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Maker Stories

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Gardening Gurus Nathan Littlewood & Robert Elliott

May 25, 2018

Robert, left, and Nathan, pictured here with the fruits of their labor

Apartment-dwellers—especially those of us in large cities—know all too well how difficult it can be to bring a little bit of greenery indoors. After all, plants are mysterious creatures that seem to get mad when you care about ’em too much, and starting something from seed can be a real rollercoaster. Can you tell I’m a helicopter parent to my houseplants? Anyway, growing your own stuff with minimal space is now much, much easier thanks to Nathan Littlewood and Robert Elliott, creators of our foolproof Bottle Stopper Garden Kit. With only a wine bottle, seeds, and Nathan and Robert’s expertly engineered “smart soil” capsules, you’ll be harvesting buckets of sweet basil, purple basil, and lemon balm in no time. (OK, maybe not buckets, but trust us: you’ll be seeing a lot of happy little leaves.)

After meeting at NYC’s own Columbia University back in 2016, Nathan and Robert bonded over shared interests in food and sustainability—and when they started a business together, they, like us, vowed to use it as a force for good. To find out what that means to them, we spoke with Nathan and Robert about their product, the ethos behind it, and cool stuff they’ve got lying around in the office… like, you know, a betta fish. Read on for more.

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Master of Babysuits (& Puns) Maggie Kleinfeld

May 8, 2018

Maggie Kleinfeld | UncommonGoods

We love many things here at UncommonGoods. As you may have learned from our interview with artist Meghan Cochran, do(ugh)nuts rank pretty high on the list. A close second? Babysuits. Lucky for us, Brooklyn-based designer Maggie Kleinfeld combined the two with a garment that tells it like it is—because sometimes, you simply donut care. But if you’re feeling more affectionate than sassy, don’t worry: she’s got a babysuit for you and yours, too.

Maggie’s I Donut Care & Rainbow Love Babysuits | UncommonGoods

We adored Maggie’s designs as soon as we saw them, and it certainly didn’t hurt to learn that she crafts her appliqués from eco-friendly felt. (It’s made of recycled bottles, which we think is pretty cool.) So we asked her a handful of questions about her inspiration, sustainability, and the ever-elusive “typical day” in an entrepreneurial maker’s life. Read on for more.

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Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Glass Artist Jill Davis

May 5, 2018
Inside the Artist's Studio with Glass Artist Jill Davis | UncommonGoods

Jill Davis in her Pawtucket, RI, studio; photos by Jessica McDonough (unless noted)

Upon entering Jill Davis’ open, bright studio space two things were apparent. Firstly, I didn’t expect such petite glass beauties to come from such a big personality, and secondly, I wore way too many layers of clothing. We seemed to have a longer, wetter, grayer winter in New England than I remember from past years so visiting a warm and inviting space was ever the more sweeter at the tail end of a dreary season. We visited Jill and her team at Henrietta Glass in their Pawtucket, RI, studio to see where some of UncommonGoods’ most beautiful (and best-selling) glass items, like Jill’s Wishing Balls and Birthstone Wine Bottle Stoppers, are created. Read on to take a look at her process, learn how she collaborates–and celebrates–with her team, and find out where she finds inspiration in and beyond the walls of her creative space. 

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration:
Meet Artist & Doughnut Aficionado Meghan Cochran

April 16, 2018

There’s little we love more than snacking in the Marketing department here at UncommonGoods. We even have a weekly rotating snack schedule, which means that Wednesdays are everyone’s favorite days—days to gorge on bagels, cookies, fruit, or soft pretzels with a variety of vegan dipping sauces. (Ugh, this content creator’s mouth is watering now.) It was only natural, then, that we’d all go positively loco for artist Meghan Cochran’s Doughnut Art Portraits, which celebrate twelve different types of everyone’s favorite pastry. Decked out with frosting, sprinkles, and glazes of all types, they look good enough to gobble up. And yes, if you’re wondering, that is a French cruller.

We spoke with Meghan about her background, her career as an artist, and her inspiration—that is, her two daughters, Eva and Elle. Read on for our Q&A session with Meghan, complete with sneak peeks at new paintings and pictures of smiling kiddos with real live doughnuts. Hungry yet? Don’t worry; you will be soon.

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Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jewelry Designer Sue Beatrice

April 9, 2018
Jewelry Designer and Artist Sue Beatrice | UncommonGoods

Jewelry designer and sculptor Sue Beatrice in her Sea Cliff, NY, studio; studio photos by Cassie Tweten Delaney

Have you ever looked inside of a modern watch? Despite being able to do much more than tell time, today’s “timepieces” look surprisingly simple when you crack them open. But, as artist and jewelry designer Sue Beatrice showed us, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, for centuries clocks and watches were loaded with teeny-tiny parts: wheels, pinions, bearings, and nearly microscopic screws. To say Sue is enamored with timepieces is an understatement. Her collection of antique clocks, watches, and their components is massive. When asked how many pieces she thinks she has, she can only reply, “Way too many to count.” So what does she do with all of those gorgeous gears? She turns them into remarkable little sculptures. Some of those sculptures even end up as eclectic-yet-elegant jewelry designs.

Sue’s jewelry isn’t all made from itty-bitty parts, but it is all lovingly designed with great attention to detail. Her Love “Nose” Necklace is so cute it’s pretty much impossible not to smile when you see it. Her Origami Menagerie Necklaces look almost like they could be made from actual paper. (Shiny paper; they’re sterling silver!) And her Stargazer Necklace captures a map of the constellations.  Of course, we carry a few of her delightful designs made from clock parts, too.

 

Origami Menagerie Necklaces, photo by UncommonGoods Creative Team

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Unicorn Cupcake Entrepreneur Jillian Donaldson

April 3, 2018

Photo by Inspired Life Photography

It doesn’t take too much to please us here at UncommonGoods. Give us a creative handmade good or a heartwarming story and we’re more or less set. Throw in a unicorn or a sweet treat and we’re even better than set—we’re stoked. So perhaps it’s little wonder that pastry chef Jillian Donaldson and her Unicorn Cupcake Kit so readily caught our attention. I mean, vegan-friendly fondant alicorns, anyone? It’s hard to say no to something so cute… and so tasty.

Unicorn Cupcake Kit | UncommonGoods

If Jillian’s—a.k.a. Jill’s—sparkling sprinkles haven’t enchanted you yet, we don’t know what will.  If they have, sit tight, ’cause you’re in for a treat. For the latest installment in our This Just In-spiration series, we spoke with Jill about family, the joy of baking, and sturdy mixers that double as special trinkets. Read on for more. Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Jennifer Zamudio

March 13, 2018

When asked to envision an intriguing kitchen item, your first thought might not be of a sponge. You could say that Jennifer Zamudio is out to change that, but then again, she doesn’t really make sponges. Her Reusable Dish Scrubbers are much more than that: super-cute squares of hand-crocheted nylon tulle inspired the handiwork of her grandmother, Dot. They’re also extra easy to clean, which is something we’d never say about a sponge. Yick.

Reusable Dish Scrubbers | UncommonGoods

We heard tell that Jennifer’s scrubbies had a good story, so we thought it only fitting to reach out to her about nabbing a spot in our This Just In-spiration series, where we chat with artists new to the Uncommon family. Read on for more on Jennifer’s love of handmade napkins, scrubbers, and more, with a little Depeche Mode thrown in for good measure. Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Brian Giniewski

March 6, 2018

Brian in his studio; photos by Royce Brown

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—home of the cheesesteak (and its vegan offshoots), the Liberty Bell, and fellow marketing team member Morgan. I’d only been once, in middle school, when all I cared about was seeing the house where “The Real World: Philadelphia” was filmed, before my trip down in December to tour the studio of ceramic artist Brian Giniewski. In a far-off corner of the city once known as a center for textile production, Brian makes delightfully drippy vessels perfect for housing fully-loaded scoops of ice cream, each glazed in tantalizing shades like “pop rox,” “creamsicle,” “saffron,” and “peach.” I know they’re made of clay, but I’ve gotta be honest: they made me hungry—and actually, they still do. But I digress.

Drippy Ice Cream Bowls | UncommonGoods

 Accompanied by my trusty companion, Royce, I followed Brian through the halls of Globe Dye Works, a yarn-dying factory-turned-artistic community that houses tenants like the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory, Rival Bros. Coffee (I had some, and it was quite good), and, of course, the artist himself. Remnants of the building’s industrial days lined the path to Brian’s workspace, where a seemingly endless supply of shiny, textured mugs, plates, and planters mingled with tools of the trade. After a tour of his sunny studio, Brian threw a quick piece for us—an act that may as well have been magic to me—and invited us both to indulge in “Cake Time,” a staff tradition that pretty much speaks for itself. One slice of chocolaty cheesecake and a good old-fashioned sit-down later, Royce and I took our leave, equipped with a handwritten list of must-try Philly lunch spots (tehina milkshake, anyone?) and a directive to stop by Field, a plant-centric pop-up in Philly’s hip Fishtown neighborhood, for First Friday.

Itching to know more about the guy behind our Drippy Ice Cream Bowls? Read on for our Q&A with Brian, plus a selection of photos from our visit to his space.

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