Creativity is a finite resource—it demands to be expended, recharged and, ultimately, expended again. In our line of work, we task ourselves daily to be creative, and when we close up our laptops and walk away from the whiteboards, we turn to the things we love. Whether through time with family and friends, weekend travels, some extra gym time or crashing and watching whatever Netflix recommends that day, we all find our ways to recharge.
However, a few DSers have found a way to marry the hobbies they use to recharge with opportunities to keep the creativity flowing. Here are a handful of passion projects from people inside our walls that we’d love to share with you.
Evoking with Art
What began with a pottery class once a week with coworkers has turned into a successful art project for Lindsay Miller: her Ring Memories Bells. Lindsay now sells her handcrafted bells exclusively at a local store, Resurrected Relics, which is owned and operated by Mary Blair’s daughter. But the importance of the bells goes beyond their artistry. Flip the tag over and the card reads:
“When you need to remember a favorite person who is close by or passed away, give this bell a ring. When your heart needs encouragement and assurance you can do great things, give this bell a ring. When you need healing, strength and calm, give this bell a ring. When you celebrate life’s great gifts to you – people, friendship, love… ring.”
Joining Lindsay as fellow makers are Chris McAdoo and Stephan Zerambo. Chris McAdoo serves as our resident painter in the office. A professional artist for almost 20 years, Chris’s works have continuously been featured in galleries and collections since 1999. This year alone he’s sold several pieces to collectors all across the country.
If you follow us on social media or have joined us for a meeting at the office, you might remember our custom-built conference room table. We’ve got Stephan Zerambo, a longtime woodworker, to thank for that. Since then, he’s expanded his efforts to making other home furnishings and flexing his carpentry skills.
In the dead of night (because that’s the only free time he has) Joseph Nother has been mixing his love of photography, cars and brand building to create The Art of Autos. Using the technique of light painting, Joseph is photographing iconic cars and offering them as prints and posters. You can follow his work on Instagram.
As we all know, art isn’t just prints and paintings. The performers among us, Matt Montgomery and Brad Carpenter, thrive on being on stage. Matt is the lead guitarist of the rock band Common Creatures, which has been recently recording its next album at Sequoyah Studios and playing gigs all across the city. Brad, on the other hand, has been taking the spotlight as a stand-up. Cutting his teeth in the L.A. comedy scene, Brad wanted to keep his passion for performing up when he came back home to Knoxville — he’s since played shows from here to Chattanooga.
Feed the Mind and the Body
Ben Maxey recently helped a local hot sauce start-up develop its branding, packaging and online presence. What was simply a freelance gig for a friend wound up turning into something more, as Ben has since become a part-owner in the company and is the guiding hand for all design decisions behind Two Birds Hot Sauce. (Editor’s Note: This hot sauce is very, very good.)
One of our most tenured DSers—Michael Pryfogle—is a veteran brewer. We have him to thank for keeping our upstairs kegerator consistently full of delicious adult beverages. Stop by sometime to give it taste. Michael has even leveraged his experience to become a judge of regional brewing competitions.
One of our newest traditions, and probably already the most enjoyed, is our monthly Designsensory Cocktail Club. DSCC is the brainchild of Ryan Lee, a man passionate about his cocktails. During the gathering, we all huddle around as he instructs the group on how to make (and enjoy) a new cocktail and details its history. With everything from an Old-Fashioned to a Ramos Gin Fizz under his belt, we’re excited Ryan shares this particular passion with the office.
For the Love of the Game
If you aren’t aware, Brandon Rochelle is kind of a big deal in the world of fencing, although, he’d never admit that. While he personally fences in a handful of tournaments each year, Brandon is regularly traveling around the world as part of his responsibilities as National Tournament Committee Chair for USA Fencing. In his role, he discusses best practices for tournament execution and organizational rules. Most recently, his love for fencing has taken him to cities like Hong Kong, Seoul, New York, Denver, Kansas City, and many, many more. Wish him luck on an upcoming trip to Shanghai.
Business and Blogging
Lindsay Miller isn’t the only DSer running a side business. Madelyn Cunningham invests her spare time and energy into growing and investing in her (already wildly successful) wedding boutique Kindred Bridal. The Downtown Knoxville store just recently celebrated its first year of business. But, Madelyn doesn’t stop with her store, she also teaches yoga at Renegade Yoga Center.
On the note of teaching, Josh Loebner continues to invest in both the education of the professional advertising world and in hopeful students. Josh is a University Lecturer at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and he teaches Advertising 360, Media Strategy. However, he also continues to write, speak and consult on disability in advertising. You can check out his blog here.
Another blogger on our hands is Tuyen Ho, who runs @be.designerly, where she curates her design work, fashion and work as an influencer. And if you’re looking for other influencers around the office, look no further than Kaleigh Veca Smith’s Instagram account for her dog, Cliff. We promise, it’s an easy follow—@cliffgsd. Tuyen and Kaleigh both find creativity in managing social media accounts for the things they’re most passionate about.
We couldn’t include everyone in this one piece, so we’d love for you to learn more about any of our team members. Let us know how you choose to use and recharge your creative energy!