Holiday Sale at Western Bikeworks

BikeCraft 2017 vendor profiles: Market Mule, Ivalieu, and Clodine Crafts

Posted by on November 30th, 2017 at 11:31 am

In case you haven’t heard, Portland’s bike-centric holiday gift fair is back! BikeCraft 2017 is December 15-17 at the Bike Farm (1810 NE 1st Ave.) and it’s powered by Microcosm Publishing.

To get you ready, our friend Elly Blue (Microcosm’s co-owner and marketing director) has been profiling the fantastic people behind the crafts (see the previous ones here, here and here). Below are the latest three BikeCrafters you’ll get to meet at the big event…

Market Mule – Amos Clapp and Justin Carven (website/Facebook)

(Photos: Market Mule)

We’re excited to welcome first-time BikeCraft vendors Amos Clapp and Justin Carven with their beautiful, hand-made wooden panniers. These baskets sit right over your rear bike rack, and can be simply picked up and carried by hand when you get to your destination. It’s a cool idea and it’s exciting to get to be part of a new idea and company like this getting off the ground—here’s hoping BikeCraft can help give them a good boost.

What’s your bike craft?

Hard market basket panniers. These are hand crafted, wooden bicycle panniers that convert to a hand basket.

How did you get started?

The initial inspiration was a drawing on the cover of an Adventure Cycling Magazine that depicted a cyclist from around the turn of the century riding with old style bike luggage. Wanting to make some bike bags, but not having a clear vision, Amos asked his cousin Analesa, who is an avid cyclist, if she had bike bags what would they look like? The sketch she drew is pretty much the shape of our Market Mule bags today. After several years of testing and a number of prototypes we are ready to offer bags to the public.

What’s your favorite thing about what you do?

Probably making a functional piece of art.

What’s your biggest challenge with it?

Putting these bags together requires quite a bit of finesse. Figuring out how make them in larger quantities and market them has been a learning experience.

Ivalieu – Cathy Kellon (website)

(Photo: Ivaliue)

Cathy Kellon is coming back to BikeCraft with her distinctive “bloomers” or “pettipants” — basically tight shorts that you can wear under your dress or skirt, that are technical enough that wearing them all day won’t give you a rash, and cool looking enough that when they show, it’s just part of your outfit. I read on her website that an important factor is that the waistline is not tight. Can I repeat that? The waistline is not tight! Also, Cathy’s story is one of those successful part time entrepreneur ones that you hear at the end of How I Built This and it gives you wild ideas about what you could do, too.

What’s your bike craft?

I make modern bloomers so you can bike in your fave skirt or dress in comfort and confidence. No outfit excuses for not biking ’round town!

How did you get started?

I wanted this very specific product and there wasn’t anything on the market so I went and made it. Well, that makes it sound so easy. It was not! I’m a geographer by training and have spent my career in the nonprofit sector. With zero experience in the apparel or fashion world, it was plain determination that kept me going (some of my friends *might* say that I *might* have a history of getting a wild hare when presented with a challenge). I sourced technical fabrics from around the world, figured out tech packs, asked lots of people lots of really naive questions, got lost in the garment district of L.A., made friends and family wear prototypes, cold-called manufacturing studios, you name it. I negotiated my way from concept to market in the time it took my youngest to go from toddler to kindergartner. It was scary and exciting, and totally worth it. I’m super proud of my product; not just because I finally have the perfect pettipants for my own wear but I’m absolutely delighted by how happy it makes customers. And I’m thrilled to help support reshoring and living-wage jobs in Portland.

What’s your favorite thing about what you do?

Making customers happy! Seriously, I glow inside and out when a customer tells me how Ivalieu made life easier. Recently, a customer said that she was at a work party and realized that her kid had surreptitiously pulled up her dress. Because she had on Ivalieu, she thought, “meh” and didn’t miss a beat in her conversation with colleagues. Or, another recent customer said that she is biking more than ever for getting around town because she doesn’t have to think twice about what she’s wearing. Ivalieu’s got her covered. Yassss.

What’s your biggest challenge with it?

Oh, definitely the time. My profession is in the NGO world and it’s pretty consuming so trying to run a business on the side of family and work just makes me wish there were more hours in the day.

What does bicycling mean to you?

I love biking for all the usual reasons — it’s fun, convenient, energizing, and it offers a lot of independence—but what I didn’t expect, and really value, is how meditative it can be. When I’m biking by myself, particularly along a familiar route, my brain often slips into a more creative-thinking mode. On my old bike commute route, which was just over 7 miles one way, I would find myself ruminating on big issues, but not at the forefront of my awareness. In the midst of watching traffic and pedaling, I would have these crazy flashes of insight where I’d see something in a new and helpful light or I’d come up with exciting (to me) ideas or solve thorny problems. Anyways, it was during these bike commutes that I imagined a line of modern, performance bloomers, worked out design details, came up with ideas for branding and lifestyle photos, and on and on. I’ve noticed that sometimes when my ideas feel a bit “stale,” I’ll realize that I haven’t gone on a good zone-out bike ride in a while. It’s so fun to hop off the bike and have a million ideas that you want to make happen and the energy to go for ’em.

Clodine Crafts – Clodine M. (website)

I’m so thrilled that Clodine is returning to BikeCraft, combining two great local flavors with her upcycled goods: bicycling and distinctively designed Pendleton wool. She makes the little bike accessories that become somehow even more useful and desirable when they’re available in something other than neon plastic shipped from overseas. Thank you, Clodine!

What’s your bike craft?

I created the world’s first and only bicycle top bar cover hand made with Pendleton Fabric®, along with matching ankle bands, key straps, and other commuting accessories. It was my husband who suggested it—and it became an interesting design challenge! I went through several iterations and tests to come up with a solution that fits most any bike bar, regardless of shape or width, and works around cables, pumps and other attachments. Because I wash the fabric in hot water before I sew it, I remove most of the shrinkage and tighten/toughen it. It is amazing how resilient wool is, and how the colors and pattern stays crisp. If the top bar cover gets wet, I just let it dry on the bike.

How did you get started?

All my life I’ve enjoy drawing, painting, jewelry-making, knitting, sewing, and just being handy, a problem-solver. I prefer to fix or transform an object that has character, rather than just dispose or otherwise give up on it. When I stopped by a Pendleton® store near where I live, I noticed the bins of remnants and scraps direct from the mill. The pieces could be small and odd, but clearly very good quality. So I started collecting fabric fragments (my husband called it stockpiling!) I started experimenting, as I wanted to get back into sewing anyway, and wanted to learn how to use a serger—that’s a type of sewing machine that has 4 spools of thread going simultaneously, with a knife that cuts the fabric while finishing the edge of it. Because I have to wear an ID for my day job, and I was sick of the nylon lanyard digging into my neck, my first product was a lanyard made with soft Pendleton® wool.

What’s your favorite thing about what you do?

I like ‘rescuing’ fabric remnants and vintage notions, and combining and transforming them into something new—giving them a new life. I also enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to make something to meet a need, such as with custom jobs that fit an individual’s preference. I especially enjoy the feel of the textiles, and working with combinations of different colors. The rich, earthy colors are very healing to people.

What’s your biggest challenge with it?We live in an interesting time where fewer people learn about what ‘quality’ and handmade are all about. In a craft fair, I’ll see a young adult walk by wearing a cheap-quality, overpriced, and mass-produced knock-off of the Pendleton® look—not realizing I’ve the real thing right there, in a carefully crafted product. Also, just a couple of decades ago or so, it was less expensive to make clothes at home than to buy them in the store. Now the opposite is true—yet there’s an unconscious belief that because something is handmade, it should be less expensive than the store-bought, manufactured version.

What does bicycling mean to you?

Bicycling means freedom. The feeling of being on the bike, outside, is refreshing. And, when I want to go downtown, I don’t have to worry about parking. More and more, I think about the contribution to sustainability. When I can use a bike instead of a car to get somewhere, I’m grateful that there’s just that little bit of less gas used, less exhaust generated.

Learn more about BikeCraft here.

— Elly Blue

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2 Comments
  • Toadslick November 30, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    This makes me want a stylish bicycle with tube wraps and not-ugly panniers very badly.

    Looking forward to beautiful, artistic products like these being the norm once the days of the automobile and high-viz reflective bike wear are finally behind us.

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    • El Biciclero December 4, 2017 at 10:41 am

      “Looking forward to beautiful, artistic products like these being the norm once the days of the automobile and high-viz reflective bike wear are finally behind us.”

      So you must be, what, 8 years old?

      Sorry, just me being cynical. Maybe my kids or grandkids can enjoy that future, if they survive the N. Korean nuking of the west coast/the Big One and can still afford to buy anything after tax “reform” has been in place for 20 years and the robots have taken all the jobs…

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