Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Connecting with Creative Minds: 877 Workshop Studio Visit

One of the greatest gifts during our summer stay in Germany has been meeting and connecting with other creative minds. Getting to know Sylvia and Daniel of 877 Workshop was quite serendipitous as most of our encounters tend to be. I first saw the thumbnail image of 877 Workshop graphic on the IG notification. Their graphic grabbed my attention and I was so excited to find out that their workshop was located in Hamburg. Their IG profile featured their store address so I assumed that they had a physical location so Frido and I strolled their neighborhood looking for their storefront on a really hot and humid Hamburg summer day.

When we found their place, the door was locked and it did not look like their space was opened for visitors. Frido almost turned around and I insisted that we at least rang a bell to see if we could take a look. Sylvia kindly let us in and as Frido and I walked into their space with our eyes marveling their artifacts, she calls out to us by saying, "are you Baum-kuchen?"

We, of course, got in talking about how much we love and appreciate great craftsmanship, analogue tools, and artifacts made with care and I almost forgot that we had our kids at Frido's parents' house. (Yes. Kids were totally fine with their Omi and Opi and ice cream treats:)

What astonished us was Sylvia and Daniels' obsession with vintage analogue machines, tools, and molds as well as their passion for crafting their own tools to produce 877 Workshop artifacts. They walked us through their well-maintained vintage tools and machines and generously shared their design process with us. The spontaneous conversation led us to a possible future collaboration... and now we are waiting for the first round of prototype to arrive from their studio. (And it includes beautiful one-of-the-kind brass charms handmade by 877 Workshop).

I often get asked how we find artifacts we carry at Baum-kuchen. If I frequent to various trade shows to hunt for new and trendy items. The truth is that I believe that serendipity and karma take care of a lot of our past, present, and future curation at Baum-kuchen. The process works out on its own without feeling forced to add more items on our shelves just to keep up with the fast turnaround of consumerism and what's trendy.

I am so thankful to have met Daniel and Sylvia in a way we did because it was just the way I love to encounter what might be for our future BK collection. And more so, to have made the new friends who are so unique, inquisitive, and passionate about what they do.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Traveling and Designing

We just launched new designs for BK original products. I am so excited to say that all these ideas came out based on our experiences during the summer months in Japan and Germany, and in many ways, they are condensed essence of our insights and learnings. Travel does so many wonders to our creative souls and if you have an opportunity to step away from your everyday routines and pursue your creative passion, definitely do it!! I absolutely stand behind the idea. 

The new designs are all currently manifested in rubber stamps. I am hoping that together, we can spread these message out to the whole world! 

For many years, Frido and I have been searching for inspiration and ideas to visualize our love for all things analogue. 
During our stay in Germany, we were reunited with vintage letterpress typography blocks which have been a part of our family treasure for many decades. These wooden blocks triggered the design inspiration.
Each letter was physically laid out by Frido one piece at a time to create the composition that is authentic and unique. Instead of using the letterpress process to create the design impression, we have used watercolor to transfer the design. We hope you enjoy watching a short video that captures a part of our design process. 

Is it a stamp or is it a reminder? We are happy to be both. The design of "Time is Now" was born through our personal life experience to be present. To live and feel as each moment unfolds. 
We hope you will be able to use this stamp as a gentle reminder for your every day.

We have always gravitated to the idea of "Always + Forever" in our relationship with our loved ones. We appreciate that it requires our actions from every day to create something long-lasting and beautiful. 
As we flipped through a vintage gardening book during our stay in Europe, we came upon a page where it described different messages garden layouts could be embedded with. One of them was the forever love, and we knew that it was a sweet inspiration to conceptualize the design. 
We hope that you will be able to continue to celebrate small milestones throughout the course of the relationship as a chain of infinite hearts represent. 
The design inspiration comes from our admiration of cherry blossom and its seasonal cycle. We appreciate that cherry blossom is beautiful when it is full bloom as well as when it starts to fall which is an excellent example of the "wabi-sabi" philosophy. 
The MINI size is perfect for adding vignette details to your planners and journals. Also just the right size for a postcard accent. 

The statement "The Journey is the Destination" has been our guiding principle through our Baum-kuchen journey since 2010. We are excited to share our updated design to capture the essence of the message. 
The design of "JOURNEY" comes from a stenciled graphic that was physically punched out by a vintage stenciling machine originally used to label oil barrels. We then fused the design of "JOURNEY" with inspiration from vintage labels. 

We have always told ourselves that "Life is Travel". It's full of adventures, discoveries, and companionships. While we (BK family) spent sunny summer in the city of Hamburg, we have watched many container ships go by on the river Elbe. Slowly but steadily. The idea of these ships visiting many cities all over the world has inspired us to create the vintage travel poster inspired design. 
We hope that this design will be an inspiration and a gentle reminder for you to keep moving forward in life. Slow and steady at your own pace. 
As a part of the BK Analogue Tribe, we love refilling analogue energy for like-minded pen and paper enthusiasts. 
I am sure you can relate!
We hope this stamp gets utilized in many different places including your journal pages, postcards, and an everyday memo to your friends and families as a way to share your love for analogue.

Up Close and Personal with Roterfaden

I had the honor to visit Roterfaden headquarter in the city of Saarbr├╝cken last week to meet Beate, the owner of Roterfaden and see a glimpse of behind the scene. We have been representing Roterfaden for 5 years (where did the time go by??) at Baum-kuchen and have always really appreciated working with the Roterfaden team because they are so thorough and thoughtful in their working relationship.

After spending a day with Beate and talking everything from family life, business operation, to what's next for Roterfaden, I came home feeling energized and confident with our BK studio motto, "first and foremost, we are personally in love with what we share at Baum-kuchen not only the artifacts but also people who are behind those artifacts ". I always thought this was very important for us but now... more than ever, I feel incredibly strong about it.

What makes Roterfaden so authentic, beautiful, and innovative? From our conversation, I learned Beate is a designer and a conscientious business owner. I saw so many evidence that she tinkers, creates, and prototypes her ideas rigorously. And I understood that the smart clip system and holistic branding of Roterfaden have been her true labor of love. I also really appreciate that she works with a network of artisans to make Roterfaden come alive. There are so many creatives behind every component of the Roterfaden and Beate personally works with each one of them to ensure the quality of each Roterfaden cover is the best it can be while the process continues to support other small businesses of makers and creatives.

Her passion for sourcing materials locally is also a differentiator for Roterfaden. She is keen on ensuring that Roterfaden is produced most sustainably. This philosophy touches from where she gets her materials to using each material most consciously without sacrificing her design. She is constantly hunting for a new idea of using recycled materials such as nylon fabric that is harvested from unused high-quality tents. (Have you seen the ST_17 Roterfaden cover which uses the upcycled tent materials??)

During our day together, we started discussing the ideas for our future collaborations. Yes. Beate and I made a huge creative mess in their back room!! And I think that's what it takes to pursue a raw idea together. Being there with open mindedness, talking about what we each believe in, playing with materials in our hands, sketching, and laughing together. I can't wait to share some of the ideas to come true in the near future. For now... I hope you enjoy a little snipets of my Roterfaden visit on our YouTube channel!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Travel with Kids // Hamburg, Germany

Hello from Hamburg, Germany!
We have always traveled with our little ones through thick and thin. One thing we realized after trying out different travel itinerary type, planning (and then tossing out the plan once we get there) around kids' needs makes the travel so much more fun and meaningful to our family than following cookie-cutter tourist spots.

Our kids especially love animals, nature, and treasure hunting so we have included some fun and family-friendly spots to visit in and around the city of Hamburg!

The Elbe River
Our family spent so much time bicycling up and down The Elbe. If Frido and I ask the girls what they would like to do on a sunny day, they would surely tell us "go to the Elbe" with their English-German accent. Along the Elbe, we have found so many "favorite hung out spots" between the city and Blankenese to enjoy the family beach day while marveling giant container ships go by the Elbe. My favorite day would include some beach time for kids to run around and splash then sit at the open cafe along the Elbe to enjoy cold beverages and Currywurst (the popular street food with German sausages drenched in ketchup and curry powder... so good!!!). StrandPerle definitely is one of the fun cafes to stop by. We have only been there during the daytime but heard it would be fun to visit in the evening to enjoy the view of the whole harbor twinkle with lights!

Wildpark Schwarze Berge
Satchi and Coco LOVE animals so visiting this wild park was a huge treat for our family. The park is located 30 minutes drive from the city on the other side of the Elbe River. We spent a whole day there! Our favorite was to feed wild pigs that were running around the walking path (they had clever ways to make sure they don't run away), playing with goats (and so many baby goats!!!), climbing a huge tower to view the whole city of Hamburg, and watching the bird show!

The park uses the natural landscape as a way to navigate and they have done such a great job. Walking through the park feels like walking through a forest with wild animals roaming around us.

Treasure hunting at flea markets!
There seems to be some kind of flea markets every weekend in the city. When kids were younger, it was hard for them to enjoy crowded markets but now they are 5 & 8, we can spend little more time hunting for heirloom artifacts. Hunting for treasures at a flea market must be one of Frido's favorite destination activities!


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