March 31, 2013

Chicago CreativeMornings #16 with FoundRe’s Raun Meyn on Reusing

March 2013: The third Chicago CreativeMornings (and the sixteenth held in The City That Works) kicked off with Raun Meyn, who founded and owns FoundRe, a Chicago-based “custom framing gallery and furniture-making studio that specializes in using reclaimed building material.”

Raun finds and re-finds inspiration in the old and dilapidated, which offer prime opportunities to Reuse, CreativeMorning’s global theme for March 2013. He shared his story of “pursuing his bliss.”(1)


Raun proactively scouts for discarded raw materials. His custom framing service has access to “over ten thousand feet of material to choose from in stock at all times” and is acquired at local sources within Chicago and surrounding areas. The value of adjacency is demonstrated here.

Another celebrated value: by-products. Jason Fried, who co-founded 37signals and spoke at the second Chicago CreativeMornings, emphasized the importance of not only spotting opportunities to make by-products, but also selling them! As Jason put it, “When you make something you make something else. … Observant and creative entrepreneurs spot these by-products and see opportunities.”

Raun’s confession of continual learning echoes that of sculptor, painter, and poet Michelangelo who said, “Ancora Imparo.” One of the translations is “Still I learn!” Reinforced with each CreativeMorning event, learning—and its counterpoint in relearning—is what essentially makes life worth living.

Raun has an old soul’s fondness for the colors and textures of objects, which reveal a unique patina that only history affords. Coinciding with the search of the new are yearnings for things that are no longer used or even abandoned. In addition to reclaiming discarded materials for their custom frames and furniture, FoundRe also collects vintage items. The historical record plays on, particularly when it informs a way of seeing that Raun cherishes.


Get local. Keep learning. Explore the tremendous range of “old stuff”: classic, vintage, retro, midcentury, and more.

(1) Based on the statement by mythologist Joseph Campbell, born March 26, 1904: “Follow your bliss.”

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Raun’s talk reminded me of a delightful trip to Augusta, Georgia. This happened to include a visit to an antique store.

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Big thanks to: Design Cloud for sponsoring and hosting Chicago CreativeMornings #16; to organizers Kim Knoll and Kyle Eertmoed of Knoed Creative (who spoke at Chicago CreativeMornings #7), videographers Chris Gallevo and Brian Wong, Isaac Stein for greeting, and the rest of the Chicago CreativeMornings crew for their great work on making CreativeMornings happen in Chicago; to Open Books for accepting donated materials in the spirit of CreativeMornings global March 2013 theme of Reuse.

Especially big thanks: to Tina Roth Eisenberg—Swissmiss—for inventing CreativeMornings in 2008. The fifth chapter was launched in Chicago, June 2011—my write-up and photos.

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Typeface of quotes is Trixie designed by Erik Van Blokland in 1991. It’s inspired by an old typewriter, which was used to capture the variable quality of typewritten letters.

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Photo by Nate Burgos. View more.

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Read more Chicago CreativeMornings coverage.

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2011 was Chicago CreativeMornings’ most excellent debut year. Download the collection of insights.