Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Kyle Haines

December 7, 2015

Kyle Haines | UncommonGoodsOur makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the people behind the product.

What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Kyle Haines, the artist behind our new Magnetic Motion Lamp.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always wanted to do my own thing. I have a “I want to be my own boss” type of mentality. I saw a way to do that by creating something unique. I used to only see myself as a “maker,” but know I definitely consider what I do to be an art. I’m proud to be the first person to create colored ferrofluid and now the first person to create a ferrofluid motion lamp. I enjoy pushing the boundaries of ferrofluid. I feel like it would be a disservice not to.

Magnetic Motion Lamp | UncommonGoods


What was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist?

The look of amazement in a person’s eyes the first time they see my work. I believe that brief moment is what holds the true value.

Ferrofluid is a strange thing. I believe a healthy reaction to it is, “How is this possible?” I’m a science geek at heart and an avid learner, so I love this reaction. The truth is ferrofluid is nothing new. It’s been around since the 1960’s and has many applications that the average person just never gets to see, such as the manufacture of computer chips. It’s a great example of how we can break the mold using clever science.

No known material is actually magnetic in the liquid state. Ferrofluid is comprised of solid nanoparticles of magnetic material coated in a surfactant. The surfactant keeps the nanoparticles from agglomerating and have a very high affinity for the liquid carrier fluid the particles are dispersed in. This causes them to pull the fluid molecules with them when they move. These nanoparticles are so small that gravity can’t pull them out of the solution, and they stay suspended. All of this creates the illusion of a magnetic liquid. But really, it’s just a bunch of tiny magnets suspended in a liquid.

Kyle Haines | UncommonGoodsWhat does your typical day in the studio look like?

Lots of experiments. Ferrofluid everywhere. It’s very messy. I tend to go back and forth observing different experiments, then walk around in circles mumbling to myself, trying understand what I’m looking at. I’m sure I look like a crazy person. Sometimes, as I’m doing other things, an idea will come out of nowhere and I’ll just drop everything and rush off to put it to the test. I apply the scientific method to my process, but also practice a lot of trial and error.

Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?

Other than the ferrofluid itself, no.

Imagine you just showed your work to a kindergartener for the first time. What do you think they would say?

Hopefully, something like “Cool,” “Wow,” or “How does it work?”

What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?

“I know there’s a way.” I often say this to myself before I’ve found the actual way. I just have to remind myself that it’s there and I need to keep looking.

See the Collection | UncommonGoods


  • Reply Yve Bowshier January 17, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    I really enjoyed the article on Kyle Haines. I love his down to earth “fortitude” in his artisan journeys. It’s the bio’s like this that make me want to purchase these unique goods for others! Passing on “that cool special gift” is very important to me. Thank you Uncommon Goods for all of your featured artisans!

  • Reply Cassie January 19, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Yve! We love hearing that you’re enjoying our maker stories, and we hope you find many more special gifts through UncommonGoods in the future.

    Cassie | UncommonGoods

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