the ides of march. over 5 years ago already. when life was simpler. and I had absolutely no idea what the fuck I was doing, or where I was going. this must have been the very first day I had moved into the new shop space just over four years ago. I recall the first thing I did was project a giant pig on the back wall so that I could outline it in paint. but apparently we moved a few tools into the space first—thank you @drewbesonart for documenting;) it’s fun, and humbling and sigh-inducing to look back from time to time. it’s important to take time to reflect, to remember where you were and how you got to where you are today. to remember who you are and be reminded of what is important. and I’m not sure I’d change a thing to be honest. much has changed in these last 5 years. this same space seems to have very little actual space left in it, where at any given time with any number of jobs going or pieces being worked on it feels like I am walking sideways and sucking in my gut just to slither by a machine/slab/sharp object/tool/hazard. it’s a minor miracle I still have all appendages, digits, eyeballs. I am relentlessly hands on, and need to see to believe—so I enjoy creating in real-time. it is the ad hoc that has always been and still is the most exciting, the most enjoyable and the most satisfying. so much has changed and continues to evolve: knowledge, gray hairs, efficiency, skill set, ever-improving end product, striving for perfection while realizing now that it will always elude me.. so much has stayed the same: attention to detail, I’m still stupid and stubborn, and still willing to experiment on the fly, not afraid to fall on my face. so it seems, the more you know, the more you know you don’t know. so I guess I still have absolutely no idea what the fuck I am doing. or where I am going. and isn’t that the most exciting part...
Local news station WCCO paid a visit to the pig pen. Just in time to talk about what's next now that we've officially gone full time with Concrete Pig. Thank you Ali for dropping by the shop to chat!
Check out our interview here: http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/video/3385299-minnesotan-to-meet-concrete-pig-creator-keith-wyman/
Truly fortunate to be included in this year's Mpls St Paul Magazine's Design 100 feature.
Just....... Incredible. What an honor!
This photo taken by the incomparable Eliesa Johnson @eliesajohnson for @mspmag
Check out their top people, places and products for 2015 that was featured in their November issue, here:
Also got a great shout for our Brute Dog Stand, featured as well!
A recent Q&A with Modern Midwest got me to thinking... reflecting on urban inspiration in particular.
Here's a link to their site and this recent interview: http://modernmidwest.com/my-modern-midwest-beyond-furniture-design/
And a series of photos submitted with footnoted thoughts and interpretation of my surrounding landscape as of late.
we're so excited to have been name Midwest Home's best furniture concept in the Twin Cities. Read more below:
Established in 2013 by Minneapolis maker Keith Wyman, Concrete Pig has a unique approach to furniture design—combining the clean lines of molded concrete with steel and wood to form modern, functional, and one-of-a-kind furniture designs. Case in point: Its Harlan modular side tables can be flipped on their sides or pushed together to form a coffee table. Industrial and rugged in material yet stoic and elegant in form, these statement-making pieces are right at home in either a North Loop loft or a Minnetonka bungalow.
you pick up that magazine or read that blog and you see the best the design world has to offer... designers. furniture. fixtures.
it's fun perusing the latest technology, design trends and names in the business. easy to get infatuated with an idea of some day being featured in a Dwell magazine, or Design Milk article. something to aspire to.
WELL... forage modern workshop, a local store on the cutting edge of everything, and whom I have been incredibly lucky to have been working with for nearly 2 years already, just got an amazing write up on Design Milk. A beautiful article featuring their store and their movement--a virtual tour of their space.
forage was kind enough to name drop too. feeling very grateful to be a part of it all and to have been included in such a write up:
you should continue to expect big things from forage modern workshop. makes me want to continue to push the envelope, to evolve, to make new and interesting objects. and I will.
finally. victory is MINE!!!!!! now, what to do with myself. guess I could always make some more furniture. the teak is a dream. nothing was more fulfilling than stringing the cable rail through the posts. only then could we begin to enjoy it..
had some leftover teak just lying around. be a shame to let it go to waste. why not throw together a few new pieces for the new deck. a good opportunity to test the oil out if anything... and eek... so far so good, really digging the color...
art-a-whirl. I've never been. and didn't know what to expect....
nemeaa (northeast minneapolis arts association) puts it on every year. one giant party. like the state fair, but for art. this year just so happens to be the 20th go-round:
some of their statistics are mind-blowing:
over 600 participating artists in more than 20 mediums
view artwork within more than 50 locations throughout northeast
"over the last 20 years, it has become the largest open studio tour in the country"
wow. easy to see why one could go venture out for more than one full day. art, food trucks, beer...
so many breweries in the area...
speaking of breweries, my friends at Able Seedhouse + Brewery were kind enough to invite me to participate. we've met a few times in hopes of collaborating on furniture and fixtures for their new space, and I was lucky enough to have them ask me to occupy a corner of their now currently, raw, industrial all-concrete space to show off some work for art-a-whirl. the ideal backdrop for my furniture.
so the ramp up began.
timing was right. everything just sort of started coming together. I had new pieces in mind that I wanted to have ready for art-a-whirl. at the same time I had been in touch with a new brand marketing and development firm in minneapolis with an eye and general aesthetic I've been admiring for months. it could help take me to the next level. so as I was prepping for two new end tables at the shop, they came out and snapped some pictures, help update and admin the facebook profile and gear up for the event. they started taking beautiful pictures immediately...
turn out at Able was fantastic. I've never talked so much in my life. I was getting sick of hearing the sound of my own voice.. but it was good. very fun. taking almost all day friday to get all pieces there wasn't so much, and neither was the clean up afterward... I need a lighter medium... but I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. playing in the space was fun, never a dull moment. I set up a makeshift photo backdrop with some fir plywood in hopes of moving pieces around and snapping some good pics for later use. if anything it would keep me busy... but foot traffic was more than I had anticipated so most of my time was filled with talking it up with fair-goers. as I worked the people, Josef was able to work some more amazing shots..
including a few of my brand new tables, finished just in time for the event. literally putting the finishing touches on them friday evening after things had already kicked off. but they turned out
and I'll love it even more once done. only 2 years and counting. the project that won't go away. teak decking had to sit out in the elements for nearly 6 months. I ran out of time; winter came quickly. a neatly stacked pile, a black eye in the backyard only yards from the steel frame, its eventual companion. minor movement in the wood, but still proving to be a challenge. each board pushed/pulled into place. one at a time. slivers in my hands. slivers in my knees. this is fun to me.
a launch. of an idea. of a brand. of new furniture. of myself. it's a strange feeling being locked away for weeks and selfishly creating objects just because you want to make them, then letting something so personal see the light of day.
but what an unbelievable night. an amazing experience. i had no idea what was in store and i couldn't be happier with the outcome. thank you everyone for making it such a fun event, one that i will absolutely never forget.
excited for what's next...
she looked dead. or maybe more like a ghost. a full time security guard at the bank branch in my building. you would think being security she would always have her head up and on a swivel. on the look out for anything suspicious, eyeing and sizing up humans as they entered and exited. instead she roams aimlessly about like a nervous polar bear stuck in a zoo cage that's too small for her. doesn't she know she can leave? she looks trapped. too nervous or shy to ever make eye contact... every time i walk in she either looks at the ground or turns to head in the other direction. if not pacing, she's sitting. for what i can assume motionless for hours on end at times. daily people watching the only job perk. it makes me wonder about some people in general and how they get stuck in life. stuck in a job only to wake up 30 years later stuck in that same job. in the words of byrne, "HOW DID I GET HERE.."..... this hit me like a bag of rocks to the face almost a year ago. is this as good as it gets?
i just ripped open a form last night to reveal my favorite piece yet--a "c" split coffee table. i think, a part of the harlan line as well. all concrete. and like byrne, feels like it belongs in some punk/pop/new wave collection. it's weird. precisely why i like it. the only problem with liking some of these pieces so much is, how in the hell am i going to part with them?
Harlan was a funny man from what I could tell. But smart. Intellectual, and he did well for himself. Constantly avoiding boredom, always looking for something to do. Intuitive most of the time except when it came to inviting himself over to trim your hedges without your blessing or prior notice. He could surprise you like that. It could drive a person crazy, never knowing what he might be up to next. Leaf blower whistling well before 7 am and cocktail hours no later than 3 in the afternoon being commonplace.
He obsesses about concrete. Concrete collars around the trees in the front yard. Concrete landscape curbing along the entire front of the house leading you to the fence line, then backyard where the curbing continued encasing the house like a moat. Additional curbing as far as the eye can see along the property line imprisoning his countless shrubs, flowers and landscape rock. Yet more poured--custom pavers on the walkout in back leading to a poured staircase that runs alongside a terraced landscape which takes up half of the yard with you guessed it--concrete--retaining walls holding the house up. The scene wouldn't be complete without the 500 pound concrete deer standing guard over it all, peering back in at the house from the farthest recesses of the backyard. If there wasn't a reason to pour or make something with cement mix, then he seemed to need to make one. I found myself either making fun of him some days, and cursing him on others. There is so much of this stuff to tear out.
Where do i begin?
But is this my life's work, to erase another man's life's work?
Tables 2 and 3 curing with 4, 5 and 6 to be poured Saturday. The Harlan line.
Some days I feel as if he's in the room with me. Guiding my hand. Looking over the mix and pour.
He's creepy like that. Truth is, I couldn't have done any of this without him.
Tomorrow is a big day. At least 5 pieces to form and prep for pour on Saturday. It has to happen Saturday. Anything later and I don't think they'll be ready in time for the ides of march. Would still need to rip forms, grind, polish, then seal. I've only done 3 in as many months up to this point. Never 10 in less than a week. Starting to get a little nervous...