Category Archives: Field Trip

Greenbuild 2013November 21, 2013


Greenbuild 2013 is happening right now in Philadelphia, and I just had to take advantage of the nationwide sustainable conference since it was only a quick train ride away. I almost booked a ticket last year to GB2012 in San Francisco (after a happy hour of sustainable networking, of course – it’s how they get you). However, with the end of my thesis drawing near, I made the “adult” decision to skip it yet again. So yesterday was my first time to attend, and while I’ve followed through social media, blogs, and even local “Best of Greenbuild” events to get the skinny on the goings-on in previous years, I was really excited to be finally there myself. It was entirely overwhelming, of course. An Expo floor of almost 800 vendors, multiple educational lectures going on at once, and a steady stream of people throughout the day… so I decided to get myself together in a quiet room with others who seemed to have the same deer-in-head-lights-but-keeping-my-cool look. I sat my 7-month pregnant self down in the only non-conference chair in the room (a bright red Eames Womb chair) and heard the words of some great sustainable leaders of our time. Each presenter made the case for becoming a leader in a different way so convincingly, it was really quite powerful.


  • George Bandy, Vice President of Sustainability at Interface (Flor‘s parent company), elaborated on finding strengths to propel you forward from Clifton’s StrengthFinder. His own strengths of positivity and WOO (winning others over) shined through with his commanding presence and optimistic view of actually liking your job. The audience was asked what their own strengths were and it made me think, How often do I give myself credit for my own strengths? My own value? I recently felt the familiar stab of devaluation after relating to this article, but George’s outlook was a swift kick in the pants to figure out the next chapter of action.
  • Jason Dunlop, Vice President at Big-D Signature, presided over an interactive presentation session about brand and promotion through telling stories. He presented various ways of capturing the attention of an audience, whether it be a cold email to a company or a newsletter to a customer base. We then formed groups to put the methods into practice. The most fun and thought-provoking was the Pixar Pitch, which I aim to utilize in nailing down my own elevator pitch. We also created a #twitpitch (origin here) and unique email subject lines to inform yet intrigue a reader for a hopeful response. I could say that this introduced a new level of anxiety to casual tweets and emails, but I will acquiesce to say that it challenged us all the more…
  • Finally, Cameron Sinclair, co-founder of Architecture for Humanity and author/editor of “Design Like You Give a Damn,” gave a casual yet stunning presentation of, essentially, grabbing the bull by the horns and just effing doing it (while concurrently presenting off the cuff when he realized he didn’t have a necessary computer cable). He openly talked about his own experiences – his naive yet driven start on international refugee architecture with the UN (inevitably the uber successful AFH), his project successes and failures, and his own mortality in the face of potentially dangerous situations worldwide. With an audience of emerging professionals, he was asked repeatedly, How can WE help NOW? His advice: call on someone bigger than you to get deeper involved, or lend whatever talent you have (big or small) to the cause, or start something on your own because you believe in it. Because that is exactly what he did – saw a crisis and responded. How often do we actually do that?

Overall, the lectures were incredibly informative and quite entertaining. Each presenter had a great sense of humor, too, which is something I always appreciate.

I should also confess that I am really at the conference to volunteer my time as an Emerging Professional at Greenbuild 2013. I want to share how the DVGBC’s local chapter committee had lifted me out of a rut and moved me forward in my career. But let’s save that for a bit later… the French press is empty and I’m off for another day!

 Final note: I was feeling so inspired to write this, that I woke up before the sun (and my husband and daughter) to make a pot of coffee and write this. For those who don’t know me, this is quite an amazing feat – the early rise and the punctual post. Kudos to George Bandy, Jason Dunlop, and Cameron Sinclair!

Photos: Instagram by Girls Can Tell | via Interface | via Big-D Signature | via TED

Leave a comment Tags: ,

FIELD TRIP – Clover MarketMay 18, 2012

Last year I heard so many wonderful things about Clover Market but had conflicts with almost every date. So yesterday I fought my way through the traffic of Philadelphia to get to Ardmore and see things for myself. It was a lovely day to be out and about, so lovely that I made it a family affair with Tom and Lucy. I met some new local vendors with handmade and vintage wares, including Made by Liddy, whose paper Kusadama balls made me want to get an early start to Christmas shopping (I’ve done it before).

I even loved her signage, which was the nailhead-and-string effect that I’ve been noticing a lot lately. Nevertheless, Liddy’s booth was simple and inspiring – I’m looking forward to what she cooks up in the future!


Leave a comment Tags: , , ,

FIELD TRIP: Art Star Craft BazaarNovember 23, 2011

I hadn’t planned to get to Art Star Craft Bazaar this weekend. In fact, as most things do these days, it sort of snuck up on me. However, after fellow Philly creative Susan over at Fleurishing kept tweeting about such lovely things, I squeezed a little time out of my Sunday afternoon to get over there and experiment with my new camera. Yeah, I looked all sorts of official with a camera – too bad I was so busy chatting that I didn’t notice my focus was way off.

It was the end of the weekend for the slew of talented crafters when I arrived – hour 14.5 of 16, to be exact. They were tired but still quite friendly, eager and willing to share stories of their process and love of their particular talent. Let’s meet a few, shall we?
Skylark Studio – I had seen Karen’s work before but it was lovely to see and touch it in person. She explained to me her continuous development of designs that have outlasted the indie scene’s anticipated expiration date, such as the birds and antlers that still seem to dominate sales. My favorite piece was a simple pendant with a new variation of her fish-scale design. Unfortunately, my camera skills were off to a rocky start and the photos didn’t quite turn out. No worries, though, as I was having a lovely time chatting with her! Quality time with an artist is worth a few blurry shots.
Kin Ship Press – They were featured etsy sellers this summer, where they share the inspirations and process. By the way, I need this mug to remind me to actually enjoy my coffee.

Gioconda Padovan – “Feel free to try!” came a pretty little voice, inviting me to use her custom-made stamps designed with her original drawings of buildings, people, and objects. A simple concept made popular in recent years by Yellow Owl Press – infinite possibilities for customers to create their own works of art. (Photo from GP site)
Meerwiibli – This coat stopped me dead in my tracks! I loved the color, the collar, the pattern, the pockets – everything. I watched as a waify little thing tried it on with her cool colored tight and rugged boots, then asked her if it was as warm and cozy as it looked. When she replied, “yes,” I knew I had to move on because I went any closer, it would have some home with me.

Brainstorm – They were working with a paying customer when I wandered up (I promised Tom I wouldn’t spend any money, but I surely took some notes for Santa). I love to see what this team dreams up, and am always happily impressed with the quality and rich color they accomplish with their prints.

Forage – Anything made by Shauna and Stephen is infused with their sense of humor, romance, and impeccable craft – Forage is no different. This was my first encounter with the bowties, and, as expected, could have scooped up a few if only I had the kind of gent who’d brave the bowtie. I’ve decided to hone in on my husband’s cousin who is getting married this spring… Matt, there’s a handsome green gingham with your name on it! And the wedding party would look dashing, dear boy! Let’s pair it with some Whitney Deal dresses for some homespun matrimony. (Photo from SHiH – mine were quite awful.)

Gilbert & Leona – Another item on the Christmas list – the bucket bag. Made of recycled and/or post-manufactured leather, it would have been a total step up from my days with the diaper bag. I’m just about done those and am in the market for a new one. Not too heavy, wonderful color, and I’m sure it would patina quite nicely…

Diamond Tooth Taxidermy – The feathery headpieces here were so elegant and pretty, I almost wished I had some fancy place to go wear it. But fancy means finding a babysitter, shaving my legs, and staying up past my bedtime… how about I just wear it around the house with a cocktail?
Concrete Polish Studio – I’m normally attracted to simple jewelry with little to no detail, but these chunky, sparkly rings drew me right into the booth. Perhaps I need to shake things up, and go straight to the double finger quartz knuckle duster? Yup, I think so. (Photo: CPS)
Farmhaus – This was the first public debut of their works at the craft fair. I was getting pretty handsy with all the cutting boards – great qualilty and a simple, modern design with crisp edges and a convenient hole at the corner for hanging. But my favorite piece was a (sold) hunk o’ wood, sanded and waxed up, on a trio of big red castors. If Lucy has been there, she’d be riding that around the place fo’ sho’.


Penelope Rakov – I had two questions for this vendor: How do you make that? and Do you like your name? The latter had more to do with taking advantage of meeting my first Penelope, a name I can’t seem to explain nor question why I like – I just do. More importantly, do you see those earrings? I had to ask how she does it – was it clay and resin, I asked? No, no – glass! In her Philadelphia studio, she plays with stupid hot glass, stretching and combining colors and patterns to create really stunning pieces. The resulting jewelry has depth and personality breathed into each piece.
Diane Koss – Cutesy But Not Too Cutesy added some frickin’ awesome baby hoodies to make your little one an adorable monster. Also a good gifts for wee ones of friends and relatives who would never, ever admit that their kid IS a little monster.
Namoo – Where were these quilts when I was planning my nursery? Actually, that’s exactly what I said to owner / maker Insung Kim, before telling her that this just re-enforces why I need to have another kid ASAP (just kidding! Let me graduate first). Her color and textile pairings were neutral and fresh, and she was sweet as pie, telling me about her desire to incorporate with more organic and natural fabrics. All the better, Insung! All the better…

Lil Fishy – This booth just had the darnedest baby gear – because every tot needs a scarf with a penguin on it! Plus their tagline is “It’s important to be little.” Well stated.
Girls Can Tell – I’ve seen these neat diagrammatic linens and lunchbags around the webs, and I had just seen their ad for their new shop in Grid. So I stopped in, chuckling aloud at a few illustrations (magical unicorns and Chicago architecture, specifically). The tea towels were so soft I could have bought a stack right then and there… but put them on my Christmas list instead.
knitknit – The embroidered felt necklaces here are so elegant and charming. The soft autumn palette only compliments the woodsy animal folk Nguyen Le draws and embroiders free-hand. (Photo: KK)
Huldra Press – Marianne was fresh out of business cards when I got to her at the end of the day – a sign she was in quite the demand this weekend! When I asked her about her work, she gushed to me about her craft, telling me her favorite creations often came from crisp metal letterpress on recycled kraft papers. Her mellow color schemes and simple forms made quite a palatable collection for the show.
Solidio – Wood buckles, frames, and jewelry all made from custom furniture scraps. Mitch was kind enough to tell me a little bit about the company and their commitment to reducing waste by using scraps for these finely crafted accessories (or to feed the wood stove and keep warm!). (Photo: Solidio)
Red Prairie Press – I only had time to quickly pass through the racks here and fell in love with the soft raglan Arrow sweatshirt, taking note of the size I’d need for Santa (medium). Then I moseyed on over to the site, where I read up a little on Rachel Bone, who creates it all herself in her house. Crazy, right? I also found this awesome Eagle print pullover with a rad Lenape Indian folk art inspired design. I’d look pretty awesome in it. (Photo: RPP)
There were many more but these were a few favorites among the bunch. Glad I stopped by – lovely to meet everyone! Hopefully my photo class at Project Basho next weekend will get my skills up to par for next time.
Leave a comment Tags: , , , , , ,

Design PhiladelphiaOctober 14, 2011

In between my 9-5 job, part-time school status, and raising a 2yrs-old, I somehow missed the opening of Design Philadelphia yesterday. So now I’m reorganizing my schedule to see what I can manage to fit into my already packed week ahead. Smashing printers seems fun, as does drooling over DwellStudio in person or visiting the artist studio tours. I’ll let you know what I end up making via twitter. Hope to see you there, wherever that is.

Leave a comment Tags: ,

The ReturnJuly 8, 2011

I’m back in the States and back to the grind. But I’m pulling together some highlights from my trip through Scandinavia that will undoubtedly last all month. So stay tuned!

Photo by ME – Some pals I met in Voss

Leave a comment Tags: ,

When in {Copenhagen} – Part IJune 19, 2011

Today wraps up my first week abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. Despite jetlag and an intense courseload, here are some sights I’ve seen:

Boat tour of the canals – In under an hour, we explored much of Copenhagen’s history in a boat that rode under arches so low, my hand to touch the underside of the bridges.


Leave a comment Tags:

CopenhagenJune 11, 2011

Wonderful Copenhagen Poster by Viggo Vagnby –

I am off to Denmark tomorrow! For three glorious weeks I will be studying sustainable technology and culture through DIS in the happiest place on earth. When I first heard of this opportunity through my professor, I immediately came home and said to my husband, “There is a study abroad trip for my program. It’s in Denmark. It’s only three weeks.” His response: “You have to go.”

If I didn’t know how much I loved him before, I knew it then. This trip was meant to be for me – I’ve always wanted to visit Scandinavia (my favorite design landmark) and I’d missed my chance to study abroad as an undergrad. However, it also means leaving my baby for almost a month! I’ll miss her so much and as hard as it is to do, I considered the fact that she is young enough not to remember I abandoned her and that also I didn’t want to regret missing this perfect opportunity. Now that I’m finally going, I’m sad to leave, but know that I’ll be back before I know it and she’ll be starting kindergarten soonafter. Sigh.

I’m pretty excited, though. And it’s not like I’m taking a vacation – I’ll be in class and doing homework, too. This course is hard core. It explores climate change, as well as environmental and social aspects of sustainable design through policy and practice. We’ll visit local companies to interview their perspective and experience on such issues, and gain understanding on a culture wholly different than our own here in the US. The final week will be spent touring Norway, specifically Oslo, Bergen, and Voss. While my studies are priority (of course), it won’t hurt to explore the culture… it is all part of the experience, right? So I’ve been researching places to go and see in my free time. I’ll have to post around-up when I get back (or during, if you’re lucky), but here is a few excellent posts that are shaping my plans:

It’s a little surreal to think about, considering I’ve never traveled longer than one week anywhere nor traveled alone. I’m looking forward to a trip of a lifetime!

Leave a comment Tags: , , , , ,

Art Star 2011May 16, 2011

On a miserable and rainy Saturday afternoon, I stopped by the Art Star Craft Bazaar. I was fumbling with my umbrella, coffee, and iPhone, and wasn’t able to get any good pictures. However, here is a roundup of some faves with photos by the artists & crafters themselves:

  1. Modern Bird Mobile by Baby Jives: This booth was utterly ethereal with mobiles floating overhead. Makes me want to pin some wings on Lucy’s birds and re-hang them on a twig.
  2. Toddler Octopus Shirt by Loyal Dog: Every year I am impressed by this booth – always something fresh and new. I loved this sweet, heathered shirt for Lucy.
  3. Do-It-Yourself Kit by Chez Sucre Chez: The ever-adorable Kimberly Scola was there with her sweet and simple modern cross-stitch. Last year I purchased one of her Boyfriend Hankie kits and made one for Tom with my initials (GM for General Merriment). He keeps it in his pocket always which is why I still don’t have a picture of it. He never uses it either – only offers it to me when I need a tissue. Too damn sweet.
  4. Hipster Bingo by Hipster Bingo: Genius! Only I’m sure it would be way too easy in Philly or NYC. But definitely two thumbs up!
  5. Handwoven Greta Scarf by Pidge Pidge: I loved these scarves – lightweight with subtle color. Perfect for chilly summer nights.
  6. Man & Woman Mobile by Specks & Keepings: I ran into Hillery Sproatt’s work Friday afternoon when I stopped by Arcadia with my friend Alison. Her skilled craftsmanship surely shines in each of her pieces, and it seems to run in the family with her daughter Rebe’s mother Debra Weiss’ lovely wearable designs.
  7. Organic Cotton Onesie by Sweet Pepita: Send a favorite old tee or choose from one of the many this shop has for some cool digs for your kid. Or someone else’s little dweeb who needs some serious style – we all know those poor kids whose parents dress them like dolls.
  8. Pom Pompadour Horrible Adorable by Jordan Elise: A new twist on woodland creatures and faux taxidermy, eh? These sizable soft sculptures would make the perfect focal point in any nursery, Or living room.

Despite the weather, the fair did not disappoint. With a pretty even mix of wares – baby, fashion, ceramics, jewelry, stationery – it was a good show.

Leave a comment Tags: , , , ,

Inspired by IcelandMay 2, 2011

Never thought I’d want to go to Iceland… until now. Might have to venture over there while I’m in Scandinavia next month…Found via Paige & Modern

Leave a comment Tags: , ,

SpoolMarch 29, 2011

I finally got myself over to Spool in Philadelphia to drool over some pretty fabrics. I had a few projects on my list so I picked up the Cloud 9 My Happy Nursery bundle for a sweet quilt for our soon-to-be nephew. I also grabbed this linen / cotton beauty from Etsuko Furuya’s Echino collection for an Easter dress for Lucy. I’m thinking of making a pretty three-quarter sleeve tunic she can wear with leggings in the spring. [We’ll see – might need to make a tank to accommodate her chub arms.]

Leave a comment Tags: , ,