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Maker Stories

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration:
Meet Artist & Doughnut Aficionado Meghan Cochran

April 16, 2018

There’s little we love more than snacking in the Marketing department here at UncommonGoods. We even have a weekly rotating snack schedule, which means that Wednesdays are everyone’s favorite days—days to gorge on bagels, cookies, fruit, or soft pretzels with a variety of vegan dipping sauces. (Ugh, this content creator’s mouth is watering now.) It was only natural, then, that we’d all go positively loco for artist Meghan Cochran’s Doughnut Art Portraits, which celebrate twelve different types of everyone’s favorite pastry. Decked out with frosting, sprinkles, and glazes of all types, they look good enough to gobble up. And yes, if you’re wondering, that is a French cruller.

We spoke with Meghan about her background, her career as an artist, and her inspiration—that is, her two daughters, Eva and Elle. Read on for our Q&A session with Meghan, complete with sneak peeks at new paintings and pictures of smiling kiddos with real live doughnuts. Hungry yet? Don’t worry; you will be soon.

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Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jewelry Designer Sue Beatrice

April 9, 2018
Jewelry Designer and Artist Sue Beatrice | UncommonGoods

Jewelry designer and sculptor Sue Beatrice in her Sea Cliff, NY, studio, studio photos by Cassie Tweten Delaney

Have you ever looked inside of a modern watch? Despite being able to do much more than tell time, today’s “timepieces” look surprisingly simple when you crack them open. But, as artist and jewelry designer Sue Beatrice showed us, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, for centuries clocks and watches were loaded with teeny-tiny parts: wheels, pinions, bearings, and nearly microscopic screws. To say Sue is enamored with timepieces is an understatement. Her collection of antique clocks, watches, and their components is massive. When asked how many pieces she thinks she has, she can only reply, “Way too many to count.” So what does she do with all of those gorgeous gears? She turns them into remarkable little sculptures. Some of those sculptures even end up as eclectic-yet-elegant jewelry designs.

Sue’s jewelry isn’t all made from itty-bitty parts, but it is all lovingly designed with great attention to detail. Her Love “Nose” Necklace is so cute it’s pretty much impossible not to smile when you see it. Her Origami Menagerie Necklaces look almost like they could be made from actual paper. (Shiny paper; they’re sterling silver!) And her Stargazer Necklace captures a map of the constellations.  Of course, we carry a few of her delightful designs made from clock parts, too.

 

Origami Menagerie Necklaces, photo by UncommonGoods Creative Team

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Unicorn Cupcake Entrepreneur Jillian Donaldson

April 3, 2018

Photo by Inspired Life Photography

It doesn’t take too much to please us here at UncommonGoods. Give us a creative handmade good or a heartwarming story and we’re more or less set. Throw in a unicorn or a sweet treat and we’re even better than set—we’re stoked. So perhaps it’s little wonder that pastry chef Jillian Donaldson and her Unicorn Cupcake Kit so readily caught our attention. I mean, vegan-friendly fondant alicorns, anyone? It’s hard to say no to something so cute… and so tasty.

Unicorn Cupcake Kit | UncommonGoods

If Jillian’s—a.k.a. Jill’s—sparkling sprinkles haven’t enchanted you yet, we don’t know what will.  If they have, sit tight, ’cause you’re in for a treat. For the latest installment in our This Just In-spiration series, we spoke with Jill about family, the joy of baking, and sturdy mixers that double as special trinkets. Read on for more. Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Jennifer Zamudio

March 13, 2018

When asked to envision an intriguing kitchen item, your first thought might not be of a sponge. You could say that Jennifer Zamudio is out to change that, but then again, she doesn’t really make sponges. Her Reusable Dish Scrubbers are much more than that: super-cute squares of hand-crocheted nylon tulle inspired the handiwork of her grandmother, Dot. They’re also extra easy to clean, which is something we’d never say about a sponge. Yick.

Reusable Dish Scrubbers | UncommonGoods

We heard tell that Jennifer’s scrubbies had a good story, so we thought it only fitting to reach out to her about nabbing a spot in our This Just In-spiration series, where we chat with artists new to the Uncommon family. Read on for more on Jennifer’s love of handmade napkins, scrubbers, and more, with a little Depeche Mode thrown in for good measure. Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Brian Giniewski

March 6, 2018

Brian in his studio; photos by Royce Brown

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—home of the cheesesteak (and its vegan offshoots), the Liberty Bell, and fellow marketing team member Morgan. I’d only been once, in middle school, when all I cared about was seeing the house where “The Real World: Philadelphia” was filmed, before my trip down in December to tour the studio of ceramic artist Brian Giniewski. In a far-off corner of the city once known as a center for textile production, Brian makes delightfully drippy vessels perfect for housing fully-loaded scoops of ice cream, each glazed in tantalizing shades like “pop rox,” “creamsicle,” “saffron,” and “peach.” I know they’re made of clay, but I’ve gotta be honest: they made me hungry—and actually, they still do. But I digress.

Drippy Ice Cream Bowls | UncommonGoods

 Accompanied by my trusty companion, Royce, I followed Brian through the halls of Globe Dye Works, a yarn-dying factory-turned-artistic community that houses tenants like the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory, Rival Bros. Coffee (I had some, and it was quite good), and, of course, the artist himself. Remnants of the building’s industrial days lined the path to Brian’s workspace, where a seemingly endless supply of shiny, textured mugs, plates, and planters mingled with tools of the trade. After a tour of his sunny studio, Brian threw a quick piece for us—an act that may as well have been magic to me—and invited us both to indulge in “Cake Time,” a staff tradition that pretty much speaks for itself. One slice of chocolaty cheesecake and a good old-fashioned sit-down later, Royce and I took our leave, equipped with a handwritten list of must-try Philly lunch spots (tehina milkshake, anyone?) and a directive to stop by Field, a plant-centric pop-up in Philly’s hip Fishtown neighborhood, for First Friday.

Itching to know more about the guy behind our Drippy Ice Cream Bowls? Read on for our Q&A with Brian, plus a selection of photos from our visit to his space.

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Lori Sandoval

February 28, 2018

Does this face look familiar? It’s not just you. Loyal readers may recognize Lori Sandoval as one-third of the WomenMadeLA team we spotlighted back in December last year. For those who aren’t already in the know, Lori recently teamed up with fellow makers Sashee Chandran and Debbie Mullin, both of whom sell their wares here at UncommonGoods, to form a collective of lady entrepreneurs taking the City of Angels by storm. And now it’s her turn to take a dip in the limelight.

Mexican Cooking Sauces | UncommonGoods

Like Debbie and Sashee, Lori’s creations are edible—sauces inspired by the diverse culinary landscape of Mexico, her parents’ home country, and ever-so-aptly dubbed “Mexican Cooking Sauces.” We’ll let you in on a secret here… they’re amazing. Like, “Where have you been all my life?” grade amazing. So it’s only natural that we had to ask her about them, just like we asked Sashee all about Tea Drops and Debbie about her delectable pour overs.

Read on for a full account of our conversation with flavor guru Lori, including talk of art history, sauce-loving kids, and wise words from the mouth—er, pen?—of Ralph Waldo Emerson, transcendentalist extraordinaire.

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Maker Stories

This Just In-Spiration: Meet Govy

February 20, 2018

To French artist Govy, planets are much more than big rocks throttling in circles throughout the sky—they’re measures of time, markers of our place in the universe, and fodder for some really cool creations. Creations like her Personalized Solar System Art Print, a joint venture with Martin Vézina that takes a date and time that’s important to you and turns it into a piece of sleek, custom-made artwork that highlights where, according to NASA, the planets and dwarf planets in our solar system were at that very moment. Pretty cosmic, huh?

We first caught a glimpse of Govy’s work here in our Brooklyn office, a world away from Japan, where she now lives with her beloved cat, Taiga. We love the inviting, but minimal look of her prints, with their personal flair and art-meets-STEM approach, and we knew we simply had to reach out and see if she’d tell us more about how she developed the idea. Read on for Govy’s answers to our burning questions (you know, burning like big balls of gas, billions of miles away), plus a couple of photos of Taiga herself.

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Maker Stories

Uncommon Impact: Help Elephants & Sip Coffee with this Handmade Mug

February 16, 2018

When you think “activism,” you may not think “handmade pottery.” Thanks to the work of longtime maker JoAnn Stratakos, we’d encourage you to broaden your horizons. Best known around these parts as the creator of Elwood, our de facto mascot, JoAnn’s latest creation—the Protect the Elephants Mug—harnesses cuteness for a cause. For every mug sold, we’re donating $5 to the PAMS Foundation, an organization dedicated to conservation efforts, including the protection of elephants, in faraway Tanzania.

From left to right: Ryan, JoAnn’s Production Supervisor, throws a Protect the Elephants Mug on the wheel; mugs get their handles; and glazed mugs wait to be fired in JoAnn’s Effort, Pennsylvania, studio

Why PAMS? We asked JoAnn that very question. “The MudCrew and I came about the PAMS Foundation through a social media post about Wayne Lotter,” she told us. But if “the MudCrew” is JoAnn’s nickname for her staff, then who’s Wayne? The former director and co-founder of PAMS, that’s who. Killed in the line of duty last year in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Wayne founded PAMS in 2009 alongside fellow conservationists Ally Namangaya and Krissie Clark. It’s believed that Wayne—who received death threats throughout his career—was murdered for his anti-poaching work.

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