Collaborative Meeting – LWD Makers + Portland Made (Lady Makers)
LWD was excited to combine forces with like-minded group Portland Made for this meeting. Hosted at Bullseye Projects, we invited 1 member of each group to talk about their work and creative process through making. Presenters were LWD member Lauren Hackett, owner of Bosque Design, a contemporary furniture and housewares company and Portland Made member Betsy Cross, owner of Betsy & Iya, known for their modern handcrafted jewelry.
Portland Made – is a member based organization that promotes, connects, and supports Portland’s maker community – “we are stronger together”. The past few years they have been hosting Lady Makers meetups – a place for women creatives to gather and connect with other female makers and business owners.
Dani Lipsky, a member of both organizations, served as moderator for the event.
LWD member Nicole Leaper, Experience Design Director at Bullseye Projects and Dawndae Hamilton, Studio Development Manager at Bullseye Glass Co. gave us a brief introduction, which included information about the exhibitions in the gallery; Emerge 2018, and Evolve 2018, both feature the works of many female artists. They also gave us information about the Bullseye Residency Program, a residency that is not just for glass artists, as they love seeing what artists and designers in other mediums come up with when they approach the complexities of glass.
Some past residents and projects they discussed were:
Jessica Jackson Hutchins – https://www.opb.org/television/programs/artbeat/segment/oregon-jessica-jackson-hutchins-glass-artist/
Finnish designer Anu Penttinen’s “Factory Series”
LWD member Lauren Hackett took those in attendance through her journey founding Bosque in 2015. Initially a student of architecture, Hackett quickly learned that her interests were adjacent to the field—how things are made, material, form, and how people interact with objects and space. From there, Hackett landed at rhiza A+D, working as a designer before starting Bosque on her own.
“When we’re designing, we’re predicting the future,” Hackett said, noting that her approach to design is rarely about perfection on the first go, instead focusing on getting concepts out on paper, seeing what works (and more often than not, what doesn’t work), and troubleshooting through issues as they arise to get to the intended goal.
Inspired by the works of – Eileen Gray and Lina Bo Bardi, Lauren is always searching for the most elegant solution to a design, this can be seen in the under table detail of her Cusp Coffee Table.
This thinking also often influences how she will approach the fabrication of a design, asking, can this be simplified, is there a better way to approach this.
Though their initiations into the world of design were very different, Betsy Cross agreed with Hackett about getting ideas out in their roughest form, and she even brought out her sketchbook for the audience to peruse as proof. Cross, a member of Portland Made, came to design in a much less conventional way, though: while completing her graduate degree in theater, Cross worked at a bead shop, so she had a general knowledge of jewelry and jewelry making. But it wasn’t until some time spent in Mexico City and falling in love with the mercados there that Cross got the idea to pursue jewelry full time.
When she started Betsy & Iya, Cross did everything from bookkeeping to retail sales, “for better or worse,” she said with a laugh.
She has since built a loyal following and brand. Fortunately now, she’s able to hire enough staff to allow her to focus on sketching and designing exclusively, and the brand has expanded enough that they’re slated to move into a larger space this fall.
One commonality that struck when both designers were speaking is how both Lauren and Betsy move between archaic process methods like sketching and hand building to utilizing digital tools, like rendering, and cad drawings as part of their process for laser-cutting, water-jet and 3D printing for wax casts.
We hope to make this a yearly collaboration between LWD and Portland Made!
Written in part by: Katey Trnka // Images Provided by Speakers // Photography: Sarah Toor