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Winner

Maker Stories

Matthew Amey’s ‘End of Innocence’ Jumps into our Collection

May 23, 2012

With every new design challenge comes the chance to step into the minds and lives of some of America’s budding designers. The Wall Art challenge brought in over 100 entries and an opportunity for artists to tell a personal story through the paintings, sketches and digital graphics they have created.

Our judges worked through art with sentimental stories, unusual mediums and contemporary themes. They decided on some pieces that they could see hanging in the homes of many Americans yet others they loved for their niche attraction. But the piece that stole their heart was one about the uncertainty in change and straddled a fine line between hopeful and ominous.

The more we learn about Wall Art Challenge winner Matthew Amey of Maryland, the more we love End of Innocence: Jump Off and can’t wait to share its story with customers. Matthew heard about our design challenge from his wife who encourages him to share his work with others in new and exciting ways and will soon be able to say that his work is on the walls of homes across the country. Meet Matthew, our Wall Art Design Challenge winner and the newest addition to the Uncommon Artists family.

When and how did you discover art?
As a young child I took art classes during summer camp and was thrilled with the freedom that was afforded us to create whatever we wanted. My older brother was much more astute at drawing than I was so, as a challenge to myself, I set out to be a better artist than him. I believe I was 7.

What are your favorite things to design/illustrate?
My interests are many and diverse. I’ve spent the last four years studying fine art at the University of Delaware where I’ve been exposed to a plethora of techniques, materials and insight into the concept of a fine art profession.

Recently I have been enamored with cephalopods; octopuses especially but I’ve been researching and becoming more interested in cuttlefish and squid.

How do you keep yourself inspired?
I am constantly thinking of what to do next. Dwelling on past achievements, while ingratiating, can be burdensome. The process of making art, the actual moving of paint around on canvas, pushing a pencil across paper, or drawing with a stylus on a drawing tablet to create digital works, is what drives me to create more. While I enjoy the finished pieces and I’m excited to see how others react to my work, I am more enamored with the actual creation of the work. I started out as a doodler and dabbler but that has turned into a profession that is quite fulfilling.

How else do you express your art?
I have been a professional tattoo artist since 1991 and much of my work is informed from that experience. Tattoos are a very personal expression for my clients. I have built a reputation for creating high quality work in the skin and my clients know that my work excels when they give me artistic freedom to work within their design parameters.

As a tattoo artist it is very apparent that my job is to help my client express their ideas on their body. Often it is an opportunity for me to explore many different ideas, compositions and concepts that I wouldn’t normally investigate.


What attracted you to want to take part in this challenge?
My wife knew that I was searching for outlets to show my non-tattoo related artwork and she turned me on to this contest. I happened to have these illustrations that are part of a series that I recently created.


What was the inspiration behind End of Innocence?
In 2008 I returned to college after a 20 year hiatus. While studying fine art at the University of Delaware it became apparent that I was surrounded by young, soon-to-be adults who were going through some major emotional and physical changes. One day a tattoo client of mine requested an image of his daughter on a rope swing under the silhouette of a tree. After doing the tattoo on him I started to think about the image and how it had the potential to tell a more compelling story. I started putting together images of different trees with children on rope swings and ended up with a series of 5 disparate images.

Each image has a tree, a child either on the swing or jumping off, and varying types of birds either in flight or perched on a branch. The tree represents stability, safety, comfort, excitement and all the positive attributes of a loving family. The child is enjoying the ride and seems oblivious to what lies just outside of the trees reach, the future. The birds represent the varying societal norms that the child could eventually grow into.

Any advice for someone interesting in taking part in a future challenge?
Take a chance. You’ll never know how your work will affect others until you put it in front of them.

All photos courtesy of Matthew Amey.

The Uncommon Life

Crowning the Winner of the Uncommon Bedroom Pinterest Contest

March 9, 2012


The decision wasn’t easy but the process sure was fun. Julia, Cassie and I, each admitted Pinterest-aholics, sat down to determine who created the mother of all pin boards for our Uncommon Bedroom contest. Our work was cut out for us with almost 300 entries, but I promise no arguments ensued. Sadly, there can only be one winner but we wanted to share the honorable mentions that kept us debating before we crowned our Queen of Pins.


We really loved Heather’s board for its rich jewel-tone colors and excessive doillies. We also appreciate the fact that her idea of breakfast includes Nutella and her idea of a bedtime story is Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling.

 


Nicole had some pretty uncommon items in her dream bedroom. We were drawn in by the fancy bathroom tile and stayed for the pebble pillows and little black dresser.

 


There seems to be a very consistent affinity for the color purple on Alexandra’s board. Check out the furniture made of repurposed suitcases and wine crates!

 


Kristi‘s board was full of rich purple hues, hidden closets and spooky details. Her zombie bed kept us talking for days (Do I smell a DIY…)

 


But the board that stole our hearts belongs to Carter. Her dream beach bedroom makes us long for summer, sun kissed cheeks and sand in our sheets. She put together a cohesive mood board with a combination of decorating styles and mixed media to create a beautiful story that ignited our imaginations.

Help us congratulate Carter on Pinterest and check out the boards that stole our hearts.

Design

The Ceramics Design Champion

November 15, 2011


Our judges met at Flatbush Farm last week to take a look at the five finalists from the Ceramics Design Challenge.


Alice Goldsmith, known for her handmade flatware series, and Jono Pandolfi known for his iconic Pillow Plate joined Product Designer Sarah Stenseng to look at some very impressive work:

Kathy Gorg’s Calla Lily collection won the customer vote.

Jennifer Fisher’s Pocket Planters charmed everyone with their bright colors and potential to become tiny terrariums or jewelry trays.

Romi Hefetz’s Mini Bowls stacked perfectly in the judges hands and showed off beautiful glaze work.

Kyla Toomey’s Button Series wowed everyone. Nobody could believe how much work and detail went into making each woven mug or button bowl.

But Tasha McKelvey’s Birdie Mini Dish stole the show.

The judges agreed these handmade dishes were great gifts for moms, aunts, grandmas, sisters, daughters and best friends who dye their hair pink and collect kitschy relics of the fifties. (That last idea was from Judge Alice Goldsmith.)

The judges were particularly impressed with the dish’s construction. Each dish is handpressed with a weathered piece of antique barn siding to give it a look of rustic wood. Each hand-sculpted bird is glazed separately and then added to the lip of the dish.

While the judges wished the birdie mini dishes were a bit larger, they all agreed that Tasha McKelvey’s creative work was a perfect fit for UncommonGoods.

Tasha wins $500 plus a chance to sell her dishes at UncommonGoods. Sign up to be notified when her dishes become available!

And let us know– should we bring in Tasha’s mushroom dish as well? Leave a comment to let us know what you think.