I had the great luck to attend Hello Etsy this past weekend in San Francisco. Vanessa was kind enough to invite me, and since a lot of the day-long event focused on local manufacturing and product design, Mike happily kept me company. I have a keen interest in all of that because I’ve been along for the ride while he brought Jimi into existence (proudly made in Massachusetts, so he knows a thing or two about local manufacturing!).
Mark Breitenberg, provost of California College of the Arts, kicked everything off. A phrase of his that keeps tumbling around in my mind is “thinking with your hands” – he described it as developing an idea through the process of making. I love that. So often, I need to escape the churn of my brain and just make something. It restores my equilibrium.
You can watch his talk here, and the panel that follows “From Prototype to Product” is worth sticking around for. Such a rich blend of personalities and experience, with Allison Arieff, Woolly Pockets, DODOcase and SF Made.
I couldn’t stay for the last panel “Startup Stories”, but I heard it was plenty inspiring. How could it not be? It was moderated by Rena Tom of Rare Device, and featured Catherine Bailey of Heath Ceramics, Ryan Mies and Sarah Labieniec of Lab Partners, and Heather Moore of Skinny laMinx. On a personal note, it was great to meet Heather – especially since I used her tea towel for my apron in Weekend Handmade (bought at Heath in Sausalito, see how the world goes round and round?) I am such a big fan of Heather's gorgeous textiles and I just read about her beautiful new collaboration with a couple other fave designers of mine, called Cloth Paper Clay.