Today on Whiskey. Among Other Things… I share the story of Jeremy Williams at District Millworks. While in Los Angeles earlier this year, after spending some time at Apolis’ Common Gallery with Raan Parton, he walked me over to “the mill,” as he called it. After Raan introduced us, we played a game on one of their killer shuffleboard tables, and then Jeremy showed me their skateboard presses.
You can see the whole story over at basilhaydens.com
Thanks to the work I’ve been able to do with Basil Hayden’s this year, I was finally able to spend some time visiting Terrapin Stationers’ Ted Harrington and my old pal, Heather Pieske — you may remember her from the Baja Fish Taco Party.
Extra special thanks to Christine Mitchell for illustrating the bloodhound.
Be sure to check out Terrapin Stationers for more of their great work.
Chicago’s Stock Mfg. Co. recently launched a fundraising campaign via the website, Kickstarter, a crowd-sourced funding site perfect for the small, local designer. With nine days and about $7,000 to go before hitting their goal of $20,000, I spoke with one of the partners, an old acquaintance of mine Areill Ives, about what he and the other Stock dudes hope to accomplish post-kick.
“Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.” – W.C. Fields
With wedding season fast-approaching, and graduation and father’s day not far beyond, the questions in my e-mail have quickly shifted from “How do I tie a bow tie?” to “Is there something unique I can get my dad or my groomsmen or my soon-to-graduate boyfriend or all of the above?” And the answer is: The Great American Flask from Jacob Bromwell, the oldest kitchenwares manufacturer in America.
One Trip Pass‘ Jay Carroll — the King of the Road Trip — has created a series of videos centered on the work he’s done for Levi’s, traveling and buying up some of his favorite things to be sold in their stores. If dreams were realities, Jay would continue to travel and document these terrific people and their lives’ work forever.
Without further ado, Made Here.
This is what it’s all about: those old bobbins, drinking corn whiskey, and playing “The Red River Valley” with your thumb.
Thanks for sharing this with us, guys. Great stuff.
Has this ever happened to you?
That thing your mom gave you, that thing you took to summer camp with you, that thing your brother stole from you, that thing you found hiding behind a pile of rubber Smurfs and plastic wind-up jumping frog figurines underneath the bathroom sink which you shared with your brother, that thing you dusted off and carried with you to college, that thing you stuffed in a backpack when you lived on trains in England and Ireland for a year, that thing you took to your first apartment in New York, that thing that always came with you when you left town, that thing your girlfriend laughed at because it looks like it came out of a Caboodle, that thing you called on when you just needed a place to put your toothbrush and a stick of deodorant, that thing which saw you through that really tough time when you were barely making ends meet and your Caboodle-loving girlfriend had dumped you, that thing that was there for you in good times, too, in great times like that week-long camping trip you took to the Gunks when you forgot that thing in a port-o-potty but your friends, understanding your inexplicable connection to that thing turned around and drove the hour back so that you could retrieve that thing, that thing, that favorite thing of yours which broke or tore or somehow failed you in a critical moment, for the final time and though you’d rigged it, repaired it, duct-taped it, done everything you could to it, you finally determined it’s time to say “goodbye” to that thing.
Well that happened to me.
Can’t sew. Can’t really cut. Can barely draw. Before a few cold nights in December, I’d never made a bag. But I knew what I wanted to make: an oversized leather and canvas tote bag in black, a Christmas present for my girlfriend, who rarely leaves the house without — and I’m not kidding — at least two tote bags on her shoulder. Though I watched one being made in Maine and once at my friends’ Tanya Fleischer and Roy Katz’s apartment in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago, I’d never attempted to make a bag like this before, but I knew I had it in me. And fortunately, I had a lot of help from Tanya and Roy. You see, they run a successful business out of their apartment’s work space where they make a variety of canvas and leather bags and accessories under the name Winter Session.
Consider this is a call to action. The Make Anything Project.
After posting about the photography of Tadd Myers a couple years ago, he reached out as thanks, and we began a dialogue that lead to my working with him.
While working for an American manufacturer, I’d suggested to my bosses that Tadd make a video documenting their unique factory. After some deliberation, the bosses agreed and Tadd made a few trips to the Midwest for the project. Luckily for me, I was able to watch as he worked his magic, making a beautiful process look that much more beautiful. What’s most unbelievable is that, looking at the finished product, you’d have no idea it was shot in a hundred degree heat, in a factory with no air conditioning. The documentarian of the American Craftsman Project was able to experience first hand what these laborers deal with on a daily basis. I so admire Tadd for his tenacity in seeing this project get legs.
The American Craftsman Project recently launched its Kickstarter. As Tadd explains “I have been contacted by a publisher about the creation of a book… I would like to continue the project by making roughly four to five more trips… in order to diversify it and document more of these amazing stories.” As someone on his own journey to share the stories of America’s workers, I can appreciate the difficulty funding a passion project such as this one.
If I may break into a short rant: take five minutes away from the celebrity tabloid periodical and the reality television shows which celebrate life’s smallest, pettiest moments of theatrics and give Tadd’s project a good look. It may not have Capital “D” Drama like The Jersey Shore or the latest in the divorce proceedings of one Hollywood couple or another, but it tells a far more important and a far more timely story. Our country used to make things, and for the most part, they don’t anymore. There are 12.7 million unemployed people in this country. Look around you. Support your own. Put your money back into your local economy in some way this week. Buy from a farmer. Go to the local chain grocery store. Buy something made nearby. And think of Tadd and the people he’s photographing when you do.
If you’re able, please support Tadd in his venture. And if you’re unable to, financially, please voice your support by sharing this Kickstarter project with someone who might be able to provide support to this worthiest of causes.
Max Wastler is a writer living and working in Chicago, Illinois. He strives to tell a uniquely American story through the people he meets, the places he goes.