Folk Stories

Episodes about Design:

12: Feeding Ghosts with Tessa Hulls

February 15th, 2019 (68 minutes)

Tessa Hulls is an artist/writer/adventurer whose work spans a multitude of genres and whose travels have taken her across all 7 continents, much of it on bike. She is the daughter of two first generation immigrants and is currently working on a graphic novel about her grandmother titled "Feeding Ghosts".

Tessa describes herself as a compulsive genre hopper who has worked in some capacity as an illustrator, cartoonist, editor, interviewer, writer, performer, chef, muralist, conductor of social experiments, painter, teacher, and researcher. She is fascinated by the concept of home. Outside of working on her graphic novel, Tessa is also focused on public speaking about little known women at the turn of the century and social activism.

In today's episode, we talk about Tessa's current project and its origin, we talk about Calvin and Hobbes and being either totally engaged in or out of work, and we talk about the feelings that come with home and solitude.


I'm completely convinced that serendipity is a muscle that gets stronger the more you exercise it… I just like to sling myself out in the universe and see what happens.

– Tessa Hulls


  • history and start into genre hopping
  • Feeding Ghosts and origin of Tessa's current project
  • reading habits
  • Calvin and Hobbes
  • a day in the life
  • combining work and hobbies while avoiding burnout
  • cooking professionally
  • lifestyle and trade-offs
  • concept of home
  • solitude and what it means
  • artists residency
  • coddiewompe: "to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination"
  • feminism and activism
  • getting to know America by biking across it


  • inspiration
    • overwhelming canon of women in the 20th century doing things that they shouldn't have been able to do
  • surprising fact
    • professional cook and how it started with rugby, whisky and pie
  • principles
    • piece by Jim Dodge: "They can do whatever you cannot stop them from doing. You can do whatever you can pull off and still live with yourself"
  • closing notes:
    • lookout for Guided by Ghosts, Tessa's upcoming project to be exhibited in Santa Cruz, which weaves together her current family history with the Chinese history of Santa Cruz


Feeding Ghosts Notebook

Feeding Ghosts Sketchbook

5: Love, Math and Design with Janet Galore

October 8th, 2018 (78 minutes)

My guest today is Janet Galore, Creative Director of Amazon's Retail Experience Concept Lab. The Concept Lab is a department that looks 3-5 years ahead and explores potential retail experiences that could be possible in that time.

Janet is all about working at the intersection of emergent technologies and design and her past gigs include being an executive producer at Zombie VR Studios where they made the first VR exclusive computer game called Locus and as Speech Director of Microsoft's Advanced Strategies and Research where she worked on long term strategy for the company.

In 2015, Janet and her husband bought "The Grocery", a historic building in the Beacon Hill district of Seattle that started its life as a grocery store in 1929. They have turned the space into a creative space where they regularly host events, exhibits and performances (I first met Janet at one of these events).

Today, we talk about Janet's path into technology and design, we talk about the creative process and what it means to evaluate art and we talk about The Grocery and why staying small can be awesome.

Thanks for listening and if you want to leave feedback or nominate folks to the show, please send emails to feedback(at)


  • history and interest in mathematics
  • early work in tech
  • the life of a creative director at Amazon
  • showing your work in design
  • notes on managing creatives
  • learning from mistakes
  • evaluating art in context
  • the grocery: past, present and future
  • managing panic