Women in Design Interview: Barrow PDX

After a decade of friendship and two MFAs in Painting, Rachel Warkentin and Lindsay Jordan Kretchun decided to embark on a new adventure together, founding a handmade porcelain jewelry and homeware collection called Barrow. The incredibly talented duo helped us kick off the Women in Design series at our launch party, and afterward gave us the lowdown on their process and offered some killer advice for young female designers.


We hear you two have been friends for a decade. How did you meet?

We met in the dorms our first year of college at Oregon State University.  We impulse-purchased tickets to Paris that same year. Traveling together is a great way to really get to know someone!



When did you start making jewelry, and what drew you to porcelain as a medium?

Neither of us had any experience making jewelry, or working with porcelain for that matter, before we started experimenting together. We’re both painters, and we were looking a new medium to explore together, just for fun. So it grew organically, first it was a project making small ceramic favors for Lindsay’s wedding, then a couple of necklaces, and just kept going. We both love to learn new materials and techniques, we don’t sit still for very long.


Who is your biggest design influence and/or inspiration?

We draw inspiration from everywhere; architecture, ancient antiquities, sculpture, film, nail art. We’ve practiced keeping our eyes open for shapes, colors and textures that move us, or that just won’t leave our brains.

Who do you consider a mentor?

We’ve met so many amazing designers, makers and creative women that are so willing to share their experiences and expertise that it’s difficult to narrow it down to just one person.


If you could give one piece of advice to young female designers, what would it be?

Find your people.  Surround yourself with other designers and makers of all kinds! Don’t be shy about asking questions when you don’t know how something works, and be generous with your knowledge and insight when you do.


Photography by Christine Taylor

By Emily Jensen
Published March 5, 2016
AIGA encourages thoughtful, responsible discourse. Please add comments judiciously, and refrain from maligning any individual, institution or body of work. Read our policy on commenting.