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Filling the Creative Cup 

A Q&A on the upcoming Bend Design conference

Rene Mitchell is the executive director of Scalehouse, a collaborative for the arts in Bend that annually puts on the Bend Design conference. Mitchell co-produces Bend Design with Martha Murray each October, bringing fresh ideas for creatives who live in the local area, as well as those who come just for the event.

The Source Weekly chatted with Mitchell about this week's Bend Design, which kicked off Oct. 11 and has its "main event" Friday, Oct. 14.

Source Weekly: For those not familiar, give readers a sense of what they can expect at Bend Design.

click to enlarge Rene Mitchell, executive director of Scalehouse and co-producer of Bend Design. - COURTESY SCALEHOUSE
  • Courtesy Scalehouse
  • Rene Mitchell, executive director of Scalehouse and co-producer of Bend Design.

Rene Mitchell: Bend Design is modeled after all the design conferences around the globe, where we look at how design impacts our daily life. We have speakers, films, workshops and an exhibition all looking at practices of design. We bring in industry leaders who speak about design trends, design process, what they're thinking, and in the afternoon we have hands-on workshops.

SW: What's going through your mind when you're planning this event? What's important for you to achieve?

RM: I'm really excited for the fact that we can bring together bold minds, thinkers and doers that touch so many aspects of design—architecture-type design, technology... and just see what the attendees can walk away with. We always hear new ideas emerge from what they hear and learn at the event.

SW: What's something surprising about this year's event—or something you're looking forward to?

RM: A fun new development is having Teafly involved, our MC, to interview all of the speakers in the morning following their talks. So, each speaker will speak for about 30 minutes, and following will be about a 15-minute Q&A, and that will be led by Teafly. In the past Martha and I have done this, and we really wanted to be available for attendees, things that come up and have one person focus on the Q&A. And given Teafly's role with BendFilm, Sisters Folk Festival and other events, and just seeing how well she interacts with artists, it's just really fun to have her involved this year.

We're also having a really cool workshop. It's a two-hour workshop—so a bit longer than we've had in the past—and it's called "How to Make Mistakes on Purpose: Bringing Chaos to Your Order." This is being led by an artist named Laurie Rosenwald. She's written a book called "How to Make Mistakes on Purpose: Bringing Chaos to Your Order." And it's a great book, really fun.

click to enlarge Hope Meng's monogram exhibition, has been on display at the Scalehouse Gallery since September. Meng will give an artist talk Wednesday at Bend Design, as well as leading a workshop Friday. Below: - COURTESY SCALEHOUSE
  • Courtesy Scalehouse
  • Hope Meng's monogram exhibition, has been on display at the Scalehouse Gallery since September. Meng will give an artist talk Wednesday at Bend Design, as well as leading a workshop Friday. Below:

We're actually going to slow down and talk about making mistakes. And when you make mistakes, what comes from that process?

SW: What else should people have on their radar for Bend Design?

RM: We're exhibiting an artist, Hope Meng, at Scalehouse Gallery, who is also leading a workshop, and that's the first time we've ever done that. In the months of September and October we've had [the gallery] focusing on Hope Meng and her exhibition. She will be speaking about her exhibition and her project called the Monogram Project Wednesday evening, as an artist talk to kick off Bend Design, as well as a workshop on Friday afternoon.

Bend Design
Tue. Oct 11-Fri. Oct. 14
Main event Friday includes morning keynote speakers & afternoon workshops
Tower Theatre/Downtown Bend
scalehouse.org/benddesign

About The Author

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. While the pandemic reduced "hobbies" to "aspirations," you can mostly find her raising chickens, walking dogs, riding all the bikes and attempting to turn a high desert scrap of land into a permaculture oasis. (Progress: slow.)
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