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crochet

The Uncommon Life

The Biggest Supporter of the Arts

November 17, 2011

There was a time when Santa’s elves had to work hard in the months before the holidays, stuffing dollies, carving rocking horses from wood, and assembling shiny new bicycles. It seems as though letters to Santa have changed a bit, and now those elves are placing orders to Apple for iPads and checking parental advisory warnings to see whether the latest video games are suitable for youngsters.

Does any one out there still care about artisan made goods?

Letter to Santa & Letter to Santa (Back), magma666

Although those pointy-eared little fellas don’t get to use their artisan skills as much as they’d like these days, we know UncommonGoods shoppers do still appreciate high-quality, handmade pieces. With this in mind, our highly scientific data analysis team decided to find the Biggest Supporter of the Arts and give that city their due recognition.

We took a gander the sales of a few of our most artfully-made items including:
Stephen Kitras’ hand-blown Glass Globes
Traci Medeiros-Bagan’s Crocheted Headphones
Al Stephens’ Hand-forged Cheese Slicer

Lo and behold, Atlanta wins our title for Biggest Supporter of the Arts! But we’re proud to say Brooklyn’s not far behind.

Here’s the full breakdown of how our art-loving cities stood out against the rest of the country:

Atlanta, GA Atlanta is known as the cultural hub of the south. This peachy city hosts nearly 50 arts and culture festivals each year, evidence that Atlantans don’t just love handmade goods, they also like to party.

Brooklyn, NY For years, Brooklyn has been in the shadow of Manhattan’s art scene, with no Village, fewer well-known galleries, and cheaper food and rent (making it harder for artists to starve). Now, Brooklyn’s art culture is booming. The Brooklyn Museum rivals the MET, The Brooklyn Flea attracts hipsters, crafters, and all kinds of creatives, and neighboorhoods like DUMBO and Williamsburg are known for their studios and galleries.

New York, NY Brooklyn’s art-lovers came out a just a hair ahead in our analysis of art sales versus overall sales, but NYC holds steady in the top five. New Yorkers have long appreciated art, earning the city the reputation as the art capital of the world (we suspect that Parisians are still a little ticked over losing the title).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, plassen

Austin, TX Austin may not be home to a world-famous museum, but they do boast the Austin Museum of Art. Austin art fans can also visit Austin Art Garage, a gallery founded to highlight emerging artists while bringing affordable art to the people. We love the idea, but as far as we can tell from the photos on their website, the Austin Art Garage is not really a garage at all, so you’ll need to go elsewhere if you also need an oil change.

Chicago, IL The Art Institute of Chicago is in Chicago (which is good, because it would probably have to change it’s name). The world-renowned museum’s adjoined school, aptly named the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is often considered one of the best art schools in the United States. Sure, tuition is expensive, but fortunately artists make a ton of money right out of college, so new graduates won’t have to worry about student loan debt.

Art Institute Lion Wearing Bears Helmet , egvvnd

Actually, that last bit of information may not be entirely accurate. Do your part to help those art and design grads pay the bills by giving the gift of handmade goods this holiday season!

Gift Guides

Gift Lab: An Ear for Fashion

December 21, 2010

1. Product name: Crocheted Headphones

2. Background research: Music is a major part of my life. I listen to it all day long- at work, on the bus, on the train, at home, everywhere. But I have two major problems: 1- I have tiny ears and 2- I’m always cold.

These don’t sound like applicable problems when considering the enjoyment of music but believe me, they are. I love my iPod and iPhone as much as the next person, but those non adjustable giant white earbuds- erg! They will not stay in my tiny ears for love nor money. Plus when the winter months roll around –and especially now that I live in the UK (where the winters are unbelievable) I always end up wearing earmuffs over my earbuds. It seems a bit redundant.

3. Hypothesis: If I use these beautiful Crocheted Headphones then I will be able to listen to my music, stay warm, and stop worrying about them not fitting properly.

4. Experiment: I chose the yellow headphones. Yellow is definitely my favorite color and this yellow is just the right shade. I can’t wait to wear these headphones in the blustery cold weather of Wales, England, and whatever trips I happen to take. With the hours of listening I will be able to see if these headphones live up to my expectations.

5. Results: These headphones are very straightforward- no instructions needed. The adjustable headband is super handy- they adjust like any other headphones by pulling or pushing on either end. They are comfortable and warm- though if you have larger ears than I do (which isn’t hard) they may not cover your whole ear and give the beloved ear warming effect to the full extent.

The only downside I found is the sound quality. They aren’t as clear or as loud as earbuds- you have to turn your music up louder to hear it at the same level. Once you do that though, no prob. These headphones are a stylish way to warm up in the cold (even if that cold is just heavily air-conditioned public transport). In fact, I even wear them as earmuffs without plugging them in sometimes- I just tuck the cord into my coat pocket and I’m good to go.

6. The bottom line is these headphones are great. They come in super cute colors, they keep you warm, they’re adjustable, and they do the job they’re intended for. What more could you want? I love my new headphones!

– Brenda Barrett