The blue collar, Norwegian immigrant milieu of Brett Stenson’s Wisconsin childhood was full of good eats and good times. The multi-disciplinary artist, designer, letterer, and self-described “haphazardly ambitious craftsperson” fondly recalls fishing and hunting trips with his family and holidays spent making fresh lefse with his grandparents. These experiences instilled in Brett a deep curiosity about food, and its apparently magical ability to transport one to a different place or time.
Now based in Portland, Brett spends his days helping brands create that same magical feeling with his graphic design work, and his vivid hand-drawn illustrations and instinct for eye-popping color are unmistakable.
One of Brett’s favorite projects has been his ongoing collaboration with Sorta Summer, an emerging hospitality brand founded by Nicole Sakai and Truen Pence that began life as a guesthouse and photo studio in North Portland and now includes an annual, ever-changing wine release. Brett has designed the Sorta Summer wine labels every year since their inception in 2019, and because each vintage offers an evolving perspective on that year’s grape harvest, the labels change annually too.
It was this connection that first brought Brett and Wellspent into each other’s orbits, and when he approached us about collaborating on a small merch collection for the shop, we jumped at the opportunity.
Featuring imagery inspired by our mutual love of vintage amaro labels, tinned fish packaging, and old agricultural advertising, Brett’s designs for Wellspent Market include:
A Tote Bags
Long Sleeve T-shirts
A Crewneck Sweatshirt
Brett loves the adaptable nature of Bomba, the classic southern Italian condiment made with Calabrian Chiles and olive oil.
What you’ll need:
Whole peeled cloves of garlic
A splash of white wine vinegar
Some crushed fennel seeds
Salt (it’ll maybe be more than you think!)
Blend it all up together in a food processor, then transfer to a jar and refrigerate overnight to let the flavors marry. Ta da!
You now have a basic bomba, good for spreading on sandwiches, adding to scrambled eggs, or dolloping into pastas for a blast of flavorful heat. If you want to get wild, you can add anchovies to it, or capers, or herbs like basil and oregano. Brett loves adding a bit of dried mushroom powder for a boost of umami, and shallots or onions will also lend depth, and sometimes we’ll sneak in a bit of preserved lemon paste. You can even mix the final result with cooked, cubed eggplant or other veggies to push it into caponata territory.