Browsing Category

Maker Stories

Maker Stories

Jewelry Making in the Age of Powerful Women: Meet Britta Ambauen

April 20, 2017

If you’ve never seen a Britta Ambauen design, they are elegant, standalone works with significant range. Think: hand-hammered gold bangles and jade gemstone peapod necklaces. But look closer and many of her pieces offer an inspiring quote, like her River Bangle bracelet, which is inscribed with the Rumi quote: “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving through you, a joy.” It’s her hope that women can wear something beautiful, but more importantly be reminded of something special to them.

“Our thoughts are so powerful that when you revisit one over and over, it can help you manifest your goals,” she says. Currently, Britta is hooked on a necklace she made using a stone found in Arizona at her brother’s wedding last year. She laid a piece of silver behind it and etched, “This above all: To thine self be true,” a Shakespearean quote that she says reminds her to stick to her truths rather than listening to people’s judgments.

Britta’s Mama Bear Necklaces can be customized to feature all of your mama bear’s cubs

Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Tom Gauntt

April 12, 2017

Tom Gauntt - UncommonGoods

It’s often said that the hardest life situations can lead to some of the most creative works of art. The idea seems to have rung true for Tom Gauntt. After being dealt a difficult hand when diagnosed with an illness that restricted his physical activity, Tom decided to focus on smaller projects and tried out turning a pen on a lathe. Though his first iteration was less than perfect, he kept at it. Once he refined his technique, he started incorporating driftwood found along the nearby Chesapeake Bay and discovered that it made for truly special writing utensils.

We’re so excited to have Tom’s one-of-a-kind driftwood pens as new additions to our assortment. Settle in and read on to hear directly from Tom about the in-depth craftsmanship that goes into each one.

Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio
with Rhonda Dudek

April 10, 2017

Rhonda Dudek in her Providence, RI studio, photos by Conor McDonough

Succulents and smiles abound in Rhonda Dudek’s radiant Providence, Rhode Island studio. Located in PVD’s West End, where creatives have transformed shuttered mills and factories into workspace lofts, Rhonda designs and assembles her nature-inspired jewelry (when she’s not traveling the country). Vintage US National Park postcards adorn a wall above an antique mail cabinet speaking to her wanderlust and goal to see all 59 of our national treasures (so far she’s been to six!).

A North Carolina native, Rhonda first came to the 50th biggest state in the nation to attend the Rhode Island School of Design. She returned to NC after school, settling in Asheville to grow her Figs & Ginger line of jewelry when she caught the attention of UncommonGoods. Ten years later, she’s back in Rhode Island finding inspiration in Providence’s historic College Hill neighborhood. The studio’s enormous windows look out on downtown Providence where the iconic “Superman Building” leaps out from the small city’s skyline. Rhonda sees the city’s history as a manufacturing center of costume jewelry as motivation to continue growing her woman-owned independent business.

I met Rhonda in her studio on one of those late winter days where a cloudless sky and bright sun give hope to the promise that springtime is just around the corner. She reflected all of that and more with an enthusiasm to match her loving and whimsical creations. Check out our conversation below to discover one of Lil Rhody’s biggest talents.

Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Annie Howe

March 24, 2017

Annie Howe - UncommonGoods

When you hear the words “paper cut,” it’s likely to conjure up some past painful feelings. Sorry! Allow Baltimore-based artist Annie Howe to replace those memories of ouch-moments with a much friendlier kind of papercut – her (completely painless) designs made from strategically cutting into paper.

Annie isn’t totally new to the Uncommon family–we’ve had her Love You to the Moon Personalized Papercut and Love Birds Personalized Papercut in stock for a bit, but since she has a brand new Personalized Family Papercut on offer, we figured it’d be a great time to introduce her. Read on to hear from Annie about how a hobby making presents for family and friends turned into a fun, full-time gig.

Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

Uncommon Impact: Rachel Faller’s Ethical Fashion Company Puts People and Planet First

March 15, 2017

Rachel Faller Tonle UncommonGoods

When you pick out a shirt to wear, it’s likely you’re thinking about how it looks with your pants, or if it’s un-stained/not wrinkled enough to be passable – not the amount of water, land, chemicals, and overall carbon footprint that went into making it. You probably aren’t thinking much about who made it, either — like if the factory workers involved in its production had health insurance, or if they were working in a safe environment for a fair wage.

It’s easy to become detached from the clothes we wear, especially when, due to the expansive nature of the fast fashion industry, you can get them cheaper and easier than ever before, with just the click of a mouse or a tap on your phone. Fast fashion seems appealing at first – it adds to our convenience, and it makes a wide variety of styles available at competitive prices. But when you consider the human and environmental costs, fast fashion doesn’t seem so pretty.

Textile expert Rachel Faller took those human and environmental costs to heart when she visited Cambodia in 2007. She met artisans who had similar ideals to her and began to realize that maybe sustainability and style didn’t have to be exclusive of one another.

Recycled Fashion UncommonGoods

The Tree Rings Clutch, Infinity Tassel Scarf, and Recycled Denim Clutch are all Rachel’s designs available at UG

Fast forward to 2017, and Rachel truly has made (and continues to make) an uncommon impact on the ethical fashion world. She employs a team of artisans in Cambodia and provides them with the fair wages and work conditions they deserve. Her stylish designs are made from all sustainable materials and with unique production techniques. In fact, Rachel and her team are now at the point where their processes are completely zero-waste, making use of every last bit of scrap material.

Read on to hear from Rachel directly about how she broke into the eco-friendly fashion world,  how her clothes and accessories maintain their style without harming the environment, and how she sees the future of fast fashion vs. ethical fashion unfolding.

Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Jill McDonald

March 9, 2017

Aside from being a mama to the adorable pup above (as well as her human son, Luca), Jill McDonald is a talented designer and artist who has created works for top brands all over the country – think book covers, storefronts, bedding, puzzles, you name it. Always appreciating bright colors and bold illustrations, Jill decided to take her talents and create a studio of her own. We’re so glad she did, since now we have a few of her fun prints available in our assortment.

We like to welcome new members of our uncommon family by learning more about their stories and sharing those stories with you. Read on to hear from Jill about what inspires her, how she self-schedules in her home studio and the motivating phrase that keeps her going strong.

Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Suzie Thomas

March 6, 2017

Suzie Thomas in her Santa Cruz, CA studio, photos by Emily Hodges

My favorite studio visits are the ones when I walk in and immediately feel at home–and that’s exactly how I felt when sea glass jewelry artist Suzie Thomas opened her doors and welcomed me into her Santa Cruz, CA studio.

Her oasis is, no doubt, ocean-inspired: air plants dangling from inside sea urchin shells that mimic the shape of jellyfish, bright blue abstract art work–painted by Suzie herself–on display, and whales peeking from the corners of her desk and swimming along her walls. Suzie features local artists’ work within her studio, including her son’s “Mom” rainbow, a charming masterpiece.

With Santa Cruz’s gorgeous sea coast and redwoods as Suzie’s backyard playground, it’s no surprise her home and studio space are very much aligned with nature. But it was a surprise for Suzie when she realized she could turn sea glass into jewelry and eventually grow jewelry creation into a full-time business. “At first it was just something I did alongside my full-time marketing job,” said Suzie. “But then the orders continued to grow substantially. I crunched the numbers one day and decided to take the plunge, quit my job, and launch my business full time. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Read Suzie’s interview below to find out how she initially discovered the concept for her sea glass jewelry line, what happened when she got swept up by a wave while hunting for sea glass, and why Albert Einstein keeps her motivated every day.


Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Meredith Gordon

March 3, 2017

Meredith Gordon Artist - UncommonGoods

Flowers and wine–what a dreamy combination. Meredith Gordon, a new maker to our assortment, has brought the two together in the form of her floral glassware, and we couldn’t be more excited. Growing up as a navy dependent, Meredith has seen all kinds of buds and blooms from different corners of the world, and she uses her natural talent for painting to give them new life through her stemless (well, sort of) glasses.

Floral Glasses - Set of 4 - UncommonGoods

Each of the products we offer has a story behind it, and we value those stories. We’re always eager to introduce you to our inspiring, independent makers as we welcome them to our uncommon family. Read on to meet Meredith and learn how being called “Arty” in school as a kid turned into a lifelong proclivity for creative pursuits.  

Continue Reading…

Pin It on Pinterest