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Handmade

Maker Stories

Tony Holman’s Problem-Solving Pottery

June 9, 2016
Tony Holman | UncommonGoods

Tony Holman working in his Plano, TX studio, photos by NéQuana Rollings

 

“Being a full time artist is never easy, but it’s certainly worth the hard work (and gray hairs),” says Tony Holman, a potter who makes practicality and purpose look good.

Tony began honing his pottery skills almost 40 years ago at Indiana University, fine tuned them soon after at Bloomington Pottery, and now runs his own studio in Plano, Texas. It’s here where he creates his line of handcrafted helpers that play a vital part in the well-appointed kitchen.

Statues in the Holman's yard

Tony created these statues in grad school. They now stand in the Holmans’ garden

His kitchen creations—an all-in-one fondue warmer and platter setself-draining utensil caddy, and omelet maker that turns out fluffy eggs in 45 seconds flat, to name a few—are an irresistible blend of form and function.

Utensil Draining Caddy | UncommonGoods

Utensil Draining Caddy | UncommonGoods

 

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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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Maker Stories

Magic from the Fire: Patrick & Carrie Frost’s Handmade Glass

October 23, 2015

Patrick and Carrie Frost |UncommonGoods

For Patrick and Carrie Frost, the glass is always, well, half full. The husband-and-wife team, who founded Frost Glass in 2012, love being able to create together. “Collaborating and having a combined vision for Frost Glass makes it possible for us to achieve great things,” Patrick told us in a Q&A. “And being an artist teaches you to see potential in everything. Once you embrace that principle, it’s very empowering.”

The Ohio-based pair aim to share that sense of joy with those who buy their handmade wares: “Our goal is to enhance your everyday experience. We try to fill your day with magic,” he says, adding that the best compliment is “hearing that people entertain with our glassware or decorate their homes with our work.” He fills us in on the art of glass-making, the couple’s long studio days, and their inspiration.

Carrie Heating Glass | UncommonGoods

When did you and Carrie start creating work together?

We met in the spring of 2009 at the Penland School of Crafts, assisting a master glass maker from the Czech Republic in a two month course. Both of us had experimented in different media through elementary and high school, but glass was always mysterious. Once you have your first encounter, it is hard to break free! No other material offers the same levels of challenge and reward, it is a very addictive experience to have.

What does a typical day in your studio look like?

We usually work in the studio first thing in the morning for about 6-8 hours. Afterwards, we spend a few hours doing administrative tasks, equipment maintenance, packaging and shipping, ordering materials, answering e-mails, and applying to shows and events. A typical week is six days, 10-12 hours a day. We devote one day a week minimum to “office tasks” — this gives us a break from the studio and allows us to catch up on everything else!

Hot Glass and Tools

 

Inside Carrie and Patrick Frost's Studio | UncommonGoods
How long does it take, from start to finish, to make one piece?

This is a loaded question we get asked at shows — nobody is ever impressed when you tell them 20 minutes! I say we’ve both dedicated a great deal of time and energy over the past 13 years to get to where we can create at our current level. It’s like being a pilot — 10,000 hours makes you comfortable flying. We’ve done that many times over by now!

Opening Glass
What are your most essential tools?

One of the great things about glass blowing is that the best tools and techniques have remained unchanged for more than a thousand years. Heat, gravity, how you turn, and the way you move and manipulate the glass without touching it will make the most efficient and elegant form.

Even the hand tools we use are very primitive. Glass work is essentially a throwback technique, which makes it really cool and protects it from being obsolete. There are things that can only be done by hand that a machine cannot replicate and that is what makes it special.

Patrick at the Fire | UncommonGoods
Do you keep anything inspirational around you when you work?

Our rescue dog Jeffrey is a great inspiration! He keeps us grounded and gives us an example of great K-9 courage, overcoming what he had to as a young puppy. Now he keeps us company in the studio or wherever we go.

Do you drink from glasses you make in your home?

We keep some of our glassware handy, but our favorite works are ones from friends or other artists that we’ve worked for. These are the best to drink out of because they remind you of a time, place, and experience you had with someone special.

Shamrock Glass | UncommonGoods

See the Collection | UncommonGoods

The Uncommon Life

Instagram Challenge: CLEVER COSTUMES

October 14, 2015

Instagram Challenge | Clever Costumes | #UGInstaFun

The next Instagram Challenge theme is CLEVER COSTUMES. Every autumn, I always remember one of my favorite lines from Anne of Green Gables: “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” From the perfectly cool weather, to the creative energy leading up to our favorite spooky holiday, there’s so much to love about October. For the rest of this month, we want to see the clever costumes you’re planning for October 31! While sharing your most creative Halloween photos, be sure to use the hashtag #UGInstaFun to be in the running for a $50 gift card. Visit here to see the entries we’ve received so far.

Congratulations to @dishnthekitchen for winning the Pumpkin Spice Instagram Challenge with this delicious shot of pumpkin pizza. (Click the photo below to try her recipe!)

Instagram Challenge Winner | Pumpkin Spice

 

Maker Stories

Uncommon Impact: Practical Design Meets Practicing Better Business

October 1, 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 Lishu and Leonardo Rodriguez, founders of fellow B Corp El Dot Designs, which specializes in mindfully-sourced home furnishings that have a positive impact on the lives of the people who make them. Their work is as much about sustaining the environment as it is about providing economic opportunity for disadvantaged women and minority artisans, all the while nurturing the traditional craftsmanship behind practical modern designs.

Lishu and Leo Rodriguez

 Lishu and Leo Rodriguez 

Where does the natural environment find a place in the inspiration for and impact of your work?
Nature is our teacher and our muse. We believe in our symbiotic relationship with the natural environment. Our work nurtures this relationship where humanity and the natural environment benefit form one another.

How do craft traditions and modern practicality merge in your designs?
Craft is based on necessity dating back to the beginnings of technology. Our designs appreciate this evolution towards efficiency and durability while maintaining that human touch and our heritage of making with our bare hands.

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