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Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio
with Mushroom Lamp Creator
Danielle Trofe

June 4, 2018
Inside the Artist's Studio with Danielle Trofe | UncommonGoods

Danielle in her studio, photos by Theresa Hensley

Industry City is a strange place. Just one stop north of our headquarters in the historic Brooklyn Army Terminal, it’s the closest thing New York has to an office park: a 40-acre expanse of old warehouses filled with artists’ studios, chocolate factories, and cafes where a cup of coffee could set you back a cool $14.75 (yes, really). Somewhere in those six million square feet of space, designer Danielle Trofe is hard at work. Or at least we imagine she is. She certainly was when we arrived to tour her studio, a sunlit space filled with pothos and other plants and objects made from her signature material, mycelium.

Inside the Artist's Studio with Danielle Trofe | UncommonGoods

If you’re browsing our blog and you’ve heard the word “mycelium” before, chances are you already know that Danielle is the creator of the Mushroom Lamp, an eco-friendly answer to high-end lighting. If you haven’t, you might be interested to know that Danielle’s lamp is made with a shade grown—yes, grown—from mushrooms’ roots and a base handcrafted with salvaged ash wood. It’s sleek, sophisticated, and makes planet Earth happy, too. But of course, it’s not the only thing Danielle makes. In her studio, you’ll find everything from hanging lamps shaped by hand over time to a large sign that says “grow” in playful cursive script. And that one word kinda sums it up, doesn’t it? Danielle’s a designer whose objects really, truly grow, changing shape, size, and texture over time until they’re juuuust right.

The Mushroom Lamp | UncommonGoods

The Mushroom Lamp | UncommonGoods

On a gorgeous, unseasonably balmy May day, we visited Danielle in Industry City and asked all about the stuff she makes—whether it’s safe for folks with mushroom allergies (yes), whether it’ll fall apart if you get water on it (not right away, but don’t pour water on a lamp, please), whether you can eat it (technically you could, but again, please don’t), and more. Read on for our full Q&A, plus more photos of Danielle’s stunning space.

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Gift Guides

13 Tasty Gifts for the Dad
Who’s Got It All

May 30, 2018

13 Tasty Gifts for the Dad Who’s Got It All | UncommonGoods

So your dad’s impossible to shop for. So what? If one thing’s for sure, it’s that a guy’s gotta eat. For those who can’t imagine a Father’s Day gift that’s not a version of something Dad already has, let us present a selection of our most scrumptious, uncommon foodstuffs, from irresistibly tangy condiments to cocktail kits that’ll have him feeling like a real bartender. Check ’em all out below. (Sorry if we make you hungry, but some things can’t be helped.)

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Gardening Gurus Nathan Littlewood & Robert Elliott

May 25, 2018

Robert, left, and Nathan, pictured here with the fruits of their labor

Apartment-dwellers—especially those of us in large cities—know all too well how difficult it can be to bring a little bit of greenery indoors. After all, plants are mysterious creatures that seem to get mad when you care about ’em too much, and starting something from seed can be a real rollercoaster. Can you tell I’m a helicopter parent to my houseplants? Anyway, growing your own stuff with minimal space is now much, much easier thanks to Nathan Littlewood and Robert Elliott, creators of our foolproof Bottle Stopper Garden Kit. With only a wine bottle, seeds, and Nathan and Robert’s expertly engineered “smart soil” capsules, you’ll be harvesting buckets of sweet basil, purple basil, and lemon balm in no time. (OK, maybe not buckets, but trust us: you’ll be seeing a lot of happy little leaves.)

After meeting at NYC’s own Columbia University back in 2016, Nathan and Robert bonded over shared interests in food and sustainability—and when they started a business together, they, like us, vowed to use it as a force for good. To find out what that means to them, we spoke with Nathan and Robert about their product, the ethos behind it, and cool stuff they’ve got lying around in the office… like, you know, a betta fish. Read on for more.

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Gift Guides

Father’s Day Gifts for the Backyard BBQ Master

May 24, 2018

Father’s Day Gifts for the Backyard BBQ Master | UncommonGoods

Ah, the lawn-loving dad. You know the type: when he’s not atop his riding mower, he’s getting veggies sliced and spiced for the grill—and when he’s not doing that, he’s setting up the badminton net or the croquet wickets. Ready for a little one-on-one? OK, calm down, we’re just setting the scene. For the pop that’s always outside, we’ve assembled 13 little somethings to enrich the experience this Father’s Day, from hammocks to handheld tools that keep the grill extra clean. Read on for more.

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Gift Guides

Our Favorite Products This Week

May 23, 2018

With more than 4,000 uncommon goods to choose from, you might need some help finding your new favorite things. Each week, we’ll round up a mix of the brand new, the tried-and-true, and our personal picks—all just for you.

1. A cocktail kit that makes eight smokin’ margaritas.

Smoky Margarita Cocktail Kit | UncommonGoods

With smoked sugar syrup, lemon mint shrub, and dried lemon slices on deck, you’ll be making A+ cocktails for a crowd in no time.

Smoky Margarita Cocktail Kit – $30 Buy Now »

 

2. A little something to bring butterflies into your garden.

Butterfly Puddler | UncommonGoods

Too many butterflies? No such thing. This puddler’s designed to hold onto the minerals our six-legged friends crave once water evaporates—and to keep them coming back for more.

Butterfly Puddler – $40 Buy Now »

 

3. An at-home fermentation kit for probiotic fans.

DIY Fermentation Kit | UncommonGoods

Can’t get enough of that fresh-pickled flavor? We feel you. This kit makes it easier than ever to keep the sharp, tangy treats flowing. (Pro tip: Try binging It’s Alive for funky new ideas.)

DIY Fermentation Kit – $42 Buy Now »

 

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Gift Guides

20 of Our Favorite New Father’s Day Gifts

May 21, 2018

20 of Our Favorite New Father’s Day Gifts | UncommonGoods

Jeez. It’s time for Father’s Day already? And to think, it seems like it was snowing just yesterday… but we digress. To give you a head start on your quest for Dad’s next favorite thing, we’ve assembled 20 of our best new Father’s Day gifts, from stuff for sports lovers to uncommon edibles. That’s right—none of last year’s leftovers here. Check out the full list below.

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The Uncommon Life

She’s Something Fierce: Our Favorite Moms of the Animal Kingdom

May 9, 2018

Bird Art Portrait | UncommonGoods

Mother’s Day is rapidly approaching, and here at UncommonGoods, we’d like to give a toast to all moms—not just the moms we know. In fact, we’re not even confining our celebration to the human moms out there this year. We’ve taken a deep dive into the internet underground in search of the animal kingdom’s most dedicated mamas, and today, we’re raising a glass to their efforts to bring up their young in some of nature’s toughest conditions. Read on for our favorites—plus, fuzzy babies below!

 

The Weddell Seal

A Weddell seal mom and baby share a smooch | Image by William A Link, USGS

Weddell seals are remarkable animals. Natives of Antarctica, they spend much of their time swimming around beneath sheets of ice, sometimes diving as far as 2,000 feet below the surface and staying there for up to 45 minutes at a time.

Weddell seal moms are even more remarkable. Each year, they raise a pup of their own following an 11-month pregnancy (yikes), and they do it all by themselves. When their pups are only two weeks old, these roly-poly mamas teach them to swim for the first time, providing invaluable instruction on how best to navigate the frigid Antarctic waters they inhabit. Other important lessons: how to keep air holes in the ice from freezing over; how to punch new holes into ice sheets using only their teeth. (Hey, seals don’t have hands.)

Eventually, of course, these pups need to fend for themselves… no matter how much they fuss. But at least that fussing makes for cute videos, right?

 

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Master of Babysuits (& Puns) Maggie Kleinfeld

May 8, 2018

Maggie Kleinfeld | UncommonGoods

We love many things here at UncommonGoods. As you may have learned from our interview with artist Meghan Cochran, do(ugh)nuts rank pretty high on the list. A close second? Babysuits. Lucky for us, Brooklyn-based designer Maggie Kleinfeld combined the two with a garment that tells it like it is—because sometimes, you simply donut care. But if you’re feeling more affectionate than sassy, don’t worry: she’s got a babysuit for you and yours, too.

Maggie’s I Donut Care & Rainbow Love Babysuits | UncommonGoods

We adored Maggie’s designs as soon as we saw them, and it certainly didn’t hurt to learn that she crafts her appliqués from eco-friendly felt. (It’s made of recycled bottles, which we think is pretty cool.) So we asked her a handful of questions about her inspiration, sustainability, and the ever-elusive “typical day” in an entrepreneurial maker’s life. Read on for more.

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