looking back…

it’s been a while,I realize that.

So let me catch you up on what I have been doing.

2014 was packed with teaching Color + Material Design students at the MLab.

Launching the CM program in 2014 through Pensole has been a rewarding and exciting journey.

The response had been great and classes are packed with talented young designers who want to learn and own the connection between materials and color. I always say design without materials is like being in a relationship without intimacy…

I cleaned that up a bit but you understand what I mean.

So March began with a small class of two CMD (Color + Material Designers) in the Sole of Oregon Master Class, Serena Skaates and Russell Barfield.

Two creatives who have strong textile backgrounds that only needed to sharpen their presentation and storytelling skills.They presented their work to a large audience at Sole of Oregon Pensole event along with a small group of footwear designers. Russell graduates from NCSU in 2015 and Serena is interviewing with footwear manufactures here in Portland.

For 2 weeks in April during Art Center’s spring break,25 hand selected students share their time and brain space with Dwayne Edwards and I at Pensole. I can’t tell you why full time students would sacrifice sleep and a beach for 2 weeks of intense teaching, but they do and we love them for it!

This year during the Art Center session, I had 5 CMD students who lead their teams in Design Language,Branding and Material + Color direction.

Did I mention I also had an amazing T.A.(Teachers Assistant) Tuan Nguyen, check out the CM blog he put together and the “Wet Blue” video!


I structured the curriculum for the this session different since the CMD‘s would introduce materials in the beginning of the process,research global trends and combine that information with a brand color palette and innovative discovery.

Their Brands included;Nike,Adidas,Under Armour,Vans and Columbia. To be honest, those of us who work with materials + color daily know how uncomfortable it makes designers feel to share in the decision making process and at times the footwear designers had a difficult time letting go of some of that power,but teams emerged with a distinct point of view and solid message, as well as a greater appreciation for all things CM.

This approach to design should be seamless, but sadly not utilized in most design companies.This is why I teach  CMD to respect designers and each project as an opportunity to lead,drive,influence and build relationships which help to solve problems.

check out the CM blog and get introduced to the CMD team.

see http://pensolematerialists.wordpress.com/


Next up was Pensole’s 1st World Sneaker Championship in August.



Six CMD students + Eight Brands = “hmm, a couple of you will need to lead 2 Brands, don’t everyone volunteer at once!”

After I realized that Tuan and Lindsey would be doing some heavy lifting, we made space in the MLab for the CMD‘s to build their work sanctuarys where they would live creativly for 4 weeks. Footwear designers allowed in by invite only. Brands that sponsored WSC were; Nike,Jordan,Adidas,Under Armour,Pony,Target,Undefeated,Android Homme.

One great thing about this class was a record female designers attended.Another was the participation of MLab vendor partners who contributed time to mentor and present new materials.

Michelle from San Fang presents AW2015 product to class

Michelle from San Fang presents AW2015 product to class

After a quick 2 week break we moved into the last session of the year in

September with Adidas Earn your Stripes.


This session brought a lot of surprises and familiarity. Because the class was hand picked by Dwayne,myself and Adidas Internship Program Manager Lucy Nobles,the pressure was on to design while basically being interviewed.

The CMD team was poised to deliver inspirational, concise,and innovative Brand Stories.The Adidas CM leadership team was very involved during the process, sharing time and insights about the Brand.

The result, one CM student will be hired for a 6 month internship and possibly one additional for a full-time CM position.

Sarah Hebert & I sharing relief after her presentation.

Sarah Hebert & I sharing relief after her presentation.

This session mirrored what its like to work in footwear design for a global brand.

I stressed time management,getting your team on board with a calendar early in the process,accountability,research while making quick decisions,honoring your brand while influencing the future and lastly,”there’s not crying in materials!”

What a great session and I am looking forward to each one of these CM students being a thoughtful creative soul.



Tuan & Victoria choosing colors

Tuan & Victoria choosing colors



MLab a creative resource

MLab a creative resource


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