Friday Interview: Pinecone & Chickadee! March 11, 2011 12:53

Happy Friday, everyone! This week's interview is with Amy and Noah, the creative team behind Pinecone + Chickadee! Based in Portland, Maine, their screenprinted shirts and cards have long been popular Craftland items. Read on to learn more about Amy and Noah.   

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your handmade business.
Pinecone+Chickadee began in 2006, when we moved from Brooklyn, NY to Portland, Maine. We were both inspired by the indie craft fair movement, and decided to try our hand at it. We started out small, we brought 6 card designs to sell at my friend’s booth at a craft fair. At the next craft fair we decided to get our own booth and do t-shirts as well. We grew slowly, little by little, then eventually we were able to quit our day jobs and focus solely on Pinecone+Chickadee. It’s been such a positive and rewarding experience working for ourselves, and getting to work with each other. We feel very lucky.

Describe your studio for us.
Our studio space began in the boiler room of our basement. We’ve had to expand as our business has grown, and luckily our basement has been able to accommodate our needs. Last summer Noah knocked a wall out to double our working area. And in another basement room where we used to have a boarder, we now store all of our merchandise. We have separate silkscreening stations for fabric and paper, and this year we added an area for our new coil bookbinding machine. Our studio is not the most beautiful space, but we’ve put a lot of work into making it organized and functional. I love being able to just walk downstairs to go to work in the morning.

Can you tell us a little bit about Portland and the creative community up there?
There are so many talented and genuinely supportive people here in Portland making great art, crafts, and music. The First Friday Art Walk is wildly popular, even in the dead of winter. People here definitely support the local art scene.

Can you describe a little bit your process of taking a new idea and turning it into a new product?
I usually sketch ideas out on the computer or Noah doodles with pen and paper. We critique each other’s work, then I finalize the designs on the computer. A lot of the time the way colors print in real life differs from how I envision it on the computer. So after Noah burns the screens he experiments with color until we’re both happy with the end result. Sometimes there is a lot of trial and error involved before a new product is finally created.

Why is buying handmade important to you?
Buying handmade is important to me because I get to support amazing artists and put money directly in their pockets instead of giving to a large corporation. In return I get something special that is made with thought and care and hasn’t been mass produced.

What's your most treasured handmade item?
I have so many, I can’t decide on just one! I’ve have a collection of Renegade Craft Fair posters I’ve accumulated over the years, a necklace with tiny birds from Figs and Ginger my husband gave me for Christmas last year, suede horse earring by Frozen Peas Accessories, a vintage book cover journal by Overdue Industries, on my bed I have plush cloud pillows by Allison Cole.

How did you first become involved with Craftland?
Four years ago I heard great things about the holiday sale and decided to apply. So glad I did because it’s definitely one of the best shows around.

Guilty Pleasure?
Double Double with onions from In-N-Out Burger when we’re on the West Coast!