Designer, maker and jack-of-all-trades Tyler Hays confides he was a weird kid with a sewing machine, a pansy garden and raccoon-skinning skills in the small town where he grew up. After a brief stint as a Portland art star, he ventured to New York and earned his keep doing odd contractor jobs. Now, the proprietor of cult favorite furniture brand BDDW, and handmade sundries brand M. Crow is on a mission to make everything he uses while bridging the divide between rural and urban America. Plus, he’s got goats! Listen:
What is your earliest memory?
Believe it or not it was spreading the contents of my diapers on the wall in my crib at 2. My first mural.
What’s the best advice that you’ve ever gotten?
You're more successful knowing what you're NOT good at.
How do you record your ideas?
I sketch randomly in sketch books. I have dozens lying around and they all contain drawings that are years apart and in no order. Impossible to find anything looking back.
What’s your current favorite tool or material?
My new stone router and the container of thick cut Carrara marble.
What book is on your nightstand?
While I can read well and love books I just don't do them. Maybe five in the last 20 years. I spend my time researching things sketching and get anxiety if I put that down too long.
Why is authenticity in design important?
If it's not authentic it's not really design, it's more anti-design.
Favorite restaurant in your city?
Mulherin's and Sons in Philly.
What might we find on your desk right now?
I've truly never had a desk.
I've tried at times but I never sit at it. I jump on everyone else's computer to google stuff but otherwise wander my studio tinkering and talking to my people. I do all my computer work emails etc. in bed at 4-5am.
Who do you look up to and why?
Eisenstein and the renaissance guys are heroes. But I look up to anyone with a good work ethic, a kind heart and a sense of humor.
What’s your favorite project that you’ve done and why?
My clothing "line". Clothes are more about texture and craft than anything. Such a long process... I am part of a mill where we are making our own fabric to make our own clothes. It's my favorite thing. And all my clay work is awesome and my brewery in Oregon. I don't have a favorite really.
What are the last five songs you listened to?
Lots of Bob Mould lately.