What is Ware mfg?
Ware mfg LLC
Founded by Paul P Karas in October of 2013, In development since 2012
Pt 1: Who I Am
I was raised above a classic suburban American basement "shop" where I experimented throughout my early life with anything and everything I could get my hands on. My father was a model maker, and I've learned many things from him -- the most important being a sense of optimism. Nothing was ever made out to be impossible, just a few steps away. Step by step, I struggled through many projects, some far beyond my skill level, eventually realizing what I really wanted was to make beautiful things and solve problems. This lead me to study Product Design at The College For Creative Studies. After my first semester, I was inspired to begin work on what you see here. Little pieces from every step and every skill I learned are all play a part in the developement Ware mfg. My full portfolio including my sculptural work and my industrial design work can be seen at paulpkaras.com.
Pt 2: Unclear Beginnings in Furniture
Originally, there was no Ware mfg. When I began work on these products, my intentions were not focused, but I greatly desired to create an aesthetic and a line of furniture, different from my one-off sculptural work. It began with a discovery. On a hot summer day in July 2012 I was working on an construction site in West Bloomfield MI, and I stumbled upon a pallet stacked full of bright orange Chimney flue tubes. I was in awe of these modular, vibrant and substantial square tubes. No one around me seemed nearly as excited, but it sparked many great ideas for me. At that time I had just moved my shop to Detroit. I was also filled with optimism and searching for a new type of outlet where I could merge my previous experience in sculpture and furniture with Design. After a few months I completed the first prototype of the "paperback". When I finished it, it seemed as if it needed a companion, or even two. So I began work on a few more ways to utilize these Terra-Cotta tubes for storage and aesthetics. After countless cups of coffee, and painstakingly turning every corner, curve and texture into a meaningful decision, I came up with 2 more designs I was happy with. A coffee table, "Encyclopedia", and another end table, "Hardcover". All of which follow my original aim: To create something fresh that hasn't been done before, while looking like it already has a history. Use quality materials to make furniture that wants to be used and will hold its beauty through time.
Pt 3: Settling on Ware mfg
At this point I wasn't completely sure what to do with this line of furniture. It could easily have become another page in my portfolio. But it just didn't feel right. I started something new and exciting that was different from anything else I have done. It needed to be independent. So I decided to investigate how to approach a name for all of this body of work. As meticulously as I designed the furniture, I also picked away at a name for months. Until the term Ware popped into my head.
- Wares: Articles of merchandise or manufacture; goods. -
It all started to come together. I wanted this brand to be open to development, but unified by design, aesthetics, processes, and materials. Ware is an open-ended term, with plenty of room to expand/evolve/grow. But i needed something else to define it. The products we make are made mostly by hand, whenever it makes sense, but without over emphasizing a handmade appearance.
- Manufacture (mfg): To make or process (a raw material) into a finished product, especially by means of a large-scale industrial operation. -
The acronym mfg quickly became part of the name. More of an oxymoron. I chose it to help express an awareness of the world outside of making things by hand. I realize that there are many faster and cheaper methods of making furniture and leather goods, as I am actively involved in the world of industrial design. However, there is a place for handmade goods that take time and skill to make. Ware mfg is not protesting mass production, only keeping it in check. Small-scale production is a beautiful thing. From prototypes (I have a crate full) to production, doing things by hand can bring those two terms closer together faster, cheaper and more responsive than a full production run.
Pt 4: The Inclusion of Leather
Working alongside other entrepreneurs in Detroit, I began to experiment in leather working and soon after began taking on commissions, wholesaling custom leather products to a few local retailers in the area. As my confidence grew, I decided to work towards offering my own products from a designer's perspective. I also thought it would be a good way to appeal to more people. I wanted Ware mfg to be a brand and not just a 3-piece furniture line. Nearly everyone owns something made of leather, and most cherish what they have. Leather is a warm and inviting material that changes with you over time. I offer what I think to be sensible, everyday leather goods, made well, by hand, and with durable materials.
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