Graphic designer Ryan Bush recently released this great video on Portland, Oregon-based Tanner Goods. We love stuff like this, seeing locally-produced goods that are created with care and a classic design.
Entries in craftsmanship (2)
Cultivated had the opportunity to visit Killstress Designs, run by husband and wife Tyler Smutz and Minglie Chen. Killstress Designs crafts beautiful, handmade wood furniture and metalwork out of their small workshop and studio in Costa Mesa, California.
The couple started their business in New York crafting road cases and prop building for touring Broadway theatre productions. The road cases were so well built that after relocating to California, production companies were still coming to them with requests for more of their innovative and versatile cases. Tyler began building furniture for himself during their "Broadway" years and once, arriving in California, focused on furniture building and design with Minglie handling marketing and operations.
While Tyler knows all the classic techniques of handmade furniture, he doesn't eschew modern tools and believes that the great woodworkers of the past would have used them if they were available at the time. He draws using CAD, prototyping digitally which allow him to efficiently use his material and time. If a tool doesn't exist, Tyler has a metal work background that allows him to create his own tools.
Killstress favors modern and functional design, with influences ranging from Charles and Ray Eames to Sam Maloof and modern Japanese design. The duo have designed and crafted bookcases, desks, and even clocks. Recently Tyler began work on a George Nakashima-inspired Conoid chair in walnut and hickory with an accompanying coffee table.
What we love about Killstress is the combination of great craftsmanship with a simple, modern design that still retains warmth, soul, and character. They are conscious of designing functional items that will last long after them, transcending just being "stuff" and will be coveted for generations. Tyler even uses tools that were passed down from his grandfather.
Like a bespoke tailor, the couple prides themselves on the relationships they have built with their clients. According to Tyler and Minglie, no one that has purchased a Killstress piece is a one-time client. In fact, many come back to them for input with other aspects of interior design and how to best showcase their newly acquired pieces.
This type of local entrepreneurship, design and commitment to quality is ensuring the survival of American craft and workmanship. We are proud of what Killstress are doing and hope others will take notice.
1260 Logan Avenue, Suite A-7
Costa Mesa, CA 92626