Browsing Tag

woodworking

Maker Stories

Inside the Artists’ Studio with Kim Strassner and Mike Pararas

June 7, 2017

Kim Strassner and Mike Pararas (with dogs Freddie and Sammie) in their Baltimore, MD studio, photos by Cassie Tweten Delaney

When we first started doing Studio Tours back in 2012, we were pretty limited on where we could go to get our inspiration. That isn’t to say the inspiration was limited–we’ve visited a fantastic line-up of New York City artists close to home. But getting the sign-off to pack up and head to another state definitely wasn’t the goal from the start. Five years later, we’re still featuring monthly studio visits. Thanks to all of the love and support shown by our online community, makers, and the UG team for our tours, we’re able to keep growing the series. Now, we’re finding ways to stop by the studios of creators a little farther from home. Around 195 miles or so from home, in this case.

My latest trip started at Penn Station in Manhattan, eaaarly in the morning. A few hours later, I arrived at Penn Station in Baltimore, Maryland, where Kim Strassner was waiting for me and our Tabletop Buyer, NéQuana. Kim filled us in on some neighborhood history as she drove through B-more to the studio, woodshop, and office space where she and her husband, Mike Pararas, design and craft their personalized wooden cutting boards and lazy Susans. It didn’t take long before I realized how much work Kim, Mike, and their team put into each board they produce. The letters in the customized pieces are carved using tiny blades, precise hand movements, and great attention to detail.

In addition to walking me through how a slab of wood becomes a beautiful, handcrafted cutting board, the couple gave me a look at Kim’s first-ever board with words, answered a few questions about what keeps them going strong, and introduced me to their two adorable Havanese dogs. Keep reading to see inside this woodworking wonderland for yourself.

 

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Matt Pugh

May 16, 2017

Matt Pugh Artist - UncommonGoods

As a lifelong artist, it didn’t take too long for Matt Pugh to grow tired of bringing other designers’ ideas to life – eventually, he couldn’t resist the need to create on his own. After a stint as a model maker, Matt decided to take his career into his own hands and began bringing his own original pieces to trade shows, where he started to gain success and recognition.

Matt’s charming designs and his use of sustainable materials in making them stood out to us right away. We’re so glad to have his unique fixtures as new additions to our assortment. Read on to hear from the rural Wiltshire, England artist about where he gets inspiration for his quirky pieces, and what goes into making them.

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Tom Gauntt

April 12, 2017

Tom Gauntt - UncommonGoods

It’s often said that the hardest life situations can lead to some of the most creative works of art. The idea seems to have rung true for Tom Gauntt. After being dealt a difficult hand when diagnosed with an illness that restricted his physical activity, Tom decided to focus on smaller projects and tried out turning a pen on a lathe. Though his first iteration was less than perfect, he kept at it. Once he refined his technique, he started incorporating driftwood found along the nearby Chesapeake Bay and discovered that it made for truly special writing utensils.

We’re so excited to have Tom’s one-of-a-kind driftwood pens as new additions to our assortment. Settle in and read on to hear directly from Tom about the in-depth craftsmanship that goes into each one.

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Maker Stories

Inside the Artists’ Studio with Anne Johnson and Arra David

January 10, 2017

Anne Johnson and Arra David outside of the Sea Stones Studio in Windham, NH, photos by Cassie Tweten Delaney

Canopies of colorful leaves. Air so fresh it actually feels different when you breathe it in. Wide open spaces and dewy blades of grass. These are things I don’t get to enjoy all that often in Brooklyn, but New Hampshire is another story. I experienced the natural beauty of “The Granite State” firsthand last fall, when I also got a full tour of Arra David and Anne Johnson’s bustling studio.

The state’s nickname is certainly fitting, given the extensive quarries in New Hampshire. It’s also fitting that Anne and Arra make their designs there, considering that their one-of-a-kind creations are made with wood, natural stones, metal, and–you guessed it–granite.

Curious about just how the designers are able to turn solid rock into functional home designs, our Tabletop Buyer NéQuana and I made the five-hour road trip from Brooklyn to Windham, NH to get an inside look.

Anne and Arra welcomed us in, offered us some of the homemade hard cider mentioned below, walked us through the studio and workshop, and let us take some tools for a test drive. With Arra’s guidance, NéQuana even built her own Sea Stone Splash Sponge Holder!

Arra, an engineer, talked to us about designing special tools to tackle heavy-duty work. He also shared thoughts on taking hold of inspiration when it “ambushes,” advice on the importance of collaboration, and a perfectly pertinent Thoreau quote.

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Ben & Christen Aroh

January 4, 2017

Ben & Christen Aroh - UncommonGoods

It’s about time we found a fun and functional solution for all of us chronic key-forgetters. Ben and Christen Aroh, the makers of our new Wooden States of America and USA Magnetic Key Holders, met in college and have become partners – both in their marriage and in their business. Together they’ve created these homey works of art that help us hold onto our keys. Ben does the woodworking, and Christen helps to keep the business side running smoothly while also working as an elementary school music teacher. 

We know you appreciate the inspiring, motivating stories behind our products just as much as we do, so settle in and read our interview with Ben about how he and Christen have made magnetic, key-saving magic in their Louisville, Kentucky woodshop.

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Aaron & Erin Nuland

December 1, 2016

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 Aaron & Erin Nuland, creators of the Wooden Bus and the Wooden Baby Shower Gift Set.

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Paul Judkins

November 24, 2016
This Just Inspiration - Paul Judkins - 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 Paul Judkins, creator of the Wood Stem Champagne FlutesWood Stem Wine Glasses, and Wood Stem Margarita Glasses.

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Avik Maitra and Rich Moore

August 8, 2016

Avik Maitra and Rich Moore | 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 Rich Moore and Avik Maitra, creators of our new Free Form Bulletin Board and Magnetic Cutting Boards and Knife Rack.

Magnetic Cutting Board and Free Floating Bulletin Board | UncommonGoods

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