7 People planning
100 Birdhouse Kits
1 Event space
1 Larger than Life sketchXchange guest
130 sketchXchange participants
Over 600 attendees throughout the night
1 top twitter trend #putabirdinit
$6752.29 Raised for arts and music education
It’s not too often you get a chance to see everyone you know from the design community in one space, at one time, but if you attended WeMake’s sketchXchange and Put A Bird In It auction, chances are you did. This event was brought together by a handful of folks passionate about process and the spirit of community. We were set on making an impact not by ourselves or for ourselves, but collectively with all the folks we consider to be a part of our design community. Put A Bird In It, was an opportunity to make a difference at the lowest level, to support future artist, designers, and musicians. It was an opportunity to engage an open dialogue about design through one simple medium. So to hell with Put A Bird On It, Portland people are way more capable of just putting birds on things and calling it art. WeMake art, WeMake connections, WeMake believe, and we did.
At every turn, you couldn’t help to smile at someone, or see people smiling. Everyone was happy, and why wouldn’t they be? We were there to celebrate our design community! The event space at Union Pine was used to its fullest and the creative energy was magnetic. I can not tell you how many people stopped to tell me how awesome everything was, how inspired they were, and how happy they were to be a part of the night’s festivities. I mean 96 beautifully designed birdhouses in one space was a pretty awesome sight, but it was more than that. We were celebrating design, being Portlanders, and embracing the notion of Design in Action.
It’s not just the money we raised that made this night special. It was giving a young designer a chance to buy a piece of art from someone who he admired, on a budget he could afford, for a cause he supported. Everything about the night from Draplin’s sketchXchange, all of the rad houses, each with their unique story, and even placing in the top trends on Twitter in Portland that evening was inspiring. We were reaching out to people and saying, “Hey you should see this!”, admire it, be a part of it, and share it. It was a good thing on so many levels.
I personally want to thank my team, the artists, makers, architects, industrial designers, graphic designers, agencies, and small design studios who took the time in their busy schedules to create something inspiring and to show their support for arts and music education. I also want to thank Vitamin T for all of their support with this event. They’re contribution allowed us to create the birdhouse kits and help to throw an awesome party. Of course we couldn’t have done it without the support of Union Pine who offered up their time, space and patience. Union Pine was the perfect venue to celebrate!
Lastly, thank you to everyone who went to any Design Week Portland event. It was an amazing week filled with awe’s, ooh’s, and feel good inspiration. WeMake was happy and honored to collaborate with DWP and to serve as a member of the planning committee. We look forward to next year and to how we can get the community involved in another Design in Action project. Will there be birds? Who know’s, but there will be something that involves giving back to the community on a level that is grass roots. On a level that allows for so many different types of designers to contribute to. After Put A Bird In It, we have some big shoes to fill.
So much has happened already! Like 35,000 events have gone berserk, sometimes simultaneously. First it’s so important, and I mean really important, to call out Creative Cares for hosting the opening party. Couldn’t have been done without their effort, time, and stewardship. Cheers Burke.
What was important about the opening party is that it was a mental gateway. A way to get buzzed (literally) about what was about to happen. The big city-wide experiment that was either going to flop like a dead fish or totally sizzle the creative community into a big frothy nerve of excellent programming. Too soon to say which happened yet, but clearly at this point we can say people have been enriched, emboldened, inspired, and brought together around what they love.
So, the opening part was a mini-primer. I met Felix Ng who flew to Portland on a spaceship from Singapore, met Architects, Industrial Designers, and old friends I’ve been seeing at these events for years. The perfect mix. The mix to make something happen.
It can be addicting, going to events and getting inspired. This event was a little different, there was no cornerstone speaker, no exhibition of works, no ask. Beyond thanking our hosts, the only call to action was to get damn ready for the days ahead. And right now before I go to another amazing event tonight, I am as excited as I was on the first day. Still feels like Christmas. Still feels like Portland. The creative corridor of Portland Fu*#ing Oregon.
Being a host is somewhat of a nerve-wracking experience. You want everything to be perfect, for people to have a good time, and for there to be enough food/drink/giggles to go around.
But then there’s also the fact that all you need is a good room, some good humans, and the rest takes care of itself. Add beverages or music and it’ll be perfect. Add compelling conversation, and it might even be a success.
Adam Garcia, Mirtho Prepont, and I hosted an open studio this week, and of course the Portland design community expressed itself in an enriching way. Despite not having any real permanent signage for our basement studio, people still found their way down the labyrinth into our little design cave. Personally I was most curious about the strangers that wandered in, designers and non-designers, who were naturally open and chatty. The student turn out was especially important to me, a good crew from PSU and PNCA asked questions, made comments, and hopefully felt welcomed.
Once everyone had left I felt like the energy in our studio felt even more collaborative, open, and transparent. There isn’t much that I like more than seeing a crowd of strangers curious about what’s happening in my workplace. So for me specifically, the studio tour enhanced my space. It made the air clearer. And reminded me of why I come to play everyday, and do what feels truest to myself. Well done Design Week.
Photo by @yeskengo