#vanlife – Foster Huntington’s New Book, Home Is Where You Park It

Foster Huntington accompanied me on my first-ever factory tour. In the spring of 2009, we met in Maine at L.L.Bean, where they make their famous Bean boots and boat-and-tote bags.

Since then, he’s followed his passions wherever they’d take him, spending the past few years living in his van. Today, he launched a Kickstarter for his new book Home Is Where You Park It, #vanlife.

Supporting good people doing good things is what this is all about, folks. Hope you’ll support Foster as I did.

Ezra Caldwell

I only have a cursory familiarity with Mr. Caldwell. I don’t think we ever met, and if we did, it was brief. For a time several years ago, his wife and I were coworkers. While we were, I had the unique privilege to test ride one of his early bicycles. I have yet to find a bike that rides as smoothly or as comfortably as the one I tried that day. One day, I would like to document the building of one of Ezra’s Fast Boy Cycles and perhaps own one of his fine creations. Till then, take a few minutes to watch this video and join me in becoming a fan of Mr. Ezra Caldwell.

Time-permitting, watch all the work from Made by Hand. It’s a great series, made with hearts similar to that of mine and those of my cohorts at Made Right Here.

Parson’s Chicken & Fish

When I was a little kid, a family friend of ours, a general contractor named Greg Elder, was hired to give a facelift to the Kentucky Fried Chicken in our small Kansas town. From time-to-time, Greg and his wife Sue would babysit me and my brother, and one night, they took us to the KFC.

Looking up at this giant bucket-shaped piece of tin, he said, “You know, Max, The Colonel himself taught me how to get that bucket to spin.” Now, I’m not sure if Colonel Sanders was even alive when Greg went to work on the world famous fried chicken joint that bears Colonel Sanders’ visage to this day, but every time I pass an old storefront that still bears the words “Kentucky Fried Chicken” and not the shortened, uber-corporate “KFC,” I look for that twirling bucket of chicken and think of Greg Elder.

And while it might not (yet) have a giant tin chicken basket spinning out front, what’s inside is a clean, modern take on the ol’ chicken shack. A few weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of dining at Parson’s Chicken and Fish, the latest venture from Land & Sea, comprised of some of the braintrust behind the Michelin-star rated restaurant, bar, and inn Longman & Eagle.
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The Campground

Every time she uploads an image to Instagram or to Tumblr, I think to myself it’s ridiculous to think the world doesn’t know this woman’s photographs. Carolina Mariana is one of my favorite photographers, and she is quickly becoming one of my favorite people.

Recently, she showed me photos of The Campground the backyard shed-cum-speakeasy of her friends, Cristin Llewellyn and Christopher Ciesiel. Though it’s still a work-in-progress, I’ve been granted permission to share a peek here. And I’m thrilled to do so.
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Chicago Past

Chicago’s History. Now in convenient Tumblr form.

H/T Michael Kiser.

Cologne: From the Diary of Ray & Esther

Cologne is a wonderful documentation of a time and place.
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Kickstarter: The American Craftsman 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.

For more on The American Craftsman Project, visit Kickstarter.
For more on the photographer, Tadd Myers, visit his website.

Cause and Effect in New York City

During Market Week in New York, Cause and Effect’s Billy Moore caused something of a scene while shooting photos for his look book.

Imagine the loud clang of Billy’s ball peen against the manhole cover.

He’s used to hammering horsehide against the large boulders of the Little Pigeon River, but I can imagine wailing away at some copper plating on the cobblestone streets of New York is not a far off sensation.

Look book photographer, Joe Gannon, crouches to get the shot just so, as Mr. Moore goes to town on some metal.

To read more about Billy Moore and his magnificent leather and metal accessories, see my previous post. To learn how you can get your hands on Cause and Effect’s full line, contact Billy directly: billy(dot)causeandeffect(at)gmail(dot)com.

Special thanks to Rob Babigian, Fran Ferger, and Joe Gannon for the behind-the-scenes footage of Mr. Moore in action.

Chicago’s Dose Market

“You bought the polka dot tie at Dose!” The MidWasteLand’s Monica Dimperio exclaimed while we waited for some Joe at Caffe Streets.

“Yes! Oh my God. What a memory!”

“You gonna be there this Sunday?”

“Of course.”
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I resisted. I waited. I tried so hard to hold myself to Hipstamatic, Photo Shop Express, Flickr, and TiltShift Generator. But all the great photos Foster Huntington was posting to his Twitter forced me to join the conversation.

Instagram, or more appropriately, Instagr.am, is my new obsession.
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