Last spring I had the pleasure of working with Helena and Amber of Alula Editions on a tote bag for the Open Engagement conference in Portland, OR. The conference was about a kind of art many people have termed "social practice" or "relational aesthetics." As such, we wanted to design and make the bag in a way that embodied these concepts.
We heard about Portland's vibrant food cart culture, so we invited a bunch of fun folks to go out with paper and Sharpies to draw food carts, such as The Big Egg and Wicked Waffles. We then turned these drawings into a repeat pattern for fabric and a bunch of generous helpers up in Portland silk-screened and sewed them. Conference attendees were greeted with a tote bag full of conference materials that doubled as a guide to Portland food cart cuisine. Thanks to everyone who participated!
By the way, Alula Editions is totally cool. It is an art subscription service where you receive four limited edition textile objects a year made out of original fabric designed in collaboration with both artists and everyday folks. Their first official edition is made with Jason Jägel (see below). And their second, based on plant drawings made by hikers, is also in the works. Check 'em out.
Fabric for first object edition, Alula Editions with Jason Jägel.