In these economic times sometimes things can feel a little dire. However, all over the country people are looking for, and sometimes finding, the pewter lining. Right here in Bend a pair of local artists working on a new formula that is designed to deconstruct artistic and economic limitations with a bold new experiment in commercial art, design and production, fittingly dubbed The Workhouse.
Rooted in grass roots solutions, combining community, creativity, resourcefulness, and hard work to help redefine "the good life". Belying the origins of its name, The Workhouse, love child of Stuart Breidenstein and Cari Dolyniuk, defines this union of elements.
It offers eight large work stations/studios, a community table/runway,and an equipped fashion lab which designers can rent by the month, geared to retail sales. As Cari describes it, "Here at Workhouse we are of the mind that work pays. By offeringan atmosphere of camaraderie, excellence, innovation, and creativity we hope toencourage our community to "Get Back To Work."Notdrudgery, not 'jobs,' butwork: the physical ormental effort or activity directed toward the production or accomplishment ofsomething, especially related to the arts. By creating a space with open, activework studios, and housing a place of exchange between makers and buyers we believewe can bring the power of economy back into our own hands. Whether handmadesoaps, metal works, home decor or fashionable clothing, we hope makers of everykind will find respite within our old brick walls. "
As mentioned before, this is a labor of love, resourcefulness, and hard work.The building itself is beautiful,built in 1912with massive timbers anda100-year-old patina. Starting with its inherent vintage interior,a comfortable and inspiring work environmenthas been created by Cari and Stuart, with help from a variety of community members. Using reclaimed metalandconcrete, found in the immediate neighborhood, with wood coming mostly from the Delaware Market and Icehouse, all milled at Brooks-Scanlon, the process has defined the efficient use of resources inherent in using local repurposed materials.
The name "The Workhouse" is a tongue-in-cheek reference to workhouses of the late1800s in Wales and England; human factories, where the poor, often children,would beforced to live, and work in the most grueling jobs of the day.
"We've told our tenants that we expect "consistent production of sellablemerchandise," which sounds harsh," said Stuart, "but we're finding makers of all sorts who want tomake that transition from their "real job" to something even more real, an actualsustainable living doing what they love to do."
Cari adds, "While the name, The Workhouse, isa cheeky nod to the workhouses of old. In our case, at this Workhouse, you find people who are, of their ownvolition, working to elevate their station and hone their craft by committing to ahigh level of productivity. We want this to be a place known by the work that goeson here - whether it be a student taking a class on fused glass, a quilter using ourtable to cut and lay out her design, or a clothing designer working to construct hisfirst line in the sewing lab. Not to mention merchandise, we want also for buyersto know that they will find quality, handmade goods here and thatthey have the opportunity to develop face to facerelationships with the people who made them."
Who are these two hardworking, creative individuals with the guts to make this fly? Cari Dolyniuk is a Bend native who left town, before the 90's boom, for ten years in Portland. Working as a baker, art director for indie films, gallery owner and bartender. She moved to Brooklyn to help friends open the farm-to-table restaurant Queen's Hideaway. After four years, she returned to Bend, just in time for the crash. She and Stuart met through mutual friends, and their partnership has evolved from design/production assistant, to co-owner of The Workhouse, thereby fulfilling a long held dream. Stuart originates in Southern California. He spent several decades in the retail and music world, fortunately for us, he found his way to Bend four years ago, and has been operating his retail jewelry and design store Stuart's of Bend.
50 Scott Street (Behind Sparrow Bakery)
Wed. - Sun. 10am - 5pm