Browsing Tag

Featured

Maker Stories

Inside the Artists’ Studio with Anne Johnson & Arra David

January 10, 2017

Anne Johnson and Arra David outside of the Sea Stone Studio in Windham, NH, photos by Cassie Tweten Delaney

Canopies of colorful leaves. Air so fresh it actually feels different when you breathe it in. Wide open spaces and dewy blades of grass. These are things I don’t get to enjoy all that often in Brooklyn, but New Hampshire is another story. I experienced the natural beauty of “The Granite State” firsthand last fall, when I also got a full tour of Arra David and Anne Johnson’s bustling studio.

The state’s nickname is certainly fitting, given the extensive quarries in New Hampshire. It’s also fitting that Anne and Arra make their designs there, considering that their one-of-a-kind creations are made with wood, natural stones, metal, and–you guessed it–granite.

Curious about just how the designers are able to turn solid rock into functional home designs, our Tabletop Buyer NéQuana and I made the five-hour road trip from Brooklyn to Windham, NH to get an inside look.

Anne and Arra welcomed us in, offered us some of the homemade hard cider mentioned below, walked us through the studio and workshop, and let us take some tools for a test drive. With Arra’s guidance, NéQuana even built her own Sea Stone Splash Sponge Holder!

Arra, an engineer, talked to us about designing special tools to tackle heavy-duty work. He also shared thoughts on taking hold of inspiration when it “ambushes,” advice on the importance of collaboration, and a perfectly pertinent Thoreau quote.

Continue Reading…

Gift Guides

Last Minute Gifts
That Don’t Feel Last Minute

December 8, 2016

We know we’re probably not supposed to say this, being an online store that sells really cool stuff and all, but holiday shopping isn’t always entirely fun. Sometimes it’s even stressful. Maybe you planned to get out there on Black Friday, but then spent the day recovering from too much stuffing and cranberry sauce instead. Or maybe you did get a head start on the shopping, but just realized that you still have a few people on your list, and of course they’re impossible to shop for. Now the Christmas clock is ticking. But that doesn’t mean those last minute gifts won’t be thoughtful. We’re here to help with this list of gifts so cool your giftees will wonder where you’ve been hiding them for months. (Don’t worry, the secret’s safe with us.)

Continue Reading…

Gift Guides

Travel Gifts Any Wanderluster Will Love

December 6, 2016

holiday2016-giftguide-title-travel

We all have a friend whose Instagram is basically a travel agency advertisement. They’ve mastered the art of functioning while jet-lagged, can pack a weekend bag in five minutes flat, and truly embody a “buy the ticket, take the ride” lifestyle. If you’re stuck on what to gift the illustrious wanderluster (yes, we made up a word) in your life, we’ve picked out some goods that we know globetrotters will love. We guarantee they’ll want to pack you in their suitcase for their next trip if you get ’em these.

Continue Reading…

Gift Guides

Geeky Gifts for Proud Nerds

November 30, 2016

holiday2016-giftguide-title-nerds

The labels “geek” and “nerd” are insults no more. In fact, they’re badges of honor. These days, “You are such a nerd,” is a compliment to math lovers who spend hours on calculations and science fans who’d rather spend a night stargazing than doing almost anything else. As proud nerds ourselves, we are extra excited to present this round-up of great gift ideas for folks who aren’t afraid to let their geek flags fly.

Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio
with Emilie Shapiro

November 7, 2016
Emilie Shapiro Portrait

Emilie Shapiro in her Long Island City studio, Photos by Rachel Orlow

Since I’ve started working at UG, Emilie Shapiro is a name I’ve heard often. (And here’s a fun fact: she used to be a regular Emily like me, but rebelled against our all-too-common name and switched to the “ie” ending at age 13). We carry many of her stunning, raw gemstone jewelry pieces, and everyone at the office sort of fan-girls about her work. So when I heard that Emilie was up for a studio tour, I was psyched to be on the invite list.

I set off expecting the drive from my home in suburban Long Island to Long Island City, Queens to be less than pleasant, and unfortunately I was right. After a hectic morning crawling down Queens Boulevard and searching for a parking spot for what felt like hours, arriving at Emilie’s sunny studio was a welcome respite.

shapiro-display

From the moment we cracked open the door, the vibe at the studio was easy and welcoming. We were sort of a big crew–our blog editor, our jewelry buyer, our photographer, our SEO specialist/jewelry-lover, and myself–but Emilie and another maker who she works with, Erica, were totally accommodating. They offered us apples and coffee and turned on some classic rock. They let us drool over the gorgeous pieces they had on display. Emilie urged us to try on whatever we wanted, which was basically everything.

Our blog team has visited Emilie before, but not since she moved to her new studio space. And this time, we were lucky enough to watch her in action – she did a demo for us on how she sets the striking Waterfall Ring. Following our lesson, we got to chat with her about how she’s grown as an artist and business owner, teaching others the craft, and even a bit about her family. Turns out, her grandfather once had a toy factory in the Brooklyn Army Terminal, UG’s home! We must be kindred spirits.

spapiro-stonesandpieces-2

Continue Reading…

Gift Guides

Gifts Someone “Who Has Everything” Doesn’t Already Have

November 3, 2016

holiday2016-giftguide-title-haseverything

Everyone knows someone who seems to already have everything. You know, that person whose living room looks like a museum of beautiful objects. Whose kitchen is fit for a professional chef. Who is always toting the latest gadget or the most fashionable fashion accessory. Folks who already have it all can be difficult to shop for, but as purveyors of the uncommon, we’re here to to show you a few things that will leave them excitedly asking, “Where did you find this?!”

Continue Reading…

Gift Guides

Creative Gifts for Clever Kids

October 28, 2016

holiday2016-giftguide-title-cleverkids

That phrase “childlike curiosity” is around for a reason. (If you’ve ever been on the answering end of an ongoing series of “Why?-s” you know what we’re talking about.) So much in the world is new and exciting for kids. They’re learning new things every day, their imaginations are limitless, and their creativity never ceases to amaze us grown-up types. With this in mind, we selected an assortment of fun gift ideas that are sure to keep kids interested, excited, and entertained while those little brains grow big and strong.

Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

Uncommon Impact: Sending Light and Love with the SolarPuff

October 17, 2016
SolarPuffs lighting the way

All images and videos courtesy of Solight Designs ™

Some of us take light for granted. The sun goes down, we flip a switch, and our homes are flooded with an electric-energy-fueled sunshine substitute. But for the 1.6 billion people in the world without access to electricity, it’s not that easy.

In many areas around the globe, kerosene is used in place of electricity. Kerosene, like gasoline, is a fossil fuel made from petroleum. It’s expensive, it has to be burned to create energy, and burning it creates air pollution. Unfortunately, many families don’t have access to any other source of light. That makes cooking, studying, or even seeing the face of the loved one sitting right across the room impossible without the aid of kerosine lamps. Use of these lamps can be dangerous. They get hot, they send soot into the air, and in some cases, they even use open flames.

Aiming to bring a safe, clean alternative to kerosene to those living by lamplight, product designer, architect, and Professor of Design and Material Culture at Parsons the New School of Design, Alice Min Soo Chun developed the SolarPuff™— an inexpensive, collapsible light powered by the sun.

Continue Reading…

Pin It on Pinterest