Meet the Maker: Vanessa and Darren of Scout & Whistle
Next up on Meet the Maker, we have a couple that’s doing rustic chic the right way. Meet Vanessa Boer and Darren Pasemko of Scout & Whistle. Is the name ringing a bell? That’s probably because they were onsite at Re:Make on October 5th selling their home goods! Check out their awesome booth display above—it’s a Pendleton-lover’s dream. As the Portland-based duo explain, Scout & Whistle combines “modern design, natural history, and cabin life, making housewares for your imaginary A-frame in the woods.” Okay, we’re hooked. If we had a cabin in the woods, it would definitely be decked out in all things Scout & Whistle.
Read on as Vanessa and Darren fill us in on their sources of inspiration, advice for other makers, and more.
<br/>We are Vanessa Boer and Darren Pasemko, the team behind Scout & Whistle. We combine our love of modern design, natural history, and cabin life, to make housewares for your imaginary A-frame in the woods. We migrated from Brooklyn, NY and now live in Portland, Oregon with our shepherd-mutt extraordinaire. When we aren’t working on Scout & Whistle, Darren is a filmmaker and animator and Vanessa is an illustrator and craft stylist.
When did you first realize you love to make?
<br/>We got married last summer and made nearly everything for the wedding (with the help of amazing friends). After painting seemingly endless tablecloths, making yards of garlands, giant piñatas and all of the graphic design and paper goods, we found that we really liked collaborating together. We were both self employed artists and had recently moved to Portland after living in Brooklyn and working with commercial clients for years. We decided we would try to focus on work for ourselves rather than pursuing more commercial projects. The original intention was to make everything that we’d want in our own home, and turn that into a product to share with people. This is still something we keep in mind when making new work. I think we both have a vision of our future cabin in the woods, and it’s a benchmark for what we make.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Both of us are inspired by old thrift shops in tiny, dusty towns, hiking in the Columbia River Gorge, camping in redwoods, taking road trips down Highway 1 and across the country, Wes Anderson’s worlds, This American Life and as much music as we can get our paws on. The list is endless, we just try to entertain ourselves and make work that is inspired by all the things we love.
Which project or handmade houseware are you proudest of?
We collaborated on our gem and crystal chart, which is a modern take on the traditional natural history chart. We then developed that into one of our new custom textile designs. We’ve been pretty excited about those!
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other makers?
<br/>Darren: Writing, animation, filmmaking, comics, and photography.
Vanessa: Drawing, photography, and any excuse to use washi tape.
How has technology changed and supported what you do?
Darren: It’s an integral part of our creative process. At our base, Scout & Whistle is focused on design ideas and shedding light on vintage ephemera. With technology, we have more time to relish in conceptual development. The internet expands our creative brains, software expedites our process, and high quality digital prints on archival art paper, and online services make it really fun and easy to produce art and textiles. But at the same, working with Pendleton wool, and manufacturing hand-crafted pillows still relies on muscle work. And we like that too.
Vanessa: As much we make by hand, our business relies heavily on technology. Nearly all of our sales take place online through retail or wholesale orders, we are able to send digital files for our fabric to be printed, we use Photoshop and Illustrator almost every day, we listen to podcasts while we work and without the internet, I wouldn’t have a million animal friendship and sloth videos to keep me entertained while I sew.
How do you think the analog world is changing as the digital world continues to boom?
Hi, I'm Brit, the founder and CEO of Brit + Co. I'm a young mom of two, tech nerd and design-inclined lady who has a zillion hobbies and curious about... just about everything! My mission from the beginning has been to unlock women's creativity and courage to try new things so that they can find the path to their true passions.