KAI FACT magazine
Portland & Craftsmanship
FACT  No.01

Portland & Craftsmanship

Portland, population 600,000 has been named the US city that people want to live in most.
Portland is getting global attention for being a leading city for art, food, environmentalism, outdoorsmanship, and craftsmanship.
Among these, craftsmanship seems to be unique to Portland.
The vintage signboard hanging outside a classic outdoorsmen store is a Portland landmark.
Portland is popular for its microbreweries. Portlanders love to drink beer outside.
  • The Port of Portland, which lies along the Colombia River 100km inland from the Pacific coast, was the largest Northwestern timber exporter up until the end of 19th century.
  • The size of the town is suitable for bike riding so cycling is a major part of the culture. Bike messengers are also plentiful.
  • The younger generation, attracted by traditional technology, is becoming increasingly interested in letterpress printing.
    (KeeganMeegan's studio)
Red Clouds Collective's leatherworking studio. The tools of the trade all neatly arranged. This is the craftsmen’s studio.

The true spirit of craftsmanship that exists
in Portland is the key to its worldwide appeal

Craftsmanship is becoming increasingly popular in Portland. Many artists and inventors from Seattle and San Francisco are moving to Portland to escape soaring land prices. They have opened studios, workshops and factories; creating all sorts of things ranging from art pieces to food.
"MadeHere PDX" is a newly opened store in downtown Portland. All of the items sold in this store are made in Portland. Stephanie, one of the founding members says:"Most of our local manufacturers start with production on a small scale, avoiding sinking too much money into it in the beginning."
It’s interesting that this kind of local craftsmanship is getting worldwide attention.
This movement helps people to rediscover past technology already lost in this country.The printing factory "KeeganMeegan" uses vintage letterpress printing machines. They buy machines from factories that have closed down. Their hand-illustrated letterpress work has made them very popular.
"Red Clouds Collective," a leatherworking group, makes iPhone cases with carefully tanned leather that have become very popular in Portland.
"See See Motorcycles" a custom bike and coffee shop, has created a unique way of running its business.
All these stores have one thing in common. They share the frontier spirit for innovation. These shops are supported globally due to their pursuit of localization and craftsmanship. They bring new value to the market. You can find artistic dynamism in every corner of this attractive city.
  • KeeganMeegan print studio uses letterpress printing. The company uses retro printing techniques in order achieve good quality printing. Keegan & Meegan & Co.
    17 SE 3rd Ave.
  • MadeHere PDX carefully chooses products to sell in its shop which are high quality, have innovative designs, and are made in Portland. MadeHere PDX
    40 NW 10th Ave.
  • Red Clouds Collective is a leather workshop that hand makes leather wallets, bags, and aprons. Red Clouds Collective
    1454 NE Prescott St
  • The Maniac custom bike and coffee shop is a combined business venture. See See Motor Coffee & Company is a new notable place in Portland. See See Motorcycles
    1642 NE Sandy Blvd.

PORTLAND | Article List

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