Lazerwood: Technology and Craftsmanship in the Heart of Seattle

The Friends of the Seattle Public Library had the pleasure of chatting with Sarah from Lazerwood Industries about the Northwest’s knack for Imagetechnology and the spirit of craftsmanship and innovation that comes with the sector. Lazerwood emphasizes the natural treatment of wood with electronic forms and celebrates in the creative cross-sections.

The FriendShop at The Seattle Public Library – Central Branch is featuring Lazerwood as a local company throughout the month of June! We’ve got an array of wood iPhone cases just in time for graduation and Father’s Day gifts!


What makes wood aImages an artistic material so special? How do you see this natural resource working in conjunction with technology?

We chose to work with wood because we wanted to add natural warmth to our digital life. Wood is amazingly durable, ages well and is sustainable; all factors that contributed to our choice.

Could you describe the process of lazer and hand treatment in creating your phone case designs?

We source all our wood from a mill in North Carolina and hand treat each sheet of veneer with stain. The veneer is then cut down to a size that will fit in our laser cutter, which looks like a large sawdust spewing printer. The laser cutter is networked to a computer which allows us to cut as much or as little as we want. All packaging and fulfillment is also done on site so our quality and attention to detail is something we keep very hands on.
What qualities makes Lazerwood a “Seattle” born-and-bred company? Does Northwest culture inform your creative design at all?

We love being apart of the PacNW culture that encourages small and local businesses. Our entire region benefits from the supportive climate for creatives and in turn,  Seattle is a city which drives culture for the entire coast and beyond. We wouldn’t want to run our business anywhere else.

What are some of Lazerwood’s dream collaborations or artist partnerships?

We are just coming back from our first convention in New York and are humbled by the number of people who wanted to work with us. We are planning on a collaboration with Rex Ray as well as some artist in New York who we are still negotiating with. Very exciting stuff! Stay tuned. We also have plans to expand our product line to include lamps and clocks, which we are super excited about.


The Central Library – The Seattle Public Library Main Branch (Level 3/5th Ave. Entrance)

Seattle, WA 98104

We are also happy to assist sales by phone: 206-733-9015

Contact: Jessica Frederick, Social Media Manager,


A Need to Create: The Jewelry of Shannon Tipple-Leen



Shannon Tipple-Leen is an artist undaunted by the idea of play. To describe her creative process is to watch someone comfortable and welcoming of continuing education and discovery. Her design motto, “a need to create” manifests itself as “a need to play,” as one sifts through her collection’s fascinating array of buttons– both new and vintage. When stringing buttons or “little paintings” into a bracelet, one suddenly finds an art form that closely resembles self-portraiture. There is a button and design for everyone, and Shannon’s varied color palettes, motifs, and varying degrees of complexity delivers the goods.

Shannon speaks with the Friends of the Seattle Public Library about her creative process, inspiration, and love for casual Northwest style in art and fashion.

Stop by the FriendShop on Level 3 of the Seattle Public Library-Central Branch (5th Avenue entrance) to check out Shannon’s jewelry. Her work will be highlighted throughout the month of May as we all get used to the sunshine and need some new jewelry to model as the sweaters come off.


Your background is in photography. How did you make the transition from photography to jewelry? Do natural connections exist between the two forms?

About 10 years ago the shift to digital was making it harder and harder to get the chemicals and paper I wanted for my darkroom. Doing my work on the computer did not have the same satisfaction that the darkroom gave me. I also was finding it hard to get large chunks of time to go in the darkroom as I had a young child. I began looking for other outlets that could be more portable and jewelry was one of them.

I think for me my photography and my jewelry could not be more different. I was a strictly black & white photographer and now I cannot get enough color in my jewelry. In both of these fields though I take something that already exists and twist and manipulate it until it reflects me.

    Buttons are a strong feature of your design aesthetic. How do buttons speak to you and the wearer?

I have always loved miniatures. Buttons are like little paintings that you string together into a gallery showing. Putting one perfect little thing next to another connects them into a unit that is appreciated as a whole. They are also highly addictive to collect and I have the collection to prove it!

Where do you draw inspiration from as a Northwest artist?

I am inspired by the casual lifestyle we lead out here. I love clothes and jewelry that are easy to wear yet have an element of surprise or edge to them. I love that most of us live in gray and black and want a pop of color somewhere to set it off.

Swirl necklace web

How is playful design an important element of your creation process? 

My work is all playful design!  I am not a serious person and do not like to wear predictable or serious clothes and jewelry. I hope that part of me is reflected in the designs I make with my work. The buttons I choose need to be unique and sparkly – just like the women who wear them!

     How would you gift a piece from your collection to a friend?

I have made many pieces for friends over the years. I always consider their clothing style and colors first and then start putting buttons together. Often I have to sit with them for a few days before assembly to make sure it feels right. I am always so pleased when they are thrilled and I see them wear it regularly.

Do you have a favorite chic literary figure?

Scroll Peacock bracelet webBroken for You by Stephanie Kallos is high up on my favorite books of all time list.  Her character Wanda Schultz is an amazing artist and the journey her artwork takes her on captivated me the first time I read it.

Do you have any advice for local artists trying to elevate artistic hobbies into a business?

Find something you love to do and perfect it. It doesn’t have to be overnight – in my case it has been years. I see artists flip and flop from medium to medium never fully exploring any one thing. It is that exploration that brings great things. Also find other artists to talk to regularly. They will help you see things in your work you did not know where there.




You Can Find Us:


The Central Library – The Seattle Public Library Main Branch (Level 3/5th Ave. Entrance)

Seattle, WA 98104

We are also happy to assist sales by phone: 206-733-9015

Contact: Jessica Frederick, Social Media Manager,

Attic Journals Arrive at the FriendShop!


The Friends of the Seattle Public Library chatted with Attic Journals’ creator, Michelle Sanders, to see how this Portland, OR business transformed a hobby into a successful small business. With insights and tips on how to make what you love, what you do, Michelle shares with the Friends the wonder that can come from rediscovering the worth in an old, well-worn book.

Attic Journals found its beginning in the humble stacks of tattered books at a San Luis Obispo garage sale. Intently looking for an original gift for a friend, Michelle grabbed a well-worn book from the stacks, returned home, and re-purposed the book for her friend in the form of a journal. Inspiration had struck!

Attic Journals are available at the FriendShop at the Seattle Public Library-Central Branch NOW! Come find your inspiration.



Attic Journals was born from a garage sale find and a spark of creativity. How did Attic Journals expand from DIY project to a business?

In 2005, a year after AJ started, I felt the winds of change moving inside of me. I ended my job on the coast of California and moved to a retreat center near Yosemite for a year. With that transition, I went from working about 70+ hours a week, to about 20. So, with all of this new found free time (and, if I’m honest, fear that at some point my savings would run out), I started taking Attic Journals more seriously.

It was in that time that I had a day off and went in to Fresno to check out the Tower District that I had heard a bit about. While there, I met Anne, the owner of Teazers, a tea shoppe in the Tower. We started talking about what it was for her to start her business and I shared my aspirations for my own. She invited me to come back that Friday to sell my journals at a street festival they were having and it all snow balled from there.

What are your criteria for choosing journal covers?

When I first started choosing covers, it was to appease my taste. I soon realized that I had a limited view of the consumer appetite. So began the tradition of “looking for friend’s books”. Before going out to hunt for books, I always pick 3-5 very different friends, colleagues, or acquaintances and try to pick journals I think would pique their interest. We still employ that tactic while also paying attention to trends, making sure to get a lot of the books that are tried and true, and seeking out the special requests of our customers and retailers.

Do you have a personal favorite that’s come through the shop?

I don’t remember the title of the book other than it was a volume about or by Shakespeare, but I remember the treasure that was inside of it. About five years ago, this book came thru our workshop and it was full of love letters from a man to the woman who owned the book. I loved it… I was falling in love with my now husband at the time and my romance radar was pretty high. Actually, a woman from Seattle bought that journal at Urban Craft Uprising and before I took her money, I made her read the letter that we had left inside. She swooned… I think I was testing her romance radar to see if she was suitable for that book…

How would you gift an Attic Journal to a friend?

Sometimes folks gift them because the title is just so right. Sometimes it’s because the library card is stamped with a particular date that holds meaning for the recipient. Sometimes it’s because that was the book that so and so had read to such and such every year since they were yay high. For us, we usually gift a journal to teachers… they seem to need more jot down places than the average folks and they certainly love the fact that they are books.


What do you imagine FriendShop customers using Attic Journals for?

Oh gosh! These books are used for alllllll sorts of things. I personally use mine for my to-do list, for a journal that I’m keeping of my daughter’s first years, and a contact log for our business. But I’ve heard of amazing uses from folks all around the country.

Here are a few of my favorites:

– A grandmother comes from Boston to visit her grandchildren in Seattle each winter. When she comes, she and the children pick out a new journal that they “dedicate” while she’s with them for the holidays. The night before she is to leave, she has the children draw her a picture, write her a note, or share something about their lives with the intention that they are sharing it with her… They then all tromp to the post office to mail the journals (unread) to Grandma’s house in Boston so that they’ll arrive soon after she does. She then reads them, writes a note to them and sends the journal back to them… these journals go back and forth like this all year until Grandma’s next visit.

– There’s a woman I met about four years ago that always buys our cookbook journals. She then uses them for dinner parties for guests to write their favorite recipes in… to share stories of the night… keep track of what was served and who was there.

– I also love the students who use these. One of the young women that I have mentored for the past five and a half years uses her journal to figure out her math homework. She doesn’t like doing all the scribbling and erasing on her actual assignment, so she figures it out in her journal and then writes it neatly onto her sheet to be turned in.

What value do you see in DIY projects and gifts?

Well, I suppose it’s the character comprised in each one. The supporting small, independent businesses.

Do you have any advice for FriendShop customers who may be pursuing creative DIY projects in the new year?

Do it because you love it. It’s only been in this last year that my husband and I started doing Attic Journals full time. I think that if I had started out with the attitude that this project had to sustain our lives, at some point it may have lost its magic for us. But what has kept us going this long is that we see the value in the work that we are doing. We’re supporting local schools and libraries. We’re helping people tell their story. And we’re relieving a bit of the world’s landfill burden.

What connection do you see between recycled materials, sustainability, and literature?

Well, I think there is a particular nexus where these three intersect. Because of the emotional appeal of books and our cultural history with book burning and banned books, people have a particular allegiance to keeping books alive in some capacity. A few years ago, a man told me that we were the humane society for books… and I’ve liked that idea. That we get to keep this nostalgia, resonance, and resource in circulation because it’s a beautiful part of our communal existence, feels pretty good.

You Can Find Us:

The Central Library – The Seattle Public Library Main Branch
(on Level 3, Fifth Avenue side)
1000 Fourth Avenue
Seattle WA 98104
Tel: 206.733.9015

We are also happy to assist with sales by phone.


To learn more:



Twitter: atticjournals

Friendshop: Popping Up In Your Neighborhood!

Some of the merchandise at the FriendShop’s four hour Pop Up!

Were you in the Ballard library on Saturday Oct 20? If so you saw something unusual and interesting in the meeting room… The first FriendShop Pop Up! Powered by volunteers, this 4 hour, one day surprise drew 300 visitors who browsed a special selection of book lover treats, word related jewelry, books and bags.  The custom Ballard bag, a tote designed for the event with artwork from the Library Passport Program, was a hot seller. If you missed the Pop Up you may still be able to get the bag and some of the other merchandise at the Friendshop’s permanent location in the Seattle Central Library downtown on level 3.

Why a Pop Up shop? Friendshop manager, Lisa Lee, explained, “Pop Ups have become popular in the food, fashion and unusual markets such as Free Range Mercantile.  The idea behind a pop up shop is for a retail business to pop up in a location different from where their regular business is conducted.  The FriendShop responded to the request by library patrons who don’t always make it into the city but want to shop the FriendShop and support the Friends.  It was exciting to bring the items from the FriendShop to a neighborhood, sell previously-loved books and to promote the work of the Friends of The Seattle Public Library.  We love visiting with our neighbors who don’t always get the chance to see us downtown. ”

Will the FriendShop be surprising other neighborhood libraries with a pop up shop? Lee says, “Yes!  We will be doing a Pop Up at another Seattle branch library and are in the process of determining a date and location.  Please vote for your favorite branch for a pop up at

The FriendShop, tucked inside the magnificent Central Library on 4th avenue downtown, is a rich source for special gifts. Did you know that more than 70 local artists and companies are featured there? When you visit the FriendShop you shop local and find items that will delight your book lover friends. Did you know that all Friendshop proceeds benefit The Seattle Public Library?  At the FriendShop you shop local and support the library in one easy trip!

Spend Your Lunch Hour with Nancy Pearl on Monday, December 12th!

Library Journal’s 2011 Librarian of the Year and literary tastemaking author Nancy Pearl will be appearing at the FriendShop, located on the third floor of Central Library, on Monday, December 12th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Nancy will be signing copies of her books as well as the recently released 2012 Friends of the Seattle Public Library Calendar.

Nancy is the author of Book Lust and a half-dozen other titles that provide book recommendations for every type of reader. She developed “If All of Seattle Read the Same Book,” a program that has inspired similar “One City One Book” campaigns across the country. Nancy is a frequent contributor to NPR’s “Morning Edition.” Monday’s signing provides an opportunity to meet a bone fide library legend.

While at the FriendShop pick up a copy of the 2012 Friends planner, which features Nancy on its cover, to plan next year’s reading. The shop also features a wide variety of unique gifts for book-lovers and others with discriminating tastes on your holiday shopping list. All proceeds from sales at the FriendShop support The Friends of the Seattle Public Library.

We look forward to seeing you on Monday!

The Friends of the Seattle Public Library

2010 Friends of SPL Wrap-up

Now that 2010 is over and a new year is beginning it is time to reflect on what we did in the last year and look forward to 2011.  2010 was a busy year for the Friends and the Library, here are just some of the highlights (and lowlights) of last year:

  • The year started out with tough city-wide budget cuts.  15 of our branch libraries were reduced in hours.
  • Seattle Public Library began working on a strategic plan.  Citizens and the Friends were asked for input.
  • The Friends’ Book Sales were a huge success.  We held Spring, Fall and Holiday Sales.  We are always impressed by the great turn out of donations, volunteers and of course, shoppers!
  • The Friends Blog partnered with the Seattle Public Library to get out the word about the Summer Reading Program.
  • The FriendShop had tons of great featured artist events all year long.
  • The Friends were seen at Farmer’s Markets all over the city to spread the word about what we do and to get people excited about the Seattle Public Library.
  • Once again, the Library closed for a week-long furlough leading up to Labor Day to help close the budget gap.
  • On October 1, the Friends held a reading flash mob in Westlake Center.  It was fun and attracted a lot of media attention!
  • The Friends created a Public Service Announcement.   Look for it on the Seattle Channel!
  • Building 30 at Magnuson Park where the Book Sales are held has been in danger of being closed.  The Friends have been trying to get the word out to save this great space for ourselves and other groups all over Seattle.
  • The Friends have partnered with the Fisher Foundation in Connecticut to get books into classrooms in need.
  • City Librarian Susan Hildreth was appointed Director of Museum and Library Services by the President!

Now that was a busy year!  What does 2011 have in store?  Probably a tight city budget again.  A search for a new City Librarian.  Definitely some Book Sales and great finds at the FriendShop.  Happy New Year!