things actually happen.”

Andy Bichlbaum, Cusp Conference 2010

Cusp Conference


Thanks to the generosity of Dawn Hancock of Firebelly Design who participated in the Cusp Conference last year, Chad Kouri & I are getting to attend this inspiration freak out fest. Channeling TED, Cusp brings together creatives from all sorts of industries for a series of small intimate discussions. Chad & I will be attending sessions and collaging and blogging our thoughts on the talks. I’m really looking forward to seeing Frank Chimero and Sean Adams of AdamsMorioka, but no doubt there’s going to be other amazing-ness for sure. So that’s what’s going down over here for the next couple of days. I’m hopeful I can impart something worthwhile so even if you’re not going you can still get something out of it too.