1. Ink, Paper & Magic: An interview with Pinball Publishing founders Laura and Austin Whipple

    Written by chloeameliam | June 2, 2014


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    Housed in the cheerful yellow building on the corner of SE 10th and Grant is Pinball Publishing, a design, print and manufacturing facility, and home to Scout Books. Scout Books are customizable, pocket-sized notebooks that have taken on an array of forms – you’ve probably seen the 33 Books series at your favorite wine bar or bottle shop, or picked up a pack of blanks for your own doodles and grocery lists. Pinball also has an editorial design branch called Good Ink, and is home to Outpost, which produces custom screen printed wooden signage.

    We’re excited to be taking a field trip to visit the Pinball team on Thursday, June 19. We’ll tour their facility, learn about what they produce and see our custom WeMake Scout Books being bound. Our summer workshop will start at the Commons Brewery for a quick tour and beverage, and then continue around the corner to Pinball. Participants will contribute a drawing which will be part of a collaborative cover on the books we take home!

    Date: Thursday, June 19
    Time: 6 to 9 p.m.
    Registration begins at 5:30 at the Commons, located at 1810 SE 10th
    Place: 1003 SE Grant Street
    Cost: $20, includes custom Scout Book

    Registration is open now, and space for this workshop is very limited.

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    How did Pinball get started?

    Pinball Publishing grew out of our desire to be involved in our own design projects from conception to final printed manifestation. We were editing and designing a Literary Journal called “eye-rhyme” in the early 00s and wanted to print it ourselves. This desire to make our projects happen led to the investment in letterpress equipment, which then led to the commitment to leasing a commercial storefront on SE Clinton Street where Pinball was born. We’ve recognized this pattern of combining excitement and tangible commitments in our evolution as company. We call it the Project Practice. Pinball is really a series of ongoing projects, all rooted in the pairing of design and manufacturing.

    What are your educational/creative backgrounds? When did you get involved in print?

    Austin has a BA in Graphic Design from PSU, and I have a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Willamette University. I took graphic arts classes and journalism in junior high, and that was the extent of my “formal print training” until I took a letterpress class after college. Austin took on many print projects during high school and college, and taught himself screen printing, letterpress printing, and eventually offset printing, while studying graphic design. We got involved in print together when we bought our first two letterpresses and paper cutter, and started making projects.

    Where did the idea for Scout Books come from?

    Scout Books are pocket sized books and notebooks made with 100% recycled papers, vegetable based inks by the talented Scout Books team. We have a retail line and also offer customization through our “make your own” ordering process.

    The original idea for Scout Books came during a research and development session in the winter of 2009. We were prototyping and testing print items that could work well with our equipment and take advantage of our favorite papers. We had been avid fans of chipboard since day one of Pinball Publishing. We knew that notebooks were experiencing a renewed popularity with the rise of Moleskine and other brands. We thought the world might like an option that was easy to customize and 100% recycled. As a business model, we knew from first hand experience that offering infinite variety with print formats, ink and paper options could lead to manufacturing headaches. So we wanted to have a fixed format to offer that was tested, flexible in application and efficient. We wanted guidelines.

    imagePhoto credit: Hannah Snow

    We started sharing the initial samples (designed by our staff) with our friends and clients, and the business of Scout Books began by word of mouth. We added a dedicated website in 2010, and growth has been gradual over the past five years. At this point the business of Scout Books has overtaken our shop, and we now focus 90% of our time on Scout Books, and the other 10% on our custom sign business, Outpost and a few custom projects. Finding our focus was the best thing we could have done as a print based business.

    When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

    I wanted to be a photographer for the National Geographic, and also a travel agent. Austin wanted to be a veterinarian. In some ways, we do get to those activities in our adult lives, which is funny and great. I typically book all the travel for the Scout Books team, have recently taken a bigger role in the photography needs for the business, and we have nine animals at home (3 chickens, 3 cats, 2 goats, and a new dog).

    Why is Portland a good fit for your business?

    Portland has a wonderful quality of life, and offers us infinite inspiration from the creative community. We have many talented friends and clients rooted here, and their successes have fueled our success and vice-versa. We’ve been assisted with grants, training opportunities, and loans over the years by many of the institutions in Portland, such as RACC, Literary Arts, Mercy Corps Northwest, The PDC, SBDC, and local banks like Albina. All of these resources have contributed to our ability to grow and thrive.

    How do Scout Books facilitate making?

    In my opinion, the best part about Scout Books is that people can “make their own” either through designing the artwork and content and having Scout Book manufacture the project for them, or by using our DIY line and customizing it with stamps, screen printing, letterpress or other methods.

    Here are links to Case Studies showing all the amazing ways our clients use the Scout Book format.

    Scout Books are fundamentally tools for encouraging and capturing creativity and ideas. It’s important to draw, write, sketch, and doodle with a pen or pencil on actual paper. Scout Books are the perfect companion to the creative process.

    People say “print is dead”, what are your thoughts on this?

    We don’t think that print is dead, but it’s certainly an industry in transition. We feel fortunate to have grown each year, and work hard to find new ways to make print relevant in a changing world. I think printing companies that are successful in today’s marketplace have been creative and nimble, and found ways to use the internet to their advantage.

    Our goal with Scout Books was to augment the digital world with physical objects of lasting quality and usefulness. We created a simple ordering process that gives easy access into our Portland, OR based manufacturing. We print, bind and ship Scout Books using all American-made, 100% recycled papers and soy-based inks to our friends and clients worldwide.

    The tangibility and beauty of print ensures its continued relevance, but its role and importance has shifted dramatically.

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    What do you make in your “free” time?

    Right now, Austin’s building a wood working studio in our back yard, he’s also making dandelion wine, rose petal wine, and wild start bread. I’m growing a garden, making preserves, pickling, and taking photographs. We have two daughters, ages 5 and 8, and with them, we love to make messes.

    Thanks for your time, Laura and Austin! Looking forward to visiting you later this month. Join us for an evening of paper, ink and magic!

    Date: Thursday, June 19
    Time: 6 to 9 p.m.
    Registration begins at 5:30 at the Commons, located at 1810 SE 10th
    Place: 1003 SE Grant Street
    Cost: $20, includes custom Scout Book

    Registration is now open.

    #wemake #PDX #workshops #print #pinball

    4 notes


  2. Macramé Workshop with Emily Katz

    Written by chloeameliam | March 17, 2014


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    Artist, designer and art director Emily Katz is a busy woman. Her macramé plant hangers and wall hangings have been featured in lifestyle magazines around the world. She’s launched clothing and jewelry lines, produces and shows her artwork, writes poetry, and works as a photo stylist (she credits much of her recent success to her use of Instagram). This multitalented artist also does freehand machine embroidery that incorporates watercolor. We’re excited to have her teaching a workshop at Tillamook Station on Thursday, March 27th.

    Please join us for an evening of fiber arts and inspiration with Emily Katz on Thursday, March 27th at Tillamook Station.

    Date: Thursday, March 27, 2014

    Time: 6:00 – 9:00pm

    Place: Tillamook Station, 665 N Tillamook Street, PDX 97227

    Cost: $25, includes supplies

    Eventbrite - Discovery Workshop with Emily Katz

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    CM
    How is Portland a good fit for your interests?

    EK
    I think that Portland is really supportive of artists and creatives and so I find that it’s a good place to be for that. There are a lot of people that are doing their own thing, it’s a good place to be self made.

    CM
    I love your embroidery work – can you tell me about your process?

    EK
    I went to art school in Baltimore and studied printmaking and learned about intaglio and etching and the raised line of that medium was so appealing to me, but i didn’t really like the whole process, so many steps. I’m a much more whimsical creator; like when I cook, I just throw things in, I’m not much of a recipe follower. So with the embroidery, it really happened organically. I never knew that that was a thing, and one day i just sat down at the machine and started sewing and it worked.

    The process of making those works is all on the machine and freehand. Lately I’ve been adding some watercolor to the process. I basically draw with the sewing machine using the needle as a static place while moving the fabric around. I don’t trace anything. Sometimes when I’m making a really large piece I’ll sketch some just to have proportion.

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    CM
    How and when did you learn the art of macramé?

    EK
    I learned how to macramé from my mom while visiting her two summers ago, she lives in Connecticut. I don’t spend a lot of time with her, so when I went to visit, I wanted something that we could do together and something she could teach me. I remembered that she had done macramé when she was young, so I asked her about it. Then we went to the store and got all the supplies, we sat up in her kitchen while my two half sisters were baking cookies and my boyfriend was sitting on the floor playing guitar and we made two macramé plant hangers.

    It was such an amazing experience to be all together. It was really, really special and I feel so grateful that she’s passed this knowledge on to me. She used to make them as a teenager and sell them at this salon where my grandma went to get her hair cut. She sold them to raise money to buy her first guitar, which was the guitar that my boyfriend was playing, it’s an old Martin from the seventies. So it’s really cool to have her influence in my work.

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    CM

    What are the benefits and challenges of being self-employed?

    EK
    The benefits are many. I find that I’m able to travel a lot and that’s really a big piece of what I want to be doing in my life. Macramé especially has been really exceptional for that, because people want it all over the world. Having a flexible schedule, being able to make time whenever I want—which sometimes goes into the negative. Working at home, there’s laundry to do and oh there’s the bed and I want to take a nap. But there’s this balance between what you think you should be doing, and what society tells you you should be doing, and how you want to live your life. So even though it’s three o’ clock and I’m going to make another cup of coffee and bake some cookies and take a nap, then I’ll work until one in the morning. It can look kind of stressful sometimes, or maybe it’s outside of the norm of what you’re “supposed” to be doing. I feel very grateful. It can be hard, but it’s always worth it.

    CM
    Have you been doing any recent collaborations?

    EK
    I’ve been doing creative consulting, which really is a collaboration. It’s part of my dream to help facilitate other people’s dreams and to support them in the work that they’re doing. So that’s kind of a collaboration, sitting across the table from people, talking about how I can help to make them better. Even if it’s just talking, which is kind of the best part for me.

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    In her March 27th workshop, Emily will share her knowledge of macramé with us. Everyone in attendance will make & take a macramé keychain and participants will also practice their skills by working on a collaborative wall hanging. Emily will also be wearing her creative consultant hat and touching on building the life you want and doing what you love.

    Please join us for an evening of fiber arts and inspiration on Thursday, March 27th at Tillamook Station.

    Date: Thursday, March 27, 2014

    Time: 6:00 – 9:00pm

    Place: Tillamook Station, 665 N Tillamook Street, PDX 97227

    Cost: $25, includes supplies

    Eventbrite - Discovery Workshop with Emily Katz

    #macrame #embroidery #workshops #PDX #portland #wemakepdx #emilykatz

    5 notes


  3. Recap: Discovery Workshop with Jessica Swift

    Written by chloeameliam | February 19, 2014


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    It was a packed house at Tillamook Station for our first workshop of the year. Many thanks to the talented and engaging Jessica Swift for sharing how she came to become a surface pattern designer, and answering all our questions about licensing and trade shows.

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    After Jessica shared her insights, we got to work drawing images for the collaborative digital pattern and carving those images into rubber blocks. The blocks were used to print onto muslin for furoshiki (Japanese cloth gift wrap) and onto paper and envelopes for stationary sets.

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    We scanned the drawings and Jessica demonstrated how she digitizes drawings and creates patterns from them. She used the group’s drawings to create a collaborative pattern.

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    Check out the recap video and see more photos from the event here and on our Facebook page.

    WeMake Workshop I Jessica Swift from WeMakePDX on Vimeo.

    Many thanks to Tillamook Station for hosting, to Ethan Allen Smith for photographing the event, to Robert Woodward for creating the recap video, and to Jessica for so generously sharing her insights and demonstrating her processes.

    #wemakepdx #workshops #pdx #illustration #patterndesign #tillamookstation

    7 notes


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