What’s Buzzing Around Austin This August
by Nicole Beckley
Don’t Knock It
For his new book “Don’t Knock the Hustle,” released in May, UT professor S. Craig Watkins spent a decade researching how young creatives use new technology to create opportunities. In Austin, he spent time with the video game development collective Juegos Rancheros. The group formed to provide support outside the standard studio in a changing industry. “This is a community that recognized you have this really vibrant collection of talent in town — game developers, artists, filmmakers, storytellers — and many of them were still looking to pursue their interests in creating content.” For the future, in the games industry and beyond, Watkins says, “Figuring out creative ways to leverage technology for social good will become a key feature of how young people approach innovation.”
Launched in March, Greenbelt Kombucha takes the typical fermented glass-bottled beverage and pops it into an easy-tocarry can. Flavors include peach blossom white tea, strawberry fields rooibos, blood orange yerba mate and hibiscus berry black tea and are vegan, GMO-free and available at H-E-B. And yes, you can pack them in your bag for some probiotic refreshment as you hike through the greenbelt.
“I’ve been sewing since I was a child, probably since I was 10 years old,” Kimberly Brown says. Taught by her grandmother, Brown honed her sewing skills doing alterations in college and later opened a clothing shop in Mexico. “I had my sewing machine set up in the back of the store, and my skills probably quadrupled during that time,” Brown says.
After relocating to Austin, Brown started Fringe Hill in 2017, focusing on handbags. Made by hand, the bags combine Westernstyle painted leather and tooled belts with colorful fabrics that Brown sources from Mexico. In her workshop she pairs colors and leather pieces, assessing what will work best together. “I’ve been doing this for so long it’s very natural to me,” Brown says. “I can just kind of go for it.”
Raise a Glass
“I found a premade mold for chocolate bars, and that was the initial prototype,” Dimitar Karaytchev says. This mold inspired the creation of a double-wide coaster, meant to hold two beverages. While Karaytchev and Lindsey Wohlgemuth typically specialize in clay work with their Era Ceramics brand, crafting dinnerware for a bevy of restaurants, including Uchi, Pitchfork Pretty and the new Vixen’s Wedding, they wanted to use a different material to create something fun and colorful. The coasters are handmade using a water-based resin. “Playing with new ideas is really fun,” Karaytchev says. “It’s something new and brings a little bit of fresh energy back into the studio.”
Looking for a higher-quality mechanical pencil, Andrew Sanderson decided to build his own. A mechanical engineer, Sanderson wanted an alternative to the typical flimsy plastic version, turning to stainless steel and bronze. The result is a seemingly seamless design, with each pen and pencil created from one piece of metal that is drilled on a CNC lathe and finished by hand.
Enjoy the vegetables of summer, including carrots, cucumber and okra, year round with fermented fare from Barrel Creek Provisions. Made in small batches, whole vegetables are pickled into probiotic-packed jars and pouches. The fermentation delivers a dose of good bacteria to help the digestive system — just another reason to eat your veggies.