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Scotland

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Kristen and Ross Hunter

July 3, 2017

Photo by Neil Hanna

The death of a pet can be a source of sadness for many, but for Scottish husband and wife duo Ross and Kristen Hunter, it was also a source of inspiration. When their beloved lab Tess passed away, Kristen struggled to find a frame she liked in which to mount a photo of her as a gift to Ross. After much searching, Kristen purchased a low-quality beech wood frame, and the couple began to wonder: How could we make something better ourselves? One visit to a local salvage yard later and they had an idea in place. The pair began to experiment with a disused whisky barrel they purchased at the yard, eventually settling on a distinctly Scottish design for a frame—and so their business was born.

Kristen and Ross’s handcrafted frames, created in their workshop in the outskirts of Edinburgh, Scotland, are now for sale at UncommonGoods, where we treasure such ingenuity as theirs. Read on for word from Ross and Kristen on the importance of family, what a day looks like in their workshop, and more, including a Finding Nemo quote.

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Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: Is the Unicorn Ready to Rumble?

November 7, 2016

42429_unicornlight

With Scotland getting prickly as a thistle about staying in the UK post-Brexit, you might think such strife is a recent phenomenon. Nae, laddy—the roots of unrest between England and Scotland run deep and are reflected in the British royal coat-of-arms itself. The lion and the unicorn therein might look like they’re happily cooperating to support the heraldic shield in the center, but folklore has it that the two beasts aren’t exactly besties. The unicorn hails from the 14th century Scottish coat-of-arms, while the lion traditionally stands for England. And when James VI of Scotland became James I of England in 1603, the two iconic animals were forced into coat-of-arms cooperation. But the beef between the two goes back over 5,000 years to ancient Babylonian mythology, where the unicorn represented spring and the lion stood for summer. Each year, the two fought for supremacy—and each year the lion eventually won. A popular English nursery rhyme reflects this ongoing animosity, as well as historic wars between England and Scotland:

The lion and the unicorn
Were fighting for the crown;
The lion beat the unicorn
All round about the town.

For the time being at least, these age-old rivals continue to coexist, though the Scottish unicorn may be asking himself “should I stay or should I go?”

LED Unicorn Lamp | $78

Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: What the Heck is Hogmanay?

December 26, 2015

Single Malts of Scotland Tasting Map

When you think New Year’s Eve celebrations, you might think of mobs in Times Square. But December 31st is a big night in Scotland too. There, it’s traditionally known as Hogmanay, a possible corruption of the French au guis menez (“to the mistletoe,” suggesting a Druidic origin). But whatever its name or origins, the celebration is essentially the same to this day—drinking toasts to the old year, counting down to the new, and tying on a few more after midnight. But a wonderful part of Scottish Hogmanay called “First Footing” is less common. In this ritual, the first person to put their foot across a threshold has the honor of bringing good fortune to the whole household. Sometimes, this metaphor for stepping through the door of a new year was accompanied by a handsel, a gift of a lump of coal or a bottle of whisky to symbolize the many gifts of the coming year. Warmth…whisky…who needs a Christmas sweater?

Discover more holiday lore in our Twelve Uncommon Facts About the Holidays post.

Single Malts of Scotland Tasting Map | $30

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