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iPhone

Maker Stories

Chloe Bulpin’s Design Floats to the Top of our iPhone Case Design Challenge

June 27, 2013

Last year we hosted our first iPhone Case Design Challenge, offering artists a unique way to bring their art to a larger audience in a very accessible way. We wanted to put fine art in the pockets of our customers, and we did that with the winning piece and the semifinalists that our buyers loved so much they made them into cases too.

With as amazing as last year’s pieces were, this year gave them a run for their money. From mixed media collages with vintage photos to experimental photography, it was a close race. But the winning design came down to a mysterious subject swimming through cool waters. The judges and buyers were mesmerized by her asymmetrical beauty.

Meet Chloe Bulpin, artist of Swimming and the newest member of our UncommonGoods artist family.

What is one uncommon fact about you?
I consider myself nomadic. I have lived in 5 different countries starting with Australia.

When did you first realize you’re an artist?
From a young age, my family knew the best way to keep my toddler self occupied was to sit me down with a box of colored pencils and a stack of paper. In 4th grade, I joined my elementary school’s art club. I think the realization came when the principal visited the club and asked to have my painting for the school’s office. Prior to that point, art had always been something I simply did for myself. Receiving recognition for your work is always fulfilling and brings with it the drive to create more to share with others.

Where do you get inspiration for your art?
My inspiration derives more often from conceptual, rather than visual, triggers. Recently, I have found interest in the environmental changes and influences that occur on global and local scales, as wells as within our bodies. I think of images as potent vehicles of communication because they can reach large audiences without having to be translated. For me, the inspiration comes from the larger issues which I aim to bring attention to. The art itself, then, visually communicates these issues.

Describe your artistic process.
The only routine of my artistic process is that I start with written notes of my ideas or inspiration from readings to establish a goal of what I’d like to communicate. I then go to my sketch book and work out composition and materials. I’m still experimenting with various mediums and techniques. But I think it’s a positive thing to keep experimenting and pushing the boundaries of what you expect a medium to do. The risks keep me engaged in the process and curious to see how to best execute my ideas.

Describe your work space.
Condensed Chaos. At the moment, being that it is summer, I have an easel and a table set up at home with images scattered about. However, during the academic year, I’m working in the Illustration Studies Building at the Rhode Island School of Design. Usually, I have an easel set up with a couple of drawing horses upright as tables, a huge stack of paint tubes, a glass palette, cups of paint brushes, reference images, and my laptop blasting music.

What advice would you give to another artist interested in entering one of our design challenges?
Enter your work despite your inhibitions. As an artist, you must realize that there is a continuous process of experimentation and practice to keep creating better results. Therefore, in a competition where you have an opportunity to enter your work with very little to lose and much to gain, it’s a waste to pass up the potential. I would advise that you enter the work which you really strove towards perfecting and don’t worry if you feel that you can do better. Although often infuriating, your drive to want to improve ultimately will lead you to doing so.

“As you think, so shall you become” – Bruce Lee.

The Uncommon Life

Tech Week

September 24, 2012


We’re not the only ones with tech on the brain. With the launch of the iPhone 5, the whole world has been talking about operating systems, hardware and accessories. And how about that map app!?! Well, UncommonGoods has been stirring up some exciting news alongside Apple and we’re happy to announce that our Artist iPhone Cases are available for preorder so you can dress your favorite gadget in fine art.

Check out some other ways we are talking about tech this week!

Laura from Customer Service takes the Portable Magnetic Speaker on a camping expedition in Upstate New York.

Maggie Ryan, blogger of Very Pretty Please stops by to get inspired by our Artistic iPhone Cases.

Systems Administrator Jonathan shares his favorite UncommonGoods tech and gadget picks.

And last, but never least, check out our Tech, Gadgets and Geekery Pinterest board. Have a tech-related Pinterest board of your own? Leave a link below so we can check it out!

Design

Artistic Apparel by Maggie Ryan

September 24, 2012

We are big fans of Design for Mankind over here and every week we look forward to Artistic Apparel, the regular contribution of Maggie Ryan, blogger of Very Pretty Please. Each week, Maggie builds an outfit from a work of art. We wanted to see what could be inspired by our new Artist iPhone Cases so we sent her Hanna Kim’s Dreamscape Escape. Check out Design for Mankind to see what Maggie created from Lara Mann’s Rhythm for Color.

  1. Mini Peplum Pencil Shift Dress ($92) at Topshop
  2. Alexis Peep Toe Heel ($49.95) at Sole Society
  3. Flower Lattice Necklace ($228) at J. Crew
  4. Bangle Bracelet ($85) at Endless
  5. Gumdrop Stud ($38) at Kate Spade
  6. Leather Pouch ($70) at Furbish
  7. Dreamscape Escape iPhone Case – Colors and Textures ($39) at Uncommon Goods
Maker Stories

Meet Naomi Meller, iPhone Case Design Challenge Winner

June 29, 2012

Every new design challenge fills us with such excitement! It is inspiring to see the passion, emotion, and wit in the artists’ stories behind their unique designs. The iPhone Case Design Challenge brought in over 100 entries and the opportunity for artists to share the paintings, sketches, and graphic designs they have created.

Our judges worked through designs with unique mediums, bold colors, and uplifting stories. They decided on pieces that they thought America would love for their whimsy, and others they thought would inspire iPhone case envy. But there was one piece that the judges couldn’t get off their minds; they loved its wit and clever juxtaposition of technology on technology.

We simply love the clever geeky chic of Computer iPhone and cannot wait for you to learn more about its designer, our iPhone Case Design Challenge winner, Naomi Meller of Rhode Island. Naomi recently rediscovered her love of art and designing through photography and will soon be able to see her designs on the backs of iPhones all over the country. Meet Naomi, the newest addition to our Uncommon Artists family.

When and how did you discover art?

I’ve been involved with art for as long as I can remember. As a very young child, I drew elaborate pictures that often caught the attention of my teachers. This evolved into years of drawing and painting, usually for it’s therapeutic value. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I don’t want to keep it all to myself.

How did you realize that photography was your passion?

Photography was one of the only mediums I had never experimented with. When I had my daughter over 2 years ago, I got very sick and came close to losing my life. The months following were difficult, and I was physically weak. I tried to walk around a lot to build stamina.

During my walks, I started taking pictures with my iPhone. I fell in love with these photo walks I’d take, and decided to buy a dSLR to take my photography to the next level. I’m stubborn, and sometimes that can be a good quality. I set out to learn how to properly use my camera, and I did. Since I started taking pictures, my passion for taking them has only grown.

What are your favorite things to design/photograph?

My number one favorite thing to photograph is my daughter. Kids grow so quickly that I just want to capture all the good/bad/and in between moments of her growth.

I also love to create characters in my self-portraits. This allows me to step outside of myself, become someone different, and express myself in a raw and comfortable manner that I hadn’t been able to in years.

How do you keep yourself inspired?

I never stick to one style of photography. And I never stick to one type of subject. Some weeks I’ll take portraits of our family. Some weeks I’ll focus entirely on surreal self-portraits. On occasion I’ll do some photojournalism work for my husband’s news site. By always changing my subjects, I’m always changing my perspective. And it keeps me going.

I also love challenging myself in Photoshop. I taught myself how to use the program by way of trial and error. Sometimes I’ll take a picture, and work on it until I’ve succeeded in something I didn’t know how to do before sitting down. Currently I’m trying to master an old film camera that my dad gave me. I always keep things evolving, always keep learning – that way I avoid feeling stagnant.

How else do you express your art?

I’ve recently started a photography blog to help publicize my work, but also to inspire myself to start writing again. Writing is something that I did creatively for a long time, but haven’t much in the last several years.

I’ve also picked up a paint brush again. I have an earlier photograph in which I combined painting and a surreal self-portrait. I hadn’t picked up a paint brush in a long time. I still have several canvases in my house just calling my name!

What attracted you to want to take part in this challenge?

Aside from the fact that I’m a huge UncommonGoods fan, over the last few months I’d been feeling much more anxious about getting my work out there. I’ve been creating things for over 20 years, and the only person in my way has been me. I thought that this challenge would be a great opportunity with a great company.

What was the inspiration behind Computer iPhone?

Most of the work that I’m most proud of has come from a quick decision. When I over think and over analyze, it usually harms the outcome of a piece. Computer iPhone came about because my husband had recently dismantled a broken computer. Pieces were surrounding the office we share. I had submitted some other designs, but they were very portrait based. For Computer iPhone, I thought, “what would look cool, hold up well to wear, and still portray the irony that I always have in my work?”. And so I decided on a piece of the computer.

Do you have any advice for someone interested in taking part in a future challenge?

Don’t doubt yourself. If you enter a future challenge, and don’t make it through, the worst case scenario is that you can try again. I did.

All photos courtesy of Naomi Meller

The Uncommon Life

5 Tips for Better Smartphone Photos

April 25, 2012


Hello! My name is Chelsea and I blog over at Tea Talk. I’m a full-time grad student, freelance journalist, and Phoenix enthusiast who is obsessed with personal style, photography, and iced coffee. My sweet boyfriend, Scott, and I absolutely love taking photos of our adventures, and really love how easy my smartphone has made taken photos on the go for us. But lately I really love how easy my smart phone has made taking photos on the go. Here are some of my favorite tips for better smart phone photos.

1. Look for unique angles and use them to your advantage. Look up, look down!

2. A flash is convenient, but natural light is your friend!

3. Use a tri-pod or mount, like the Oona, for steady photos and self portraits.

4. Using photo-enhancing applications like Instagram and Hipstamatic can help you create more interesting photos with your smartphone. They also are great for giving you an opportunity to share your photos with other photography enthusiasts.

5. Smart phones make it so easy to snap a picture anywhere and at any time. If you spot something beautiful, don’t think twice-take a photo of it. Chances are that someone else will think it’s beautiful as well.

We are so happy to announce that UncommonGoods is now posting photos on Instagram as @UncommonGoods. We would love to follow back and see what you are snapping.

Design

Comments of the Week

December 2, 2011

With the gift-giving season booming, UncommonGoods has been bustling! We’re answering customer questions, helping people find great gifts, and taking, packing, and shipping orders. But don’t worry, through all of the holiday shopping fun, we haven’t forgotten to find great new products for our community voting app. We’re happy to see that our community is able to take a break from baking Christmas cookies and writing letters to Santa to share votes and comments with us!

Some of our favorite feedback this week comes from commenters who’ll zip it when it comes to headphones, want to leave a lasting impression, and are excited about open discussion.

Many commenters love the fun design of the i-Slide Zipper Headphones, but Maggie pointed out that they’re also practical.



Good point, Maggie! We agree that the tangle-free aspect is a definite bonus.

Another fashion accessory in the lineup this week isn’t quite as bold as the bright orange headphones. Inner Message Rings make their mark subtlety. The raised letters and symbols on the inside of each ring actually leave imprints in your skin.

ER questioned whether the ring would be a good fit, but Stephanie and Ranel are convinced that this design could be a comfy, everyday piece.

Ranel’s favorite product this week isn’t the only fun modern design getting buzz. The Modern Bottle Opener is getting noticed for it’s unusual size and shape.

Do you agree with Laura that this modern design could get the conversation flowing? Are you like Roberta and have a bartender friend in mind? We’d love to hear your feedback on this, and all of the great uncommon designs up for voting this week!

Design

Comments of the Week

September 30, 2011

Last week’s favorites, Modern Cat Scratch Frames and Fortune Teller Napkins are still going strong in our community voting app, but we’ve also added a few new items for your voting pleasure this week!

Our community is speaking up to share their feedback on a cozy hoodie that keeps your phone comfy, extra padding for your baby’s little knees, and more potential uncommon goods.

We fully support your efforts to make your cat a lover of the arts. Thanks for the comment, Judy!

Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

Busy Signals

January 31, 2011

Congratulations to our winner, Lucy, who said:

I hate being tied to a phone, so will gladly turn it off for myself. I will also tell all those who regularly call me that I will have it off and they should call me the day before or after Valentine’s Day. I want to devote and focus the entire day on my family, not my phone. One I love (family); one I merely tolerate (phone).


Every Valentine’s Day, we try to make time for the people we care about in our lives.

And our new Phonekerchief is a great way to signal your date that you’re not busy– your attention is all on them.

It’s not always easy to do. We’ve all got texts, apps, emails, and to-do lists. But this Valentine’s Day, we’re all trying to send the message, “My phone is off for you.”

Who will you turn your phone off for? Let us know for a chance to win a sweet Valentine’s Day gift.

Winner announced on Friday.

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