Maker Resources, Maker Stories

Inside the Artists’ Studios: A Look Back at Our 2016 Studio Tours

December 30, 2016

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been running our Studio Tours series for almost 5 years. Maybe that’s because every time I step into a another studio, I feel like I’m entering a whole new world. Over the years I’ve visited jewelry makers, potters, woodworkers, and even an industrial kitchen. And that’s just to name a few. Every time I leave an artist’s space, I feel creatively refreshed and ready to get making myself.

In 2016, I actually did get in some hands-on experience, when Jim Loewer gave our team a tour of his Philadelphia glass-working studio and let me use the torch to make own pendant. It was was definitely as much fun as you’d expect playing with fire and molten glass to be, and I now have a memento from the visit. Other adventures this year included checking out a sustainable studio made from reclaimed shipping containers, one contributor’s trip to London to meet world-renowned jewelry designer Alex Monroe, a look inside our own Product Development team’s creative space, and more. It wasn’t easy to pick just a few highlights from each Studio Tour to show you, but here are some moments that I hope spark your interest and maybe even put you in the mood to get creative too.

Laurel Begley

Laurel Begley | UncommonGoodsCreating the Faux Bois Vase | UncommonGoods

Laurel Begley’s Personalized Faux Bois Vase includes a symbol of lasting love, so it’s no surprise that she told us about some of the symbols of love an nurturing in her own life as she gave us a virtual tour of her Santa Rosa, CA, studio. She also shared some great advice: “Don’t try to be anything you’re not. Do your best work, put it out there, and everything else will fall into place.” | Visit Laurel’s Studio

Vedat Ulgen

Vedat Ulgen | UncommonGoods

Vedat Ulgen’s Worn Sleeve Vase might make you do a double-take, but his Red Hook, Brooklyn, studio will have you triple and quadruple-taking. Made out of repurposed shipping containers and featuring tons of cool environmentally-friendly amenities, it’s one of the most sustainably-run spaces we’ve ever visited. | Visit Vedat’s Studio

Jim Loewer


Here’s a closer look at our visit to Philadelphia to see where long-time UncommonGoods artist Jim Loewer makes his gorgeous glass designs. Jim gave a few members of the UG team a tutorial and even let us get behind the torch ourselves. | Visit Jim’s Studio

Alex Monroe

It isn’t often that we get to stray from the East Coast to check out an artist’s space, let alone leave the United States. Luckily for us, our jet-setting blog contributor, Emily, happened to be on her way to London and offered to check out the whimsical world of jewelry designer Alex Monroe while she was there. “[Creativity is] all around me every day and my eyes are always open to it,” he told her. This Studio Tour is just a taste of that abundant creativity! | Visit Alex’s Studio 

Hipatia Lopez

Hipatia Lopez | UncommonGoodsHipatia Lopez Quote | UncommonGoods

Our second virtual Studio Tour of 2016 gave us a look inside the home studio of inventor Hipatia Lopez. Hipatia got the idea to create her Empanada Fork one holiday season when she was faced with the daunting task of closing 100 empanadas. She didn’t have any experience in product design at the time, but decided to take a chance and work with a product architect to turn her idea into something real. Now her product is a huge success, and Hipatia was kind enough to take the time to tell us more about how she turned a thought into a helpful kitchen utensil. | Visit Hipatia’s Studio

UncommonGoods Product Development

We work with tons of talented artists and designers, and are always eager to show off their creative spaces, but up until 2016, we somehow forgot to show you ours. Yup, we actually design a bunch of products right here at UncommonGoods, so our Product Development team is always hard at work. This year, we finally took some photos of their work area and spent some time chatting with the team to find out where they get their ideas, their advice for other product developers, and what keeps them going strong. | Go Behind the Scenes with Product Development

Danielle Kroll

A subway ride to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, brought us to the beautiful, sun-drenched studio of illustrator Danielle Kroll. We expected to see all kinds of inspiring objects, since Danielle told us that she’s a bit of a pack rat, but we were pretty impressed by just how much cool stuff she has stashed around her space. (And at how well-organized it actually is!) We had a blast combing through her books, trinkets, and art supplies. | Visit Danielle’s Studio

Emilie Shapiro

Emilie Shapiro crafting her Waterfall Ring | UncommonGoodsEmilie Shapiro Waterfall Ring Tutorial

We all love collaborating with jewelry artist Emilie Shapiro, so it was tricky to decide who would get to come along when she invited us to stop by her Long Island, Queens, studio for a tutorial. We eventually narrowed down a small group of UncommonGoods folks who made the trek across boroughs to watch Emilie craft her stunning Waterfall Ring, and we promised the rest of the team pretty pictures and an interesting interview. As always, Emilie did not disappoint. | Visit Emilie’s Studio

2016 was definitely a great year for artist inspiration, and we’re all excited to kick off another batch of exciting studio visits soon. Stay tuned for our January visit with Arra David and Anne Johnson. (And if you just can’t wait for a little more studio time, feel free to take a trip all the way back to 2015 for more past adventures in art!)

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