Artistic Home and Garden makes DIY concrete projects simple and satisfying
Washington State University Vancouver will screen four movies during its 2011 Diversity Film Festival themed "Diversity and Disabilities: Celebrating the Abilities in Us All." Films will be shown at 4 p.m. Sept 12 – 15 in the Dengerink Administrative building, room 110. Admission is free and this event is open to the public. Each film highlights different disabilities including those considered physical, cognitive, familiar or extraordinary.
"Wretches & Jabberers"
Today, Monday, Sept. 12
In "Wretches & Jabberers" two men with autism embark on a global quest to change attitudes about disability and intelligence. At each stop they dissect public attitudes about autism and issue a hopeful challenge to reconsider competency and the future.
Tuesday, Sept. 13
Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Himalayas, Blindsight Follows the gripping adventure of six Tibetan teenagers who set out to climb the 23,000-foot Lhakpa Ri on the north side of Mount Everest. A dangerous journey soon becomes a seemingly impossible challenge made all the more remarkable by the fact that the teenagers are blind.
Wednesday, Sept. 14
Richard Pimentel was always a great public speaker with a winning personality, but when he tries out for the country's top debate team and is rejected, he takes his shattered dreams to the Army for a tour of duty in Vietnam. When a bomb blast takes his hearing, he returns home to become a groundbreaking speaker and campaigner on behalf of the rights of everyone with a disability including his fellow vets.
"For Once in My Life"
Thursday, Sept. 15
This documentary is about a unique band of singers and musicians and their journey to show the world the greatness-and killer soundtrack-within each of them. The band members have a wide range of mental and physical disabilities-as well as musical abilities that extend into ranges of pure genius. The film's Director, Jim Bigham, will be a special guest at the screening.
WSU Vancouver's Diversity Council sponsors the Diversity Film Festival annually. For more information, visit www.events.vancouver.wsu.edu.
New market creates connections between backyard growers and buyers
story + photos by mary preiser potts
Urban Growers Market
Second Fridays (next one Friday June 10!
2315 Main St., Vancouver
(One World Merchants parking lot)
Embarking on its first year, the Urban Growers Market is an evolution of Craft in the Village, started in 2009 by Chris Stevens of NW Shirts and Liz Halili of One World Merchants. The new market brings together a mix of backyard growers, small farmers and food artisans, as well as artists and crafters. It features a co-op table run by Urban Abundance, a barter table where backyard farmers can swap produce, and a table where fresh eggs and plant starts are offered by Posey Patch.
You may even see a table of budding child gardeners trade and sell their own fresh produce.
A swift outpouring of support got the market off the ground. In just a few days, a Kickstarter campaign raised money for permits and fees. Sponsorships from local businesses followed. Other fundraisers included the Vancouver Vixen (skateboard) Benefit Race sponsored by NW Shirts, as well as a silent auction and concert at the Brickhouse organized by Anni Becker.
“The Urban Growers Market has been fully funded by the community, 100 percent,” Halili said.
The local food movement in Vancouver is already strong. As the UGM founders see it, the more options there are for buying local, the better, especially as people become increasingly concerned about their food sources. This is evidenced by the proliferation of community-supported agriculture farms and farmers markets in recent years.
“All of the neighborhoods around here are very interested in buying local. It’s just giving them another option for a local, community, family event,” said Sunrise O’Mahoney, a co-founder of the Urban Growers Market, alongside Halili and Stevens.
Bigger than the sum of its parts, the market aims to serve as a community gathering place. In a city with low walkability in many areas, the founders hope to provide people with a reason to get outside, walk around and get to know their neighbors.
“This is just something that oil has done away with. People don’t know their neighbors…. I would just like for people to see how closely tied we are,” Stevens said.
A backyard grower and mother of three, Erica Barnes-Davis sells produce via the Urban Abundance co-op table. She thought participating in the market would be a good way to educate her children about where their food comes from.
“It’s so hard for kids to know about seasons for foods,” she said, “since we can get anything anytime from some part of the world.”
Artistic Home and Garden
421 N.E. Cedar St., Camas
In a time of slumped home prices and a still-sludgy real estate market, homeowners are looking to create a “wow” factor in their yards and gardens. Artistic Home and Garden has been providing that wow factor for more than 14 years. Warehoused in Camas, the business that Tammy Ramadan and her husband Farouk started in 1997 has grown exponentially over the years and has garnered customers and fans all over the world, said Tammy Ramadan. “For some reason,” she laughed, “Norway loves us!”
Artistic Home and Garden specializes in molds for concrete items such as stepping stones, benches, birdbaths and fountains.
The company has recently carved out a niche creating architectural-style molds for concrete balusters, railings and structural columns. Farouk Ramadan is an architect and the designer of the company’s 50 unique molds, while Tammy Ramadan is a history buff and offers, as she puts it, the average homeowner perspective. Each mold tends to convey some historical reference or significance, particularly to the Northwest.
The company manufactures its molds in Washington using Pillar Plastics in Washougal for its injection molded designs and Accel in Seattle, previously contracted with a company located in the Orchards area of Clark County.
“We’ve had the opportunity to make [our molds] overseas, but we are keeping jobs here,” said Tammy Ramadan.
While the majority of Artistic Home and Garden customers are do-it-yourselfers, a fast-growing number are contractors who have made finished products from the molds part of their product offering. For the relatively low price of an injection mold, the contractor can make up to 100 reproductions of any one item before the mold begins to wear out. In the residential line, molds can last up to 50 reproductions, inspiring ubiquitous garden art projects and gift items.
Tammy Ramadan has a great rapport with her customers. They call and email to ask about products, double check instructions, offer feedback on their projects and, best of all, send photos of beloved finished works. Tammy said a lot of her ideas for molds come directly from customers, such as the balusters which are the company’s second biggest seller.
Quite a lot of customer interaction happens through the company’s website, which includes instruction downloads and videos. Customers are “really into home improvement, into nesting and making their homes beautiful,” said Tammy Ramadan. “They have the tactile experience of making their [item] on their own and they are so surprised and happy.”
Thanks Vancouver (and Portland) band Terwilliger Curves for giving two of our Friday Fiver winners a copy of the CD Catatonic in the Blitzkrieg. We love you! And congrats to the lovely Amy Carpenter and Anita Fleming. May you enjoy delicious rock and roll.
Lizzabeth A is a home decor shop that carries accessories, furniture, table linens and tableware, wall art, lamps, candles, and much more. Darren Gygi prints have just arrived in store this month!
Find Lizzabeth A at 415 NE Birch Street in Camas or call 360-834-6071.
Know of any business that would like to gift $5 to some unsuspecting shopper? email me