Deep In Design

Deep In Design


October 2, 2014


Run by Rachel McCartney, J.C. Christy and Daniel Lund, Deep In Design aims to bring a small, collaborative effort to big, ambitious projects. Located in a downtown studio by the river, the trio, who recently secured their first large-scale commission project, have been working on and off together for a while now, but with their respective pasts being so busy, they’re finally getting a chance to expand the shop and move forward. caught up with McCartney, Christy and Lund to talk about past projects, what they are currently working on and the five albums they would pick if they were stranded on a desert island.

Tell us more about some of your past projects?
The idea for our business came through one of JC’s blacksmithing classes at the Toledo Museum of Art that Dan attended in November 2012. Dan and JC did a show at Bozarts called “All of Us” with Richard Reed, Dave McIntyre, Doug Solomon, Jesse Mireles, Mark Moffett, and Will McCullough. After that show, the three of us began to formulate the idea for a new design studio that encouraged collaborative design and made large-scale commission work possible for us through resource and skill-sharing. Dan soon got a statistics project in Austin, TX, Rachel started a project at the Arts Commission, and J.C. was busy with TMA classes and his work in the exhibit department at the Toledo Zoo, and so we had a short hiatus from Deep In Design. By the time Dan came back from Austin in the spring 2014, JC and Rachel had moved their studio to Ottawa Street and we all kicked back into gear. We are currently expanding the shop and landed our first official DID job this summer: a ceiling medallion master pattern that is to be manufactured for a large retailer.

What current projects are you working on?

We had our work in the F*Sho, a contemporary furniture design show in Cleveland on September12th, as well as collaboration pieces with Gavin Lehman of Designer Wrought Iron. It was an amazing show, very much supported by the 1000+ folks who attended, and we were honored to be a part of such a wonderful group of designers. The big ongoing one has been studio renovation. We are in an old industrial space down by the Maumee River that has seen better days and needed some work. Between our supportive landlord and our fellow artists and friends at Olive Street Studios, it is amazing what has been done in the past year. We have been scouring the scrapyards and have lots of new work and materials. Today specifically, Dan is into spalted maple, JC is back on building the iron cupola, and Rachel is doing interior restoration on a ’53 Packard Clipper.

What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?
The Toledo Museum of Art is the biggest advantage we have in Toledo to build upon as a resource in a creative venture like ours. We are involved on many levels with TMA and we love our Museum.

*The kind, supportive, pragmatic, and innovative people of Toledo.
*Proximity to the Great Lakes/Waterways.
*Proximity to many cities/markets.
*Being in the seat of the Industrial Revolution in the U.S.A. offers us so many possibilities just not possible elsewhere. The industrial base, including knowledge, materials, buildings and business are not so hard to come by in Toledo if you talk to people. Our art/design is influenced by industrial processes and what lives next door.

Tell us about one of your greatest successes.
Rachel: I am AmeriCorps. I completed two terms of national community service with Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity, and recently finished another term in 2013-2014 as community engagement specialist with The Arts Commission in Toledo. The experience has shaped my career path immeasurably and pushed me toward my talents all along.

Dan: Discovering the art classes at the Toledo Museum of Art. Serendipity smiled upon me one fall day in 2008, after touring our gem of an art museum, I happened to walk by the Grove Place Studios and saw a blacksmithing class in action through the big plate glass windows. I went in and asked what was going on; was this part of a university class? I was told that no, it’s not a university class; it was a class available to any member of the community.  I signed up for the next session that night. My life was changed at that instant and the seed of art that had been planted in my soul by my parents had finally germinated.

Tell us who or what gives you inspiration?
Rachel: Shiny people and things.
JC: History, the written word, and the occasional piece of bad plumbing.  
Dan: The natural world; both the beauty of nature and its inner workings as explored through the many scientific arts such as physics, biology, chemistry and mathematics.

Tell us about your background.
Rachel: I am originally from New Jersey, and Ohio is my seventh state of residence. I started doing metalwork in 2007 in Kalamazoo, MI at a non-profit metalworking school where I ran the gallery and got free classes for 2.5 years. My main areas of work have been in construction, community development, and arts administration. My father, a general contractor who specializes in custom log homes, taught me my love of beautiful, substantial construction and materials. Working with Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity sparked my interest in green building, and I am a BPI-certified building analyst, qualified to do energy use audits for residential and commercial structures, which is what I did in Detroit before moving here to Toledo in December of 2012. I have been working in smaller proportions for the last few years for lack of the space and equipment to weld, forge, and cast metals, and have found great fascination and satisfaction in metal textiles and precious metal clay. I am so ready to scale back up with a much-developed eye for detail and precision now that our space is coming together.

JC:  I grew up in rural south-central Ohio and have long family roots there.  My family has made everything from clay tile and glassware, to moonshine, baked goods, and bluegrass music.  My mother was a librarian in the public school system, my father was a pipe-fitter and waste water treatment plant operator.  Our household was a practical, hard-working one, with equal emphasis on education and vocation.  I had a Mark Twain/Baden Powell upbringing: books and campfire cookery were staples of entertainment, and my parents loved to travel. I was always encouraged to pursue my artistic and academic interests, and I liked hard physical labor. Becoming a sculptor seemed a natural fit.  I received my B.F.A. and M.F.A. in Sculpture from Bowling Green State University and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, respectively. Over the years, I have been a short-order cook, a janitor, a tattoo artist, a foundryman, a blacksmith, a stone mason, a handyman, a mold and pattern maker, a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker…the list goes on. Mostly, I have been working itinerantly as a fine artist and educator, tradesman, and craftsperson across several state lines and multiple industries.  

Dan: I’ve lived all across the country from Alaska to Virginia.  My father has traveled to over 60 countries in his duties as a resource inventory specialist with the U.S. forest service and my mother was born in Costa Rica and is a retired teacher and home-maker.  My parents, creative, intelligent and inquisitive souls, instilled in me the appreciation of other cultures, lands and peoples as well marveling at the beauty inherent in all things and ideas.  They taught me that if you examine an item, be it concrete or abstract, carefully and are willing to explore outside of one’s own provincial constraints, you can find both beauty and utility within. This ability has served me well in my professional life allowing me to create many unique solutions where none has existed before. I’ve spent most of my working life as an engineer of one type or another within the semi-conductor manufacturing world and most recently as a statistical data miner for various photo-voltaic manufacturing companies. Now I’m exploring a new chapter sharing the journey of artistic exploration and instantiation with my business partners, friends and clients and purveyors of the arts.

Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?
Rachel: Grow or Die.
JC:  “There is no truer and more abiding happiness than the knowledge that one is free to go on doing, day by day, the best work one can do, in the kind one likes best, and that this work is absorbed by a steady market and thus supports one's own life ... Perfect freedom is reserved for the man who lives by his own work and in that work does what he wants to do.”
-R.G. Collingwood
Dan: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by those that you did do.  So throw off the bowlines and sail away from safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails and Explore, Dream, Discover.”  Mark Twain.

Favorite place for local culture?
Rachel: Collingwood Arts Center is a favorite.

Toledo’s “best kept secret” is . . .
TMA is free 6 days a week. Can’t believe it is still a secret to some.

My favorite place to chill locally is . . .
Dan: Honestly, I love our studio space and our fellow artists who work in the same building.

My favorite natural space in the Toledo area is . . .
Rachel: Across from our studio, under the High-Level Bridge, there is a chunk of Maumee Riverfront that will become Middlegrounds MetroPark as the bridge construction is completed. It’s beautiful now- we can’t wait to see what it will be like when it’s finished!
JC: Oak Openings
Dan: Wabash Cannonball Trail (North and South Fork)

When I’m not working hard, I can always be found at . . .
Rachel: Home with the dogs drinking coffee.
JC: Forgotten Forty Farm in Pullman, MI
Dan: My computer, surfing the net, reading tech news or playing games.

If you could change anything about the current landscape for creative, progressive people . . .
Rachel: I would love to see a makerspace in Toledo like MakerWorks in Ann Arbor, which facilitates creativity in more than the visual arts and opens up the door for inventors, engineers, hobbyists, and those who just want to know themselves and their minds through making ideas reality with their own two hands. There is a wealth of technical skill in Toledo that is being wasted because people don’t have access to tools, technology, and space to use and develop it.
JC:  Bike lanes.  Every single step towards creating a system of connectivity that promotes the safe and efficient use of the bicycle in Toledo is a step in the right direction.  It is integral for the future retention, and attraction, of creative, progressive people.
Dan: I would educate the public more about the value of the artwork that is being made here. Create opportunities for artists to travel for the sheer experience and to give them a new appreciation of Toledo.

Name one person (living or deceased) who you would love to collaborate with.
Rachel: Varujan Beghosian
JC: Richard Brautigan
Dan: Archimedes

Name a CD, book or website you can’t live without.
Rachel: Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
JC: McMaster-Carr Catalog and website.  A damned fine Cleveland, Ohio-based company.  
Dan: Lord of the Rings trilogy

3 words that best describe me or my work are . . .
Rachel: Changeable, Precise, Functional
JC: Capable, Ironic, Anecdotal
Dan: Fanciful, Organic, WTF

Give us 5 Desert Island Album picks.
Portishead, Dummy
Muppets, Silly Songs
Bob Marley, Legend
Tom Waits, Small Change
Led Zeppelin, IV

My biggest vice is . . .
Not big enough, but it’ll do in a pinch (see pic).

I’d like to see __________ in Toledo.
Rachel: More unfettered enjoyment of the Maumee Riverfront
JC: Proper Bike Lanes
Dan: Ditto on the bike lanes.

What’s the last dream you recall having?
Rachel: (The Current) Dr. Who was trying to get me to do meth with him and I ditched him at a party.
JC: Anxiety dreams about missing class in undergrad.
Dan: Recurring dreams about flying (good dreams).

The last lyric that moved me was . . .
Dan: Lyrics tend to go into one ear and out the other… the melody catches my attention.

One movie character I identify with is . . .
JC: William Blake (Johnny Depp) in Jim Jarmusch’s “Dead Man”

The best gift I’ve ever received was . . .
JC: Gab
Dan: The New Golden Treasury of Natural History (book) when I was five.

My most inspiring moment was/is . . .

JC: Being approached by a doe and sniffed up and down while pretending to be a tree when I was about seven.
Dan: Contemplating Nature

I want my last meal to be _______________.
Rachel: The roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, salad, and cake my grandmother made every Saturday night when I was a kid. No skimping on the butter and salt, coffee before and after.

JC: Solid food eaten and enjoyed on my own steam.

Dan: An all-you-can-eat buffet, so I can eat my way to immortality.


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