An Inspiration Board for Creatives: Meet Tina of Factory45

This is a guest post from Factory45’er, Tina Hofer Medico.

I’m Tina Hofer Medico, an interior designer for highly-creative businesses and the people who run ‘em — and the creator of The Spark Board.

As a designer, I love having the freedom to play, scribble, scrawl and make a total mess — when I’m in creative mode. But I also appreciate having a chic, tidy and sophisticated workspace at the end of the day — especially since I’m usually working from home!

I’ve also learned that I need to SEE my dreams, goals and intentions, right in front of my eyes, every single day. If they’re tucked away in a drawer (or filed away on my hard drive) they’re never going to get the attention they deserve.

One day, a bolt of brilliance hit me — what if there was a functional tool that could serve as a beautiful inspiration board by day, and transform into a modern art piece, by night?

An inspiration board that represents so much more — a life of creative passion and productivity, but also balance & work-life proportion.

I searched high and low, but I couldn’t find what I wanted.

So I decided to invent it, myself.

And with that, The SPARK Board was born.

The Spark Board is a dedicated space for the projects that make you come alive. In a world filled with mundane tasks and endless to-do lists, it is a respite – a sacred space where you can keep your flame burning bright – a place where you come to renew your sense of possibility and engage in the act of creating your dreams and bringing your vision to life.

Follow along as I document The Spark Board Story at I’m diving into the details of how the idea was born, the process of creating it over the last two years and the serendipity of mentors, suppliers & manufacturers that have helped transform this from an idea in my imagination to an actual piece of furniture going into production just a few months from today!

Inside Factory45: The Making of the Bicycle Wrap Skirt

This is a guest post by Lara Neece, founder of Forest and Fin. You can read the original version here.

What happens when you love wearing skirts, love riding bikes, and like to make everything yourself? A Bicycle Wrap Skirt, of course – a skirt that’s dressy enough for the office or going out with with friends, but with a few simple adjustments, is ready to hop on a bike and be on the move in minutes. I spent years biking in skirts, and years trying to find the perfect skirt that I could wear just about anywhere without a second thought. My husband can tell you that there have been many, many days in which I’ve made him wait, while I changed clothes, just so we could bike to lunch or dinner or to the park because I didn’t want to worry about my skirt on the bike. The perfect skirt just didn’t exist.

forestandfinskirt2Forest and Fin began back in 2009, when I first started screen-printing, moved onto a sailboat, and decided to become an artist. Back then, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing (you could still argue that’s true now! ), but I had the passion and desire to learn. In the beginning, I screenprinted my drawings of plants and animals onto tshirts, and you can still purchase them in my shop today. But Forest and Fin is undergoing an evolution. It’s adapting and growing; my mission and goals are becoming clearer. I’m an artist and a designer, not just a screenprinter. My screenprinted designs and apparel were the starting point and a way for me to support myself while I developed my art and business, but now I am branching into new products that better embrace my mission, a mission to help people spend more time outside.

Over the past few years, in my search for blank items to print on, I ran into problems sourcing items that were both affordable and fit my aesthetic vision. In addition to being sustainable and earthy, I wanted my products to be functional, efficient (multi-use), and give back to the planet in some small way. I am focusing on a line of sustainably-made-in-the-USA everyday wear and household items, starting with a functional wrap skirt (the Bicycle Wrap Skirt) that includes bicycle friendly features and extra pockets. I am planning to dye the skirts blue or green and depending on the color will donate a small percentage of profits towards ocean (blue) or forest (green) conservation efforts.

forestandfinskirtWhile I’m still in the early phases of product development, I have a prototype that works (really!) and I plan to document the rest of the journey here. I hope that you’ll join this discussion and weigh in on features of the design to help me streamline the perfect skirt. This is going to be a staple in my wardrobe (and maybe yours too!), so it needs to be durable, high quality, sustainable, classy, fun, and above all functional. I’ve put together a short survey with questions about design features, colors, pricing, etc. and would love for you (yes, you!) to weigh in on the design while I am still in the development stage. Your input will be essential in shaping the final outcome.

Take the Bicycle Wrap Skirt Design Survey here.

For more about Forest and Fin, check it out here.

(Photo credit: Forest and Fin)