Introductions and Salutations by Chris S. Sherwin ASLA, PLA
It was June 1999, and I had just graduated from the University of Oregon. With my landscape architecture degree in hand and determined to land a job, I walked into the esteemed office of Peter Walker and Partners. I must have caught Mr. Walker on a good day, or it was my lucky day, since I managed to land an internship with their construction document division -- marking the beginning of my professional education as a landscape architect.
And holy cow dear reader, what a long, diverse, and strange journey it has been to arrive at this moment today.
Almost twenty years to the day that I started at P.W.P. I now embark on another adventure, with a completely different destination - joining my friend and founder, Stephen Blewett, as he invited me to join his design firm, CRAFT.
CRAFT, is more or less a product of too-many lengthy nights in the office, really bad take-out, and long overdue Friday happy hours, as we kicked around the idea of a landscape design service that offered to reflect the natural world that we inhabit.
It all started one mid-afternoon. I was pushing toward a deadline, with laser-like focus, when suddenly, THWAP! I was struck in the back of the head by an errant Nerf ball. Furious, I turned to glare at the perpetrator. It was at that moment, Stephen entered my world. Despite the accidental start, we managed to join forces and collaborated on many projects, including the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, CA. We discovered that our personalities gel effortlessly, and we could tolerate each other to various degrees, as we rolled from deadline to deadline through the months ahead.
What stood out to me about Stephen was that he had this huge back-catalog of data about California native plants and naturalistic design stored in that enormous brain of his. Like this dude was certifiable with this gigantic stores of information regarding all and everything about native plants that live in our neighborhoods and how that all fits together in one massive ecosystem.
My first thought was “who the hell would know about all this? Who does this? WHY would you do this? What’s wrong with Norway Maples and Marathon II Sod you may ask?”
Well, gentle reader, Stephen does and knows what exactly is wrong with specifying ornamental plants that consume several thousand gallons of water a year and needless harmful chemical fertilizers.
And this is why we are here today offering up CRAFT, to bring what we do very well, to you.
But wait! What does Chris do? If Stephen is the brains then Chris must be the brawn?
Well, that’s a fair assessment and not too far off base.
Many moons ago, while attending Harvard for my MLA, I took a few MBA classes. Out of those classes, stood one very important lesson, that to this day, I have not forgotten - always partner with people than can do what you can't.-- Which is why I’ve teamed up with Stephen to form CRAFT. It was a logical business decision as well as a proper meshing of our respective talents, but lastly we enjoy doing what we do. And to answer your earlier question, I supply the business management know-how as well as the documentation, technical, and legal aspects of running a company. Everything that goes into making a business perform optimally and easily.
Together, at CRAFT, we hope to deliver a stellar product lineup of thoughtful, contemporary, and efficient native and adaptive landscapes that reflect the on-going changes in our climate and topography. We are distinctly aware that our landscape is ever evolving and the final product is never indeed a defacto finished product. Nature is always moving forward and ever changing and as a result our work will be a snapshot of that particular moment in time.
Our newsletter reflects our scholarly aspirations, hard-earned knowledge, design research, and numerous field observations along with a heavy dose of humor and sarcasm so as to make what can be a very dry and scientific subject into something slightly more digestible for the general reading public.
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Chris S. Sherwin RLA
Head Management Honcho and Chief Instigator
Here's what we are reading
1. The global impact of climate change cannot be understated and we are ill prepared for the effects.
2. For the fans of Netflik's Stranger Things. They built a whole mall. Really guys?
3. Fascinating insight into our next generation of workers.