Events
  • Marisa Matarazzo is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate Writing program at Otis. She is the author of Drenched: Stories of Love and Other Deliriums, which Aimee Bender called "a collection that marks its own territory and stamps it out with a textured beauty." Her work has appeared in Faultline, Hobart, Fivechapters, Unstuck, and other literary journals, and she has taught at UCLA Extension, the Art Institute of California, Los Angeles, and UC Irvine.

  • Gracie DeVito’s work challenges codified modes of art making and production; the output of the work shifts fluidly from painting, to sculpture, to found objects, to performance. Characters and motifs, manifested by DeVito herself or by the characters she creates, rotate through the 2D and 3D spaces of her pieces. 

  • Campus Safety Training

    Dec 08| Special Event
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    You are invited to attend a very important training presentation by the Los Angeles Police Department. The training session is designed to give participants insight and response options when encountering an active shooter.

  • Joint Venture

    Dec 10| Exhibition
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    Joint Venture is a group exhibition of collaborative projects by artists from ECF’s Inglewood Art Center and students from Otis College's Creative Action class, Uniquely Abled, taught by Michele Jaquis and mentored by Marlena Donohue.

     

    December 8, 2016 - January 6, 2017

    Gallery Hours M - F 11am - 3:30pm

     

  • LA Portfolio Day

    Jan 15| Special Event
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    Otis College of Art and Design is pleased to host the Los Angeles Portfolio Day on January 15, 2017 from 12-4pm!

    Bring your portfolio for an informal review by representatives from art and design schools, and learn about their programs of study. Portfolio Day events are held across the country, high school students, parents, teachers, guidance counselors and college transfer students are encouraged to attend.

  • James Hannaham

    Jan 25| Lectures
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    James Hannaham is the author of the novels Delicious Foods, which won the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award, and God Says No, a Stonewall Honor Book and a Lambda Literary Award finalist.

  • Tuning the Room

    Jan 28| Exhibition
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    Anna Craycroft: Tuning the Room

    January 28 - April 16, 2017

    Ben Maltz Gallery

O-Tube

Planet First

Aug 25, 2013
Wanda Weller and Modern Folk Living
Spotlight Category: Alumni

by George Wolfe

When it comes to sustainability, there’s virtually no line between Wanda Weller Sakai’s home life and business life. After eight years as Patagonia’s director of design, and teaching fashion design part-time at Otis, she now runs her own sustainable business, Modern Folk Living, in Ojai, Calif. And her freshly remodeled sustainable home abuts the mountains, where she lives with her footwear-designer husband and their son. 

Though she’s branched off on her own in recent years—something she attributes to her decade-long cyclical yearning to do something different—she notes the deep influence that Patagonia still holds on her: “You drink the Kool-Aid there (in a good way) and you keep wanting more … you’re compelled to keep going in that direction.” 

From a property that required extensive resources for upkeep, Wanda’s family downshifted to a Cliff May-styled mod ranch home with reflective white stucco, solar panels, south-facing double walls, whitewashed interiors to disburse the light, extended patios to keep cool, low-E windows, permeable exterior gardens with native plants, and garden boxes adjacent to the kitchen. Throughout are favorites like Heath ceramics and other hand-picked items she also sells in
her store.

At Modern Folk Living, Wanda finds that “the goods I curate are an extension of what I did at Patagonia. I pull together a line of items with a common language that reflects my point of view—brands like NAU, Prarie Underground, Stewart+Brown, Coral & Tusk, Heath Ceramics, and Pi’lo.

“According to Wanda, customers don’t want to be hit over the head with the notion that something is ‘sustainable’—which has become overused. Rather, I focus on simply telling the item’s story, which appeals to people. Prior to World War II, most “farming practices” were done in an organic, sustainable way, as part of the culture. But the war’s excesses left us with the need to make use of those ‘pesticides and chemicals,’ and we’ve kept making more things ever since. Now, instead of fixing a TV, we throw it out and buy a new one. By contrast, at our store we carry a handkerchief that’s been repurposed (thoroughly cleaned, of course) with added handmade embroidery that says ‘Bless You.’ So it’s ironic that we’re returning (and in many ways longing for) a way of life that our grandparents and great grandparents lived so naturally.

As a retail business owner, what I often struggle with is the simple fact that I’m selling stuff and contributing to the ongoing dilemma of consumption.  I try to provide a sustainable business, but in reality, to be truly sustainable I wouldn’t be in this business—so the way I ‘rationalize’ it is by focusing on products that are local or domestic; organic, recycled or recyclable; handcrafted, fair trade, and timeless. I try to tell the stories behind the items I’ve curated for the store, to offer some awareness of and a deeper connection about my clients’ purchasing decisions. And with those connections, there is perhaps a reduced likelihood of thoughtless disposability. That was a big lesson from my years at Patagonia. The relationship people have with their Patagonia products goes with them everywhere ... they held memories —how could you possibly get rid of them? !”  

How to balance the sustainability ethos of running a profitable business while adhering to her values? She looks no further than her own backyard. Her ex-boss in nearby Ventura, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, noted recently: “I know it sounds crazy, but every time I have made a decision that is best for the planet, I have made money.” And Patagonia brings in $540 million in annual revenues.

If she keeps the faith, Wanda may find her own way to make a light but substantial footprint as her own legacy.    

 

Above: Wanda Weller Sakai (’88 Fashion Design) with family in their Ojai house, which embodies sustainable practices 

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