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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Heidi Fahrenbacher

January 11, 2016

Heidi Fahrenbacher | UncommonGoods

Our makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the people behind the product.

What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Heidi Fahrenbacher, the artist behind our new Four Seasons Hanging Planter.

Four Seasons Hanging Planter | UncommonGoods

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

Between my sophomore and junior year of college I apprenticed for a full-time potter. He made pottery all day, listened to NPR, and sold his work throughout the country, and I told him that is what I wanted to do with my life.

What was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist?

The most exciting thing is when I stop and think that people pay me for my drawings on my pottery! I’ve been drawing since a child and to think my drawings on a piece of my pottery resonate with someone so much that they will pay for it is amazing. It’s crazy. It motivates me to do my best work.

Heidi Fahrenbacher at her kiln | UncommonGoods

What does your typical day in the studio look like?

My studio is 4 miles from my house, at my parents’ house. They had an old chicken coop they weren’t using, so my partner and I finished it, and added heat and electricity. My parents are in their late 70’s, so I usually have a cup of coffee with them around 9. Then I head out to the coop. I have different schedules for each day depending where I am in the making process. One day I could be casting, the next finishing, firing the kiln, or glazing. I try not to waste time, so if I am waiting for pots to dry I am working on something else. I usually work until 5-ish unless I have a project that needs to be completed, but even then the latest I work is 7.

Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?

My late sister-in-law made me an apron when I started taking pottery classes in high school. The fabric has a universe pattern with iron-on moons and stars. She used to sew goose clothes (remember those?) and sell them at craft fairs. She was a talented seamstress. She died unexpectedly when I was a senior in college and never saw me become a professional artist. I wore the apron so long it is threadbare, but I keep it to remind me of her and her encouragement.

Imagine you just showed your work to a kindergartner for the first time. What do you think they would say?

They would giggle with delight! They would say they like all the little houses.

What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?

I have a greeting card that hangs in my studio that says: “Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.” —H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Ariana Ost

December 30, 2015

Our makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the people behind the product.

What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Ariana Ost, the artist behind our gorgeous new City Garden, Earth Elements, and Paris jewelry collections.

Ariana Ost | UncommonGoods

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I grew up in Brooklyn and have always been a dreamer. The city of Paris was, is and always will be my greatest muse. I grew up accompanying my father on business trips to France and marveled at the endless creativity and history at every turn. I studied abroad in Paris, while attending Parsons School of Design, and during that time I just knew in my heart that I would be a designer. I learned so much about expression through art, language, architecture and culture. I was so taken with French design and took in the spirit and passion around me.

I came home and knew jewelry would be my focus. Parsons didn’t offer jewelry design so to supplement I took an intensive course in London at the acclaimed Central Saint Martins and learned the technical skills to interpret my vision. I adored the Old World approach that London has and how historic the art of craftsmanship is to the British heritage. I wanted to revive European ingenuity and make it accessible to the contemporary American market.

Ariana Ost - Paris Collection | UncommonGoodsWhat was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist?

The moments when I first saw my designs in a chain store, being worn out on the streets, posted and styled on blogs, getting press etc. was magical. I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm, knowing that an idea I had had and executed in my own little world was out in the world market. Some of my old pieces made before the days of Pinterest are still being pinned, which amazes me that users uploaded images and found something special about my designs.

Ariana Ost | UncommonGoods

What does your typical day in the studio look like?

I come in catch up on emails, work closely with our creative director, sample makers and metal smiths. It is such a delight to have such a creative team to manage and execute my vision. I am also so lucky to have my father as my business partner; he handles all production and makes my dreams reality. We have lunch together every day and brainstorm about the business. We have been expanding into other categories and applying our jewelry approach to new avenues, I am most eager to launch my home line very shortly.

Ariana Ost | UncommonGoods

Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?

I am so privileged to be able to walk to my studio with my Maltipoo, London. He is such a dynamic character and the mascot of our workplace; he attends every meeting and handles client relations. I try and make our studio a haven and home away from home with various trinkets and symbolic items. So to create a warm and motivational ambiance we have essential oils handy for meetings and use the appropriate ones based on the topic. I have grounding blends, joyful blends, inspirational and creative blends, as well as de-stressing, calming blends. We have quartz to conduct strong energy and pyrite to bring success. I also light candles to set the mood and add a lovely aroma.

Ariana Ost - City Garden Collection | UncommonGoods

Imagine you just showed your work to a kindergartener for the first time. What do you think they would say?

I think that a kindergartener would find my pieces to be very pretty and fun. They would definitely know the items are to be worn and would try to feel glamorous. Jewelry is luckily an eye-catching category.

Ariana Ost - Earth Elements Collection | UncommonGoods

What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?

Never give up, always be the best version of yourself, and failure is never an option. I have gone through many moments of reinvention in my life. I lost my mother at the age of 25 and started my own business when I was 28, I took charge of my life and knew I had to create my own destiny.

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Steve Sladics

December 14, 2015

Steve Sladics | UncommonGoods
Our makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the people behind the product.

What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Steve Sladics, the artist behind our new Glass Straws.

Glass straws | UncommonGoods
When did you know you wanted to be a maker? 

I didn’t consider myself an artist or creator actually. I have always been good with my hands and love to work with different types of materials. Once my wife asked me to try and make a reusable glass straw. I then realized I had this talent, and enjoy working in my workshop all hours of the night. Well I did, haha, now I have a team of people helping us fulfill our demands, which is fun.Steve Sladics | UncommonGoods

What was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist/artisan/maker?

Making something beautiful and unique is always exciting and empowering.

Steve Sladics | UncommonGoodsWhat does your typical day in the studio look like?

Well, it is different everyday; that is what keeps my interest. I love that I can change up my routine and work on different types of projects, but I spend the majority of my time in front of a small flame polishing and bending our straws.

Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?

No, actually, I have a window that looks out into our yard that is every peaceful; my space is all about me.

Glass Straws | UncommonGoodsImagine you just showed your work to a kindergartener for the first time. What do you think they would say?

Kids always love the colors and smoothness of our product, and request them immediately. They are often the breaking point for parents purchasing our straws.

What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?

“When is now a good time?”

See the Collection | UncommonGoods

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Kyle Haines

December 7, 2015

Kyle Haines | UncommonGoodsOur makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the people behind the product.

What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Kyle Haines, the artist behind our new Magnetic Motion Lamp.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always wanted to do my own thing. I have a “I want to be my own boss” type of mentality. I saw a way to do that by creating something unique. I used to only see myself as a “maker,” but know I definitely consider what I do to be an art. I’m proud to be the first person to create colored ferrofluid and now the first person to create a ferrofluid motion lamp. I enjoy pushing the boundaries of ferrofluid. I feel like it would be a disservice not to.

Magnetic Motion Lamp | UncommonGoods

 

What was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist?

The look of amazement in a person’s eyes the first time they see my work. I believe that brief moment is what holds the true value.

Ferrofluid is a strange thing. I believe a healthy reaction to it is, “How is this possible?” I’m a science geek at heart and an avid learner, so I love this reaction. The truth is ferrofluid is nothing new. It’s been around since the 1960’s and has many applications that the average person just never gets to see, such as the manufacture of computer chips. It’s a great example of how we can break the mold using clever science.

No known material is actually magnetic in the liquid state. Ferrofluid is comprised of solid nanoparticles of magnetic material coated in a surfactant. The surfactant keeps the nanoparticles from agglomerating and have a very high affinity for the liquid carrier fluid the particles are dispersed in. This causes them to pull the fluid molecules with them when they move. These nanoparticles are so small that gravity can’t pull them out of the solution, and they stay suspended. All of this creates the illusion of a magnetic liquid. But really, it’s just a bunch of tiny magnets suspended in a liquid.

Kyle Haines | UncommonGoodsWhat does your typical day in the studio look like?

Lots of experiments. Ferrofluid everywhere. It’s very messy. I tend to go back and forth observing different experiments, then walk around in circles mumbling to myself, trying understand what I’m looking at. I’m sure I look like a crazy person. Sometimes, as I’m doing other things, an idea will come out of nowhere and I’ll just drop everything and rush off to put it to the test. I apply the scientific method to my process, but also practice a lot of trial and error.

Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?

Other than the ferrofluid itself, no.

Imagine you just showed your work to a kindergartener for the first time. What do you think they would say?

Hopefully, something like “Cool,” “Wow,” or “How does it work?”

What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?

“I know there’s a way.” I often say this to myself before I’ve found the actual way. I just have to remind myself that it’s there and I need to keep looking.

See the Collection | UncommonGoods

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Kristen Juen

November 30, 2015

Kristen Juen | UncommonGoods

Our makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the people behind the product.

What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Kristen Juen, the artist behind our new Mauna Planter and Dish and Valley Hanging Planter.

Mauna Planter and Dish | UncommonGoods

When did you know you wanted to be an artisan?

I have always had a passion for creativity. When I moved to Austin recently it felt like the right time and place to pursue a path as a maker.

What has been the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artisan?

Sharing my joy and inspiration for creating with others!

Kristen Juen | UncommonGoods

What does your typical day in the studio look like?

I like to stay busy in the studio. I typically continue on a previous day’s work, while also starting something new so I always have something going. You will find me rolling out slabs, assembling new work, trimming, smoothing, and glazing. I also currently work out of a shared studio, so I learn a lot and gain inspiration from being around other creatives.

Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?

I do not have a specific trinket, but I gain so much inspiration from the outdoors. Getting out of the studio occasionally to take in the beauty, peace, and surprises that can be discovered in nature, is so important to the development of my creativity and ceramic wares.

Kristen Juen | UncommonGoods

Imagine you just showed your work to a kindergartner for the first time. What do you think they would say?

A kindergartner recently looked up at me during an art show in amazement and said, “Did you make all this?”

Valley Hanging Planter | UncommonGoods

What quote or mantrakeeps you motivated?

It can be scary to push myself to try new creative ideas that might completely fail. However, I recognize that my most exciting creations often evolve from these experiments. I am inspired and motivated to keep going by the Joseph Chilton Pearce quote, “To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”

See the Collection | UncommonGoods

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Jill Rikkers

November 23, 2015

Jill Rikkers | UncommonGoodsOur makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the people behind the product.

What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Jill Rikkers, the artist behind our new Hand-Forged Cheese Set and Hand-Forged Serving Pieces.

Hand Forged Cheese SetWhen did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I was always making things as a kid. Anything creative and always busy putting things together. I grew up on a farm in New York so keeping myself occupied was part of that lifestyle.

Hand Forged Serving Pieces | UncommonGoods

What’s been the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist?

The most exciting thing about creating wonderful pieces of art is seeing it come to fruition. To start from a thought and or conversation, to a drawing and a piece of paper, and go on to an actual 3-D piece of art for someone is truly a wonderful feeling.

Jill Rikkers | UncommonGoodsWhat does your typical day in the studio look like?

A typical day for me is always different. My work consists of blacksmithing and forming the heads and polishing and riveting. So depending on my mood, that’s which process I dive into for that day.

Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?

I have my grandfather’s anvil that I use and think of him all the time when I look at it. It’s key in my production and reminds me of a hard working man I admire so much.

Jill Rikkers | UncommonGoodsImagine you just showed your work to a kindergartener for the first time. What do you think they would say?

My work appeals to all ages. My little niece just brought a set of my serving pieces into her first grade class for show-and-tell last week. So I think everyone enjoys them. And being a girl making these is also a good eye-opener for many people, especially the young ones, to see it is a possibility for anyone to do this.

What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?

The act of creating keeps me motivated. I have to make something every day or it’s not a complete day for me. I’m a bit addicted to the creative process.

See the Collection | UncommonGoods

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Heather Kelly

November 12, 2015

Heather Kelly | UncommonGoods
Our makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the people behind the product.

What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Heather Kelly, the artist behind our new Planet Lollipops.

Planet Lollipops | UncommonGoods

When did you know you wanted to be an artist/artisan/maker?
Being an artist/artisan came about purely by accident. I have always had a crafty way about me but after my sister opened an Etsy shop to sell hair ribbons and told me about a relative of ours that made one pillow and sold it on the same venue, I was intrigued. I enjoy being in the kitchen and decided I would make fortune cookies with custom messages. It all started there. Curiosity drove me to other custom edibles including lollipops, which we make exclusively today. The days of those fortune cookies are long gone.

Planet Lollipops | UncommonGoods

What was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist/artisan/maker?
It is particularly exciting to be noticed by big names. That what you’re doing is special enough and unique enough to get noticed; Martha Stewart, CNET–my business has received a lot of attention for some big names and creating a “wow factor” with them is great fun.

Planet Lollipops | UncommonGoods

What does your typical day in the studio look like?
I have about 30 employees now so my day is spent managing people mainly. I am also deeply involved in customer service, sales, web development and social media. Luckily I get to apply creative license across many platforms. And they do still take my ideas in the kitchen.

Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?
My inspiration honestly is my family. I have four boys and I want them to come up seeing me work hard and be rewarded for that. I hope that example rubs off on them and they lead productive, hard working lives and contribute to whatever career they ultimately decide on.

Planet Lollipops | UncommonGoods

Imagine you just showed your work to a kindergartener for the first time. What do you think they would say?
This has happened! We have donated lollipops to schools studying space and the solar system. Almost all of them start identifying the planets in each lollipop and “Wow…cool…” is almost always the first thing they say. Right before they say “Yummy”.

Planet Lollipops | UncommonGoods

What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?
I have a few quotes that I keep handy. Three from others. One is my own.

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.
– Arthur O’Shaughnessy & Willy Wonka

Creativity is intelligence having fun.
-Albert Einstein

Creativity is a continual surprise.
– Ray Bradbury

It’s simply not good enough to just be capable of greatness.
-Me

Planet Lollipops | UncommonGoods

See the Collection | UncommonGoods

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Matt Butler

November 2, 2015

Our makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the people behind the product.

What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Matt Butler, the artist behind our new linocut prints.

Matt Butler | UncommonGoods

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I realized I wanted to be a full-time maker when my hobby of printmaking transformed into a passion. I was working as a teacher at the time and pulling prints at night. I started to see the positive reactions my work was getting and knew I needed to make a more serious commitment to printmaking.

Matt Butler | UncommonGoods

Matt Butler | UncommonGoods

What was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist?

The most exciting part of going full-time was the unknown. It was thrilling taking a risk that hinged on my creativity and ability to produce work that people liked and wanted. There are definitely some days that I wish I was the one making all the decisions but in the end it’s part of what makes this fun.

Matt Butler | UncommonGoods

What does your typical day in the studio look like?

Each day is pretty different but most days start with emails/brief procrastination on the computer. Some days are spent mostly on the computer working on new designs but many are spent on my feet pulling prints.

Heart Venn Diagram | UncommonGoods

Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?

I don’t have one single thing that is inspirational but I do have a handful of items related to printing that were my grandfather’s. He was very passionate about lettering, typography, and printmaking. I came to love these things too late to share the passion with him but my grandmother had held on to some items and tools and they are now scattered around my studio. I like to think he would approve of my career choice.

Falling Linocut | UncommonGoods

Imagine you just showed your work to a kindergartener for the first time. What do you think they would say?

I’m afraid they might find it boring and not understand some of the wit involved. They might find the texture and impression in the paper nice though!

What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?

Do work.

See the Collection | UncommonGoods

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