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Maker Stories

Uncommon Impact: Margaret Dorfman Strives to be Sustainable in Drought-Afflicted California

July 17, 2015

As a B Corp certified company, UncommonGoods is excited about sustainability. That means more to us than just being “green” – we strive to offer products that reflect the environmental and social best-interests of everyone. So, when our makers are as concerned with sustainability as we are, we’re always excited to learn more about their process and the positive impact they’re having on the world.

While many of our makers rely on sustainable practices at one point or another in their process, we’re especially excited about those who place the wider world at the forefront of their craft – those who are making an uncommon impact. Meet Margaret Dorfman, designer of fruit and vegetable inspired jewelry and tableware like the Parchment Blossom Earrings and the Vegetable Parchment Platter, and see the ways that she’s striving to be sustainable in the face of drought in California.


“Sustainability is important simply because the trajectory of consumption and waste around us is not supportable.”

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Gift Guides

Gift Lab: How to Make Fruit-flavored H2O

April 18, 2013

A glass water bottle with a built in fruit infuser. What a brilliant idea! is the first thought that came across my mind. I’ve never heard about this product and finding out about it would make a change in my lifestyle. All of my life I’ve grown accustomed to drinking soda and juice, neglecting water which is necessary to keep our bodies properly hydrated. Breaking this bad habit by using the Flavor Infuser Water Bottle would help me transition from my lack of water intake.

Infusing fruits into water on a daily basis will lead to a healthier lifestyle and water being an essential part of my life.

With a variety of fruits I will mix and match them and properly infuse them into water creating a couple of different types of fruitful H2O. Below was my favorite concoction.

Watermelon Lemon Basil Water
Step 1: Finely slice lemons into 6-8 pieces
Step 2: Cut watermelons into small cubes (10-12 cubes)
Step 3: Chop 8 basil leaves in half
Step 4: Take the center piece of the infuser and add lemons, watermelons, and basil leaves together.
Step 5: Place the top onto the center piece.
Step 6: Fill the glass water bottle with water.
Step 7: Place the center piece inside of the glass bottle and place the main top on to seal the bottle.
Step 8: Let the infusion begin! Wait 30 minutes until you drink the water. Enjoy!

This infuser is definitely a hit. After experimenting with different fruits my outlook on drinking water has changed. Using this product created a fun experience. Researching the different fundamentals of fruits and water helped me in having a want to drink water. It’s simple, it’s easy and I am becoming a water-loving person.

The Uncommon Life

Food Art to be Thankful For

November 20, 2012

I’m thankful for art, I’m thankful for food, and I’m thankful that Jan Davidszoon de Heem painted this mind-blowingly gorgeous painting, “Festoon of Fruit and Flowers,” in about 1660. That’s 352 years of beauty so far.

This squirrel is thankful that he didn’t end up the way most “game” does in these old still lifes – dead.  We at UncommonGoods don’t sell anything that involves harming animals, and we also prefer animals to be safe and happy in art (including all the cats on YouTube, naturally). German painter Peter Binoit’s “Fruit and Vegetables, Roses in a Glass Vase, and a Squirrel,” painted in 1631 or so, is stunning, nutritious–and vegan.

The way the colors pop in this painting seems sort of modern, doesn’t it?.

This one, even more so: “Still Life,” 1618, by the same painter, Peter Binoit.

I suppose back in the day, painters liked to use fruit as a subject because it was a way to get bright colors massed in globs, before they (European artists, at least) thought up abstract painting. In Edouard Manet’s “Basket of Fruits,” painted in 1864, you can almost see the paint wanting to leap off the fruit and fly around on its own, without being obliged to resemble anything real.

Look what it’s doing with Van Gogh’s and Cézanne’s apples, below.

“Still Life, Basket of Apples,” painted in 1887.  (With all due respect to Vincent, I think they look more like some kind of squash.) Whatever they are,  each one has a mind of its own, and so did every brush stroke that made them.

Paul Cézanne , “The Basket of Apples,” 1893. Do those fruits appear to be obeying any laws of gravity or perspective that you know of?  How about that table–in what dimension does that exist?

Fooled ya. There’s no paint at all, here.  Photographer Rasbak’s “Sterappel” (star apple), 2004, is a real piece of fruit. Yet it looks more abstract than any of the paintings, and seems  if anything even more miraculous, because its perfect form wasn’t invented by humans.  Paging Georgia O’Keeffe.

We’re done with apples, but not incredible edibles. Not only were no fauna harmed during this blog post, but the flora staged a revolt. Van Gogh made apples look all crazy just because he could, and the vegetable kingdom returns the favor in Ju Duoqi’s “Vegetable Museum no. 16: Van Gogh made of Leek” (2008) (photo courtesy of Artnet).

Vegetables, fruits, painters, photographers and collagists in all media: I’m truly thankful for the talents and imaginations of all the beings, past, present, and future, who’ve created the art I love, the food I love, the art about food I love, and the art made from food I love.

And, because I have an inexplicable passion for produce with faces, these four tasty toys will conclude my post for today. Thanks, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving! (To gorge on 100% fat-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, sugar-free, vegan food art, check out my ongoing Pinterest collection.)

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