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Walking into Bukola’s studio space at the Applied Craft+Design School in Portland is like crossing the doormat into a treasured family room. Memories and swatches of inspiration dangle from the walls. Every bit of art is handcrafted with care and intent. You get the feeling that a story is begging to be unraveled. Many of the photographs displayed in Bukola’s workspace are of her family. It was clear to me that she draws much of her inspiration from them. Read from Bukola’s perspective how her path led her to this point:

“I come from a close and wonderful family. I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria with my parents, Adeyinka and Kolawole Koiki, and I am the oldest of my mother’s four children. I was always the arty kid growing up, always in a corner drawing pictures or making things. My parents didn’t quite know what to make of me I think, and while it was highly unlikely the kid of middle class Nigerians would end up being an artist, I was suddenly given the opportunity to come to the USA and attend school here to pursue that path. While it must have been hard to send your teenager off across the world on her own, I think my parents must have been relieved frankly, that I would finally get an outlet for my interests. They and my siblings have been nothing but supportive and I get so much inspiration from them because they are all creative in their own right.

My mother has a tailoring business and can make sewing patterns from scratch in minutes. My father is land surveyor and I’m pretty sure I got my eye for detail from him. My immediate younger brother, Tunde has fulfilled his long held dream of becoming a sportscaster on both radio and TV and is a hilarious mimic. The brother after him, Yemi, is currently pursing writing, producing, and performing music as a rap artist. Last but not least, the baby of our family, Busola, is a lawyer whose aptitude for leadership and problem solving is inspiring and is currently pursuing work in international law. I was raised by wonderful parents who managed to provide us with an interesting upbringing and a fantastic education from the little they had. It is my goal in life to honor their sacrifices for my siblings and myself by living the best and most successful life I can.

I originally landed in Texas straight from Nigeria. That was some culture shock I tell you! I first attended community college in Houston, and then transferred to the University of North Texas in Denton to attend their challenging Communication Design Program. I graduated with a BFA in 2006, worked in advertising for a while, but like many people, got laid off with the economic downturn.

I took the opportunity to go back to Nigeria for three whole months and fell in love with the tactility of life there all over again. While the Western notion of fast fashion and disposable commodities is slowly creeping in, there are still a lot of things that people make by hand in Nigeria. While at home, I renewed my deep appreciation for Nigerian textiles such as our wax prints, hand woven strip cloth (Aso Oke) and our indigo dyed cloth (Adire). I enjoy the tactile subtleties of different types of cloth and the graphic designer in me is obsessed with the color and patterns of surface designs.

When I came back to the US, I immediately started taking classes in sewing and bookbinding. In between freelance gigs I also worked at a paper goods store where I learned a lot about handmade paper from around the world. Thus my love for my other passion paper was born. I came to the Applied Craft+Design program because frankly I was not happy being another person pushing pixels around in an office.”

What a story indeed. Bukola and her family have made sacrifice after sacrifice so she could chase her dreams. That’s what we all want, isn’t it? We’re all driven by something: be it textiles and paper, crafting with our hands, or fueling that creative fire that burns in our minds. Muster together the courage to take the steps that get you just a bit closer to your goals. Like Bukola, maybe you can find a path to self-discovery mirrored in your roots and heritage.

Take a look at the photos above to see Bukola lead us through Momigami. This Japanese technique of kneading paper to create a pliable sheet of paper that can be used to make paper clothing, book covers, textile art and much more. Depending on the characteristics of the original paper, you can get a range of lovely end textures: everything from a soft cloth like feel to textures akin to leather.

What you need: newspapers (the more illustrations, diagrams, or patterns—the better), olive oil, a plastic sheet to protect your work area, a small brush, and PVA Glue (that’s an archival glue used in bookbinding and paper projects you can find at your local craft store)


  • With your surface protected, pour some olive oil into a small bowl and scoop up enough to evenly coat your palms when you rub your hands together. Take your chosen sheet of paper and fold the four corners into the center, crumpling the dry sheet gently first into a loose ball and then slowly squeezing and wrinkly it carefully but firmly into a tighter ball.
  • To accelerate the distressing, you can use the slickness of the protective plastic to  ”knead” the paper ball against your work surface. Unfold the sheet and repeat the wrinkling, crumpling and knead processor up to three or four minutes, stopping to coat your hand in more olive oil as needed. Open the sheet up and then rub it between your palms or flatten it out onto the work surface while rubbing the sheet down by applying pressure with your hands in an outward direction from the center of the sheet.
  • The crumpling, rubbing and stretching may be repeated as many times as you would like until you have achieved your preferred texture. Embrace any tears in the paper as opportunities for creativity. Individual sheets can be incorporated into textile art projects by machine sewing, hand stitching or using them in decoupage.
  • To create a large wall hanging piece instead, using a little brush, apply a thin layer of PVA (polyvinyl acetate) glue to the edge of your paper and adhere them together in a pleasing configuration. You can hang your creation from a wooden dowel rod or explore other creative hanging solutions like use vintage pant hangers.
  • *Please note that the kneaded paper will still be oily for a long while after, so you should hang your finished piece out and away from the wall to avoid oil stains.

Bukola’s work wear: Carhartt Women’s Huron Shirt, Calumet V-Neck T-Shirt, Slim-Fit Nyona Jean, & Acrylic Watch Hat

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Many of us have formed an attachment to the idea of home. The American Dream is often linked with those ideals and hopes that have been programmed into our brains since childhood. However, giant houses covered with freshly painted shutters and a white picket fence may no longer be the dream of the masses. It’s cliché enough in its descriptive form to turn us off just by mentioning it.
There is a movement of tiny house dwellers sweeping the nation. People who are driven by the notion that more material gain isn’t the bearer of happiness. As Henry David Thoreau would say, it’s the desire to “live deliberately.”
Meet Katy Anderson, a very talented Portland woodworker. She’s in the process of building a tiny home for author, Dee Williams. You may have heard of Dee’s book, The Big Tiny, which documents her adventure of living in an 84 sq. foot home on wheels.
Katy says the sense of fulfillment that comes from building a tiny house is tremendously gratifying. Given its scale, one can afford to spend more time and give greater attention to detail. Higher quality materials can also be used because less is needed. Instead of the desire for more, more, more, it comes down to what you really need and what you really want in your home and everyday life. 

"I thought I’d find something in all of this, and I got more than I bargained for. I discovered a new way of looking at the sky, the winter rain, the neighbors, and myself; and a different way of spending my time. Most important, I stumbled into a new sort of “happiness,” one that didn’t hinge on always getting what I want but rather, on wanting what I have. It’s the kind of happiness that isn’t tied so tightly to being comfortable (or having money and property), but instead is linked to a deeper sense of satisfaction—to a sense of humility and gratitude, and a better understanding of who I am in my heart.
I know this sounds cheesy, and in fact, it sounds fairly similar to the gobbledygook that friends have thrown at me just after having their first baby. But the facts are the facts: I found a certain bigness in my little house—a sense of largeness, freedom, and happiness that comes when you see there’s no place else you’d rather be.” -Dee Williams

Katy’s work wear: Carhartt Women’s Force Performance T-Shirt, Clarksburg Quarter-Zip Sweatshirt, Women’s Series 1889 Slim Double-Front Denim Dungaree, & Carhartt Women’s Dearborn Belt

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I’m not much of a purse-person, but put a wacky spin on a bag, and I’ll eat it right up. This handmade clutch with its makers attitude is right up any crafty woman’s alley. Go ahead and give it a try. Creating out of paper mache is one of the most gratifying experiences— the feeling of making something out of nothing. I paired my new accessory with my Carhartt Women’s El Paso Shorts and a comfy Carhartt Coleharbor Hoodie

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Take a look at this little Texan. Brennan is wearing Carhartt kids.  It goes to show that overalls look good at any age. 

If you’re a Carhartt lover and you have a photo you’d like to share on the blog, email and you could see your photo here. 

UNDER CONSTRUCTIONThe path of your career, your craft, and even your hobbies can be long and hard. Don’t forget, there isn’t a set path for everyone. Find your own way. If you make a mistake, don’t give up. Keep up the hard work.
"The road to success is always under construction." -Lily Tomlin

take a look at the El Paso Utility Vest pictured above High-res


The path of your career, your craft, and even your hobbies can be long and hard. Don’t forget, there isn’t a set path for everyone. Find your own way. If you make a mistake, don’t give up. Keep up the hard work.

"The road to success is always under construction." -Lily Tomlin

take a look at the El Paso Utility Vest pictured above

a magnet moves over a bowl of soapy water and ferrofluid a heat gun applied to plexiglass a heat gun applied to a bundle of straws

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Transition and change are the common theme running through artist, Ximena Bedoya’s, work. The beauty that comes to focus when one highlights that moment of transition is undeniable, especially when an item, normally thought to be constant, completely transitions into another state. Ximena walks us through a few of the metamorphoses that drive her exploration into plastics.
I’ve never seen work quite like it before. It feels a bit like art meets science class. Ximena’s sculptures and videos push the boundaries of permanence and force you to realize that change is the only constant.

Ximena’s workwear: Carhartt Women’s Minot Shirt, Clarkston Cami Tank, Sibley Denim Cropped Pant, & Acrylic Watch Hat

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You can spend a lifetime chasing your dreams and building your skills. Each passing year brings knowledge and a greater familiarity with your craft. Your hands learn the motions. Your feet know each peddle and step. Mixtures and solutions are written over and over in your mind so many times that you’ll never forget them. Each day you create new thoughts and ideas to make your work better or different. That accumulation is one of the most beautiful parts of life. Aging is often looked down upon, but I think it’s something to look forward to and admire in others. Each time you put on your Carhartts, still covered in yesterday’s work, you’ve grown stronger, smarter, and more capable. The seasoning of each passing year, with all the mistakes and successes you’ve seen, can only add to who you are. Always wear your dirty work vest with pride. 

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” -Sophia Loren 

take a look at the El Paso Utility Vest worn above

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Happy Independence Day! Let’s not forget the freedom that came to Americans this day in 1776. May there be joy and appreciation. If you like the vest posted above, take a look at how to make one for yourself here

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Those of you in the Portland area who are interested in starting a chicken coop, you might want to give Rhonda, from Just Us Hens, a call. It all started over conversations between friends who harbored a love for chickens and gardening. Rhonda and Sharon came up with the idea of a business that provides chicken sitting, consults, and other services such as wing clipping and coop cleaning. Ingenious, right?! If fresh eggs and sweet chicks are something of interest to you, don’t be daunted by the task of building and maintaining a coop. With knowledgable women like Rhonda and Sharon around to provide help and advice, it’s a more feasible task.

Rhonda’s work gear: Carhartt Women’s Mountrail Jacket, Annapolis Shirt, Kenmare Henley, Relaxed-Fit Denim Jasper Jean, & C-Grip Knuckler Glove

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Fourth of July is this Friday, y’all! If you’re looking for last minute decorations or festive flag-inspired crafts, here’s just the thing. You probably have all of the supplies needed already. The Sibley Denim Shorts are perfect for any fishing or bar-b-queing you may have in-store this holiday weekend. Have fun and stay safe!