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Plates with Purpose

Design

Designs that Shine: Uncommon Design Challenge Winners

February 20, 2012

There’s only one more week before our 2012 design challenges begin. Before we announce the next big call for entries, we’re taking a moment to share a few of the success stories from our 2011 challenges!

Although we could only award the grand prize to one winner in each challenge, many finalists also became uncommon goods. The Uncommon Jewelry Design Challenge help us discover some fantastic designers.

Wesla Bay Weller’s Cymbal of Love Pendant received more votes from our community than any other entry and was chosen by our judges to receive the grand prize. Made from recycled cymbals and guitar strings, and hung from a gold-plated bronze chain, the pendant is a great gift for music lovers and musicians.

Voters–and our judges–loved the recycled materials story, the combination of textures, and simple but meaningful design. Now available for purchase, Wesla’s piece is a hit. One reviewer told us, “I am a drummer and received this necklace as a gift. It’s very well-made with adequate length and can be worn with a variety of outfits. I get many compliments every time I wear it.”

The necklace is on it’s way to becoming a best seller. In fact, Wesla’s design has been such a hit, a whole page of our latest catalog is devoted to her story!

And the jewelry design challenge runners up that became uncommon goods? Maryann Dolzani’s Custom I Am…Pendant is inspiring women to be true to themselves (we also recently decided to feature additional charms, since customers pointed out that “I am” often more than one thing), Deb Soromenho’s Heart and Arrow Lariat makes a great gift for someone you love, Tina Tang’s Customized Name Necklace and Bracelet let you celebrate your name or a word with special meaning to you, and Irene Cheung’s Teardrop Stacking Rings are a unique take on the double-band look.

Lee from NH loves her I Am necklace so much she told us, “I absolutely love it! I haven’t taken it off since. I like the sound it makes when it jingles…Came really fast and in a little brown sack. I think it’s beautiful and very meaningful. I bought a couple extra charms to put on it.”

Our first design challenge winner from 2011 is also getting some great feedback. We teamed up with City Harvest, a non-profit organization that helps to feed New York City’s hungry and asked illustrators to help us create a new Plate with a Purpose.

Graphic designer Michael White’s winning plate design was called a “Very cool design. Great gift for charitable minded and design minded people who like to entertain,”by Dinah in Atlanta. Mo in Washington, DC said, “Great design, lovely color and it makes a great gift.”

Michael’s modern skyline design is a warm depiction of city living. His clean lines, creativity, and message won over our community and our judges. Now $5 of every City Harvest Plate with a Purpose directly benefits New York’s hungry men, women, and children and Michael’s design continues to get five star reviews.

Our Ceramics Design Challenge winner is also getting some wonderful feedback.

Tasha McKelvey’s petite stoneware Birdie Mini Dish was chosen to win for its functionality, unique design, and craftsmanship. To create the little bowls, Tasha presses the clay against a century-old barn door to give it a texture imitating the grain of aged wood.

This dish makes a great gift for many occasions. And it’s not just limited to a jewelry holder. The little tray can also be used as a spoon holder after stirring coffee or tea.

“My wife could not believe that her husband could find something so neat for her,” a customer told us. “Great find!”

We loved the Birdie Dish so much we also decided to carry Tasha’s Tiny Mushroom Ring Dish.

Tasha wasn’t the only designer to find success through the pottery challenge,either. Semi-finalist Mitzi Davis’ Bird and Cloud Dinnerware Set was chosen for the unique shape, imaginative imagery, and off-beat practicality of the bowl and plate.

Another set, Kathy Gorg’s Calla Lily Pitcher and Cups also entered our assortment. We love the symbolism of the calla lily (purity and innocence), and that the set makes a great wedding gift.

From gorgeous handmade jewelry, to fun plates for a good cause, to creative ceramics, we found some great new products through our 2011 design challenges. We’re also thrilled to welcome such talented designers into our family of artists!

Will your unique design be our next uncommon good? Stay tuned for our next call for entries!

Design

Harvest Plate Design Challenge

June 20, 2011

UncommonGoods and City Harvest are teaming up to create the next Plate with a Purpose™ with your help! We received a bounty of fantastic plate designs and the finalists are the stars of our Community Voting App this week.

The winning design will be etched on to a handmade recycled glass plate. A portion of the sales of these plates will go to benefit City Harvest and help feed New York’s hungry.

We asked our community to submit designs that reflect City Harvest’s mission and artists responded with images ranging from sweet and simple to astutely abstract. Now, we need your votes to help us pick the winning design!

Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.
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Design

Still Time to Enter!

June 14, 2011

UncommonGoods has joined forces with City Harvest to bring you our Harvest Plate design challenge: we’re looking for a design that embodies City Harvest’s mission to feed the hungry that will be printed on a handcrafted plate.  We’ve received a few great submissions already and can’t wait to see what else you’re cooking up!

The winner will receive $1000, and $5 from the sale each of plate will be given to City Harvest.  If you need more inspiration, check out some previous Plates With Purpose™ or watch this video to meet the people at City Harvest.

The deadline is this Thursday June 16 at midnight, so start sketching!

Design

Plates With Purpose™ Partner

June 9, 2011

Need more reason to enter our design challenge?  Gain inspiration from the women who make the Plates with Purpose™ and will be etching (your?) winning design onto a new plate to benefit City Harvest!

Cassandra said, “Our Plates With Purpose™ concept was founded by Mary Irwin-Scott,” one of the co-founders of Riverside Design Group.  “We were looking for a way to strengthen and support our community.  Beginning with a single design in 2004, the collection has grown to several beautiful designs that raise funding for a diverse group of national and regional non-profits.”

This is the first time Riverside Design Group has done a contest for its plate designs.  Cassandra is excited to view the submissions and said, “This could be the start to a whole new wave of plates!  It is also really gratifying to see the outreach of Plates With Purpose™ growing to new partnerships.”

Cassandra encourages artists and designers to “Be bold!”  She says, “I think the most graphic designs tend to be the most eye-catching and will serve to represent the impact City Harvest is making in the community.  I also think designs are most compelling when they tell a story …  so if there is a reason you are choosing a certain motif let us know.”

Plates With Purpose™ has brought together artists, non-profit partners, and customers together because, “People love the designs and the way the missions of the organizations are captured in the graphic artwork,” said Cassandra.  UncommonGoods’ partnership with City Harvest serves as an especially meaningful opportunity to put food on more plates of the hungry in New York City.

Design

Harvest Plate Design Challenge!

June 6, 2011

Starting today, we challenge you to give us your best design for a new Plate with Purpose(TM): submit an illustration that embodies City Harvest’s mission to rescue food for New York’s hungry. The winning design will be etched onto a frosted glass plate that will be sold at UncommonGoods this holiday season, and $5 from each plate will go to benefit City Harvest!

Need some inspiration? Watch this inspiring video to get to know the people of City Harvest and why their work is so important to the New York City community. Then check out our other Plates with Purpose (TM), to see what we’re looking for in terms of design. The plate you design will be featured in bold fall colors like gold or copper.

If you win, you could receive $1,000, see your name on a product featured in our holiday catalog, and make a big difference for the charity that’s working to feed hungry New Yorkers.

What are you waiting for? Whether you’ve got a design in mind or an artsy friend with great ideas, help us help City Harvest to rescue food for New York City by sending submissions and spreading the word!

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