Tribeza Talk: Makers
An insider’s guide to what’s buzzing around Austin
by Nicole Beckley
It’s only fitting that the “Live Music Capital of the World” now has a major vinyl-pressing plant. Opened earlier this year, Gold Rush Vinyl uses automated WarmTone presses to quickly turn around 12-inch and seven-inch records in four to six weeks. Founded by Caren Kelleher, who formerly led music partnerships at Google Play, Gold Rush can accommodate small batches, appealing to more-indie artists. The company has already turned out records for Austin artists, including Mobley, Nakia and the Blues Grifters, and Shakey Graves.
Leave it to a metalsmith to elevate the beauty of an everyday object. For her elegantly crafted silver chai spice box, designer and architect Ellen Hunt received an award from the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture, with the item displayed during the American Institute of Architects’ convention in New York in June. A jewelry designer as well, Hunt utilizes shapes drawn from nature in her earrings and necklaces.
How do you shape the creative minds of the future? For Luz Cristal Glangchai, the founder and CEO of the nonprofit VentureLab and former director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Trinity University, among other accomplishments, it starts with adopting an entrepreneurial way of thinking. “The thing with entrepreneurship is it’s not like two plus two equals four, there’s not necessarily a right answer,” Glangchai explains. “So I wanted to have hands-on activities that really taught these different mindsets in a fun and safe way, so that whenever someone came up with an idea they weren’t as intimidated to turn it into a product or service or even a company.”
In May, Glangchai released VentureGirls, a book aimed at inspiring teachers and parents to encourage entrepreneurial activities, especially for girls. “I am hoping that through this book I’m able to help reduce the gender gap and create a future where an equal amount of women and men are innovating and creating and becoming CEOs,” Glangchai says.
Brick by Brick
Design inspiration can strike at any time. For Sara Reichardt it struck during a visit to the national Lego convention. “I took my nephew for his birthday to the convention, and when we were there, they had all these large-scale sculptures,” Reichardt says. “There was the Lego Ninjago character, and it was holding a giant chain; that’s what gave me the original idea for the first Links design.”
At the time, in 2012, Reichardt was studying furniture design at the Art Institute of Austin, and she ultimately used the inspiration to create the Links table, a bold piece of furniture built entirely from the tiny bricks. In June Reichardt launched a table collection that includes six designs and 18 colors, each built from hundreds of Lego pieces. “I like my designs to be practical and aesthetically pleasing and basically be usable art,” Reichardt says.
Please Be Seated
“This whole journey literally started about 40 years ago in seventh-grade shop class,” Christopher Harman explains. “This chair is basically my wood project.” While life and work and family filled the intervening decades, Harman never forgot about his design and, at the urging of a friend, decided to fully realize the project, which officially launched in May. Harman patented his Chair 7 design and works to hand-build the chairs in East Austin. “I want to bring the same level of attention to detail that I made of the original chair into every one that we produce,” Harman says.
Form meets function with a rugged cool factor for Revival Cycles’ Revival Limited line, a collection of leather goods designed and crafted by hand in East Austin. Launched in October 2017, the line features durable bags like the Palo Duro Pannier Briefcase and accessories like the Bandera Belt with removable buckle. Sling the line’s Dope Tote over your shoulder, hop on your bike, and hit the road.