October 28, 2013
It’s no secret that here at Grove we love the films of Hayao Miyazaki, one of Japan’s most celebrated artists and directors. Some of us were weaned on his anime. Some of us tear up every time we watch My Neighbor Totoro. Some of us have collected all of his movies. What can we say? We love them!
Last year the Portland Art Museum’s NW FIlm Center showcased a select few of his films. Together team Grove took an evening off from sanding iPhone cases and Bamboo Backs to enjoy Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke-- it was nothing short of epic to see it on the big screen! Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli have made a lot of movies-- so if you are new to his work you may be wondering which ones should you see? We can help! Here are our top five Miyazaki films (and what we think they’re about in a nutshell).
5. Spirited Away (2001) - This is a story about finding oneself. It is the story of a somewhat bratty girl and her frustrating move with her parents. After getting lost in a spirit world and being put through a series of trials she faces adversity and overcomes her problems by finding her real strengths.
4. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) - This is the amazing story of a young witch who needs to learn how to survive on her own. Many of Miyazaki’s movies are coming of age tales.
3. Princess Mononoke (1997) - This is an epic story about humankind and its relationship with nature. We love the Kodamas!
2. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) - This is another story representing humanity and it’s relationship with the earth. Many of Miyazaki’s films deal with environmental themes.
1. My Neighbor Totoro (1988) The undisputed champion of Miyazaki’s animation is My Neighbor Totoro. It is known as his most endearing movie and Totoro is everywhere in Japan!
My Neighbor Totoro is a story of two young children going through a difficult time. They meet wonderful forest spirits (Totoro and friends) who help them to cope with the trials and tribulations they are facing in their lives. What do we love about his films the most? Sean says we love his stories because they are unique, endearing and remind us how to see the world with childlike wonder... Yes! And what do Miyzaki’s films have to do with inspiring our iPhone cases? Everything!
October 25, 2013
The new Wood Smart Case for iPad Air and both generations of iPad Mini is here, and we want to shout it from the top of a mountain! Style, function, craftsmanship - all in one well designed case made of natural materials. Lightweight bamboo and sturdy maple add organic warmth to the cold metal of your iPad or iPad Mini. Smart construction makes the case stronger than ever.
The case features a new construction method and three versatile standing positions. The natural grain of bamboo and Eastern Hardrock Maple work in your favor. In the world of wooden cases, our construction method is revolutionary. A flexible bamboo cover gives you standing options, while strong rare-earth magnets hold the tablet in place - Great for cooking, typing, watching, and sharing.
Works with iPad Air or iPad Mini 1 & 2
3 Versatile Standing Positions
Thin and lightweight
Smart cover turns iPad on and off
Stronger construction method
Access to camera and ports
Protection for your precious device
iPad slides in and out of case securely and easily
Made from mostly natural and entirely awesome materials
Designed and crafted by us in our Portland, Oregon workshop
At less than 1/2 an inch thick, the Wood Smart Case is a good match for the new, ultra-slim iPad. Don’t give up that svelte feel for a bulky case. Slide your iPad in and out with ease, and enjoy a secure fit. Lined with super soft Ultrasuede, the case protects your precious hardware from dirt, dust, and the little bumps and bruises of the day. (Warning: case may not survive drops or games of monkey-in-the-middle.)
Your new iPad is an amazing device; your case shouldn’t hinder any of its features. We designed our case with access to ports, speakers, camera, and flash. A smart cover to automatically wake and put the iPad to sleep is the icing on the cake. Actuated wooden power and volume buttons are the sprinkles on the cake. Delicious wooden cake.
The all new Grove Wood Smart Case for iPad Air and iPad Mini is available now at $99 and $79.
October 21, 2013
In 2011, Mary Yaiko showed up to her first day of work dressed up as a fox! Sure, it was Halloween day, but that takes guts! Since then she has been an integral member of the Grove family, brightening our days with her sense of humor, stylish outfits, and sudden dancing fits. (Think: fun cheetah print shoes and Cyndi Lauper!)
Like a lot of us here, she’s worn many hats for Grove, including heading the Customer Relations department, writing for our blog, and managing our Instagram feed. Now, she is working full time as a copywriter, both for Grove, and freelance. Basically, nearly everything you read on our website, and all of Grove’s newsletters and press releases are written by Mary.
She offers copywriting services under the name Raven Desk Writing. Check out her website here! The name comes from a riddle in the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
The Mad Hatter asks: “How is a raven like a writing desk?”
There is meant to be no answer, but people have come up with a few over the years:
Poe wrote on both.
They both have ink dipped quills...
Outside of work Mary is busy bee! She loves music more than anything, and enjoys writing and drawing outside of work. She’s currently working on a children’s story, and can’t wait to share it with the young and young at heart here in Portland. The top of her playlists include Laura Marling, M.I.A., Pure Bathing Culture, and Cults. Last year, she even came to Barrett’s Halloween Bash dressed to the nines as Yolandi from Die Antwoord.
We’re so lucky to have her writing for us!
October 18, 2013
We’re excited to feature a new artist series Bamboo iPhone 5/5S case along with matching Grove Notebook leather cover for Moleskine. Only the Strong is a design from US-based artist and graphic designer Steve Goodin, also known as DEMEN1. Goodin works professionally as a motion graphics designer and also has his hands in 3D modeling and animation.
His typography design Only The Strong was inspired by his brother-in-law’s unlikely survival of a vicious house fire and his long but steady road to recovery after the incident. Goodin felt as though "Only The Strong" would make it through something like that, and it emboldened his whole family. The artist’s proceeds from this design will be donated to his brother-in-law’s recovery fund. Read more about that here.
Goodin says, “theres a pretty powerful quote that my wife would carry with her throughout her brothers recovery which also inspired this custom typography piece: ‘You never know how strong you are until being strong is the ONLY option you have.’"
The Only the Strong Bamboo iPhone 5/5S Case is now available at the special limited time price of $79, and the Only the Strong Grove Notebook leather Moleskine cover is available starting at $59 for pocket-sized notebooks.
Go forth and be strong!
October 14, 2013
The Marriage of High Tech and Old World
Back in the day, Grove co-founders Joe Mansfield and Ken Tomita combined their expertise. They collaborated to innovate how we can use high tech machinery in combination with old school woodworking techniques to make objects that are both beautiful and precise. We think it’s this combination of using machinery to mill our parts with exact measurements along with the use of the hand finishing (and the human touch) that gives our products that special something.
Who are these robots anyway?
In our woodshop we have a small fleet of high tech machinery that we have happily anthropomorphized (just because it’s fun). These machines are our day to day workhorses, churning out everything from Skatecases to Bamboo Backs. Sometimes they work with us... other times the machines act as if they have a mind of their own, possibly just to keep us on our toes. If nothing else, they have taught us how to adapt with a quickness to what they need in order to perform!
Everything we do, from all of the computer programs that direct these high tech robotics, to the jigs that hold the material stable while it is being milled, is all custom made. It’s a lot of work, but we love it!
CNC Mills: Our computer controlled mills are essentially large scale robotic drills mounted on a metal backbone of cast iron/steel. They have a precise moving table/bed which the fixtures are attached to. The computer orchestrates the drill and the bed together in unison and holds a precision to .001 inch.
Meet the Fleet!
Rusty - A reliable behemoth of a CNC Machine that has a will of it’s own.
Falcon - A true hero among Woodshop CNC Mills, Falcon has saved the day with its consistency many times.
HAL - Named after computer that controls the spaceship in one of our favorite films, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). HAL laser cuts everything from Bamboo Backs to buttons for our iPhones.
WALL-E - WALL-E is the name of our smaller laser (named after, well, Pixar’s WALL-E...) WALL-E is a fine machine who busts out engraved iPhone cases, Notebook covers and more everyday.
Mr. Jones - Mr. Jones is the name of our fancy new printer who is tasked with all of the ink printing on our WoodPrint cases! He was named after Grove’s laser master Mike D’s favorite Counting Crows song. (Sometimes he puts it on repeat… and we secretly love it.)
Not unlike some sci-fi fantasy future, here at Grove we work among robots that do our bidding. Will they eventually turn against us to take over the world? We hope not! Until then, we’ll live in harmony with the machines, making cases to our heart’s content.
October 11, 2013
We’d like to make a shout-out to one of our BFF companies here in Portland, Oregon: Plywerk! Plywerk mounts your digital photos onto beautiful, sustainable plywerk (bamboo plywood panels). The panels are a gorgeous thing on their own, with visible cross-layers of bamboo grain, and the careful application of a print truly creates a keepsake. You can upload your Facebook, Instagram, or other digital photos directly to the site, and your Plywerk print will ship to your door once it’s finished.
Plywerk... because your memories matter. from Plywerk on Vimeo.
Bamboo + photography + ethical manufacturing! How could Grove not love Plywerk? The company prides itself on sustainability and a positive business model. Bamboo is an incredibly sustainable material to work with; since it grows so quickly, it’s highly renewable. But the happy team over at Plywerk values not only sustainable materials but also a local economy working toward self-sufficiency:
“The vast majority of today's economy revolves around cheap overseas manufacturing. As a consequence, the local economy in which we all thrive is often forgotten. We pride ourselves on bucking this trend. [...] Every piece of Plywerk is handmade by real humans in Portland Oregon, our materials are sourced from local suppliers with a similar business ethos whenever possible[…]” -Plywerk.com/About
Photo credit: PLYWERK
The possibilities for your own Plywerk are as endless as your online photo galleries! The results are exciting - whether you’re documenting your solo adventures, showcasing family memories, or outdoing yourself with some remarkable office decor. Plywerk takes a photo and turns it into a substantial piece of art for treasuring, hanging, or displaying in a number of ways. And, it almost goes without saying that we are big fans of the natural look of bamboo. So are Kim Oanh Nguyen-van Zoen and Kjell van Zoen, who started Plywerk in their basement after mounting their first photo to a piece of discarded plywood.
Photo credit: PLYWERK
Check out Plywerk’s products and get your first 5x5 photo panel for just $19 at Plywerk.com! (Also, be SURE to check out the Goo Goo Gaga special at the bottom of their website.) I highly recommend following them on Instagram as well, @Plywerk.
October 07, 2013
We are really excited about WeMake, a proactive group of creatives that works to foster art and design in the community by providing a platform for fun, interactive events like the sketchXchange and this month’s “Put A Bird In It”. The event, Put A Bird In It (a pun off of a Portlandlia sketch called Put A Bird On It!) is a benefit for arts and music education in the Portland Metro area. All of the artists, designers, and makers who participated were asked to build birdhouses to be sold at auction. Representing us this year, Grove co-founder Joe Mansfield designed and built a truly beautiful piece of art to donate to the fundraiser.
Born and raised on the rugged Oregon coast, Joe Mansfield attended the University of Oregon, where he majored in Digital Arts. He started a custom laser business right out of college and has collaborated with a variety of artists, architects, and designers.
Check out Joe’s collaborative work with engrave!
He put his digital design skills to use creating this multi-layered birdhouse, constructed entirely of precisely cut slats of plexi-glass which are simply held together by two well placed dowels. One of the concepts behind this piece was that the cut plexi-glass holds within the center of the birdhouse a spherical shaped empty space, or nest. This space also connects the front and the back of the house with two entry points leading into the hollowed core.
The birdhouse was cut out using our lasers-- yes, the very same workhorse lasers that cut out our Bamboo Backs and delicately engrave our bamboo artists series iPhone cases. The piece also contains a cascading spiral of fauna imagery, printed with our state of the art printer (the one and the same that we use for our new WoodPrint cases). The hues of the fauna imagery, reminiscent of tree branches or the veins of an anatomical heart, shift slowly from pane to pane through a spectrum of colors from light blue to red.
The visual effect is really fun, and we had a great time trying to get a good photo of it, which Ken finally got! We are so excited to have this piece represent Grove, and look forward to the rest of the show which includes work from some of our favorite local artists and designers like Amy Ruppel, Emily Katz, Tom O’Toole, Terrazign, and Ryan Bubnis.
Joe has worked with WeMake in the past, and even hosted a laser bamboo workshop last summer! Make it out to the benefit show Saturday, October 12, 2013, and help to promote arts and music education in Portland & Multnomah County Schools!
October 04, 2013
We certainly like to write about ourselves, but we do try to let other people get a word in edgewise. We’re pumped Cool Material, CultofMac, and DFRAGG wrote some pieces on our newest products! Below are some highlights hot from the press.
Cool Material writes about the uniqueness factor of the WoodPrint case:
“Cases with batteries, wallets, multitools and stands, made of everything from rubber, to wood, to steel. Few of them end up being as uniquely sexy as Grove’s new WoodPrint iPhone 5 (and 5S) Cases.”
CultofMac raves about the sweet look of the WoodPrint case… and Knight Rider:
“It’s hard to argue with the awesomeness of Grove’s Wood Print case, a maple shell for your iPhone 5 with one of your own Instagrams printed on the back. Who wouldn’t want that?[...] You can even pick two or three photos depending on the layout design you choose. I of course picked from my extensive Instagram collection of Knight Rider related-pictures, but you can do what you like.”
CultofMac also eloquently summarizes the benefits of the new Grove Dock for iPhone:
“The Grove Dock for iPhone is a gorgeous new wood dock for the iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5c and 5s that allows you to sync and charge your iPhone one-handed in a heavy bamboo base that not only looks great, but is guaranteed to not tip over. [...]How guaranteed? The base is made of three pounds of solid steel, over which some solidly carved bamboo has been overlaid. It’s an absolute beauty, and since you can thread both a 30-pin or Lightning connector through the base, it’ll work with any iPhone you care to throw at it.”
DFRAGG crafts words like “organic-esque” in its praise of our “tiny titan” dock:
“The organic-esque bamboo Grove Dock lets you charge and sync your iPhone in style. Available for iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5S and 5C, the Grove dock also accepts the fit of most cases for the iPhone. Since the base of the Grove dock weighs a surprising 3 pounds for its size due to a solid steel design and grippy rubber feet bumpers to prevent sliding, you can expect this tiny titan to stay put no matter how cluttered your desk may be.”
We don’t mind it when people gossip about us - especially when it’s rad PR from even radder blogs. A look at the daily headlines on Cool Material, CultofMac, and DFRAGG is always a good idea. Keep it coming, Internet!
September 30, 2013
Tokyo based artist Mhak (aka Masahiro Akutagawa) recently came to Portland, Oregon to exhibit his artwork and participate in a public mural project. He ended up painting a mural for Grove, at the end of which he graciously granted us an interview.
His show was at the Hellion Gallery, run by Matt Wagner. The Hellion Gallery specializes in international artists, and exporting Portland artists to France and Japan. Recently, Matt curated and helped to organize a city wide mural project called Forest for the Trees, in which Mhak participated.
As part of the project, there was a mural painted by Brazilian artist Marcelo Macedo on the outside of Grove’s building. After completing his mural down the street from us, Mhak also spent a few days painting a beautiful, twisting mural in our production shop, completely transforming the feel of the entire space!
1. Forest for the Trees - Video
2. Video Featuring Mhak Working!
Mhak hails from Fukushima prefecture, and now lives and works in Tokyo, Japan. These days, he’s been painting on the road a lot, traveling around the world to places like Buenos Aires, Milan, New York City, Copenhagen and more!
He’s a night owl whose favorite place to work is inside someone’s house in their living room. He responds to the environment, the decor, furniture, and the room’s color palette to create a mural that accentuates the feel of the space.
When working on his mural at the Hellion Gallery for his show, Mhak stayed up all night to complete his installation! His show at the Hellion Gallery is up until the end of the month- hope you can check it out!
For all of you high rollers with deep pockets and good taste in art, don’t hesitate to dig deep and fly Mhak out to your Villa for a fresh new mural in your living room!
September 27, 2013
It’s time, once again, to proclaim: “We love Instagram!” Here comes another monthly installment of stylish Instagrams from our fans and followers. This time they are tagged with #Grovemade or #WoodPrintCase. Follow us at Grovemade.
From purplegreenstadtamazone: “#WOODPRINTCASE”
From Shoez: “my #woodprintcase from #grove is here! photos taken in korea last june”
From Georg90: “Neues #grovemade #bamboo Back! Love it ❤️ #skatecase”
From Nici201: “My beautiful #bambooback finally arrived
From Otthobot: “New phone case :)”
From lettucebreath: “These are bamboo cases from a company called #grovemade based out of here in Portland, OR. I love them! Grovemade.com”
From iammazin: “Taking a break from TIFF - #toronto #tiff #grovemade #bamboo #2014mazda6 #almondleather”
From steevend: “Moleskine cover came in!! Thanks @grovemade #grovemade #moleskine #moleskinecover #leather #sketchbook”
From carmensd2: “Opposite sides #nailart #gradient #essie #pinkaboo #modsquare #orly #frenchtip #colorclub #silver #cina #topcoat #nails #naildesign #groovemade #seethrough #iphone5case”
From adamagostino: “Never posted an #outfitgrid before so yea. Here it is. #21Men #Vans #Supreme #Bullhead #iPhone5 #Grovemade #Klipsch”
Thank you so much to all our Instagram followers for your awesome photos! Keep ‘em coming by tagging your Grove photos with #Grovemade, #WoodPrintCase, #SkateCase, or #BambooBack. And, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!
September 23, 2013
Max Brown is Grove’s art director and lead designer. His aesthetic is embedded in everything we do from package design to videos of our new products. Today we wanted to share a little more about Max and his artwork for and outside of Grove!
Max hails from the seaside town of Astoria, Oregon, where his parents own and run the historic Columbian Theater. Check out their website-- can you recognize the killer aesthetic behind that imagery and tight lettering? Here’s a recent shirt design that Max made for the theater.
Besides taking most of the beautiful shots of our products, Max also worked extensively to bring us our favorite new videos plugging Grove’s new WoodPrint case and the Grove Dock. (Both of which we are super excited about!)
Here are two of Max’s recent videos.
-The prettiest video for the WoodPrint Case. (Check out his use of stop motion!)
-The funniest video for the Grove Dock. (How many times did we watch this one?)
We love his work! It was a lot of fun seeing these two videos come together over the weeks prior to the product launches. Here are some other of our favorite highlights of his artwork for Grove (and beyond) this past year.
Illustrated versions of Team Grove, and he couldn’t have captured us better.
Max’s illustration for our collaborative products (Skatecase and Skatebacks for iPhone) with Maple XO.
An illustration of a David Cronenberg film in an ongoing series.
Tour poster for Holiday Friends!
September 20, 2013
Exciting news! We’re launching our most unique product yet! If this is you, it will definitely help: your desk or nightstand is cluttered with a tangle of cords. You only have one hand free, and when you reach for your phone, your charging cable or dangling dock knocks everything over. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, and do something about it! Down with those danglers!
The new Grove Dock can finally give you a solid spot for your phone at home or at work. It’s super dense and heavy for its small size, allowing one-handed operation. Plug your phone in and pull it out with grace and without the dock coming along for the ride. Did we mention it’s crafted with care and looks good too?
Check out these rock-solid features:
Weighs a whopping three pounds (other things that weigh three pounds: a box of wine, a human brain, three adult guinea pigs, two newborn polar bears)
Crafted from a solid steel core and natural bamboo outer shell, right here in Oregon
Stabilized by squishy rubber bumpers on the bottom that keep it from sliding
No tools or fasteners are needed and no installation is necessary - the dock is freestanding
Works with iPhones 4/4S + 5/5S/5C and adjusts to work with most cases
A hidden channel directs ringtone and other audio freely through the front of the dock
Available in powder-coated white, powder-coated black, or plated silver
The simple, sleek design upgrades your desk or nightstand from “meh” to “man-look-at-this-hip-cat!”
Keep your phone in check and in style with this modern dock made right here in Oregon. The hand-sanded upper shell is made of our signature bamboo and the inner core is made from solid steel. Three times heavier than aluminum, the solid steel Grove Dock won’t throw any tantrums when you grab your phone one-handed and continue on with your day.
The Grove Dock is a loyal companion for your phone, for real. It’s available now on Grovemade.com in powder-coated white, powder-coated black, or plated silver at just $99. [Carefully] pick one up now!
September 16, 2013
We are so excited to introduce our brand new product, the Grove WoodPrint case! It’s a customizable wood case for the iPhone 5 and 5s milled from solid blocks of hardwood maple. This means the woodgrains on each case are unique and pretty and look fantastic peeking through your own custom photos. So, if you are creative and photo savvy (we know you are!) we think you’ll love this case as much as we do.
Maybe you’d like to remember your vacation with your best paradise sunset shot straight off your instagram feed? Or perhaps it’s your sister’s birthday, and you want to surprise her with a custom case adorned with her at age 3 and cake all over her face (whatever, we know you do). Maybe you are fond of your cat? Maybe you are really, really fond of your cat? You can put her furry little mug on a case-- the possibilities are endless and fun!
1) Create your own custom iPhone case using Instagram photos in less than a minute
2) Enjoy a lasting photo printed on wood with the natural wood grain peeking through
3) Know your high quality case was crafted with care by us in Portland, Oregon
In less than a minute, customize a case using your own stunning Instagram photos. We employ an advanced custom wood printing method using durable UV inks, producing a high quality image that lasts. Like a signature fingerprint the beautiful maple wood grain of your case peeks through the printed image creating a unique look which can’t be achieved with manufactured materials, such as silicone or plastic. As always, each case is milled with care and then hand-sanded and finished with a natural oil and wax blend in our workshop in Portland, Oregon.
Show off your eye for beauty on a premium WoodPrint case-- now available at just $99!
September 13, 2013
On the 10th, Apple announced the upcoming release of its new iPhone 5s, as planned, and we’re stoked on the new features. Apple says the 5s is "the most forward-thinking phone” they've ever created. It’s true; the iPhone 5s is sleek, sexy, and full of advanced features and functionality.
Here’s a quick rundown of features:
Contains a 64-bit A7 chip
Camera has a new Apple-designed lens with an f/2.2 aperture
Camera has slow motion capabilities and True Tone flash
Has a fingerprint sensor known as Touch ID
Has a motion co-processor dubbed the M7 that measures motion data
Has a longer battery life
Available in gold, silver, or space gray
Available on Sept. 20th in 16GB for US$199, 32GB for $299, and 64GB for $399
Here at Grove, we’re pretty giddy about all the features, but the Touch ID feature, amazing new camera, and 64-bit A7 chip have been the focus of conversation. The touch ID sensor is located inside the home button and is made from a laser cut sapphire crystal! Read more about that from Apple’s press release:
“Built into the home button, Touch ID uses a laser cut sapphire crystal, together with the capacitive touch sensor, to take a high-resolution image of your fingerprint and intelligently analyze it to provide accurate readings from any angle. Setting up Touch ID to recognize your fingerprint is easy, and every time you use it, it gets better. The Touch ID sensor recognizes the touch of a finger so the sensor is only activated when needed, preserving battery life. All fingerprint information is encrypted and stored securely in the Secure Enclave inside the A7 chip on the iPhone 5s; it’s never stored on Apple servers or backed up to iCloud. Touch ID can also be used as a secure way to approve purchases from the iTunes Store®, App Store or iBooks Store.”
For photography buffs, the rear camera on the new 5s features a 5-element lens with an f/2.2 aperture and sensor 15% bigger than the current one. A special duel-LED flash, True Tone, adapts to existing light providing better color. In addition, the camera will be able to capture 10 pictures per second and automatically choose the best one, and the 720p video will be able to capture slow motion video at 120 frames per second. Watch Apple’s 5s camera video below:
The new iPhone 5s is certainly a well-oiled piece of hardware, with its 64-bit A7 chip running 40-times faster than the original iPhone. All in all, the 5s should be able to operate twice as fast as the previous model.
This phone is a stunner too. The flashy gold, silver, or space gray will be hard to cover up with a Grove case (but not too hard!). Maybe a Grove case is the only case worthy of covering such a beautiful piece of technology? Check out our new WoodPrint cases to see what I mean. And, read more about the iPhone 5s, available to purchase on Apple.com on Sept. 20, on MacRumors and TUAW.
September 09, 2013
Summertime in Oregon is a beautiful thing. About once month we Grovers like to take an afternoon break from making our products and get out into nature as a team to go hiking in the forests and breath some clean air. This past month we went to Oneonta Gorge located about 35 miles outside of Portland, Oregon in the Columbia River Gorge.
With snacks on our backs and pockets full of nuts and berries for sustenance we hiked into the wilderness. Oneonta Gorge really is a special place, and feels a bit like you are stepping into J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. The small path follows a rocky, winding stream up a very narrow gorge with steep moss and fern covered cliffs, eventually ending at a pretty little waterfall.
However, to get to the end of the hike, there also is a comically sketchy and enormous pile of driftwood (aka entire fallen trees) blocking the way which you must carefully scramble over. When we were there it was swarming with native Oregonian children, who seemed entirely unfazed by the large pile of natural debris. You must also wade chest deep through the stream which is made of melted ice flow from Mt. Hood. It was cold, cold, cold, but worth the beautiful sight at the end of the hike.
Afterward we cruised down the old historic Columbia River highway to Multnomah Falls, the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon. Here we “gorged” ourselves on ice cream and cookies, and basked in the weirdness of Oregon tourists milling about Multnomah Falls lodge and the gift shop where we were tempted to buy fools gold paper weights and decks of cards with decorated with edible plants. Thankfully, sometimes we have self restraint in gift shops! But only sometimes.
It was another great outing in the woods for team Grove!
September 03, 2013
Around here Danielle is known as “the anomaly” because the day she walked into our shop she picked up all of the required woodshop skills quick! (Like, suspiciously quick. Hmmm... who is she, really?) She is Grove’s newest production team member and we are happy to have her on board. Her days at Grove are spent sanding iPhones and Bamboo Backs to her heart’s content while listening to podcasts.
Danielle hails from Tacoma, Washington, but has already seamlessly slipped into a bike riding, good food loving, fun-friend finding life here in Portland, Oregon. She’s basically a walking encyclopedia of all things cool-- and by cool, I mean the good stuff in life: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Edward Gorey, and anything by Andre Norton.
She read The Lord of the Rings when she was in the 5th grade, with The Silmarillion and The Smith of Wooton Major being her favorite of Tolkien’s books. Maybe when C.G.I. Blockbuster loving Hollywood decides to make some more artful versions of Tolkien’s works we can get into the good stuff… (Who would cut out a character like Tom Bombadil? The Man! That’s who.)
Danielle is an artist and a maker, a huge fan and avid reader of fun fiction (like Girl Genius-- created and written by people from the Puget Sound!), and a sci-fi aficionado. Every Tuesday night she meets her pals at The Tardis Room in North Portland for Dr. Who Trivia night. Dr. Who you ask? Yup, Dr. Who. Stargate, Star Trek, and all movies campy are her favorite too. She went to Trek in the Park three times this summer!
Recently, when she is not sanding on Bamboo Backs in our shop, Danielle is busy writing scripts. She did a lot of theater and tech work and someday hopes to have a production theater called Windswept Table Productions, inspired by Edward Gorey. So good!
August 29, 2013
Product designer and production manager Sean Kelly usually gets to work incredibly early - he’s the first one here. That’s how our Instagram hashtag #FridayCatTrap began. I walked up to my desk one Friday morning to find my little plastic Desk Kitty held over a cup of coffee by a Green Thing (our breffo Spiderpodium phone stand, to be more clear). The rest was history.
Week after week, Sean creeped up to my desk in the wee morning, before I got to work, to help the Green Thing one-up himself with ways to defeat Desk Kitty. Talk about creativity! Here’s a quick overview of our #FridayCatTraps so far:
Hot coffee lava!
Feeding the water bottle beast!
Hanging over flaming pencil spikes...
An offering the internet Gods
Scotty’s blade-focused revenge
Watch the laser blaze near Kitty’s precious head in this video!
She doesn’t see that fall coming...
Can you spot the trap here?
If Desk Kitty dies while trapped in Green Thing’s dream, does she die in real life too?
Thank you for checking out some of Desk Kitty’s dangerous past. We’ll be sure to keep posting updates on the Green Thing’s devious plans as the year goes on. Once we get into the rainy Portland autumn, I’m sure Sean will have plenty of time to sit and scheme. Follow Team Grove on Instagram, our username is @Grovemade!
August 26, 2013
What if there was a way to easily control every web connected device in your home directly from your smartphone? Grove’s production manager Sean Kelly and a group of Portland, Oregon based designers and innovators asked themselves that very question. Well, if you’re a parent with web savvy children, you’re in luck! Circle is a new product designed to assist us in developing a healthier relationship to the Internet, our computers, and our smartphones. Support Circle’s kickstarter campaign here!
What does Circle do? Circle connects wirelessly to your router and devices and acts as a filter, time management tool, and informs and notifies you of your family’s networks activity. It offers smart filters to make sure only age appropriate content reaches your children. Have you ever lost track of time and gone spiraling down the black hole of youtube? Circle can help! Imagine every device powering down simultaneously (in effect, pausing the Internet) for your set dinner hour or dedicated family time.
These web devices we use are relatively new and many of us are unknowingly addicted to the Internet. Further still, young children are native to this new digital landscape. The Internet is a tool and we want to teach our children how to use it in a way that is enriching to their lives, not detrimental to development. We love our technology, but sometimes we all need a reminder to go outside and climb a tree!
We Grovers are a busy bunch and Sean is no exception. He works full time as our production manager helping to produce mountains of bamboo iPhone cases, and yet... somehow he still finds the time to design on the side and sleep a little here and there. How does he do it? We wish them luck!
Support Sean and the Circle team here!
August 22, 2013
We’re shouting it from the mountain tops again: “We love Instagram!” Check out another installment of nifty Instagrams from our fans and followers, which they tagged with #Grovemade, #SkateCase, or #BambooBack. Follow us; our handle is Grovemade.From Rafaisalive: “Love my Grove #skatecase because reasons. Also, need to put it back on my phone ASAP #instagrove”From Simran_Matharu: “My new iPhone 5 with my new Grovemade MapleXO SkateCase case #grovemade #grove #maplexo #skatecase #iphone5”And another one (!) from Simran_Matharu: “#grovemade #grove #skatecase #maplexo #iphone5 #white #woop”From JoelyPopelly: “#grovemade arrived in germany #love #your #products #oldschool #and #cool #iphone #skate #case #back #skateback”From TakenbyTom: “Possibly the best #iphone case, bar none. #awesome #birds #wigs #bamboo #grovemade”From Twillyon: “Happy to see my #grovemade lappy cover greeting me this morning.”From T_Stales: “The case comes home! #bamboo #bambooforest #grovemade #instagrove #nofilter #instagood #iphonesia #instadaily #instagramhub #iphoneonly #instaphoto”From Melcc59: “#grovemade I love my wave case thanks grove!”From Oleg_Pavlov: “[Translated from Russian] #vscocam # grovemade from Portland, Oregon, Masha swam with the whales on a new iPhone case”From Spaded: “New iPhone case #sexy #grovemade #grovemadeiphone”Thank you so much to all our Instagram followers for your fun and fantabulous photos! Keep ‘em coming by tagging your Grove photos with #Grovemade, #SkateCase, or #BambooBack. And, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!
August 16, 2013
Sean and Max using ChineseFingerApp, the premier finger trap app.I don’t think Team Grove is alone in the fact that we spend a lot of time on our iPhones. What makes the iOS and similar systems so special, are the apps. From the outside, we’re all using (basically) the same devices, but what we do on them each day is our business. Haven’t found your soulmate app yet? Take a look at some of our faves:Al JazeeraIf you like to stay in the know regarding current events, news apps can help you with that. Mike Schultz likes to find out what’s happening on an international level by streaming world news through the Al Jazeera app.FeedlyFor more specialized content and all your blog-reading needs, Feedly is a great app to use as an RSS reader. Ken loves using Feedly to read about all the latest news and trends, especially in the business and design realms.PodcastsBarrett prefers to digest knowledge and content of the audial variety. You can access all your favorite free audio and video podcasts and discover new ones through the app Podcasts. Barrett says, “...it’s tons of free amazing content that stimulates my mind!”MyFitnessPalSo we know how to keep our mind in shape, but what about our bodies? Dashia swears by MyFitnessPal to help keep her mind on her health. She likes how you can scan the barcodes of different food products with your phone, and the app will tell you about the calorie count in that product and how it relates to your overall diet.VenmoWhen it’s time to put away MyFitnessPal for the night and go out feasting, Mike Dowty uses Venmo to pay his buddy back for those chili cheese fries and that double scoop brownie sundae. Venmo makes it easy to pay friends back quickly, so you don’t have to sweat it when the bill comes to your party of five.SpotifyYes, it requires a subscription for unlimited mobile use, but Spotify is an essential for the music lover. If Max wants to check out the new Kanye West album while he’s engraving some Bamboo Backs, bam, he can do that! Maybe he’s wondering what Barrett would think of it; with a couple clicks, he can send it to Barrett’s Spotify inbox. Musical exploration made easy!Deluxe Moon ProIf you’re ever sitting around listening to folk music and wondering what phase the moon is in, Deluxe Moon is your new best friend. In fact, it tells you everything you’d ever want to know about the moon at that very moment. Mike Schultz says he uses this rad app way more than you might think a person should.Dark SkyWhen it's time to head home after a long night of chatting about moon phases with friends, check out the app Dark Sky, which gives you a nearly real-time assessment of the current sky. Joe checks it before riding so he hop on his bike during a break in the rain and stay drive. It's "freakishly accurate," he said. Screenshots from the iPhone app Deluxe Moon ProThere you have it: news, blogs, foods, cash, tunes, moons. There’s an app to manage just about everything in your life! We’re excited for the likely updates to our favorite apps with the upcoming iOS7 release from Apple.What’s your favorite app? Written by Mary Yajko. She is a Grove customer support rep and crazed blogger originally from upstate New York. She enjoys opened minds, uncontrollable fits of laughter, and large amounts of french fries with ketchup.
August 14, 2013
They say your ears burn when people are talking about you. Well, we’ve heard it from multiple sources and can attest to it ourselves: your nose tickles when someone writes a blog article about you. Team Grove has definitely had its share of tickling noses this year!
Here’s a couple of our favorite blog posts about our company from this summer:
TechCrunch wrote about our iPhone 5 SkateCase on June 3rd, and product reviewer Jordan Crook definitely had some great things to say about it! He wrote about the process of reclaiming the skateboard material from the factory, working with MapleXO to turn it into the signature recycled laminate, and hand sanding and finishing the case to bring out those beautiful stripes:
“Each Skate Case is made from recycled skateboard material and rubbed with citrus oil to bring out the unique coloring of the wood. This means that if you buy a Skate Case, no one in the world will ever have the same case as you. Pretty cool, right?”
Digital Trends followed suit later this summer and published a July 22 piece on our SkateCase by writer and reviewer Nick Mokey. Mokey stressed the care that goes into each Grovemade iPhone case that we make here, a sentiment that gave us the straight-up warm fuzzies:
“These cases are art, and radiate all the care that went into their precise construction. They feel nice in the hand, and unlike any scratch-collecting shard of injection-molded plastic, get nicer the more you handle them. I’ve toured Grove’s factory here in Portland,tried earlier iterations of its bamboo cases, and can vouch that the SkateCases are the pinnacle of a process two very talented guys have spent a long, long time perfecting.”
On July 1st, AppAdvice’s Brent Dirks wrote about our re-launched Bamboo Backs for MacBook Air 11” and MacBook Air and Pro 13” and 15”, along with new Bamboo Backs for iPad and iPad Mini. A Bamboo Back fan for sure, Dirks wrote about how each one is made from hand sanded and oiled bamboo veneer here in our workshop:
“[...]to help add a unique touch of style, customers can choose from more than 50 special cutouts, including a peace sign, the famous Apple “Command” symbol, and even a mustache[...]Last year, I reviewed the company’s Skateback, and can attest firsthand to the high-quality accessories that Grove creates. And for just $29, I think the Bamboo Back is a great bargain.”
Has all our press been praise and pats on the back this year? No way! We definitely value some constructive criticism. Both Digital Trends and TechCrunch mentioned that the price was a bit startling on our SkateCase. While we priced the case as low as possible to sustain the labor intensive process and special reclaimed skateboard material, we understand that our cases are not priced like the plastic ones. Since these reviews were published, we've been working hard alongside our partners and vendors to reduce our costs, and we were able to lower the price of our SkateCase by $30! Hooray for blogs and handiwork!
Don’t forget to check the above reviews as well as all of our products available on Grovemade.com, including the newly priced SkateCase!
Written by Mary Yajko. She is a Grove customer support rep and crazed blogger originally from upstate New York. She enjoys opened minds, uncontrollable fits of laughter, and large amounts of french fries with ketchup.
August 09, 2013
The #Instagrove Sweepstakes is here!
Are you on Instagram? Show us why you love Grove for a chance to win a product of your choice! We love Instagram around here, and are pumped to see what photos our fans and followers submit.
Enter in Three Simple Steps:
1) Take an Instagram video or picture of a Grove product and tell us what you love most about it in the caption.
3) Post to Instagram using the #Instagrove hashtag. A video is worth three entries, a picture is worth 1 entry (videos are awesome)!
4) Enter your email in the box on the contest page here, and you’re done!
We’ll announce the winners on August 15th.
We cannot wait to see what you come up with! Don’t forget to check out our Instagram stream @Grovemade to see what silly things the team is up to on a daily basis.
Oh! And, happy Instagramming!
Written by Mary Yajko. She is a Grove customer support rep and crazed blogger originally from upstate New York. She enjoys opened minds, uncontrollable fits of laughter, and large amounts of french fries with ketchup.
July 31, 2013
Bamboo, our primary material, has been used for centuries around the world and has proved to be an amazing and durable building material. It is flexible, strong, and relatively lightweight-- not to mention beautiful and rapidly renewable. There are a few amazing designer/artisans building with it nowadays who are pushing the limits of the material. Today we wanted to feature a stunning bamboo sculpture made by Bamboo DNA for the 2008 Coachella music festival.
Bamboo DNA is the brainchild of Gerard Minakawa, a native New Yorker and graduate of the Rhode Island School Design. Minakawa employs a team of experienced, hard working bamboo artisans including Grove co-founder Ken Tomita back in the day. He designs work on a massive scale, building structures at events all around the country including Burning Man, Cochella Music Festival, and the Electric Daisy Carnival. The sculptures are wild, innovative, and often employ intricate mathematics into their forms. (We love the way they look at night all lit up with fluorescents!)
This particular sculpture was built over 3 weeks time with an army of 30+ volunteers who worked through the day and night to complete the project. First, a giant bamboo mesh was woven on the ground. Bundles of giant guadua bamboo poles were lashed together using traditional binding techniques with rope and pins to form super-columns over 80ft tall! Modern rigging techniques were used to erect the sculpture using 4 cranes and 2 reach-forks.
It was beautiful to look at, but the sculpture also had the deeper purpose of acting as a place of rest and rejuvenation for festival goers. Today Bamboo DNA continues to push the envelope of using bamboo for sculpture. Ken is grateful he had the chance to work with and learn about bamboo from Minakawa, and so are we!
Written by Mike Schultz. He is an oil painter from Ithaca, New York. When he is not working for Grove, he’s painting and drawing to his heart’s content. You can see his work on his blog and his website.
July 22, 2013
Do you wear your heart on your sleeve? What about your iPhone on your wrist? People do seem to adore their iOS devices (especially with iOS 7 on the horizon) - but, do they love them enough to wear them in constant view on their arms? Yes, probably!
Image via: VentureBeat
Mac Rumors points to Apple’s serious pursuit of a stylish and wearable device - the iWatch. Financial Times is reporting that Apple has been on quite a hiring spree of sorts to build a team of experts for the smart watch’s development. Along with more than 100 designers, in early July, Apple hired Paul Deneve, the former CEO of fashion house Yves Saint Laurent. Hired to work on “special projects,” it’s assumed style expert Deneve will be an integral cog in designing wearable computing devices, like the “smart watch.”
Image via: Investor Bistro
Furthering the rumors, Apple has been filing trademark applications in a number of countries for the “iWatch.” However, TUAW is playing devil’s advocate. It’s not the first time we’ve heard of Apple “aggressively hiring” for an anticipated new product that never came to be. TUAW asks, “[...]if Apple had never released the watch-like fifth-gen iPod nano, would we be buried under a mountain of stupid "iWatch" articles all these years later?”
Image from Cult of Mac
Cult of Mac takes a glass-half-full outlook on the implications, and goes one step further, suggesting the iWatch is in fact in development and that it may be made from Liquidmetal alloy.
“Theoretically, Liquidmetal could allow Apple to realize thinner, lighter, more resilient devices… but the Liquidmetal fabrication process is hard to work with, which is why, so far, we’ve only seen one actual Liquidmetal Apple product: the SIM removal tool that ships with every iPhone!”
If you’re not quite ready for “Liquidmetal wearables,” no worries. Some other new designs are surely around the corner. According to Mac Rumors, the iPad Mini is reportedly getting an “almost bezel free” wave-one redesign coming later this year, with a second-wave redesign shortly after to introduce a Retina Display version of the Mini. Grove is hoping to keep our Bamboo Backs aligned for all re-designs of the Mini, so stay tuned!
In the meantime, gaze at your naked wrist in unbridled anticipation for Apple’s smart watch...
Written by Mary Yajko. She is a Grove customer support rep and crazed blogger originally from upstate New York. She enjoys opened minds, uncontrollable fits of laughter, and large amounts of french fries with ketchup.