Grove Launch! +Partay~

April 20th, 2010 by admin Its official!  We just launched our new company Grove yesterday.   Grove is a partnership between myself and Joe Mansfield of Engrave.  Our first product is a laser engraved bamboo iphone case!

Our site is essentially a place where you can make your own case.  Enjoy browsing the artist series or upload your own artwork. Or simply get a blank case.  You can select one of 3 bamboo body colors and 7 bezel colors.  Know that these cases aren’t getting made in some sweatshop overseas.  Were making them in my shop!


After months of top secret R&D, we’ve perfected our bamboo iphone cases - and we’d like to celebrate with you. The Grove launch party will go down during the open studio night at Towne Storage (17 SE 3rd #502) on May 1st 6pm-10pm.

We’ll be giving a bamboo iphone case away every hour and the winners can choose artwork to be laser engraved on the spot. There will be new laser engraved artwork on display by Jolby & Friends and we’ll be pouring Vortex IPA from Fort George Brewery. If you’re in Portland on the 1st, stop by with a glass and friends.

See ya there!

win a bamboo iphone become facebook fan


February 16th, 2010 by admin

I will be representing Grove at AIGA Portland’s SHIFT: A Green Salon event.  Ten presenters from various industries have been chosen to speak about their ideas on sustainable design and we have been chosen!   I will give a brief presentation titled “A journey in sustainable product and packaging design”.  

The event is Thursday, February 18th at ZIBA design (810 NW Marshall) at 7pm.  This will in a way be the first public unveiling of our new product.  Very exciting!  This is my Steve Jobs moment…

Advertised free beer if you bring your own mug!

Denver Sculpture Part2.

October 20th, 2009 by admin

We revisit the sculpture we built as BambooDNA at the MileHigh Music Festival earlier this summer in this blog post part1.  Brief recap: we unloaded the prefabricated columns and erected them by hand using pulleys and rigging ingenuity.

Next up: the big guns!  We had an ENORMOUS crane help us erect the center column.  Yah, it was a little overkill to use a $1.3million 135ton crane (270,000lbs) with a 266ft maximum extension to erect a 700lb spire but thats how we fly- in style.  And it looked cool to top it off!

The column nested into a steel ring in the center and the riggers tied it off to the structure with guy wires.  The heroic Kevin Rowell then climbed the spire and released the crane.

Next we put up the bright red sails.  They are made of spandex like material and are very flexible.  We tie them on with a secret technique involving small rocks wrapped in fluorescent tape.

Wala!  We have TENSEGRITY (structures with an integrity based on a synergy between balanced tension and compression components).  Nerdy yes and cool yes.

This was a great build.  Our fearless leader Gerard Minakawa has our operation running at full efficiency.  We knocked it out with no problem and had time to go rafting, jump off 40 ft cliffs, run down glaciers barefooted, and even hit the casino!

We’ll end with me pretending to work ;) having too much fun with a bamboo hatchet.

Santa in my Shop

October 5th, 2009 by admin

Check out this picture of Santa Claus in his workshop at the North Pole…. NOT!  Its actually taken in my workshop by brilliant photographer Quavondo.

I built this set for him out of random stuff laying around the shop- windows, wine barrel, wood paneling, red fabric, workbench.  I borrowed a bunch of old hand tools from my friend Matty Sears.  Check out the huge 2 person saw in the background.

Crazy huh?  Quavondo is a photographer primarily focusing on celebrity and fashion photography.  While mostly working for clients, he shoots for stock photography on the side.  He had an idea to do vintage Santa pictures and contacted me out of the blue if he could use my work shop.

Pretty amazing work if you ask me.  Clearly he is a man of vision and inspired ideas.  Click on the images to go to his website.

Ya, Santa Claus and fashion have very little to do with furniture design…. or so it seems.  However, a common interest to create just because we want to brought us together.  Another fun day at TomitaDesigns!

Chaboo Installation at Milepost5

August 31st, 2009 by admin

Manor of Art 2009 organized by Chris Haberman was an epic endeavor.  100 rooms, 100 artists and 20 bands over 10 days with the mayor himself presiding over closing ceremonies.  The opening party was remarkable with a few thousand people in attendance.  There were multiple bands including one of my favorites from the pennyjam videos- World’s Greatest Ghosts.  People were genuinely excited about exploring the expansive compound.  Honestly, it was the most fun art show Ive ever been to. 

Lisa Kuhnhausen designed yet another sweet chaboo installation.  I met with her on the site and explained to her my concepts for chaboo2 that I wanted represented.  We decided to not showcase any of the chaboos from the first show at all and instead highlighted the web of connections from chaboo1.  The red dots have all the artists names on them and Emily Knudsen connected the dots with her steady hand.  Somehow people tended to be connected to someone on the other side of the room, making Emily very agitated with me since I made the list. Ha

Each artists has a red string connecting them with the original chaboo.  Disclaimer: It was entirely Lisa’s decision to use red.  Although Im obsessed with it right now I dont force others to share my own values.  ;)  And no, they are not laser beams Joe…..  Its string.

Chaboo2 is going to be all about people connecting with each other, not just with me.  The project will be stronger IF people step it up and take up the void left by my absense.  I believe!