Imagine a spirited, eleven-year-old girl. A girl who simply loves to sing, everywhere. She learns guitar songs, she plays the ukulele. When the chords are hard, she doesn’t give up; she keeps practicing and believing in herself. This week, a very excited Ruby Jean Gardner came to Verkstad to record two songs in her Poppop’s music studio. Over the course of two days, working alongside John, Ruby came to truly understand the power of both her own voice and the world of recorded music. Every Adele, every Judy Collins, every Joan Baez experienced a “first” recording session - that time when they realized that their voice was bigger than they ever imagined. These are Ruby’s first recorded songs.
Just 7 episodes in, Ed Peterson and I welcomed Frank Gross, owner of Thunder Road Guitars, to Verkstad for a special episode of The High Gain podcast. Frank brought a 1959 Jazzmaster with him, and we had a blast talking about it with him. We learned so much about that guitar, as well as the vintage guitar market, in general. We may have even coined a new term: "back-alley retail"
Imagine the sound of hammers popping against ceramic plates and vases. Imagine music and laughter as a gentle summer rain falls outside. Imagine seven people, previously unknown to one another, deep in the “zone” of creating. Conversation shifts from the memories associated with objects, to the slowing and speeding up of time; from what young women look for in relationships, to the decorating covenants at assisted living apartments. Yup!
Last night seven women, aged 19 to 75, lapped up three hours of pure creation. In the end, there were six stunning products, waiting to be completed for pick up. There were seven newfound friends who each came to know unusual and interesting things about one another.
This is what happens when people “drop in” to a creative interest and bring their best selves to a safe and pre-prepared space. No set up or clean up - just dive in. Everything was ready for experimentation and delight. Stacks of multicolored plates, bins of ceramic objects and unusual tiles, boxes of loose jewelry - all waiting to be selected, broken and dissembled - then reassembled on 12” X 12” pavers. Each paver became a kind of snapshot of its creator; captured on this one summer’s eve. Though it was not a banquet, it was an entirely delicious evening!
I have created a lot of art in my lifetime. Much of it has been ephemeral - performances and installations that live on solely through the documentation of their brief existence. Like many aging artists, I recently felt an urgency to make a project that would outlive me. But what would it be?
How many times have you heard a product manager described as being a “jack of all trades, but master of none?"
Have you ever heard your own PM job characterized as having “all of the responsibility, but none of the authority?"
While not particularly optimistic assessments, perhaps, there is good news:
You are the Leonardo da Vinci of product management!Read More
When Terry Tyson asked me to create an original logo for him, I jumped at the chance. Terry is a mentalist, and my mind immediately filled with images from a bygone era, such as Alexander the Man Who Knows, who is buried here in Seattle. I began sketching out ideas, and settled on the classic eyeball icon. I scanned my sketches and set about the work of tweaking them in Photoshop until it felt right. To me, the important part of this step is not to clean up the image too much; the imperfections give it character.
I liked the idea of lines radiating outward from the eye, and remembered seeing lightning bolts on manhole covers in Sweden. They are part of the Rikstelefon logo, used by the now-defunct Televerket telecommunications company.
Ed Peterson needed a brand spanking new logo to promote his photography. He wanted it to be simple and utilitarian. I kept it as spare as I could, and used a blocky font to give it weight. If you're in the Seattle area and need some shots, get in touch with Ed.
Nick Catania is a filmmaker living and working in New York City. His work is broad and varied; from TV to film, commercial to indie, Nick's enthusiasm reflects the seemingly limitless capacity for storytelling that moving images provide. I spoke with Nick about what it's like to be the guy behind the camera.Read More
Learning to knit was not easy. The lessons had continued throughout winter. The young girl sat on one side of the room while taking instructions from her mother, who sat on the other side. It had been years since the two had shared a meal at the same table or exchanged an embrace. Tuberculosis’ afternoon fever blazed in the mother’s cheeks.Read More