Getting Started – What was the original inspiration for Plywerk panels?
What you find on wikipiedia about the origins of Plywerk is slightly embellished. The parts about the original design for Plywerk panels being laid out on a sacred papyrus scroll that can only be read under a full moon, are half truths. The real story is much more mysterious…
We started selling Plywerk at Portland Saturday Market. Originally it was a conduit for selling Kim’s photography to the masses who visit and live in Portlandia. We realized there was a larger demand for our ‘Your Image on Plywerk’ service and launched Plywerk.com.
It’s not easy to start a business from nothing but it’s been incredibly rewarding. Setbacks are unavoidable but we’re always learning through a process we call “kaizen” (A Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement). Our most recent manufacturing improvements allowed us to cut our prices dramatically: check it out!
There is something entrancingly tactile about Plywerk. Once you have one in your hands you want more. It’s like a mildly addicting substance IE: caffeine, nicotine, skittles and we simply relied on the addictive properties of Plywerk to propel our company. It gave us a lot more time to write funny stuff for our website!
Advice for others – what can you tell new photographers?
Becoming a photographer in today’s age is an intense experience. You’ve got tons of amazing camera and lens options and all sorts of post, finishing, and display options to help enhance your image. With so many variables to tinker with, it’s super important to start with an awesome foundation and training. If you understand camera functions, lighting, software, etc you’ll be able to dial in on the areas you want to change. Along the way you’ve got to keep an open mind and allow your art to evolve – your style can, and should change as you learn.
I’d also recommend eating lots of fruits and veggies… couldn’t hurt.
How does Plywerk encourage creativity?
I like to think of Plywerk as canvas’ super sexy cousin. We’re not talking canvas’ kinda sexy cousin Trina who lives in Arkansas and tried to friend you on facebook… no, Plywerk is the super sexy cousin. Just as a blank canvas has inspired and encouraged creativity over the centuries, Plywerk is something artists use as a foundation to start the creative process. The end product is a super clean, sexy, art piece that shows off the art instead of hiding it behind the traditional framing elements… did I mention it’s sexy?
Tell us about your first camera.
Kim, Kjell, and the rest of the Plywerk crew all had different first cameras. Mine (Garrett’s) was a Pentax K-1000. I actually commandeered it from my dad when I was 14. It had an amazing paisley camera strap from the early 70′s. I shot in black and white and spent long hours in the darkroom surrounded by chemicals that we wouldn’t let our kids near these days. Hmm, I’ve never felt older than I do right now… might as well start looking for retirement communities and a strong aftershave to settle down with.