W&F Shop Space

shopspace_title

It’s been a while since I moved things out of my house, and everything has just continued to move faster and faster. So fast that I realized I’ve never even formally introduced my current shop on the blog.

If you follow W&F on Instagram, you’ve seen small bits of the place, but since my dear friend Lisa was in recently taking pics, I want to share and show the place off. As you can see, now there’s more than enough room for tools, work tables, materials and even an expert employee, Anna.

I work out of the Beam&Anchor building, which is the fantastic vision of my friends Robert and Jocelyn Rahm. It’s an old, reworked building located in NE Portland, and I’m extremely fortunate that they asked to have me included. There’s no other way I could have gotten this far and this busy without having such an inspiring place to work.

A major source of the inspiration comes from the other building’s tenants – Maak Soap Lab, Revive Upholstery, Earthbound Industries, Phloem Studio and of course space for Robert to work on his artifacts/creations and space for Jocelyn to paint. Below us all is the retail shop, helmed by Jocelyn, Currie, Robert and Patrick. It’s been an amazing experience working alongside and with such hardworking and creative folks.

filed as: , , , , , ,   ||   3 Comments

House Spirits Distillery

whiskey_title

How lucky am I to have made friends in the whiskey business? Very. I Recently spent some time at House Spirits Distillery in Portland checking out their operation and tasting some of their fine spirits.

They’ve been producing White Dog, which is one of their limited releases. If you aren’t familiar with White Dog, it’s a new whiskey straight from the still. Colorless and plenty strong, this is whiskey that’s never touched a barrel. Typically whiskey will be aged in charred oak, all the while darkening in color and mellowing from the process. The aging process can be used to mask imperfections in lesser whiskeys, but with new whiskey like this – there’s nothing to hide behind. The level of craft at House Spirits makes for an amazing and wonderfully drinkable spirit.

Made from 100% malted barley, you can really breathe in the distinctive malt flavor when sipping. A bit of sweetness, and a light spiciness make it easy to drink neat, but with enough heat to really shine though in a cocktail.

Evan Kinkel from House Spirits even suggested a couple cocktails perfect for the occasion:

The White Zombie

  • 1 1/2 oz. White dog
  • 3/4 oz. Fresh pressed lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. Simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. B.G. Reynold’s Don’s Mix
  • Dash of Angustura bitters
  • Garnish with mint &lime

Silver Sunrise

  • 1 1/2 oz. White Dog
  • 1 oz. Stumptown cold brew
  • 1/2 oz. Molasses syrup
  • 3/4 oz. half & half
  • Dash of Reagan’s bitters
  • Garnish with an orange disc & cinnamon

If you try some, let me know what you think. If you’d rather stick to your favorite aged whiskey, I’ve got a DIY coming up for you… I’m gonna try to micro-age some White Dog. I’ll post in a few weeks and let you know how it turns out and show you the simple process.

photos taken by Lisa Warninger 
filed as: , , , , , ,   ||   7 Comments

Basia Bulat Review and Giveaway

basia_title

I don’t really understand the classification of Folk music. There’s so many sub-genres and variations, and the only tie I can usually make is that it might be primarily acoustic? Folk artists of the 60s tend to pop into my mind first, then I think of Eugene Levy’s character in “A Mighty Wind.”

Basia Bulat is largely considered a folk artist. You’ll read that she plays the autoharp. You might also hear that this album was primarily written while touring through the Yukon. All of these details set a certain expectation for some typically sleepy folk music, right? So you put this record on your turntable and sit back expecting something wistful and sleepy and then the first track ‘Go On’ starts with a little strumming and interestingly sweet vocals as you’d expect… then the drumming starts. And the rhythm gets a little feverish. Then the strings come in. Vocals are getting stronger and you find that you’re not just tapping to it, but you’re kind of stomping!

‘Go On’ seems like the greatest way to start this record. It gets you excited, breaks any notion of what you might be expecting, and then lets the rest of the record unfold. From there, you really notice the contrast in each song – some more complicated and large, some so simple and delicate. ‘Sugar and Spice’ politely scales things back a little, only to break away with another dense and feverishly urgent run with ‘Gold Rush’. Each song shows Basia’s diversity, yet they all weave together for wonderfully cohesive album.

There’s a few great videos available to listen on Basia’s website – my favorite being the ‘Heart of My Own’ performance. Have a listen, see what you think, and if you’re really liking it as much as I am, maybe you’d like a chance for some giveaway loot?

Thanks to a fine friend, the Art Counsel, I’ve got some goodies to give away. One lucky reader will win a copy of Basia’s recent album on vinyl, and one lucky LOCAL winner will get 2 passes to see her upcoming show at The Woods on June 2nd. (Where I bet she’ll be playing this new song.)

Just leave a comment below to say hello, or tell me about your latest favorite record, or whatever… and I’ll draw a winner for the record. As for the tickets – indicate whether you’re available to attend the show in your comment, and I’ll choose the winner from those. I’ll announce the winners one week from today, on Monday, May 30. Good luck!

 

filed as: , , , , , , , , ,   ||   41 Comments

Entermodal Bespoke Leather

entermodal_title

I like to experiment on a leather project here and there, and even though I can make some things really well, I know my limits. After experimenting, I get better, gain more knowledge, but my amateur status is never more evident than when I meet a true master of the craft.

One such master is Larry Olmstead of entermodal. Larry is one of the nicest folks you could ever meet, and he’s a wealth of knowledge and skill in the leather-working trade. I spent a few visits in the shop talking about leather, processes, mechanization vs. hand made, but I mostly just stood in awe of what was going on in there.

As you can see from the photos, so much is done by hand – cutting, stitching, forming. It’s an fascinating process to see how the raw materials become such a beautiful object. The process takes a lot of hours, patience and attention, and when it’s complete – the final piece is amazing. All materials are carefully chosen and thoroughly researched, ensuring everything is made in the most conscientious way.

Larry’s also working on some new experiments with waxed canvas and leather that utilize some ingenious construction methods – on one bag he’s building, there’s zero canvas material waste – every bit of one yard is used. Just one example of the depth to which Larry thinks about the craft of bag making.

If you’re ever in Portland, you can see his work (and most likely him) on display in the space he shares with Halo Shoes at 938 NW Everett. Want to learn some things yourself? He also hosts leatherwork classes. Some more info and pics here at the entermodal facebook page.

 

filed as: , , , , , , , , ,   ||   7 Comments

Some New Makers

pdx_makers_title

One great side-effect of having this blog is that I’ve gotten to meet other interesting craftsfolk and see their ideas and products. It’s inspiring to see what fellow tinkerers have been working on.

A while back, I got to know Garret at Strawfoot Handmade and it’s great to see that he’s going strong and creating some great work. My camera satchel is serving me well, and Garret sent me a pic showing that his carpenter’s bag is treating him well too.

More recently, I’ve met two Portland-based makers, each doing some amazing– yet very different things.

First off, Antler&Co. Personally, I love antlers. I don’t care if it was a 2008 super-fad… the real thing is and always will be CLASSIC. They’ve been around for thousands of years, so I’m not gonna let some ‘white plastic knock-off Apartment Therapy saturation’ ruin it for me. Don’t want to kill a cuddly animal for decor? No problem. Antler&Co uses natural sheds for their work. Each year, deer naturally shed their antlers and grow new ones. Why let them decay on the ground when they can be collected as little works of (handy) art? I have one of Greg’s ‘Hanger Holder’ pieces and it’s amazing. The antler is beautiful itself, but the attention to detail in the packaging is insane. They really put together a great product, complete with all necessary hardware. Check out their wares at Antler&Co.

Another recent Portland upstart is Maak Soap Lab. This is a small, handcrafted operation that makes the most amazing soaps. After opening the Doug Bar and placing in my soap tray, the amazing scent of fir and cedar traveled through the entire house. Granted, I have a small place, but it smelled amazing. The soap lathers up well, and even though it smells strong, you’re not left with a perfume-y odor. It washes clean, with just the slightest scent on your skin. Maak is also venturing into essential oils, and I’m dying to try that cedarwood scent in my house. You can follow what they’re doing at Maak Soap Lab. Also, I’ll be carrying some of their bars in the Wood&Faulk shop, starting next week.

filed as: , , ,   ||   4 Comments