Behind the Artist & Print Maker: Josh Daniels

08 Aug, 2016

Q: How did you get into printmaking?
I was always a creative kid and started sketching at a young age, mainly race cars, wrestling characters, and baseball stars. In high school, I taught myself how to screen print through experimentation and got involved in the DIY print scene. It began with punk band t-shirts. Back then you couldn't buy them online, you had to make them on your own in order to show support. I was amazed I could make them myself! 

Q: Who has been an influence on you?
Gosh, so many people, mainly local artists, but M.C. Esher is a famous one at the forefront of print making.

Q: Did you know you were going to do this as a career?
No. I actually majored in Geophysics for three years before I made the switch to Print Making. I guess I couldn't deny the artist inside. 

Q: How would you describe your artistic style?
It's loose freehand, quantity over quality - meaning: it's more about the idea than the finished product. The art is the concept; there's always room to work on the craft and hone in on the idea. The sketching process is very important; it's like brainstorming. I sketch all the time. 

Q: I hear you're quite the artist, what else are you involved in?
My artist name is Cole Lodge. I make and sell bookbound sketch books. I'm Art Director for a local SF record label called Death Records. I'm also a self produced musician. I'm a guitarist, singer, bassist... kind of do it all. But this is my first time designing for DODOcase, so I'm excited about that!

Q: What advice do you have for other artists?
Remember to enjoy it and not to over analyze!


Pattern is Everywhere: Q&A with Payton and Brian of Flat Vernacular

07 Jul, 2016

DODOcase picks the brains of Artists Payton and Brian from the design company Flat Vernacular! 

What is your design process at Flat Vernacular? Our design usually starts with inspiration, which comes from many places. For instance, this year we’ve been looking at geometrics, altered geometrics, printing processes, layering, and natural materials. The concepts and ideas are then discussed between the two of us. We then go our separate ways to work individually on our ideas. After we’ve both visually articulated the concepts, we meet to discuss. We’re both instinctual in our process.

Often our patterns come from small doodles in my notebooks, or from Brian’s love of exploring materials and process. Deciding what patterns make the final cut is usually easier than deciding which colors to use, which is typically the most difficult part of the process. From there, we screen print samples of the patterns in our studio, and then screen prints the final colors at our printing facility in upstate New York.

How did you get involved with DODOcase? We had been interested in extending our patterns and vision to other objects when DODOcase contacted us and suggested a collaboration. DODOcase was a great company to do this with for many reasons. It was perfect timing, and a match made in heaven. What about DODOcase made you want to do this collaboration? We had seen DODOcase at J.Crew and thought they were splendid. DODOcase holds similar beliefs about design and manufacturing, and that was vital and as company’s we have similar mission statements that fall in line with how we approach making our products. DODOcase produces in the United States and are reviving manufacturing using an old artisanal method of making something contemporary, which is right in line with Flat Vernacular’s focus and method of making. A partnership between two small companies similarly intent on manufacturing in the USA only strengthens us both, as well as other American producers. They’re a small company like us, and their product is well designed.

How did you decide on these three patterns for DODOcase? We wanted to highlight each of our particular styles. Beastly Guardians is one of our favorites; Eyelets has an interesting character, and Full Bloom Remix is our latest and greatest. Can you talk about the designs of each pattern and what you’d like people to take from each? Beastly Guardians pattern is more of a traditional pattern. One of our first ones, it now has the pleasure of being in the permanent collection at the Brooklyn Museum. The idea behind the pattern is that each of the individual beasts is the protector of the person whose home they reside in – the fierce look each animal has (minus the mild Pigeon) is one of positive protection.

Eyelets is a tongue-in-cheek pattern. From a distance, Eyelets appears to be a pattern constructed from lace. However, upon closer inspection, the viewer sees that the ‘lace’ is actually made up of individual eyes. It’s meant to be both tongue in cheek, and even a little bit creepy. The idea behind the pattern is positive, though – eyes are a common design element across many cultures. In our case, we fall in line with the idea that the more eyes in a room, the better off you are- since the eyes are our ancestors watching and protecting us. Also, the more eyes that are in one room, the less likely someone will be to steal or misbehave.

Full Bloom Remix is one of our new explorations into pattern making. It utilizes imagery from our Full Bloom pattern, but in a new way – it’s printed out of order, or “off-register.” It’s part of our recently released concept for 2013 entitled “The Layers Project.” The Layers Project pushes patternmaking to an interesting new level through exploring printing process and non-matching wallpapers. It’s meant to be joyful, colorful, and fun.

Are you going to carry your iPad in a customized FV DODOcase? Absolutely. I (Payton) am an iPad owner and as an avid reader of printed books I love that my technology will be housed in a book form. The iPad is so handy to take to meetings and to give presentations for Flat Vernacular. Also, it’s perfect for when I can’t sleep and want to watch Downton Abbey from the comfort of my bed. Is there anything else you’d like for us to know? Pattern makes Perfect! Paint is boring; Pattern is best!

Small Manufacturing Infographic

07 Jul, 2016

Support small businesses and made-in-America products by showing some love!


Throwing Light On Sunglasses

07 Jul, 2016

DODOcase's mission is to keep the art of craftsmanship alive using processes and materials that have been around for hundreds of years and applying them to today's modern technology. For our newest LeatherCraft item, the Porter Eyewear Case, we thought we'd shine some light on the history of sunglasses, since they weren't exactly born yesterday!

Back in the 12th century, sunglasses were some of the most cutting-edge technology coming out of China. The original material used for lenses was smoky quartz. There was no UV ray protection to them, but they did provide glare protection for the eyes. They were mostly used in courtrooms by Chinese judges - not for the purpose of the tough-guy look, but to hide their emotions and give an unbiased aesthetic, hoping to keep their true feelings shielded behind the shades.

The next upgrade to sunglasses wasn't until 1752, when James Ayscough created sunglasses with blue and green tinted lenses. He believed that including color to glasses could correct some vision impairments. No one at the time was concerned with sun protection for their eyes.

Later, in the 19th century, people diagnosed with the sexually transmitted disease syphilis were prescribed sunglasses that were tinted brown or amber. This created a stigma for sunglasses as an association with sexual promiscuity. During this same time, however, idolized silent movie stars were photographed wearing sunglasses, which evolved out of necessity and vanity. The arc lights used in early film productions were so bright that starlets were often left with not-so-glamourous red, watery eyes. Camera flashbulbs were also filled with magnesium, so actors started turning to sunglasses to protect their eyes. These explanations were not conveyed to doting fans who saw movies stars wearing sunglasses from the red carpet to the beach, as  photographed in their favorite magazines. The end result: sunglasses came to be seen as a fashionable commodity instead of the medical corrective eyewear tool of the time.

To recognize the complex history of sunglasses and honor the inventors and artists before us, the craftsmen at DODOcase have created the Porter Eyewear Case to protect your historical technology with ease and beauty. Made with premium leather and a minimal design, the Porter will last the test of time.

Stylish leather sunglass case

MAKER MONDAY: Meet Jeff - DODOcase's Manufacturing Manager and Engineer

05 May, 2016

Tell us about yourself:
I was born and raised in San Francisco by two very traditional Chinese immigrants who showed me the importance of hard work without sacrificing love for family. I grew up reading comics, playing video games, and eventually having a passion for cars. That passion led me to pursue a mechanical engineering degree which I got at San Jose State University. After graduating and working as a Manufacturing engineer for a couple of years, a friend of mine asked if I'd be interested in taking over his position at DODOcase. I said yes and now I've been with the company just over 2 years.

1) What is your position at DODOcase and what do you do on a daily basis?
I'm the 
Engineer and Manufacturing Manager for the machine shop. As the Manufacturing Manager, every day I make sure that all machines are running and that all our products will be made on time through delegation of tasks to my team. As the Engineer, I'm heavily involved in the product development cycle of almost all the new DODOcase products.  I've also become the in-house IT guy, so troubleshooting computer and networking issues has made its way onto my plate. 

2) What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?
That I have access to all the fun toys in the company such as the 3-D printer, the laser cutter, and all the machines in the wood shop. Every day I don't just sit in front of the computer. I'm either up to cut a laser, take parts out of the 3-D printer and get them ready for processing, or doing a test run on the CNC machine to see if a new tool path will provide a better tray out of the machine.

3) What are you passionate about?
This may sound corny, but I'm passionate about living a non-mediocre life while helping others around me.

4) What are your hobbies outside of work?
During the spring and summer seasons, I'm usually outdoor hiking, biking, or enjoying an afternoon doing archery. I also like to volunteer when I can. Every Thursday after work I spend my time volunteering at an after-school tutoring program for underprivileged kids in the city. Right now, I'm helping an autistic student with his English and Math skills and have fun doing it. It's very rewarding to watch him grasp the problems.

5) What's your favorite DODOcase? 
It's actually a new VR viewer that we're currently working on. Can't give out too many details, but I feel like it'll change the way people can access VR content in a big way and I'm very excited about it. Can't wait until we launch it!