All posts filed under: Version 2
Uncle Frey saved my life; for lack of a better expression. Who is Uncle Frey? Uncle Frey is a small black and leopard printed gaudy little number that someone left on my doorstep in 2005 (I think it is a tricycle). To set up this story I will just say that 2005 was a dark year. A good year, but dark nonetheless. One day/week I was having a particular battle with my brain over some now forgotten topic. I was probably battling stress and anxiety and cabin fever. I was probably just overacting to something- I’ve since calmed down 700 Billionfold. Ok, back to story…
I was in a dark place, having a rough day, not sure what to do with my thoughts, more or less manic. I came home and found this little beauty, unmarked, on my doorstep. He put such a smile on my face and ever since then, he has been my personal mascot. He is my Buddha. He is my most prized possession on this entire planet. To whoever left him on my doorstep, thank you, he changed my life in a really bizarre trinket themed way.
Uncle Frey and Version 1 images below taken in manic living room 2005
Limited old Watertower wallet dripping wet in Version 2 goodness.
Artist Alex Steckly
Back in the gargling Version 2 days, we worked out of my home in N Portland. It was a mess, but dynamic nevertheless. This was before we had our own on-site screen-printing facility. Instead, we simply printed in my living room or wherever else we could find a light table, woven silk mesh and some paint. Pictured above is some hand printed Green Ms. Frey’s drying on my living room floor. The flexible acrylic paint usually took a day or so to cure.
View other Green Ms. Frey photos here.
Version 1 had squared off corners, and always looking to improve, our Version 2 came to pass with rounded off corners. Another improvement (between Version 1 and 2) was/is print quality. Version 1 was bland, grainy and lo-res. Version 2 was much sharper and vibrant… Version 2 also felt softer to the touch. However, Version 2 was wrinkly on the inside which caused some major QC issues. We found that the Gaffers tape was bubbling up in the sun.
As with our product development efforts between 1 and 2, we also caught wiff of the importance of brand development too. We realized this importance early on and us paying attention to boff became key. Version 1 was elementary school, Version 2 was the awkward years of puberty:
Version 2 is now dead.
Me suspect runnin a fashion accessories company is quite different than curating a fashion apparel company. With apparel exists the element that is the human model, but you see with db cay wallet fashion photo shoots, we’ve chosen to leave out the human variable. We wanted our wallets to be without their carriers as to avoid distractions.
Below is a photo shoot I did a few years back with pretty Ms. Frey Green:
There was a period of time, circa 2006, when db clay was actively involved in hand printing card cases. We only made small batches of them, and, indeed, they were released under the radar. The dark and nearly indiscernible image above is of some black cases I rubbed with silver paint (to create a sparkled effect) and screen printed with peach pink acrylic paint.
See other wallets from around 2006 here.
Again, going through my wallet archives, I recently came across the image above. Back in our Version 1 days, we released a line called “The Sketchbook Series…” The way it worked: we pulled random drawings out of Alex and Benjamin’s sketchbooks…scanned them in, tweaked them out a bit, and then printed their artwork onto these cute little wallets. Though a good effort, and one that will be fondly remembered, we made a wise decision in choosing to divert our efforts (and design direction focus) from this younger graphic style. We are in a constant state of refinement and The Sketchbook Series was just another immature rock turned over on our path to wallet greatness.
Going through my wallet archives, I recently came across the image above. Pictured in the middle is a blank wallet- a blank canvas of sorts that we use to call Gary Gray. Surrounding this lonely unpainted wallet is a variety of wallet pieces that were painted by Alex Steckly… ah, what a little bit of paint can do for the soul:
Video of Alex painting wallets
Browse other Version 2 dead billfolds
OK, the summary, I am a hardened, gnarled old man these days. In particular, the last three and a half years of operating db clay (at a hundred miles an hour) has taken its toll on me. A toll similar to smoking about 10,000 packs of cigarettes…twice…and then putting each one of them out on my tongue. Now, I must preface this post by saying that the toll I speak of isn’t necessarily a bad one. I actually, in a weird way, have enjoyed the struggle. I’ve enjoyed climbing the learning curve. I’ve enjoyed the uncertainty each day has brought me. I’ve enjoyed the time spent, and the hours logged, and the minutes moved, and the seconds soaked in db clay broth. I am a better person because of it.
I have evolved over the years and so has our product. We’ve gone through several phases and iterations of creative development. Our vision, hasn’t necessarily changed, moreover, it has been refined. It took us multiple years to realize what db clay really represents. Simply, the vision is transforming life experiences into products. For example, pictured here, is a photo our pal Graeme took several years ago when db clay was just a baby. We called it “This Sky” and it appeared in our Version 2 collection.
Now, back to the reason I started this post…I wanted to share a recent experience I had. By recent, I mean last weekend. As mentioned, db clay has been hard on me. My body has felt it. But more noticeably, my mind has felt it. I was having a particularly hard time on Sunday. I was experiencing doubt. I was experiencing anxiety. I was experiencing self reflection. I was crunching some serious variables regarding db clay (the gory details of which I won’t get into right now). Bottom line is that June and July have been the hardest months yet, for a variety of reasons, and all of it seemed to culminate on Sunday. I was racking my brain for a solution. I was deep in thought. I was trying to figure it out. I don’t pray, but hell, I even considered that. I needed something and I didn’t know what. Then, all of the sudden, standing in line at some random pizza-by-the-slice joint in NE Portland, I found the sign I was looking for. The guy in line in front of me (with his wife and kid) pulled out a Version 2 This Sky wallet to pay for his pie. I spotted it instantly. And then, if that wasn’t enough, the guy behind me in line pulled out a Version 3 Feathers wallet to pay for his. I was sandwiched by two db clay wallets in a pizza shop on a day that I was particularly doubting myself and the possibilities of db clay. The clouds lifted, my brain’s fog went away, and I found peace knowing that I am on the right path.