Many years from now, when archaeologists of the distant future excavate the sites of 21st century man caves, they’ll get a glimpse into the daily life of today’s modern man. We want them to take a look at the artifacts they find and be amazed. But before future archaeologists can be amazed by their findings, it’s up to us to make sure those man caves are fully-loaded with all of the coolest things. It’s also up to us to make sure that our modern-day men are totally blown away by the holiday gifts they get this year. Help the man cave dweller in your life create a truly impressive domain with these must-have goods.
With THE PLAYERS Championship underway we’re quietly and quite politely clapping in celebration of one the newest additions to our men’s accessories assortment, PGA TOUR licensed TPC Sawgrass Golf Ball Cufflinks.
These sterling silver cufflinks feature material reclaimed from actual golf balls collected from Sawgrass’ iconic 137 yard 17th hole. While a few pro balls are sure to find their way into the water surrounding the hole during the week-long tournament, the rest of the year the course, located in Ponte Vedra, Florida, is open to the public, helping to create quite a bounty of sunken ball treasure.
As you’ll see in the video below, these balls aren’t exactly easy to recover. It takes a little hunting and some scuba gear to get them back to the green.
Milan Micich, Designer and Sales Manager at Tokens and Icons feels that sterling silver is the perfect complement to these carefully recovered golf balls. “Sterling silver, like TPC Sawgrass itself, is a rich experience,” he said. “There is only one Sawgrass, only one 17th hole island green, designed by Pete and Alice Dye, themselves icons in golf course design. It’s on every weekend golfer’s bucket list, and if a diver is going to evade alligators to scoop mishit balls off of the lake bed, the balls deserve being set in sterling silver.” (After seeing Mr. Gator show his head in that video, we definitely agree!)
“This is a gift [you] can give to a guy that connects to his emotions of having played or wanting to play this famous course and try his luck at 17,” said Milan. “Golf is a place you’ll see men laugh, shout, bicker, cry (ok, whine) and hug all in the space of an afternoon and talk about it for a lifetime…especially should a few go into the drink.”
Bethany Shorb may be the founder, CEO, and principal designer at Cyberoptix TieLab, the fashion-forward brand that’s sold ties to all 7 continents (yes, even Antartica!), but despite her role as the woman in charge, she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. Bethany still creates every single tie herself.
“To date, I’ve hand-screenprinted over 100,000 neckties, all by hand, with no automation, machines or even a press! I have to admit having quite a buff right arm to show for it,” she told us.
That’s an awful lot of ties since she launched her company in 2006, so how does she do it? She takes inspiration from everything around her, draws on her background in fine art, and has a little help from some, as she says, “studio bees,” who assist with shipping, customer service, website update, and keeping an ample supply of take out coming into the studio during busy times.
This busy studio, a buzzing center producing artistic fashions admired all over the world, isn’t located in New York, Paris, or Milan. After receiving a BFA in sculpture, with a concurrent concentration in photography from Boston University (in the city where she was born) Bethany made the Motor City, Detroit, her home.
“I’ve been based in Detroit for thirteen years now,” she said. “I chose to move here to go to graduate school [receiving a MFA in sculpture, also with a concurrent concentration in photography, from Cranbrook Academy of Art ] and also chose to stay immediately after finishing. I realized there was vast opportunity here that diverged from the traditional New York gallery or art educator path. With the low overhead that basing a studio practice in Detroit affords, it also in turn enables one to take financial and aesthetic risks that one would not be able to take were money tight, student loans looming, distractions abound and space cramped. With access to a large amount of space, I was fortunate to be able to ramp up my production scale as soon as there was demand and in turn grow my business very quickly.”
Bethany believes that customers are “tiring of disposable culture,” and finds that “increasingly people want to buy into a story, not just a product. They want to buy from real people making real things with real histories…” and Detroit doesn’t fall short when it comes to real people producing these memorable goods.
“Detroit’s makers provide that accessible story while also providing a product that fits the client’s needs,” Bethany explained. “Along with a great sense of community, Detroit is a wonderful home-base to make things.”
Perhaps Bethany’s love for Detroit will shine throughout her upcoming solo show at Metro-Detroit’s 323 East Gallery, which opens this October and uses reclaimed materials from the commodity that made Detroit famous. “Recently I’ve been exploring a series of screenprinted work on metal, paired with reclaimed automotive emblem text; and a series of sculptural pieces made from deployed airbag fabric,” she said.
Of course, the thriving art community in Bethany’s city isn’t her only source of inspiration. Her design ideas come from everything from current trends to the desire to reboot antiquated styles by giving them a modern flair.
She described a few places where she finds those sparks for new designs: “While I can still sometimes get caught up with the immediacy of pop culture (running an internet-business means I’m plugged in, non-stop), I like to look toward objects and ideas not made in the last five minutes, including natural history, medical ephemera, and Victorian botanical drawings and architectural renderings. Some of my favorite days are spent in dusty museum cabinets of curiosities or looking back at retro-future projections of what people thought it may look like in a hyper-stylized year 2000.”
Once Bethany has a firm image of the design in her head, she doesn’t spend a great deal of time “ruminating on other versions.” Always thinking about how the vertical shape of the tie influences each pattern, she begins manipulating photos from her own camera or digitally assembling the pieces that will eventually be the basis for a unique illustration.
“Once I think it’s about done, I’m pretty old-school about printing it out on tabloid-sized paper and just holding up the finished design over a few different necktie sizes on a lightbox and then burning it right to screen once it’s the correct size, ” she said. “I’m not a fan of rulers.”
Her aversion to rulers certainly hasn’t stunted the quality of her work, and we’re thrilled to offer several Bethany’s latest creations. When asked which of these designs is her personal favorite, she was a little indecisive, but answered with two options that happen to be on our favorites list as well.
“I’m definitely guilty of being seduced by the new, so probably my most recent design, [the Bike Chain Tie] is my current favorite,” said Bethany. “I’m also particularly drawn to the more pattern-based designs, ones that look like a traditional necktie motif, but have a little something extra hidden within the pattern that you might not realize is there until up close to the wearer. The Beer design is a near second – ties proclaiming one’s affinity for the tasty beverage are not always the most elegant, so I enjoy being able to put a different spin on the often less-than-classy beer tie.”
Finally, after giving us a look into her creative and technical process and providing a little prompt to those who aren’t quite sure which stylish tie to purchase first, Bethany also left us with a bit of advice on seeking an education in art and aspiring to build a business in art, design, or even another seemingly unrelated field.
“I like to think that my schooling in art taught me how to design and see in a holistic manner, rather than the simple mastery of a particular craft, technique or tool,” she said. “I firmly believe a quality art education can be applied to any discipline.” She went on to explain, “I’m completely self-taught in screen printing aside from one messy afternoon session on my friend’s kitchen table.” Evidence that learning the basics, and keeping an open mind when looking at the big picture, can go a long way.
Looking for a new look for the new year? Why not try a style that incorporates reclaimed wood into modern fashion? David Steinrueck’s creative ties are a clever way to celebrate living against the grain.
David took a moment to tell us about his design inspiration, finding salvaged wood in the San Francisco area, and how to wear a wood tie with any outfit.
Q: How did you get the idea to create ties made out of wood?
I started Wood Thumb with my brother Chris in January of 2011. We wanted to prove that with a little bit of community support and minimal funding, a craft can be turned into a thriving company. The wood tie was designed to allow unconventional people to stand out from the crowd and make a bold statement to the world.
Q: Why reclaimed wood? Is it difficult to get the type of wood used to make the ties?
We use reclaimed materials in part due to our belief in zero waste products and also because of the incredibly beautiful wood we were able find in salvage yards around our area. We are lucky enough to live in an area of the country where we can track down an abundance of old redwood that we are able to use in our process. By using reclaimed wood, we offer every customer a unique product, each with its own special past life.
Q: How do you recommend wearing a wood tie? Casual with jeans? As part of the formal look with a suit?
There are many ways to rock a wood tie:
The Tech Slacker – Wears her tie to the office with a t-shirt, jeans, and a pair of New Balance shoes.
The Urban-Eco – Wears his tie with a worn collared shirt, khakis and hiking boots or sandals.
Center of the Club – Wears his tie with a bright collared shirt, a blazer, dark shades, and dress shoes. Bottle service.
The Mission – Wears her tie with 1950s collared shirt, skinny jeans, and sneakers.
Q: Did you expect such a great response to your unique design?
The very first tie we made was received with excitement from everyone we showed. We have grown our production from 50 ties/week to 500 ties/week and we are still not able to keep up with our current demand. Nonetheless, I am still astounded every day that so many people are enjoying the work and craft that we put into each tie.
Thanks, David! We love the suggestions on how to rock a wood tie! We’d love to hear more ways to jazz up outfits with offbeat accessories. What’s your favorite uncommon statement piece?
This week our community voting app is popping with comments with staying power that won’t soon be erased!
As a matter of fact, CMT popped in to share an up vote for the colorful Pop the Dots Calendar.
Glad you love the calendar, CMT! If you want to see it enter our assortment, make sure to tell your friends to vote.
CMT found the perfect product, but Sharri’s still searching for one that will stand up to her high standards.
We figure she must really want to know who’s interested in the Titanium Multi-Tool Collar Stays to ask seven times over.
We think the the stays would make a great gift for fashion-forward on-the-go types, but Akiko and Karen answered the question for us.
Another potential product, the Deletus Eraser, generated a mini Q&A session as well.
While Josie can’t compute who would want to backspace the old-fashioned way, Susan and Tea hope this delete key sticks.
Thanks for the feedback, voters. We love to see this kind of friendly discussion in our voting app, and we can’t wait to see what you have to say about our next batch of fresh goods!
He changed your diapers faster than a speeding bullet, he came to your rescue when you scraped your knee and he used his superhuman strength to lift those heavy boxes when you moved out. Help him celebrate Father’s Day (without unveiling his secret identity) with these gifts for the Super Dad!
What’s that you say? Shipping deadlines? Never fear, good citizen! Order by June 16th to send gifts home in time for Father’s Day using our special flat rate!
Super Dad will look super stylish in these collectible cufflinks. Made from authentic game-played helmets, these cufflinks feature sterling silver findings and have the school name stamped on the back.
Handmade by Lori Burley, the fire hoses used to make these wallets have seen real action. Many even bear distress marks from being in service and passing quality testing. But, wallets aren’t Lori’s only creation. There’s still time to tell us why your Dad’s a hero for a chance to win a Fire Hose Belt.
Give your Dad of Steel this cloth of silver and help him fight off unwanted calls and texts. When wrapped tightly around the phone, the cloth creates a phenomenon that is known in science as a “Faraday Cage”. Any external static electrical field, such as a phone signal, will cause the electrical charges within the conducting fabric to redistribute themselves so as to cancel the field’s effects on what’s inside—it’s not the plot of a comic book—it’s the Phonekerchief!
Armed with these accessories, Super Dad saves the day again! His secret identity is safe, and although he must don the costume again when trouble nears, for the time being he can relax and enjoy his alter-ego as a New Dad, Handyman Dad or Geek Dad.
Our customers’ opinions mean a lot to us, and we love hearing what you think through your comments, tweets and emails. Just a few days ago, we received a special email from Ginny, who purchased the Geek Wrist Watch as a birthday gift for her dad, Zach.
Ginny told us that Zach loved the watch so much that he decided to blog about it! We’re thrilled that Zach liked his gift enough to do the math, so we want to share his post!
This is a Watch by Zach D. Cox
(12 O’Clock) The Cube Root Of 1728
(Dividing by three)
(Dividing by four)
(I know what twelve times twelve is)
(That’s three of them and the cube root is easy now)
where ln(n) is the natural logrithm of the number n, and is equal to the number of prime numbers less than the number n.
~ And the difference between these two numbers is some really deep math. Not the least of which (to me) is how to get that limit to go to 1 given the approximation that follows it.