When you think maple, you probably think of Vermont and those little leaf-shaped candies. But at the end of the Eighteenth century, one man was on a mission to make the Empire State the maple state. Gerrit Boon, who had been a sugar refiner in Holland, came to upstate—way upstate—New York with dreams of turning its abundant maple forests into a vast plantation for making maple sugar. Continue Reading…
In the thick of World War II, both the Axis and Allies were willing to try anything to turn the tides of that terrible conflict—including death by chocolate. And we’re not talking over-the-top dessert decadence here; we’re talking about a bona fide killer candy bar. The Nazis actually attempted to assassinate Sir Winston Churchill by means of an exploding chocolate bar. Hitler’s bomb-makers coated explosive devices with a thin disguise of dark chocolate and wrapped them in luxurious black and gold paper. Labeled “Peters Chocolate,” the deadly desserts were to be slipped into the dining room used by Churchill’s War Cabinet, in hopes that the British leader would take a bite that would be his last. Fortunately for Churchill, MI5 agents headed off the plot, and the public was warned to steer clear of the tempting treats. Still, this spy story makes Wonka’s perilous chocolate factory look like a carefree trip on the Good Ship Lollipop.
“Keep Going” Paperweight | $36
On April 25, 1947 in British Columbia, a group of kids walked down to Wigwam Café, their local candy shop, and were shocked and dismayed to find that the nickel they’d typically saved from their allowance would no longer buy them the chocolate they craved. Literally overnight, the shopkeepers had raised the price by 60%, making it a whopping 8 cents for a three-ounce candy bar.
Rather than take this injustice lying down, the kids ran home and scrawled signs professing the injustice. The strike had begun. Singing a catchy protest song (“We want a 5-cent chocolate bar/8 cents is going too darn far”) and carrying pithy signs (“Candy is dandy, but 8 cents isn’t handy!”), the little protesters marched up and down the street until almost all of the town’s kids had joined the “Chocolate Bar Strike.” The local paper snapped a picture and soon kids across Canada began picketing their own corner stores.
On April 30, 200 kids marched on the British Colombia capitol building, effectively shutting down government business for the day. All in all, 3,000 kids were said to have signed pledge cards stating that they’d boycott candy until the price went down. And their threats weren’t empty—candy sales went down 80%.
They almost won, too, but critics began to suggest that the National Federation of Youth, an organization with members affiliated with the Communist Party, had orchestrated the strike. There was no validity to these claims, but boycott had now been painted Red and parents forbade their kids from taking part. The price remained as it was, and to this day, the remaining kiddos (now grown) maintain that they’d only protested to let their voices be heard.
People Feeder | $38.00
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
Creativity is a continual surprise.
– Ray Bradbury
It’s simply not good enough to just be capable of greatness.
One of the heartbreaks of adult life is not being able to go trick-or-treating. Sure, you can go door to door on Halloween night, but only with children, and you have to let them have all the candy. Boo!
One of the joys of adult life, on the other hand, is art. Fine art, crafts, paintings, photos, street art, whatever. It’s all good. And it’s especially sweet when it’s art about… CANDY.
Most candy looks like abstract art to begin with, so it’s a natural subject and inspiration for artists, photographers, and designers. Look at this photo of Airheads Extreme Sweet Sour Belts by Steven Depolo next to Pop artist Gene Davis’s 1964 painting, “Sour Ball Beat” (above).
Controversial contemporary artist Damien Hirst‘s famous “dot” paintings have often been compared, sometimes derisively, to candy. The candy will cost you about a buck; one of Hirst’s dot paintings went for $3.48 million early this year. Which is treat and which is trick? (Trick question.)
I may not be able to go trick-or-treating any more, but I can “collect” candy art treats on the Internets without gaining an ounce. In honor of Halloween, I amassed a humongous amount of creative, beautiful, fun, funny, happy, sugary art onto a humongous Pinterest board.
With apologies to diabetics, here’s a sampling of candy you don’t have to say “Boo!” to. Note: because it’s my board and I’m the decider of it, I chose to include gum and soda, aka “liquid candy.”)
Art made of candy
Happy Halloween! (If you somehow haven’t OD’d yet, check out the entire Pinterest collection.)