High Meadow photo by Nic Lehoux.


Design residency and national speakers are part of partnership

Sixteen local makers were recently selected by Fallingwater to participate in the first Fallingwater + Monmade Design Residency.

The residency for the makers—all designers, craftspeople, and artists from Monmade—will take place April 24 – 26 at High Meadow, Fallingwater’s newly expanded and renovated educational program complex.

During the residency, the makers will enjoy intimate access to Fallingwater’s architecture, surroundings, and diverse collection of decorative arts. Inspired by the setting, they will design innovative and thoughtful home goods, furniture, and artwork. All of the products, prototypes, and designs will be featured at an exhibition this fall at the Brew House Association gallery, and several will be purchased by Fallingwater for sale in the Museum Store.

Monmade created a selection rubric that considered a diversity of background, material, and process. Fallingwater then selected residency participants based on aesthetic, craft, and professionalism.

Selected makers include Collarbone Jewelry, Maia Leppo, Urban Tree, KerfCase, Savannah Hayes, FD Pottery, Bones and All, OTTO FINN, Paul Michael Designs, KMJ Metalworks, LaVerne Kemp, strawberryluna, Jowdy Ceramics, TAKTTIME, Seth LeDonne, and Broken Plates.

Most residency participants call Pittsburgh their home, but FD Pottery operates outside Allegheny County. Besides the quality of their work and approach, including them demonstrates the goals of the Craft Business Accelerator, Monmade’s parent program, to support creatives throughout western Pennsylvania.

Alison Glancey of strawberryluna. Photo by Julia Reynolds.

“It’s a chance to become part of the legacy of Fallingwater,” says Allison Glancey of strawberryluna, one of the participants. “To explore familiar and new product forms with our designs from the ground up is really exciting.”

With the goal of expanding and enhancing its Museum Store sales, retail experience, and design education offering, Monmade is a model partner for Fallingwater. Likewise, with the goal of expanding sales and professional development opportunities for the creatives it supports, Fallingwater is a model partner for Monmade.

“For my business, this opportunity will help KMJ enter new markets,” says Ramone Patterson of KMJ Metalworks. “Creatively speaking, I’m inspired by patterns and geometries and can’t wait to immerse myself at Fallingwater and the natural surroundings.”

Justin Gunther, director of Fallingwater and vice president of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, says it’s all about the mission. “Maintaining the Kaufmann family’s legacy is central to our mission at Fallingwater, and we strive to promote beauty, innovation, and good design in all of our operations and educational programs,” he notes. “This collaboration between Monmade and Fallingwater is the perfect way to advance those ideals, as we work together to provide regional creatives with new opportunities and inspiration.”

Rona Chang of OTTO FINN. Photo by Julia Reynolds.

That’s why it’s a great match for Rona Chang of OTTO FINN. “My background is bi-cultural and growing up in Asia and NYC informed much of my openness to the cultural exchange of ideas,” she says.“It is a joy to problem solve when given parameters so this residency feels fitting.”

This isn’t the first time Monmade has partnered with an organization. “With the success of The National Aviary Maker Challenge, we’re looking for other regional partners,” says Adam Kenney, director of the Craft Business Accelerator at Bridgeway Capital. “We created Monmade to generate growth opportunities for regional makers, and we see the best results when they are truly inspired.”

Together with Carnegie Museum of Art, Fallingwater and Monmade will continue their collaboration by bringing a national speaker to Pittsburgh to share insights on the power of good design. On May 9th the three organizations will co-host Juliet Kinchin, curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Kinchin will present on MoMA’s current exhibition, “The Value of Good Design,” which celebrates the creativity brought to everyday objects through thoughtful design. “Although the exhibit highlights the mid-century surge of design, it also explores its ongoing and increasing relevance in the 21st century,” she says.

According to Gunther, “This exhibition also has a special tie to Fallingwater. Edgar Kaufmann, jr., whose family built Fallingwater, served as MoMA’s industrial design curator and organized the museum’s original Good Design exhibition series that ran from 1950 to 1955.”

Ramone Patterson of KMJ Metalworks. Photo by Julia Reynolds.

Rachel Delphia, the Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at Carnegie Museum of Art, brings CMOA into the collaboration with Fallingwater and Monmade for this special event. “Our organizations share deep commitments to modern and contemporary design and craft,” says Delphia. “We are delighted to partner in presenting the latest chapter of MoMA’s Good Design legacy to a Pittsburgh audience.”

“Design is an important part of Pittsburgh past and future” says Delphia, who co-organized the museum’s 2015 exhibition Silver to Steel: the Modern Designs of Peter Muller-Munk. “CMOA has long celebrated the best of functional design in our collections and exhibitions. We recently acquired Silhouette beverage glasses designed by Eva Zeisel and made locally by Bryce Brothers. They were included in MoMA’s 1953 edition of Good Design. Collaborating with Fallingwater and Monmade is another opportunity to keep Pittsburgh in the national design conversation.”

“Our main goal with the Craft Business Accelerator and Monmade programs is creativity-driven economic development,” states Kenney. “Design is the creative language of manufacturing, so by elevating it through partnerships, residencies, and national speakers we support the creative economy and maker ecosystem while engaging with the manufacturing sector.”

Kinchin’s lecture will be held May 9 in the CMOA Theater at Carnegie Museum of Art at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are free; pre-registration is suggested. RSVP and read details here.

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