This month At Soul River Space
Featuring Brian Chou “Artistry behind the fly”
ärt/ noun 1. the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
Up close and personal! I had the opportunity to learn and capture Brian Chou’s art of tying on the vice. Every tier has their own approach on the vice. For Brian there is a ritualistic approach like an artist selecting the right palette of colors to paint their canvas. Brian creates with a mix of theory, science, artistic talent, and river experience from being out on the river. “Somebody said to me one day ‘fly tying is a craft not an art.'” This is a bold and interesting statement when you actually look at what art is, think about the process of a creation, and the execution of a skill set that dates back thousands of years in indigenous cultures worldwide. Relying on creativity and art in the hunt for survival to ritualistic ceremonies and forms of communications which all play a purpose in the process like an artist palette of nature. The statement that a person said was a bit bold but yet has no substance to the nature of knowing art especially when one knows the true definition of art.
There are three different fly tiers where the skill set and tools are almost always the same but different in the end product – the tier who ties for functionality, the tier who ties for classicism, and the tier who breaks the mold learning outside of the box displaying artistic expressionism and functional application.
In my observation, Brian’s approach is innovative, artistic but functional as well as scientific. In simple words, Brian’s flies are tried and true! Brian has many years under his belt from fishing throughout the Northwest to saltwater fly fishing along the Pacific. In his experience, Brian has been able to succeed at fly line design and fly rod design for various respected companies and holds a certification as an Federation of Fly Fishers casting instructor. In his pastime, he serves as a Soul River ambassador helping propel the sport to newer audiences, connecting youth to the outdoors, and working with veterans. Most importantly he is a father and husband.
As one of my graduate school professor’s once said to me, “Know the rules first, then you can break them.” Brian knows the rules and he breaks them.
Come to the Soul River retail space and purchase Brian Chou’s flies. His latest flies featured feed the appetite of a Portland Trail Blazer fan, whether it’s to go fishing or just wanting to have another affiliation to the Blazers. The bonus is it catches fish! And the fly name is the ” The Rip City”
Brian Chou on the vice in his studio tying ” The Rip City”!
Interesting to watch some of the little techniques Brian has under his sleeve working with materials.
Adding the glue! Final touches!
A few of Brian fly creations! A sneak peak in his fly box!
Our lives are journeys. Often times we are not fully aware of our surroundings and how they alter and influence our physical and spiritual beings, but we naturally take the journey. Many of us are fortunate to have the lifestyle to get outdoors and explore a variety of recreational activities. It’s easy to take this part of our journey for granted and see the sport as one of pursuit not realizing what is right in front of us. Then again, there is also a handful of people who do not have the lifestyle to do such a thing. For me, getting outdoors has become not only a journey but a pursuit of opportunity waiting to be discovered and even challenged. I take this journey every chance I get when I go to the river to fish. I appreciate what is around me and in the water of what I may be chasing at that time; fishing simply becomes the by-product. The vehicle of scientific exploration leads me to a self-discovery of “change” which is my transformation, my balance, and my church. Whether I’m chasing trout or steelhead, wadding through the river with fellow anglers scanning the pockets and feeding lines or eddies on the river, I am metamorphosing as a pupil of what Mother Nature is revealing and how I am being shaped.
Soul River was given life as I was standing waist deep, filling my lungs with the pure fresh air, being humbly embraced by Mother Nature’s theater, and ultimately fighting my PTSD from my years serving in the U.S. Navy. Throughout the development of Soul River, a connection of art and design between the outdoor world and the urban world was inspired from the art of fly fishing. The intention is to fold both worlds into a creative, urban, outdoor fashion apparel brand beacon young and old bridging from urban to outdoors. The brand of Soul River represents an embodiment of nature inter-playing between fashion art and design and the beauty of our environment with legs in the community cultivating young minds and veterans connecting to the outdoors raising the mental state of awareness to an ambassador of the outdoors.
Photo by Ankur Dholakia
The brand is the soul of nature that is a reflection of ourselves, where we are at in that exact moment in time. It speaks to your individual lifestyle, no matter who you are, where you are, or what your passion is. Soul River represents everyone’s experiences that are interpreted like a unique thumbprint. The brand is viewed differently to each individual who embraces it because each person has their own adventure. Each experience on the water, on the trail, or in the city streets is different based on what is seen or breathed. My Soul River is different from your Soul River with diverse perspectives and experiences. My reality is the healing that water brings to the soul, the medicine to the mental, physical, and the spiritual world. At the end of the day we all stand on a common ground of interest and respect for Mother Nature, whether she’s seen in the urban world or the natural world. The brand welcomes the uniqueness and individuality, as Soul River is unconventional in its approach to the consumers just as Mother Nature is unconventional in Her approach in the outdoors.
Photo by Ankur Dholakia
The voice of the brand also advocates our opportunity to stand and fight for the injustices that younger generations face, with intention to inspire exploring the outdoors, becoming ambassadors for tomorrow, understanding that nature is freaking cool and hip. It’s the journey of all groups, including age, race, and socio-economic status, which we take as a universal reminder that we are inherently connected. Part of the brand also gives back to veterans fighting PTSD, in pursuit to provides rich opportunities such as classes & expeditions that are one day to one week outings led by Soul River and partners with US Fish and Wildlife and Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge and other partners coining the term “Iron Sharpening Iron.” Ultimately, one “iron” is U.S. veterans transitioning into society post-war in hopes that they will find peace and comfort in the healing waters. The other “iron” is community youth transitioning from a troubled past seeking alternative methods of healing by embarking into the outdoors, joining conservation efforts, and gaining a new respect for Mother Nature. Both veterans and youth have similar trials – whether it’s a literal war or a war of his/her own, struggling with street life, drugs, and gangs. By merging these two groups together, they’ll have the opportunity to mentor, learn from one another, and teach through their challenges. Soul River Runs Deep!
Photo by Ankur Dholakia
Soul River is proud to be part and help promote, support the film “Wild Reverence” By Shane Anderson. Come on out and see this film. Bring the family! We have posters for free to give away at Soul River located @ 1936 N. Kilpatrick Suite B. Portland, Oregon 97217 Come pick one up! Showing 9/28 Doors open @ 6pm
From the words of the Director Shane Anderson
Wild Reverence is a documentary film chronicling the plight of the iconic wild steelhead along the west coast of Amercia. In November of 2012, I made a pilgrimage back to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state to the rivers I once fished as a boy. This was a once in a lifetime fishing trip and I soon discovered wild steelhead and salmon were disappearing from the rivers and appearing as federally listed under the Endangered Species Act. How could the icons of the Northwest slip toward the abyss of extinction?
This discovery left me asking many questions so I decided to take off the rest of the year, cash out my life savings and embark on an adventure up and down the west coast to document and learn about the current plight of wild steelhead and why this fish is so revered. We are constantly mis-informed on information about the reality and the status of our fish until its too late. The effects of shifting baselines is more evident then ever. I wanted to find the truth, look at history and hard scientific fact as well as talk with people who have dedicated their lives to studying and advocating for wild steelhead and salmon.
My journey took me from Malibu, CA back north to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. I snorkeled some rivers and creeks and fished in others. Everywhere I traveled I met kindred spirits that the steelhead has influenced. Hopefully through my journey you can see the scope of our rivers across the west coast, hear the stories and see with your own eyes where things are working, where they are broken, how WE can turn the decline around, fill our rivers back up with wild fish and save some of the magic for future generations.
I hope to give the wild steelhead the spotlight it deserves and through “Wild Reverence” begin a movement to enact some real change before its too late.
Thanks for your support!!
The US Fish and Wild Life Service’s Urban Wildlife Refuge Program, a national program aimed at increasing a diverse engaged conservation constituency, is highlighting work of programs that connect youth with nature and encourage conservation. The event will be held on Capitol Hill Tuesday, September 16, 2014. Soul River Owner/Creative Director Chad Brown has been given the opportunity to speak at the event, in front of the organization and members of congress, to share the story of Soul River and our outreach work connecting youth and veterans with the outdoors using fly fishing and conservation as a conduit to spark interest and cultivate a passion creating the awareness to our youth and bring up to ambassadors into the outdoors.
Chad will be covering Soul River’s mission, our partnerships with the US Fish & Wildlife Service and Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, and the importance of connecting with nature respectfully while giving back. Chad and Soul River would like to thank US Fish & Wildlife Service for their ongoing support with our programs and events like the recent Celebration of Wild Steelhead and for the opportunity to share our work and inspire others on a national stage.
AMAZING! TIGHT LINES!
The Celebration of Wild Steelhead was an amazing success this past Sunday. Mainly because of all the generous help we received from the local community to make it happen; local businesses, US Fish and Wildlife, and all the dedicated anglers who came out to share their skills. Everyone’s hard work ensured a high level engagement by both youth organizations that planned to attend and curious neighbors who passed through and ended up picking up a flyrod kit, hat and shirt and some info for our future clinics. We are confident that every kid who participated walked away with new skills, and understanding of fly fishing and the wild steelhead, and in most cases hooked enough to continue their exploration of the sport or just becoming an ambassador of the outdoors. The difference of understanding the youth had before and after the event was remarkable; some had no idea what fly fishing was, some had never heard of it, and some had come up with their own creative idea of what it meant to fly fish. Walking away from the event, everyone should feel proud of their involvement and the accomplishments we had that day introducing more youth in the community to the outdoors.
We want to thank all our volunteers, soul river ambassadors and our partners US Fish & Wildlife, Tualatin River Refuge, The Intertwine, Native Fish Society, LOOP, SpeyHeads, ZAP Team Oregon Zoo, Fly Fishing Collaborative, Jim Teeny & Donny Teeny, OPST, Scientific Anglers, Rising Buffalo Tribe, Oregon Department Fish Wildlife, Donny Adir, Stone fly Society and all the participating youth organizations; Momentum Alliance, PPS Title VII Indian Education, City of Vancouver Parks and Recreation, and Boy Scouts of America. Everyone who came out and did their part behind the scenes made all this possible! Moving onward and upward, we will be holding five clinics, once a month, open to all youth who came out to learn this past weekend to continue their education as an angler and outdoor ambassador. They will be held at various locations throughout Portland. Stay tuned for more specifics. We could talk for days about what a success the event was and how our hard work paid off but instead we’ll let the pictures do the talking…
Thank you to Ben Paull from OPST awesome photography from the event below!
Here is another sneak preview of Brian Chou’s flies coming soon to the Soul River retail space!
In addition to his flies, we are gearing up for a profile feature about this good friend of Soul River’s, angler, and soul river ambassador, showcasing his work on the vise behind the scenes, sharing his techniques, process, and philosophy behind transforming a bare hook into a masterful piece of functional art!
Stay tuned and review some of his work below!
“The Patriot” by Brian Chou – Honoring 9/11 Families and everyone coming together and standing together as one!
“Rip City” By Brian Chou – Representing the Portland Blazers – Inspired by the old classic steelhead pattern, The Red Winged Blackbird.
Soul River shares the experience and lifestyle from the water and gracefully transfers it into urban lifestyle. From an angling support, we are thankful to connect with a high-quality, relational brand like LOOP, providing opportunities to connect the gaps from the industry we passionately partner in to the daily lifestyle we share with our communities. LOOP designs, develops, and manages every manufacturing process of their gear themselves. All LOOP products are built to last and function even in nature’s toughest conditions season after season. Experience, enthusiasm, and an unbreakable will has led the LOOP brand to be the best in industry products. Though the brand started out as merely a dream, for over twenty years they have managed to become the leader in the fly fishing industry. Today that dream is evolved into an internationally known company focused on delivering dreams through their products. Soul River is thankful to be a part of LOOP in furthering their dream. Soul River, locally-owned in Portland, Oregon, is humbled and proud to house the LOOP gear in the retail space We are excited to have them on-board with the movement to give back to the community, specifically focused on inner city youth and veterans. Just as Soul River does, LOOP gives back ten percent of sales that happen in the Soul River retail space to New Currents, Outdoors (NCO), which provides opportunities for inner city youth and veterans to reconnect with Mother Nature through fly fishing. We are proud to align ourselves with LOOP and honored to walk this path with them, upholding their vision and focus in the industry and beyond. If you’re in Portland, or simply driving through, stop by and see the LOOP line up! We challenge you to try out one of these rods – cast it and you will see, it will not be your last cast (or touch) of LOOP gear. LOOP is all about quality and giving back and we enthusiastically welcome LOOP to the Soul River experience. Listen to the words of LOOP founder Christer Sjöberg The new LOOP Cross S1 fly rod series is the single most important revolution to occur in fly fishing since LOOP introduced the large arbor reel over 20 years ago. It’s that big. Tight Lines, Chad B.
A man who is emotionally and spiritually tied to the waters he was baptized in, Edelmann states, “fly fishing has always been the touchstone that helped me find reason.” He focuses his energy on helping others find positive paths in life, as well as sharing knowledge and instilling passion about resources we sometimes take for granted, such as steelhead. Edelmann travels to incredible locations (from Mexico to regions of the U.S. such as Texas and the Pacific Northwest) being mindful of the rivers and the precious steelhead.
Edelmann will be sharing his talent and skill in tying flies during the Celebration of Wild Steelhead this Sunday, September 7th. He will be doing a sneak peak Saturday, September 6th at the Soul River retail space from 11am to 3pm. You won’t want to miss this, so make the time to come and visit! Not only is Terry entertaining to watch tie, he is full of conversation and stories and I am very much looking forward to being in his presence. It has been years!
Terry Edelmann and his wife Angela
Some of Terry’s Flies
Check out Terry sites Www.fishheadsfliesnlore.com & www.speyheads.com
Michael Davidchik- Industry Consultant/Writer/SR Ambassador
Now featuring in the space of Soul River – Come out and check these flies out!
Michael Davidchik (aka Steelie Mike) brings to Soul River a holistic view of life combining conservation, tradition, and creativity, and by trade is an Emergency Room Nurse in Vancouver, Washington. When not working as a public servant, he enjoys sharing his passion for the outdoors and fly fishing with others.
As a Conscientious Angler, Michael recognizes the role of a modern day outdoorsman as more than a weekend warrior. With climate change, urban boundaries and the over harvesting of natural resources, Michael is passionate about the need to understand the role to maintain and improve the current state of our remaining resources. Through the written word and work though several environmental organizations, he shares this passion through the education of others about different conservation topics and fishing related issues.
Michael feels that sharing the outdoors with children not only provides them with enjoyment, but also teaches them its therapeutic nature and what it gives our soul. With this understanding and teaching Mother Nature’s many lessons, one day our children can carry the torch to help protect it and pass it on for generations to come.
“Wait a minute, just one more cast…………………………” Michael Davidchik
Ducks Vs Beavers presented as custom tied flies by Michael Davidchick. Confidence is the key brothers and sisters! Fish with confidence and mother nature may just reward you! Come in and check out Michael Davidchik custom tied flies and if you are a Duck or beaver fan well here you go!
When the Celebration of Wild Steelhead ends, what are the next steps?
Soul River and our friends and partners have planned a retention plan to keep the youth in attendance interested and motivated in cultivating their passion as an angler while developing a sense of community.
Soul River is continuing our commitment to the next generation, connecting youth to the outdoors by issuing “Soul River Passports” at the event to encourage youth to continue learning about nature and the sport. The passport lists workshops at the event to attend as well as five additional “urban outdoor clinics” that will be offered throughout the rest of the year around Portland in local urban parks, where they can come to learn more about the importance of conservation while practicing and honing their skills with the guidance and encouragement of dedicated outdoorsmen.
The urban outdoor clinics will focus on fly casting, fly tying, entomology, river navigation, and a film showing. As the anglers advance and cultivate their new skills into the new year, they will also have future opportunities presented by Soul River and U.S Fish and Wildlife.
We want to thank the Stonefly Society for their generous donation of a flyrod package that will be given away at the Celebration of Wild Steelhead event September 7, 2014!
The Stonefly Society is a group of like-minded anglers that are concerned about conserving wild life and aquatic habitats along Utah’s Wasatch range.