Studio Visit: Window Wall

A salon that feels as good as it makes you look? Sign us up! We spent a early afternoon with the talented mastermind/creative director/owner of WINDOWWALL, Kim Namanny who is sweeter than peaches n’ cream and has got skills. Kim has set the bar high with a coveted team of stylist that’s training, education and experience provides a life changing hair epiphany. Located on the third floor of the Ford building you are greeted by giant pained windows, a beautifully decorated waiting area and sky high ceilings that really seal the deal. Oh and the view - we are talking relaxing modern treehouse filled with some badass ladies, but irl you are in inner south east industrial, how do they do it? All of the accomplished stylists at WINDOWWALL’s goal is create custom do's that embrace each clients unique shape and hair type, the result is something effortlessly natural, something that everyone can appreciate. A better you, but really! 

Just take a look for yourself below! If you are looking for a change, don't hesitate, the WW ladies are busy gals.

1. Why Portland? What was it that drew you to Portland or has kept you here?

Portland has always been known for its creativity. With rainy days it makes for the city to bloom with its creative thinkers. This I love and have always adored the people whom it attracts. 

2. What are your favorite things happening in Portland (design or otherwise)?

I enjoy our dinning scene. With farm to table still on the latest and new up and coming interior designers the city is really starting to sparkle in its ambiance. 

3. How did Windowwall start?

It was seriously an authentic persuit. We originated in a art studio with one mirror and one chair evolving into what we know call our industrial tree house with five-chairs. 

4. What has been your biggest obstacle?

Honestly, learning how to build a team with the right hires. 

5. What or who inspires your design?

My design style is really inspired by a New York Gallery meets French Flea Market. I love little trinkets. 

6. What are your favorite things about Portland?

Dive Bars and being able to ride your bike anywhere, along with the unique people it attracts. 

7. What is your favorite part of your studio?

I love our large industrial windows that overlook downtown and Southeast Portland. 

8. Your favorite thing about your workspace?

I absoutley love our team at WINDOWWALL. 

9. Tell us two truths and a lie!

Razor cuts are amazing, but not always the best option. Colorists need to understand chemicals before they indeed can become a proficient Colorist. All salons are created equal. 

10. 5 things you can’t live without. 

My team, my hands, coffee, sunshine and good music. 

Studio Visit: Martina Thornhill

The effortlessly chill Martina Thornhill had us over to her home ceramics studio. Martina and her husband, Drew, converted the garage of their Mt. Tabor home into a functional space for her and her beautiful work. She graciously walked us through her intricate process; Martina hand builds EVERY ONE of her pieces, and for those of you who don’t know much about ceramics - that's real intense. Hand building is a process that she admits is not conducive to making large quantities but something that ensures that each piece she makes is unique and requires her presence. Martina embraces her curiosity and playfulness, carrying it over into her work by experimenting with interesting clay bodies and custom glazes. Working with clay has always been therapeutic for her; self taught she has been able to turn it into a full-time gig. 

1. What has been your biggest obstacle?

    Myself. I was, and at times still am, so worried about what "real" artists would think of my work. Whether I was original enough, interesting enough, good enough. There was this deep feeling of insecurity like I was waiting for someone to call me out on not knowing what I was doing and the fear of putting myself and my designs out there and possibly being rejected really held me back for years. Those fears still surface every time I move in a new creative direction, but I've gotten better at talking myself through them and remembering that whether or not my work sells does not define it's value. Do I feel proud of it? Does it represent me in the way I hoped? Those ideas are more important.

2. What or who inspires your design?

Lately I've been pulling a lot of inspiration from Japanese ceramics, ancient artifacts, shells and natural textures. Expanding into more sculptural work while still allowing each piece to be functional has been a really enjoyable challenge that has me searching out vintage pottery and designs books everywhere I go in the hope of finding new glaze recipes and intriguing shapes that could possibly be translated into ceramics.

3. What is your favorite part of your studio?

It's proximity to my house. Ceramics is such a time based art with each step based on moisture levels. If things get too dry too fast, they crack. If you work on something that's too wet, it could collapse. Being able to check on pieces throughout the day and sneak in even 30 minutes worth of work whenever I can would be so much more difficult if my studio wasn't next door.

4. Your favorite thing about your workspace?

     After years of using communal ceramic studio space it feels so wonderful to have a space that is completely mine. I can step away and when I come back everything is exactly where I left it. 

Studio Visit: Alexandria Cummings

One of our favorite Portland ceramicists', Alexandria Cummings, work first caught our eye while sipping Portland Apothecary tea at Sweedeedee. There is something soulful about her mugs, they are emotively familiar. Her work features fun proportions, unique color ways, and interesting texture. Focusing on the function of each creation, Alex has managed to make a line of relevantly utilitarian ceramics. Her work seems to be everywhere we turn; her collaborations with Tusk and Langbaan restaurants are beautifully executed, effortlessly complementing each dining experience. 

We dropped by Hey Studio for a visit. Hey, founded by Alex and her business partner Dina No, set out to create a collaborative ceramic space and gallery. Members share a communal workspace and some have private areas with their own wheels. Hey is home to over 10 local ceramic artists including Rabbit Rabbit, Dina NoScot Cameron-Bell and Katie Mudd

Enjoy the photos and interview below and get a glimpse of Alex’s process and the creatively packed Hey! 

 

1. Why Portland? What was it that drew you to Portland or has kept you here?

I was initially drawn to Portland because it sounded like a 'big' city that felt small, surrounded by a beautiful landscape with endless outdoor possibilities. Oh, and I heard Oregon had a Potters Association. I didn't actually know that much about it here before I moved other than a quick weekend trip where it rained. A lot, hahaha. That said, I am so glad I made the decision to move here and have definitely stuck around for the past 9 years because of my ever-growing community of friends, clients and studio mates. I never did become a member of the Potters Association...

 

2. What are your favorite things happening in Portland (design or otherwise)?

One of my favorite things happening in Portland right now is that so many creatives are starting their own businesses or studios, both craft and design, and are working and kicking ass for themselves.

 

3. How did your brand start?

I never intended to start my own brand, it just kind of happened organically. I got my BFA in ceramics, took a break and did a plethora of other jobs including preschool teacher, gallery associate, personal assistant... I was working at a creative agency tackling a variety of jobs including project, production and studio management for almost three years. During this time, I opened a shared studio space that I co-operated with another gal and picked ceramics back up and immediately fell back in love. As the years passed, I found myself in the studio more and more, the shared studio business model was growing to what is now called Hey Studio and I continued to grow my business. I finally took the step into full-time ceramics and have been developing my brand now for the past year and a half - its forever changing and evolving. 

 

4. What has been your biggest obstacle?

My biggest obstacle is the quest to find more time, theres never enough of it to get everything done!

 

5. What or who inspires your design?

I'm inspired by my family, specifically my Great Grandma and my late Great Grandpa. Both were successful artists and craftspeople and always encouraged me to spend time in their clay studio, wood shop or forge with them. My Great Grandma is 95 years old and I still call her to this day to troubleshoot why my kiln is misfiring or why my plates are warping, I love that we have this connection and I know she's proud someone followed in her footsteps.

 

6.What are your favorite things about Portland?

Favorite things about Portland - we're so close to the ocean, mountains, rivers and lakes - being surrounded by like-minded people - the flowers, plants and trees -

 

7. What is your favorite part of your studio?

My favorite part of my studio is wherever the plush green swivel reclining chair is, its the super chill zone.

 

8. Your favorite thing about your workspace?

The two large bay doors - I love opening them on a warm, sunny day letting the natural light and breeze roll in.

 

9. Tell us two truths and a lie!

I love cilantro. 

I had a rabbit named Hambone.

I have a tattoo on my butt.

 

10. 5 things you can’t live without.

My pups, Curry + Snacks, my fam., trips to New Orleans, and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Studio Visit: Matthew Philips Williams

Matthew Philip Williams warmly greeted us in a familiar space, Supermaker, a shared studio space located on S.E. Belmont. He is the space’s wood shop guy, running his one man show out of the converted carpet warehouse. The vibe is busy and people are getting shit done tucked away in each of their zones. We are long time fans of his work and have been seriously impressed by the shops that he has built out around Portland (MML and WESS we are talking about you). Matthew’s genuine playful spirt is reflected in his work that consistently teeters between art and design with each piece or project. There are colors where you don't expect them and cheeky shapes in a minimally modern context. And it works so well! He drives his focus on function and practicality but he just can’t help himself, it always turns out jovial and unpretentiously artful. It can’t not make you smile! 

Acquiring his initial footing in fabrication after finishing his studies at V.C.U., eventually making his way across the country to be a part of OCAC and PNCA’s first year of their collaborative MFA program; Applied Craft and Design.  Portland stuck on him, he is still here making this city a little bit prettier every chance he gets - from peoples homes, local stores to work environments. 

Check out his studio and look for the handsome Second Chair as well as a liquor-cabinet-meets-a-bar-cart that he is starting to prototype. Also we included a slide show of some stellar Matthew pieces and spaces here in Portland. 

1. Why Portland? What was it that drew you to Portland or has kept you here?

I came to Portland in 2009 for graduate school, and finished the MFA AC+D program through PNCA and OCAC in 2011 (with a follow up fellowship through 2012). Right after I got my current studio space in Supermaker, and it has been my home base ever since. I think what has kept me here is the supportive community. Portland has been an amazing place to really cut my teeth and develop my practice. I’ve found some incredible clients who have really let me loose on projects that have helped me find my style and direction. Working alone is hard enough; without my Portland clients believing in me I wouldn’t be here. 

2. What are your favorite things happening in Portland (design or otherwise)?

I actually hate what’s happening in Portland, though I recognize that I’m part of the reason it’s happening. The city seems to be homogenizing at a pretty incredible rate. 

3. How did your brand start?

I’m still not sure I have a brand. I work under my full name “Matthew Philip Williams” simply because it’s easier to get results on google than without the middle name. My creative work started more as an art practice than an attempt at business, and it has organically developed into what it is mostly because I had bills to pay and realized I could line the two things up. If I wanted to keep a roof over my head, and continue my practice, they had to be mutually beneficial. That being said, I think the introduction to design in graduate school and the exposure to Portland’s deep creative community have really pushed my work into the direction that now is my “brand”. My work feels like an extension of my personality, and as a result my personality is my brand. 

4. What has been your biggest obstacle?

My biggest obstacle has been learning how to run a business. I have worked really hard to push my practice to the level it’s at, but I’m still a complete novice when it comes to being an entrepreneur. Especially as a one person show, wearing multiple hats to fill all the needs of a small business has proven to be no easy task and every time I crunch numbers or try to file something I feel like a fish out of water. 

5. What or who inspires your design?

Lately, I’ve been really inspired by product designer Jasper Morrison and the duo of Studio Gorm. There’s something very pure and authentic in their work and approach that I’m trying to strive for. Designers can embellish all they want to make an exciting object, and this approach works, but I think the real challenge is simplicity. Making an object that can’t be any simpler and still works is an incredibly difficult challenge, and I see that in their work. 

6. What are your favorite things about Portland?

The Red Fox and Cherry Sprout combination, Skidmore Bluffs, Kelley Point Park, Powell’s, the amazing coffee everywhere, and the light (if you’re from the East Coast you’ll know the difference). The only thing that’s been missing for me is I can’t find a decent fucking breakfast sandwich. After 8 years here it’s starting to wear me down. Anyone have any suggestions? Cheap has to be part of this. A good breakfast sandwich can’t be expensive and it certainly better not be artisanal. 

7. What is your favorite part of your studio?

I share my studio space with a number of different types of folks. In the front we have a Jewelry shop and upstairs there is a recording studio. There are a few independents here doing their thing in video, product design, art and design. One of my studio mates is actually working on developing the product design for a portable Malaria testing device, while another is working on graphic design and painting a motorcycle helmet. It’s weird here, and I love that; I never know what to expect from this place. 

Studio Visit: REIFhaus

One of the best parts of Portland Supply Co. for us has been getting to re-visit some of the talented creatives from our archives, and see the progress they’ve made.  It’s always fun to ask the question “where are they now?” REIFhaus has had a long hold in Portland, in a time before the city was bustling with creatives. Founder and designer Lindsey Reif has consistently created immaculately constructed pieces, timeless modern basics that can be easily integrated into any wardrobe. We caught up with Lindsey as the snow was beginning to fall, at her new Inner North East Portland studio situated in an old historic building on Broadway. The ceilings are tall, the skylights are old and beautiful, Lindsey has made the space her own. With a large space to create and sew, a special area to try on and interact with REIFhaus (by appointment only) and a photo studio. Enjoy the photos and interview below! 

1. Why Portland? What was it that drew you to Portland or has kept you here?

Coming from a very small town in South Dakota, I was always drawn to the city, and Portland seemed like the perfect size - not too big of a shock in contrast to the town of 1200 people I grew up in.  

I, like many of us who have moved to Portland from other places, didn't feel like I quite belonged where I grew up. Portland provided a sense of community.  You could be whoever you wanted to be and it was okay, in fact encouraged.  I was able to grow and become who I am as an adult today because of living here, and I am thankful for that.

2. What are your favorite things happening in Portland (design or otherwise)?

I love seeing so many new shops popping up all over town, and how much support there has been as of late for the design community.

3. How did REIFhaus start?

When I first moved to Portland, I bought a sewing machine.  I hadn't really sewn much before that, but was always intrigued.  Over the next several years I taught myself how to sew and make patterns from repurposing vintage or thrift store finds.  I then began taking on freelance sewing projects, eventually doing sample sewing and production for other local designers.  My line started to evolve around that time, and the current iteration of REIFhaus came about just over three years ago, when I left my job to pursue REIFhaus full time.  

4. What has been your biggest obstacle?

I am thankful that I had the opportunity to start my line in Portland - being a part of a supportive creative community and an up and coming fashion scene is not something I likely could have found in a larger fashion hub.  However, we are limited on resources here.  That has been a little bit of an obstacle, but not enough to keep me from doing it.  In the true spirit of Portland, designers here are resourceful when it comes to sourcing, producing their products, etc.  

5. What or who inspires your design?

I'm inspired by so many things.  A big theme in my designs is trying to find a balance between form and function.  One of the key design elements of REIFhaus are our subtle details that make a garment stand out in a way that feels versatile and timeless.  In my own personal style, I like to look put together while still being comfortable.  I look for outfits that can carry me wherever my day or evening takes me, and that's what I want for every garment I design.  I'm very inspired by textures, as well as modern art and architecture.  

6.What are your favorite things about Portland?

I love the natural beauty all around us.  It's so easy to get away to the Oregon Coast or to the mountains, and even in the city it's easy to access natural beauty like Forest Park.  Also, I love the amazing food and coffee all over the city.

7. What is your favorite part of your studio?

Our new studio has high ceilings and great south facing windows that let in a lot of light.  It's amazing how much natural light can do for your mood and creative flow, especially here in Portland where it's overcast so much of the year.  

8. Your favorite thing about your workspace?

I love our little showroom space.  Customers can come by and try on pieces in person and preview upcoming seasons.  We are going to be hosting Friday happy hours at our studio, there's more info on our website for anyone interested in coming by.  

10. 5 things you can’t live without.

Coffee, Rosé, my pets (that counts as two), and travel