Come back to Portland with me. To Beam and Anchor – a workshop and retail space in an old warehouse on Interstate Avenue. Alchemy has taken place there – nothing explosive or glittering – not the harsh shine of gold but its glow. Jocelyn and Robert Rahm and their partner, Currie Person, have created a warm hub of creativity – a place for makers to gather, to collaborate and to sell their work. It’s a space where creative dialogue will flourish. Upstairs everything is bathed in soft light but it’s all happening. Between the carpentry and re-upholstery workshops and Jocelyn’s studio at the front of the building, is a kitchen built by Jocelyn’s brother Bren – smooth cement work tops, walnut cabinets and a 100 year old farm table they describe as a “gathering place for collaboration, bread breaking and story telling”. This is the heart of the building, a reflection of its promise; the place where they hygge, inspire and restore each other and invite the local community to join them.

It took eight months to renovate the building and then carefully select and curate the beautiful things that are for sale downstairs. They have managed to combine careful attention to detail with warmth and the vitality of creative energy. The juxtaposition of raw industrial location and beautiful, handmade goods is affecting. The workshop and kitchen upstairs lend authenticity and presence to the ground floor. People step in off the street to the lovely groan and clank of heavy goods trains and immediately stop to savour the beauty of even the smallest objects and to chat for a while. Nothing is too precious to handle, including the people – their uncomplicated warmth, love of good design and belief in community is the cohesive energy behind the project. The palette is muted but the vibe is not. Watch this space.
Good things will flow from here.



Beam and Anchor
Posted by Louisa Thomsen Brits on 30 April 2012

If we’re lucky, we find our people, our tribe, our kin – those friends, and that can mean family too, with whom we share real connection. With them, we feel at home; we share meals, dreams, late nights, slow walks; exchange books, music, ideas; offer each other time, inspiration, energy, solace and a sense of belonging. We allow the rhythm of our days to align with theirs – even when they are hundreds of miles away.

This weekend in Tankwa Town, in the middle of the Karoo desert, South Africa, a good handful of the people we love have gathered for AfrikaBurn. Under a huge sky, they have set up camp together, danced through the night, shared water, warmth, food, fire, inspiration and love.

We try to go every year to step away from life as we know it, to be with our kin – to be part of the community that establishes itself there in the heat and dust. AfrikaBurn is created by the participants – we all subscribe to the belief that, ‘transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.’

That’s where the hygge is – the willingness to be there whole heartedly. Everyone is welcome. No one is greedy or critical. And each one of us comes with a gift – something to offer unconditionally without contemplating a return or exchange. You can’t buy, sell or advertise anything. You can give and you can receive. It’s not about consumption but participation. People come with kites, morning coffee, music, wigs, fire pits, giant lego, tiny Buddha, gardens of fluorescent flowers, hula hoops, lanterns, paint, paddling pools and cupcakes. They gift trance tents, yoga classes, healing, polaroids and friendship. Even an Ego Booth. Check in your ego. Let go.

Afrikaburn is about ‘community building, decommodification, creativity, self-reliance and radical self-expression. It is a chance to invent the world anew.’ Just for a few days. The experience is something that sustains us for the rest of the year. And when we leave, we leave no trace wherever we have gathered.

Posted by Louisa Thomsen Brits on 29 April 2012

We gathered to share the story that each one of us can tell about how it feels to become a mother; the joy and the shock of it. A dancer I love with long limbs, fragile beauty, insight and warmth lit a fire for us and made a pot of tea. We gave each other the morning. We let go. It was tender and life affirming.

Posted by Louisa Thomsen Brits on 27 April 2012

Portland was inspiring. I remembered the part of me that drinks too much coffee and too many vodka mules, that still wants a tattoo; the part of me that dances, that likes to be alone, can spend an hour on the floor of the poetry section and get up at five in the morning to write. Portland was spring rain, cherry blossom, flat whites, lumberjack shirts, fairy lights, weather-boarded houses, new books, old books, new tunes, old friends, new dances, beards, beanies, food carts, handmade, heart song. My soul is rested.

Posted by Louisa Thomsen Brits on 25 April 2012