Philip Krain is an entrepreneur, consultant, and founder of Global Homestead Garage whose mission is to provide community members a platform to grow big ideas using shared resources. A series of fortunate events lead to his dream of running an incubator space for makers in Portland; in 2016 he received an email in his junk folder that advertised a business for sale. That business was Shop People, which is the original community makers space. It hosts around 30 artisans in the heart of the eastside industrial district. There is event space, artist studios, a lounge; shared equipment is provided for jewelers, metal workers, and wood workers—all now part of Global Homestead Garage thanks to that email.
1. How would you refer to yourself? Woodworker? Artisan? Craftsman?
My primary role within the Global Homestead Garage is to create a platform for artisans and small businesses to grow big ideas using shared resources. When given the opportunity, I enjoy designing and creating with natural and upcycled materials.
2. How did you get started?
My previous career as a renewable energy developer allowed me to work with architects on active and passive solar design. My recent hands-on work has focused on landscape design and implementation as well as home remodeling. As a result of these projects, I took an industrial design class, which solidified my passion for problem-solving design.
3. Why wood?
I love working with wood, as it is a natural, beautiful, and soothing material. Although it’s a renewable resource, we need to honor its scarcity, reclaim its integrity, and enhance its value in our life.
4. What was the first thing you made from wood?
I remember making an ash baseball bat in seventh-grade shop class. It wasn’t the best piece of wood and it broke shortly after I began to use it. As an adult, I turned a stick shift knob for my Jeep from a chunk of maple burl.
5. What does being creative mean to you?
To me, being creative means finding realistic solutions using limited resources (tangible or intangible) and unlimited options.
6. Do you have any rituals?
No, but I should make time for some…
7. What is your favorite piece?
I love our front yard. It’s an all-encompassing portfolio of permaculture, craftsman, and playful design.
8. Who inspires you?
Children inspire me because no one should bare the burden of fixing other people’s mess. We need to work to clean our mess so that the children of children can enjoy their lives.
9. What do you hope to communicate through your work?
There is inherent value in many items that have been deemed worthless and may be headed for the landfill.
10. If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?
Great question. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
11. The ultimate piece you want to create?
Global Homestead Garage is my ultimate project.
12. What’s your favorite thing about PDX?
It used to be the smell of beer riding my bike down West Burnside at 2 am. Today, it’s the positive energy of all the people. My neighbors continue to rally as leaders within our community for a life designed with sustainable intention.
13. Favorite song?
Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue – “So What”.
14. Favorite bridge?
The Sellwood Bridge.
15. Favorite neighborhood?
16. What’s your favorite tool?