With much anticipation, this May, I took my first trip to Portland, Oregon. No, I never watched Portlandia, but a bunch of my friends in the U.S., who previously lived in L.A. or N.Y.C., had moved there. These are all friends with great taste, so I knew this city must have something going on to attract such good people. Because of them, Portland’s pretty tree-lined streets, and the city’s creativity, I felt at home straight away. It’s kind of like parts of Melbourne, I guess.
During my visit, I was blessed with good food, good retail and perfect thirty degree pre-summer days, which had everyone freaking out—apparently a rarity in a city where it rains for nine months a year. As a creative practitioner, I was pleasantly surprised by an array of perfectly curated and seemingly flourishing local independent stores. With locals by my side, I was taken on an extensive tour of the city and found some places worth writing home about.
Lowell in Portland. Photo by Beci Orpin for Lindsay.
Lowell’s (pictured) selection is unique, colourful, fun, a little bit mystical, and a little bit Santa Fe. With local Portland ceramics mixed in with homewares, vintage and handmade clothing, and objects sourced from travelling the world, every piece is obviously chosen with great taste and pure heart. It has a small exhibition space where they show local artists, where I was lucky enough to catch a John Gnorski show, which was excellent.
Hello! Good Morning!
A perfect curation of products from Portland and afar. Think vintage Japanese toys, Indian educational posters, handmade signs, local zines, kids books, cute plastic things, felt slippers with pom-poms—basically everything my colour-loving heart could desire. Oh… And it’s all meant for kids. Although, if I lived in Portland, a lot of my money would be spent here.
Beam & Anchor
This shop, to me, is pure Portland. Part handmade wares, part vintage goods, but all killer, no filler. The edit here is obviously the owners greatest skill. I wanted to buy everything I picked up because of its beauty. It also made me feel like a grown up, and that felt nice.
Field Trip not only looks great, it smells amazing! And that has a lot to do with the product. Field Trip is your one-stop shop for natural beauty products, incense, candles, textiles, ceramics, magazines and local art. It has a strong sense of community, which likely stems from the array of workshops it hosts with local and international artists (like me). Plus, it has coffee: the good Portland kind.
Beckel Canvas Products
My friends (and Portland locals) Fawn and Jeff took me to Beckel Canvas one day after breakfast. It’s not a shop that would be on most visitor’s radars. In fact, you would barely even call it a shop—more an outlet. Perhaps that’s why it’s so good. Beckel makes a range of canvas bags and tents, right there on site. The bags are utilitarian, but perfect, and also incredibly well priced and made. My Beckel bag is hands-down my favourite purchase of the trip.
In Issue No. 1 we meet Australian fashion icon Jenny Kee, translator from Italian Ann Goldstein and French-Cuban music duo Ibeyi. We learn about Ramadan, the Aboriginal ball game Marngrook, the Kiribati dance, the art of pickling, and the importance of home. And we see what it’s like to dress up in Myanmar, live in Cuernavaca, make ceramics from different soil, and walk the streets of Florence.
In Issue No. 2 we meet New York-based Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, NASA astronaut Stephanie Wilson, and Croatian painter Stipe Nobilo. We discover how the French protect their language and the way women—all around the world—have used textiles as their political voice. We listen to lovers rock, prepare a boisterous Korean barbecue, venture to go to Feria de Jerez and eat our way around Hong Kong.
In Issue No. 4 we meet Nigerian-born artist Toyin Ojih Odutola, Indigenous Australian Elders Uncle Bob Smith and Aunty Caroline Bradshaw, and Palestinian-American chef and artist Amanny Ahmad. We peer inside the Parisian ateliers Lesage and Lemarié, muse over the iconic lines of European chair design and celebrate the colourful woodblock prints of Japanese artist Awazu Kiyoshi. And we venture along Morocco’s Honey Highway, get lost in the markets of Oaxaca and discover the favours of Ghana.
In Issue No. 5 we travel to the mountains with Etel Adnan, along coastlines wherever waves roll in, and then all over the world through the photographic archive of Lindsay James Stanger. We celebrate hair braiding in South Africa, Salasacan weaving techniques in Ecuador, Vedic jewellery traditions and the new sound of Ukraine. We meet artist Cassi Namoda, choreographer Yang Liping and lace-maker Mark Klauber. And we visit a bakery in Tel Aviv, discover the joys of making arak, and spend a summer stretching mozzarella in Italy.