Each time they publish an issue, they have a “Pick-up Party” to celebrate the release, allow subscribers to get their copies, and meet the folks featured in the issue. So I’ll have a table at tonight's event and will be showing prototypes of one or possibly two upcoming products.
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I’m pleased to introduce the MONYOU Series- a limited edition collection of prints inspired by traditional Japanese patterns.
This distinct style is characterized by repeating geometric patterns which reflect those found in nature. The tradition dates back over 500 years when bold patterns were needed on flags to distinguish different groups on the battlefield from a distance. From there, they began to be used as family crests and as motifs on crafts.
Modern Material with a Traditional Twist
Featuring clean lines and bold patterns, this collection is a blend of modern and traditional. For example, patterns like this would commonly be found on washi paper. The texture in this traditional paper is often visible, adding a unique character to the print. Our modern Tyvek material achieves the same effect due to the random swirls of fibers that are used to create it.
You may not have been aware, but one of my close friends Damon has been the unofficial Creative Director for SlimFold for years. I’ve always bouncing ideas off of him and he even helped shoot our first two Kickstarter videos! I was thrilled that this year he was able to contribute in a more official capacity on several projects. When it came time to do a new print run, I offered him three slots on the press sheet as a “blank slate”. He came up with several ideas which pushed the limits of how we produce the wallets in order to achieve them.
We made no compromises to the design vision and spared no expense creating these wallets. We’ve traditionally done 1-colr print jobs and utilized screens to achieve different variations. This allowed us to use PMS spot colors and achieve colors that are deep, vibrant, and exact color matches. But these patterns required a 4-color print run. By working closely with the printer, we were able to achieve exact matches across all of the colors and still achieve the deep colors we were after.
Next was the cutting. With the color break on the fold of the Aqua Star pattern, registration had to be perfect. I coordinated with the local die cutter before the print run to set things up so we’d have a shot at pulling it off.
There was a very real possibility that none of these patterns turned out well once we printed them. Or that they would get destroyed in the process of cutting them. I’m happy to say that our production partners were able to deliver on all of them.
Though Damon now lives on the East Coast and contributed his designs from afar, he was able to stop through California for a few days and we did a photo shoot together. From concept all the way to the final images, this project is Damon’s creative vision. I’m glad I could help bring it to life with this project.
I’m excited to announce that SlimFold has a new home! Or at least some additional space in which to develop new products and innovate our slim wallets. Since taking the leap to go full-time, I’ve been prototyping more but also came to realize that I was making certain compromises by not having the proper space and equipment to explore ideas.
Theoretically, being in the Bay Area should be an advantage so I can leverage the capabilities of the other companies around here. But when my laser cutting vendor is also making prototypes for Google and Tesla it’s not surprising that my projects often get pushed to the back burner ;)
I actually started looking for space in the beginning of the year and the perfect opportunity came up when a local artist’s collective and school was moving into a bigger space and looking to sub-lease some of it. Since Tech Shop closed down, a lot of folks have been left without a way to create their projects and this Artist/Maker Space fills that void for many folks in San Jose. There’s a common area of tools, a laser cutter, and wood shop… but everything is more oriented around artists so they also have facilities for welding, casting, forging, and screen printing. I’ve been inspired by the folks I’ve met there so far and I’m looking forward to seeing more of their creations.
It won’t be a retail location and I most likely won’t do any production there except small batches for beta testers to use. So signing the lease and purchasing equipment is pretty much a pure R&D investment. I’m so appreciative of all the support I’ve received so far. In many ways, if you’ve ever bought a product or backed a Kickstarter project of mine, your investment has made this studio possible.
Now that the bones of the space are complete, it's a blank slate. I’m looking forward to sharing the journey and what comes from it!