Browsing Tag

bowls

Maker Stories

A Perfect Design for Your Knitting Nest

September 15, 2014

Aaron A. Harrison | UncommonGoods

The son of an architect father and artist mother, Aaron A. Harrison quickly gravitated towards all things creative. LEGO towers gave way to kindergarten art contest wins, which eventually gave way to an MFA in ceramics and sculpture. Knowing he wanted to play with clay forever, Aaron decided to turn his passion into a career once he started raising a family.

While working in production at a ceramic slip casting company that specializes in bird feeders, birdhouses, and nightlights, Aaron began to shift his focus from artist to designer. “It was here that I learned how to run a production studio,” says Aaron, “making products from clay was preeminent to making clay art.” Working with all the bird-friendly pieces at the studio also fostered an appreciation for the bird form, inspiring Aaron to incorporate the winged creatures into his own designs once he started his own studio in 2009.

Birdie Yarn Bowls | UncommonGoods
Birdie Yarn Bowl | UncommonGoods

On his process, Aaron says, “creativity as a designer follows the need to solve a problem.” In the case of one of his most popular designs, this problem was the unrolling of yarn. After two separate friends asked him if he made yarn bowls, he researched the concept, made some prototypes, literally put a bird on it, and the Birdie Yarn Bowl came to be. Each yarn bowl begins as a ball of clay that is then thrown by hand on the potter’s wheel. Once the bowl firms up, the bird is added, then the hook and holes. After an initial firing and glazing, each bird is painted by hand, then fired one more time to seal it all in.

Painting the Birdie Bowl | UncommonGoods

Aaron works out of his 500 square foot basement, painting each individual bird himself and packing each completed yarn bowl for shipping. “It’s not uncommon to find my children wrapped in bubble wrap or making packing peanut soup for their dolls,” says Aaron of his at-home operation. For inspiration while he works, Aaron keeps drawings from his children around, as well as a LEGO calendar (“my second favorite pastime after ceramics”), and an architectural drawing of an observatory from his father.

Aaron's Studio
Packing the bowls

With all this inspiration by his side, it’s no wonder Aaron’s work has been featured in Knit Simple, Vogue Knitting, and Knit Scene. Though he’s “still waiting for Oprah or Martha Stewart to place their orders,” Aaron gets immense satisfaction from the feedback of others, telling him that his piece inspired them to be more creative. Both this and the opportunity to work from home are the ultimate pay-off. “Sitting at the wheel three to four hours a day, working long into the night to finish an order, and the physical strain of manipulating the clay can take its toll,” says Aaron, “but I am working for myself and I can see my children grow up. In the end, it’s a tremendous blessing and extremely satisfying.”

Buy the Birdie Yarn Bowl | UncommonGoods

Maker Stories

Her Own Two Feet: Dylan Kendall’s Design Story

January 20, 2012

Dylan Kendall says that she’s always anthropomorphized objects. Take a look at her footed bowls, with their round “bellies,” comical legs, and cartoonish feet, and you’ll see exactly what she means.

“I’m stuck in a visual wonderland, ” She explains. “I’m an adult who grew up begrudgingly. I like to think about that world where we don’t leave behind our childhood games, our imaginations, our wonder and awe. My work occupies that space that respects we are adults but doesn’t forget that we need to play!”

Dylan didn’t give up her appreciation for whimsy or childlike sense of wonder, but she did learn many life lessons on her road to adulthood. Dylan’s journey to becoming a designer started with a trip to Europe, and included starting her own ceramics studio and founding a non-profit organization.

It started when she was 17. After graduating from high school early, she went to London to study at Richmond College. She says that didn’t last long and a few months later she was traveling around Europe. Eventually she ended up in Paris, where she “unofficially” attended Parsons School of Design.

Dylan says, “I wasn’t a student at the school but I hung around in the studios…working with my hands felt good, motivated me.” A few years later, when she was back in Los Angeles, she started her first ceramics studio in her apartment.

Her work was a success, and as galleries started carrying her pieces, she realized she could make art a career. She decided to give it her all and headed to Oakland to attend the California College of Arts and Crafts.

During her time in Oakland she lived near a low-income area, and was saddened by the poverty and despair she saw every day driving through rundown neighborhoods on her way to school. She ended up moving back to Los Angeles to finish her degree (and earn a Masters Degree) at UCLA, but the memories of the Oakland neighborhoods stuck with her.

In 2005 she founded Hollywood Arts, an organization that helps at-risk youths and young adults through art–giving them the opportunity to work with their hands, experience the feeling of creating something, and even participate in performance art.

A Hollywood Arts drawing class.

“[Hollywood Arts] was a success,” she says. “We were proving that we were able to reach kids who had checked out of other efforts.” The organization now offers 22 theater, art, and music classes a week at no cost and works to help students find internships and jobs in the creative sector.

Although Dylan has passed the Hollywood Arts torch on to a new executive director , she says the organization will always have a special place in her heart and is the designated charity for her design company.

Through helping kids to get involved in the arts, supporting nonprofits and the arts in her Huffington Post articles, and creating designs that make us feel like kids again, Dylan is definitely doing her part to inspire creativity and encourage active imaginations.

Maker Stories

Udon Noodles and Buddha Bowls

September 30, 2011

Our first ever Uncommon Ceramics Design Challenge is underway! You can enter your unique creations by Oct. 31 for a chance to win $500 and a vendor contract with UncommonGoods.

Since we’re so excited to see all of your entries, we couldn’t wait to start talking ceramics! Copywriter Nina Mozes got the conversation going with Élan McPherson to learn more about how the designer develops her sleek, functional pieces.


It’s immediately apparent to anyone who encounters Élan McPherson that she is an inspired artist who looks at lemons and sees lemonade. And if you’ve ever held one of her bowls and felt how perfectly it fits in your hands, you know that Élan’s artistic goal is to take ordinary objects and bring out the beauty and utility in them.

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Design

Owls, Bags & Breakfast

June 8, 2011

So far, our Community Voting App is a hit! We love all of the fantastic feedback that’s been coming in about potential uncommon goods.

New items are added to the voting tool weekly, and our buyers are hard at work getting community approved items ready for purchase. We’re excited to see what you have to say about the next batch of goods up for voting, but until then here’s a roundup of a few of  your decisions so far.

Owl Bowls

Owl Bowls
Suzanne said: “I NEED these!!! Too cute and not a crazy price tag!”

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