John Burrows | As Vancouver approaches the East Side Cultural Crawl and the spectacle that comes with some of the most interesting and unknown makers in the city doing their thing, my excitement is combined with impatience in having to wait for such a rich and inspiring experience. On a recent trip to Portland I was able to calm this restlessness at Beam and Anchor, a retail space downstairs with a rich group of makers upstairs where they work with wood and leather, make soap, do upholstery, and other things besides. Not everything downstairs is made upstairs, but it all has the sense of locally made, small batch production; like taking the best elements of the Crawl and putting it into one space so people can see and support it everyday. Back downstairs on my way out I was greeted by a small bus of tourists entering the shop, which again reminded me of that Crawl-like sense of phenomenon, of spectacle, of something worth doing just for the experience. And so whilst it would be hard to translate the awesomeness of the annual Crawl into a single space for the everyday – more things would be found than lost.
John is a web entrepreneur and writer who curates the online shop at Wood Design. He is passionate about materials and is always seeking out the craftsmanship that surrounds us, appreciating it as the antidote to a generation that has lost touch with its industrial roots and the motivation to perform a task well for its own sake.