blog

A Case For Stewardship

9/29/2020

Like many on the West Coast, we spent ten days inside our home this month hiding out from wildfire smoke. Though the most threatening fires were at a safe distance from our home and studio, we did have a small brush fire on the island one evening that pushed us to make a go-bag list as we waited for updates from our local fire department. 

When the smoke finally cleared, we were drawn to the mountains. To put our feet on the earth in an intentional way. To take in the mountain air - thinned by altitude - but full of the scent of spruce and juniper. We ate ice from a snow patch with our kids - embodying as much of that mountain as we could. They knew what to do - stretching their bodies all the way out on a great rock under the sun.

We weren’t alone in this work as the trail entrance was more crowded than we'd ever seen. We saw marmots and deer, an anthill and hawks, and crickets and bees. The humans we spotted were responsibly distanced and masked up. They were drawn out to the top of this ridge just like us. If we were looking for hope over the last month, it was here.

The Certainty of Spring

3/19/2020

Come with me into the woods where spring is
    advancing, as it does, no matter what,
not being singular or particular, but one
    of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.
- Mary Oliver

Product Focus: Quilt Rug

2/13/2020

Our Quilt Rugs take direct inspiration from the patchwork quilt making process. Blocks of braided wool lines are ordered but not exacting as we try to evoke the looser style of scrap quilts which allow irregular shapes to make up the whole. During their conception, we looked at everything from Alabama's Gee's Bend to the work of Oregon artist Shiela Laufer

The historic braid technique that we use to fabricate our rugs was made popular by the women of colonial America as it could be executed by hand without a loom using any available textile scraps.

Today, we fabricate our new wool designs through a partnership with a family-owned mill in New England well known for perfecting this traditional craft.

In the Spirit of Optimism

1/24/2020

Maybe it’s the start of the new decade or just twelve years of unbroken practice leading us in this direction, but our vision for Grain as we enter 2020 is one of complete and total optimism. We started this business with the personal goal of working creatively in partnership along with the deeper intention of social and environmental responsibility.

As our business has grown and shifted over the years from practical solutions such as recyclable non-toxic shower curtains, to human-centered projects such as developing sustainable income opportunities for weaving cooperatives in Guatemala, to designing furniture and objects from natural materials and finishes that you can trust to be clean and safe for your home and family, we are always exploring what is possible within this artisan economy.
 

Giving Thanks: Ornament Benefit

11/29/2019

If you are already overwhelmed by the holiday season, take a chance and opt-out with us. You may miss a few deals, but you might just save yourself. 

We are celebrating this long weekend with a house full of friends and an attempt to reflect on gratitude in between the busyness.

This year, our studio is most grateful for our new production assistant, Hannah Bartlett - a Northwest native and recent RISD graduate - who envisioned Douglas, the cheerful ornament seen above and below.

Douglas is carved from some of our favorite locally reclaimed Douglas Fir, finished in beeswax and strung from brass and hemp. He is up for auction along with 50 other one-of-a-kind original works as part of the WorkOf benefit for Scope of Work, a social impact company with the purpose of making the creative industry more inclusive. 

Beeswax Totems Back for the Holidays

11/22/2019

Ok, listen up friends: We've made a small run of our popular Totem Candles in the original beeswax formula just for the holiday season. This limited edition batch was cut on our lathe here in our Bainbridge Island studio from the highest quality Oregon beeswax. They smell amazing, naturally!

We made this run especially for our pals at Areaware who are hosting a holiday pop-up that includes an assortment of work from a shortlist of their favorite independent designers. 

Product Focus: Totem Candles

9/20/2019

About six years ago, James cut the first candle that would eventually become our Totem Candle series on a lathe in our garage shop. The original prototypes received nice feedback at a local pop-up, so we decided to produce a small batch run for our friends and family. The wax cut like butter on the lathe and quickly became the favorite job to do in the shop.

At Home on the Salish Sea

8/29/2019

We've been thinking a lot about time and place this summer. Back in 2007, when we decided to return home after nearly ten years on the East Coast, we were nostalgic for the Northwest but didn't really know if we could build a design business here.

We chose the natural beauty of this place and the benefit of being deeply connected to family as things we valued above all else, so we set up our practice in a 100-year-old farmhouse and got to work. 

This Land is Your Land

8/1/2019

We live in awe of the natural world. Summer in the Northwest is the time when we feel this most. The day extends into the night and the draw to be outdoors pulls us like no other season. 

It is not unsurprising that our work is deeply inspired by nature. Our Lands Rug was originally envisioned during an extended residency in Northeastern Oregon where alpine mountains meet grassy wildflower prairies. We were so energized by this new, but also familiar landscape that we made it our mission to capture some of its quiet drama in our work.

Grain Collection 2017/18

6/21/2017



Our 2017/18 collection of furniture and lighting was inspired by a recent residency experience in Northeastern Oregon — think alpine mountains meet prairie. We were so energized by this new, but also familiar landscape. We endeavored to capture some of the quiet drama of that wilderness in our new work.

Above and below is photography by Charlie Schuck styled by Natasha Felker with artist Signe Quitslund wearing Maiden Noir. See our presentation of this work at Sight Unseen OFFSITE as part of NYCxDESIGN.

The Jennings Hotel Residency

11/16/2016



Last month we had the incredible experience of traveling to Joseph, Oregon to attend an artist residency at The Jennings Hotel. We hiked through mountains, along rivers, and through prairies and later used the inspiration from our outings on a series of watercolors. Check out our photos above and below. Huge thanks to Greg Hennes for the invitation!  

Summer Intern: Soren Ferguson

8/4/2016



Summer is almost over, but we've had some great help in the studio with Bainbridge Island-native and Rhode Island School of Design student, Soren Ferguson, as our intern. He is back to Providence at the end of the month, but before he goes, below is a quick interview to get to know him better. 

3 Rooms at King Street Station

8/2/2016



Come check out 3 Rooms at King Street Station in Seattle this weekend, August 4 -7, 2016. We'll be one of the 20 featured local designers in the JOIN market sponsored by Civilization. Designers include: Apartment on Belmont, Blk Pine Workshop, Bremelo Press, Brian Beck, Delgado House, Faris, Five Ply Design, Fruitsuper Design, Gabriel Stromberg, Grain, Jennifer Ament, Mavro/Tawny, Meg Callahan, Piano Nobile, Pine & Boon, Rachel Illingworth, Rachel Ravitch, Small Craft, Turnco Wood Goods and Urbancase. More info here

Grain Studio Bainbridge Island

7/28/2016



It's been almost a year since we moved out of our home-based shop into our new studio space off Day Road on Bainbridge Island. We're so happy to have made the move to an industrial space better suited to our needs: design studio, fabrication shop and packing and shipping.

Our neighbors include businesses such as Fstopcafe, Iggy's, Bainbridge Yoga House and we are meeting more each month. Above and below are a few photos taken in early May. If you are local and curious to see more, email us to set up a visit!

Hot Shop With John Hogan

7/7/2016



Above and below is a look into the glass fabrication process of our new Drift lighting and furniture series recently launched at ICFF. For this series, we worked with Seattle glass artist John Hogan (who also makes the diffusers for our Circlet lighting series). 

John helped us develop a series of graphite molds to cast our solid glass shapes. As the shapes cool, you are left with these amazing chill marks, making each piece completely unique. All of our new work can be found on our site now. See more from a previous hot shop visit with John here.

Spring 2016 Launch

6/1/2016



Drift Bump Sconce 

Efficient LED lighting components are neatly hidden behind a thick cast glass diffuser to illuminate without a visible bulb. Precision cut aluminum frame can be custom plated or powder coated, and custom colored glass is also possible.

REFLECT

5/27/2016



During NYCxDESIGN we also had the chance to show at Sight Unseen's OFFSITE with 15 other studios from across the United States in REFLECT curated by JOIN Design. The designs centered around the common theme of reflection and were restricted by size and a single material.

Our contribution was our new Reflect bottle opener cast in solid bronze. Its overall shape is reflected on two planes. Its materiality shimmers warmly with reflected light. And its use as a bar tool aids in the often art of reflective drinking.

The amazing photos above and below were taken by Amanda Ringstad. Read more about the show at Fast Company, Design Milk and Core77 or by checking out the hashtag #reflect_SUO. Huge thanks to JOIN curators fruitsuper and Melanie Abrantes as well as Civilization who created all the graphic design.

Island Headquarters

12/9/2015



We're up and running in our new space! Above and below is a little tour around. We are so happy to be settling in here and have been having so much fun getting to know our new neighbors. Huge thanks to everyone who came out last weekend to celebrate with us! Follow us on Instagram for more scenes from the studio.

Grain Holiday Wish Lists

11/30/2015



We've put together our annual holiday wish list just in time! Above and below are wishes from everyone in the studio. For more info on these and even more items, check out our Pinterest. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed!

Chelsea's wishes (from left to right): Cos Rib-neck Wool Coat $275.00, Portland Apothecary Ritual Mister Set $36.00, Zanbunni Moon Juice Bar $3.00, INNA Shrub Gift Set $30.00, Grain Stitch Round Mirror $1,185.00, See Sun Matter Top $140.00, Alessi La Cintura di Orione Stockpot $275.00, Black Crane Cocoon Dress $156.00 and The Arcs Yours, Dreamily $11.00. 

Grain Open Studio and Holiday Sale

11/18/2015



After seven years of operation from our home-based studio, we are thrilled to announce that Grain has moved into its very own headquarters. Our new studio finally has the room it needs in a three story space within the Island Craft community on Bainbridge Island. To celebrate, we're hosting an open studio and holiday sale on December 5, 10:00 - 4:00 pm, at our new address: 12935 Islandcraft Lane NE, Studio A3, on Bainbridge Island. 

Directions: To get to Islandcraft Lane from the ferry, drive north on Highway 305. Turn left at Day Road. Islandcraft Lane is just past Miller Road on the right. If you enter "7800 Day Road" in your GPS/Google Maps, it will get you pretty close.

Please stop by and celebrate with us! More info here

Plank Tray

7/17/2015



Our new Plank tray is a beautifully simple and sturdy tray made in our studio from sustainably sourced ash. We use ours to serve food and drinks or as a low pedestal to display objects. Available in our shop now in natural or black.

Grain Moving Sale!

7/1/2015



We're moving our home and design studio!

Saturday July 11 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Sunday July 12 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Find old stock, prototypes, seconds and materials from our product and furniture design studio as well as good condition housewares from our family moving sale. Will be posting a few previews on our Instagram: @grain_design #grainmovingsale.

Design studio items include: jewelry, textiles, rugs, furniture, mirrors and printed cards. Studio items will be 50% off or more. Family moving sale items include: furniture, kitchen items, textiles, books, clothing, ceramics, frames, pots and art. Family moving sale items will be priced to sell.

More info here. Hope to see you there!

The New Frontier

4/6/2015



The New Frontier: Young Designer-Makers in the Pacific Northwest opens April 16 (6:00 pm - 9:00 pm) at the Bellevue Arts Museum and runs through August 16, 2015. Curated by Charlie Schuck and Jennifer Navva Milliken, the show includes the work of 28 local studios. We are so thrilled to be a part of this special time and place.

Participating studios:

Omer Arbel / Bocci, (BC)
Peter Bristol, (WA)
Chadhaus, (WA)
Landon Dix, (BC)
Aleph Geddis, (WA)
Free Time, (WA)
fruitsuper design, (WA)
Gamla Studio, (BC)
Erich Ginder, (WA)
Grain, (WA)
Graypants Studio, (WA)
Caine Heintzman / ANDLIGHT, (BC)
John Hogan, (WA)
Knauf and Brown, (BC)
Iacoli & McAllister, (WA)
Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, (WA)
Greg Papove, (BC)
Lukas Peet / ANDLIGHT, (BC)
Phloem Studio, (OR)
Aleksandra Pollner, (WA)
Rason Jens, (OR)
Joel Sayre, (WA)
Semigood, (WA)
Something Like This Design, (OR)
Standard Socket, (WA)
Studio Gorm, (OR)
urbancase, (WA)
Matthew Philip Williams, (OR)

Fall Studio

9/18/2014



With the first day of fall quickly approaching, Robyn back in the studio and pre-holiday orders ramping up, we are definitely feeling a seasonal change in the air. Above and below are a few photos from our Bainbridge Island studio and garden taken this afternoon.

Road Trip: Tye River

9/11/2014



We had the great fortune to spend last weekend with some of our favorite people in an amazing cabin on Tye River designed by Olson Kundig. Above and below are a few photos. Northwest summer at its absolute best!

Welcome Back Robyn!

9/9/2014



We have some great news over here on Bainbridge. As of last week, our former intern Robyn Luk has returned to the studio full time. She just graduated from RISD, and will be joining us as our our Design, Production, and Studio Assistant. We are thrilled to have her back! Check our some of school her work here and read below to get to know her a bit more:
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