An Evening With the League of Women Designers
The women who visited Bullseye Projects in the Pearl District on the evening of July 11 were treated to presentations by inspiring designers and innovators Lauren Hackett (Bosque Design) and Betsy Cross (betsy & iya). While surrounded by stunning works of glass art, this installment of Lady Makers was actually a collaborative effort with the League of Women Designers (LWD), a member-led organization that strives to unite and elevate women in design in our community.
Dani Lipski, a member of both organizations, served as a moderator for the event, and our hosts at Bullseye Projects gave a brief opening, noting that the call for 2019 artist residencies is open until September 1. It’s not just for glass artists, either, the pair stressed: They love seeing what artists in other mediums come up with when they approach the complexities of glass.
Next, LWD member Lauren Hackett took those in attendance through her journey to founding Bosque in 2015. Initially a student of architecture, Hackett quickly learned that her interests were adjacent to the field—how things are made, material, form, and how people interact with objects and space. From there, Hackett landed at rhiza A+D, working as a designer before starting Bosque on her own.
“When we’re designing, we’re predicting the future,” Hackett said, noting that her approach to design is rarely about perfection on the first go, instead focusing on getting concepts out on paper, seeing what works (and more often than not, what doesn’t work), and troubleshooting through issues as they arise to get to the intended goal.
Though their initiations into the world of design were very different, Betsy Cross agreed with Hackett about getting ideas out in their roughest form, and she even brought out her sketchbook for the audience to peruse as proof. Cross, a member of Portland Made, came to design in a much less conventional way, though: while completing her graduate degree in theater, Cross worked at a bead shop, so she had a general knowledge of jewelry and jewelry making. But it wasn’t until some time spent in Mexico City and falling in love with the mercados there that Cross got the idea to pursue jewelry full time.
When she started betsy & iya, Cross did everything from bookkeeping to retail sales,
“For better or for worse,” she said with a laugh.
Now, fortunately, she’s able to hire enough staff to allow her to focus on sketching exclusively, and the brand has expanded enough that they’re slated to move into a larger space this fall.
The night had the feeling of unity and empowerment that’s expected from both LWD and Portland Made; together, that spirit was even stronger. As the event came to a close, members stayed to sip rosé, browse the two floors of Bullseye’s gallery space, and connect with each other.
Words by Katey Trnka
Photography by Sarah Toor