Article written by Chauncey Zalkin - founder of What Women Make
I love design. I love designers. I love their processes. I love their passion. I love their rigor and their spontaneity. In honor of these things, and in honor of a film short that my partner and I just released documenting the journey from felled wood to finished furniture collection, I offer 3 female-designed wood pieces worth exploring followed by a video, Jazz in the Woodshop, about the making of a collection by Brooklyn-based designer-maker Daniel Moyer. Enjoy!
Yota Kakuda, log clock and Tensor furniture:
Learn more at www.yotakakuda.com
Chicken Coop by Creative Director Nadia Turan and designer Mattew Hayward:
Learn more at www.nogg.co
Amy Hunting created this ingenious "Felt and Gravity Sideboard':
Learn more at www.amyhunting.com
and now Jazz in the Woodshop: the making of a collection in wood.
Chauncey Zalkin is a writer, brand strategist, ethnogrpaher and curator. To learn more visit us at www.showloveworld.com if you need someone who respects and appreciates your story. Visit www.whatwomenmake.com to find the bet female-made art, industrial and graphic design as well as innovation led by women.
Article written by Kristina Drury - founder of TYTHEdesign
Looking back at 2011 I realized that I spent a lot of time in coffee shops either working or networking and as a result spent a fair amount of money on coffee. Basically, let's say I buy 'only' two coffees a week at $2.50 a pop or $5 a week which adds up to a grand total of $20 a month! Setting aside my caffeine addiction and recognizing the significant amount that I spend each month, I decided that one of my New Year's resolutions was to cut back on the coffee and spend that extra cash on organizations/projects I believe will have a great social impact.
For the month of January, I decided to start by supporting a social enterprise start-up, Project: Living Well (PLW), based out of Chicago, Illinois. PLW strives to design and sell products that fund international relief efforts. In addition to selling products, they are challenging their buyers to commit to make a positive impact in their own community. They are asking their consumer to determine one thing they will do to help someone in need locally and then share their story. I really appreciated this start-ups push to not only support those in need but to change the mindset of their own customers.
"There are so many needs that exist overseas, and we can only do so much about them. Yet here we are, with an abundance of needs here in our own backyards" said founder and Chief Inspiration Officer Matt Johnson. "So we set out to create a company that impacts needs abroad, while inspiring change locally"
PLW's first initiative is the Calabash - a wearable water container. They discovered this type of container while traveling though Latin America, which inspired them to design an urban friendly version. They recently launched their IndieGoGo campaign looking to raise $20,000 to begin production of the Calabash. They will be using these funds for mold making, production, packaging and launch. With each Calabash sold, PLW commits to giving at least 20% of profits back to fund global relief efforts. Check out their campaign and send a few buck their way if you are interested!
I decided to support this organization not just to help with the production of their product but for their impact to support globally and impact locally at the same time. It is a huge challenge but a very laudable goal. I wish them all the luck and hope my $20 helps out!
Article written by Kristina Drury - a
designer at TYTHEdesign
For those twitter followers, many of you might have noticed that I spent the majority of last week in New Orleans. I was lucky enough to be invited to teach an interactive design thinking workshop for 'The Center for Leadership Innovation' (TCLI) 2012 National Summit. TCLI is an organization that serves communities through society's most valuable asset: its leaders. Through our workshops, networks and funding opportunities, helping diverse leaders to reach their full potential and leverage their ability to bring about innovative change. This trip was not only a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, participate in learning experiences but also to see the large number of community needs that still exist in New Orleans.
Similar to my previous design thinking workshops that I taught through Skillshare, the goal of the session was to provide the TCLI community with new ways to think through their problems and how to keep the user at the center of the process. The majority of the participants were directors of non-profits organizations from all over the United States. Due to the background of the participant it was important to not only show techniques but emphasize how to facilitate the activities with their own staff. As always it was an interactive workshop, full of post-it' notes, that involved running scenarios through three design thinking techniques (empathy mapping, ideation and matrix mapping). I felt the workshop went well with lots of questions, participation and engagement.
One of the best parts of the experience was the conversations with the various participants following the workshop. I was able to brainstorm assessment ideas with a director from the CDC; talk about new ways of engagement with community leaders and discuss how to use various techniques with children. Additionally, I had the opportunity to sit down with a director of a women's shelter in San Diego, looking to find new ways to get honest opinions from her community. After a couple minutes talking we came up with an activity that involved using color post-it notes, printing with block letters and writing with the same pen. The idea involved having each community member write their true feelings (each questions was a different color) on a different post-it and hand in all post-it notes at the same time. Then the facilitator would post up all the notes at once, allowing each person to have some anonymity, before reviewing the comments as a group. The director seemed encouraged by the idea, with the hope that this might provide a new voice for community members who are not quite as vocal or open. No matter if the idea will work or not, the director was encouraged about new ways of thinking and engaging her community. It was a great conversation as it reminded me why design thinking had the potential to have a great impact on community engagement.
On the following day of the summit all of the participants had the opportunity to get out in the New Orleans community. It was a chance to see the existing needs first hand and visit with organizations that were having a positive impact on their community. We were fortunate to visit the 'Early Childhood and Family Learning Center' (ECFLC), an organization that was founded to address these challenges and end the cycle of hardships on students from stressed communities, who are expected to achieve equally with their more aptly prepared peers, whose early educations aren't compromised by the challenges of life in poverty. The center is located in Center City, one of the most dangerous areas of the city with 5 competing gangs all located within walking distance of the center. It was evident from driving through the streets, the significant the needs of the community, with many broken-down homes (not due to flood damage but hurricane wind damage). I was impressed by the collaboration of the all the organizations within the center, tying hard not to step on each others toes but work towards the same goal of supporting the community.
I was most impressed with one of the organizations located the center, the St Thomas Hot Sauce - Produced by God's Vineyards. As an organization they were using gardening as a way to reach some of the children (primary boys ages 10-18), through after school, weekend and summer programs. What was most impressive about this organization, was their self-sustaining model of selling a locally made hot sauce from the vegetables grown by the kids. In addition, they are planning on opening up 5 new gardens in the coming year. Each new garden will have a model for selling products from the different vegetables or fruits, for examples they are going to plant pomegranates to sell the juice. The model is certainly not something new but very creative for both the kids learning the basic of business but also for the longevity of the organization. If only they sold smaller bottles of hot sauce, as I could only take no more than 3oz on the plane, I would definitely have brought some home!! Take a look at their website, buy some sauce and send them your support.
Looking back at my New Orleans trip, it reminded me why TYTHE is primarily focusing on the needs in our own back yard. There are many organizations throughout North America that are looking for new ways to engage their community and it was also very evident that there are many basic needs not being well supported throughout the country. The trip was certainly a good reality check but inspiring for the possibility of innovation through design thinking.
Thanks TCLI for this opportunity, hope to have the opportunity to collaborate again!
Article written by Allegra DeAngelo - a
designer at TYTHEdesign
Over the past few weeks we have shared with you several different 'gifting for good' guide. From social design books, to jewellery, hats, walling hanging products, handbags and even baking goods.... we felt it was important to highlight items that we not only think are great, good for the environment or educational but also shared our social valued. For our last installment of our guide we though we provide amazing last minutes gifts that focus on the giving back and the needs of others. All items on this list either directly provide needed support for other communities or provide a one-for-one model with each purchase giving away a similar product.
1. Honeybees from Heifter International 2. Stoves from The Adventure Project 3. SmileSquared toothbrush 4. One Laptop per child
Without further ado, the TYTHEdesign 'Gifts that Give Back’ guide (presented in no specific order):
Honeybees from Heifer International - $30
Heifer International has long been a great way to help lift families and communities in need out of the grip of poverty, and this season we encourage you to donate on behalf of your loved ones. Heifer International offers a wide range of items, from $20 to $10,000 donations; each bringing a family a source of food and income, and in the case of the honeybees, you can help farmers increase the productivity of their fruit trees, provide another source of income, and help save the honeybees from being endangered. This is a sweet idea we here at TYTHEdesign really think encapsulates the spirit of giving.
Stoves for families in Haiti from The Adventure Project - $20
The leading cause of death of children in developing countries is respiratory illness, caused by smoke from open fires on which 3 billion people around the world use to cook their meals. In Haiti, 500,000 people are still living in tents, and every day these families' heath and well-being is put at risk due to inadequate living conditions. The Adventure Project helps combat this avoidable risk by providing charcoal-efficient stoves that reduce the hazards on the environment and people. These stoves are made in Port-Au-Prince, and sold by women in markets for additional income. They also use significantly less fuel, meaning more money per family that can be spent on food, clothing, and education for their children. For just $20 you can put a stove in a family's home in Haiti, and give someone a gift they will truly appreciate this holiday season.
Buy-One Give-One Toothbrushes from SmileSquared - $5.95
We may buy toothbrushes without a second thought to what it's made of, where it came from, where it ends up when we're done with it, or even how easy it was for us to come by. There are, however, kids (and adults) around the world who don't have this luxury of being able to protect their teeth and health so easily. SmileSquared is helping to change this by donating a toothbrush to a child who doesn't have one for each toothbrush purchased on their website. Their toothbrushes are hand-crafted out of sustainable, bio-degradable materials, and with this great stocking stuffer you can not only help your loved ones brush up after all those candy canes, but you can help a child who is in need of this simple, basic necessity.
Laptop from One Laptop Per Child - $199
Laptops in the first world often represent social media, forms of entertainment, and an inevitable part of many peoples' work day. In third world countries, however, an OLPC laptop can give kids access to programs that teach them to read, write, count, and much more, as well as connect with other kids in their community. The mission of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is to improve education for children world-wide through connection, innovation, and interaction. The rugged, efficient OLPC laptops are design for children, have great energy usage and connectivity range, and should be seen as a learning tool as much as a pencil & paper or textbook would be. For just under $200 you can donate a laptop to a child who is in need of a better education - a small price to pay for something many of us take for granted - and make someone's holiday even more cheerful.
1. Baby Onesie from Baby Teresa 2. Gifts for the American RedCross 3. FIGS education initiative 4. One World Footballs
Baby Onesie from Baby Teresa - $29.95 - $34.95
Babies are deserving of many forms of attention, including cute onesies! This holiday season, you can dress up your baby (or a friend or relative's baby) in an adorable, 100% cotton onesie, and you can donate clothing to a baby in need at the same time when you buy one from Baby Teresa. Inspired by Mother Teresa's saying "if you can't feed 1000 people, feed 1," Baby Teresa is a secular buy-one give-one model. If you don't know any babies you can give double the gift, and donate both onesies and help keep two babies warm!
Gifts from American Red Cross - $18 and up
The American Red Cross donates blankets, water containers, emergency shelter supplies, vaccinations, and other necessities to families and people in need across the country and around the world. With 91% of every gift purchase going to help those in need, the gifts in the Red Cross catalogue are a no-brainer if you're looking for gifts that will make a direct impact. With prices ranging from just $18 to a few thousand dollars, no matter what your price range is there is a great way to help someone make it through another holiday season - and what could better illustrate the spirit of giving than that?
Ties from FIGS - $65 - $95
FIGS (which stands for Fashion Inspired Global Sophistocation) was started to bring high couture ties at "ridiculously affordable" prices. Operating under their "Threads for Threads" initiative, FIGS ties do so much more than that. For every tie you purchase, you are not only getting a fashionable gift for a loved one, you are also employing a local artisan somewhere around the globe who will hand-stitch this quality product, as well as donate a uniform to a school child in need in their community. Some children don't own a set of clothes until their first uniform, which is required for attendance in many areas. Give the gift of clothing, education, employment to those in need, and give the gift of style to someone on your holiday gift list this winter.
Soccer Ball from One World Futbol - $39.50
Give the little Pele on your list a soccer ball that's durable, never needs inflating, will never be punctured, and will give back; for every soccer ball purchased on their site, One World Futbol will donate one to a community in need. You can have them choose the organization for you, or you can select from a number of inner-city, war zone, or poverty-stricken organizations to donate the ball to. Put a smile on two little athletes' faces these holidays and buy-one give-one from One World Futbol.
We had a lot of fun creating these guides over the past couple weeks and hope they were helpful ideas for your 'gift' needs. Happy Holidays!!
Article written by Chauncey Zalkin - founder of What Women Make
Epicurean Designer Cutting Boards
Though this Duluth, Minnesota run company is the brainchild of two creative men who transformed their skate park savvy into making recycled and/or sustainably produced cutting boards, the designs on these cheery cutting boards were designed by Sharon Werner of Werner Design Werks, the same woman, it turns out, who designed the identity for the ubiquitous eco-cleaning products, Meyers, and the beautiful label packaging for 10 Cane Rum.
Cutting board $34.99 Buy it here. You can choose from meat, poultry, fish, veggie, or knives patterns
Nomi network produces recycled bags that fight against human trafficking. Instead of just giving proceeds to social programs, Nomi offers a business model and livelihood to survivors and women at risk who make the bags. All profits go to training and career development programs for women. The bags are made of recycled material and feel unique, original, and precious in the hand. Nomi is named after a young Cambodian sex trafficking survivor.
Prices range from $12 - $60. To buy a bag, buy it here.
Junk Prints accessories
I've always loved the spunk of Junk Prints owner / designer Chanel Kennebrew. Most of the items that really catch my fancy are one-offs so hurry down to Junk Prints to see what you can snatch up for your best girlfriend - like these sensational mittens made of upcycled fabrics.
Mittens $85. Shop here.
Yoshii Shirt Stripe Towels
Towels have a strong significance in Japan. When I was asked to research ancient Japan and Japanese traditions over several months for a client, one of her primary concerns was communicating the importance of a high quality towel. I admit, it was hard to grasp because for westerners a towel is judged by pile and plush. Enter Yoshii from Imabari Japan. These exquisite textiles, that also serve the purpose of drying your body, are a magnificent gift with a process story worthy of retelling. They are made of 100% hand picked raw materials that need very little agricultural chemicals to grow. Both the weaving and bleaching processes are environmentally friendly, certified by the ISO14001 environmental management program.
Bath towel: $46.00 I suggest you visit this women-owned store which "strictly purchases from companies that use sustainable, organic, renewable, recycled, locally manufactured, or non-toxic materials" in person but you can visit the shop here: Learn more about the cultivation of the towel materials and craftsmanship here.
Stacking Vessels by Pia Wustenberg
As I see it, design is art and worth the price to celebrate the human ability to transform materials for use in our everyday lives. Though Pia Wustenberg's prices are not for the faint of heart or those seeking a doodad for the sitting room, they are remarkable pieces of art with function - a talking piece to pass down to your children and children's children. Already featured on major design blogs like Design Milk, Dezeen, and Apartment Therapy, her work is something special: 3 materials, 3 processes. She uses clay, glass, and wood to create stunning harmony, balance, conveying a sense of piety for the processes of crafts. Visit her site to learn more about her work.
Price approximately $750.00 Shop here.
There's a lot more design ideas on What Women Make. Search for materials, names, cities, and so on in the drop down menu.
Chauncey Zalkin is a writer, brand strategist, ethnographer and curator. To learn more visit us at www.showloveworld.com if you need someone who respects and appreciates your story. Visit www.whatwomenmake.com to find the best female-made art, industrial and graphic design as well as innovation led by women.