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Inside the Artist’s Studio (& Classroom!) with Jim Loewer

April 9, 2016
Inside the Artist's Studio with Jim Loewer | UncommonGoods

Jim Loewer at work in his Philadelphia studio, photos by Emily Dryden and Rachel Orlow

Every time I visit an artist’s studio, I get a completely unique experience. That’s usually because each artist’s space is filled with decor that expresses their personality, pieces handmade in their own style, and the specific tools that help tell the story of how those pieces were made. In the case of our most recent Studio Tour, the experience was special in a new way. I, along with our tabletop buying team and two photographers, actually had a hands-on creative experience lead by long-time UncommonGoods artist glassblower and teacher, Jim Loewer.

Jim welcomed us into his Philadelphia studio, offered us drinks and snacks, gave us the safety rundown, and then let us each get behind the flame and actually work with molten glass as he took us through his pendant making workshop. I left Jim’s studio feeling so inspired and accomplished, knowing that I had made something beautiful under the guidance of a talented professional artist, and the whole way back to Brooklyn, I had a feeling of awe that I think might only come from knowing I just changed the physical state of glass from a solid to a liquid and back again using a shooting 3,000 degree flame.

During the visit, Jim not only walked us through the glass making process and helped us avoid singeing our arm hairs with that 3,000 degree flame, he also told us about finding a great studio space, balancing teaching and creating new work, and choosing interacting with others over being a “troll.”

 

Jim Loewer working in the flames

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The Uncommon Life

Waves of Wisdom:
9 Uncommon Facts About Sea Glass

April 4, 2016

Imagine that you’re walking along the beach on a gorgeous sunny day when something shimmery in the wet sand catches your eye. At first you think it might be a rock, still glistening from the tide that washed it in. But as you get closer, you see that it’s really more of a gem. Not a gem in the precious stone sense, but in that “Wow, I just found something really special!” way. It’s sea glass–the smooth, frosty product of broken glass left to tumble in the waves.

Collectors scavenge the shores to find these tiny treasures, and some creative beachcombers even turn bits of found sea glass into beautiful jewelry pieces. Since we recently expanded our own collection of sea and beach glass designs, we decided to learn a little more about the glass “gems” at the center of these wearable works of art. Read on for a few of the uncommon facts we found about sea glass.

 

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Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Are These Unbreakable Cocktail Glasses the Real Deal?

March 8, 2016

Yvette_giftlab

Product: Unbreakable Cocktail Glasses – Set of 6

Research:

When I first came across our new unbreakable cocktail glasses (which are advertised as chip, crack, and breakage resistant) I was pretty skeptical. Any type of drinkware, especially the lowball cocktail glass, is usually so delicate it’s almost made to be broken. Cleaning up a broken glass might not be fun, but deliberately shattering glass is pretty satisfying. Intentionally breaking something you’re not suppose to is also pretty entertaining, so I’m sure you can understand my excitement when I set out to test these indestructible drinking glasses.

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Design

5 Simple Steps for Entryway Designs Made Easy

February 25, 2016

Home accents from UncommonGoods

Whether it’s a coveted job interview, the cover of a book you want to buy, or even the interior design of your home, first impressions matter. Since your entryway is, architecturally speaking, the first “impression” of your home, it needs to make a statement. Think of it as a snapshot of your unique sense of design and what your home represents to you. And if that sounds like too much pressure, don’t worry. Here are some easy design steps to help you through the process of creating an entryway that screams you.

The first place to begin is simple: look at your space and think about your needs. Is there enough room for a chair and table, or will you need to focus all the attention on wall hangings? Does the area feel small and dark or blank and impersonal? When you walk in the door, do you drop your keys, mail, shoes, and umbrella here, or do you already have an organized spot for your things? Questions like these will help solidify the function of this room, which will give you a list of “must haves”—and from there comes the fun. Time for creativity to take over and start decorating from the outside, in!

The Treehouse: Hallway Turned Mudroom | Design Mom

Photo by Gabrielle Blair, Design Mom
from 
The Treehouse: Hallway Turned Mudroom

 1) Begin with your walls and floor. If color is your thing, don’t be afraid to go bold. Choose a loud hue or even a high-drama wallpaper that pops the second you walk in the door. If that makes you dizzy to even think about, keep it straightforward. White is always classy and never bores when paired with the right accessories. If you go this route, a colorful or textured rug will add warmth to your entryway without being too in-your-face.

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