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Maker Stories

Beach Glass Beauties: Jeanne Kollecker’s Marvelous Marble Pendants

February 11, 2016

It was a magazine article that drew Jeanne Kollecker to the arts. “About five years ago, I read an article on beach glass in Lake Erie Living,” she explains. Intrigued, the Chardon, Ohio resident decided to search for some herself on the shores of Lake Erie near her house. “I started hunting and it became an addiction. I knew right away I wanted to turn it into jewelry. You can find a piece and just say, ‘Wow, this would make a great pendant, or an earring,’” she says. She took classes on silversmithing at the local community college, and kept looking for beach glass (so named when it comes from fresh water; sea glass comes from salt water). “Then,” she says, “I found my first marble.”

The beach marble, to the uninitiated, is more or less the holy grail of lakeside treasures — made all the more desirable by the many legends of the object’s origins (more on that below). “They’re such a rare find that when you find one, you do a happy dance,” says Jeanne, who manages a veterinary office by day. “The mystery of them is so much fun.”

As a proud member of The North American Sea Glass Association, she never alters the state of the marbles she finds. “I just wash them with warm soap and water.” The various colors, sizes and finishes of the baubles make each of her pieces unique. “Everything is one-of-a-kind” she says. “No one else in the world is wearing the same piece.”

She takes us through her process — and behind the mystery of the marbles.

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Maker Stories

Penmanship Meets Pendant: BB Becker’s Your Story Necklace

February 3, 2016

Jo and BB Becker | UncommonGoods
Falling in love prompted BB Becker’s first attempt to make jewelry in the 1980s; he deconstructed and transformed found pieces into charming gifts for his future bride. Today, his work is a collaborative effort that marries BB’s lovingly-designed sterling silver pendants with his wife Josephine’s graceful handwriting.

Your Story Necklace | UncommonGoodsThis particularly pensive medallion bears a meditation on the bonds we share with family and friends. With one corner curled over as if turning a page on your personal story, each one is engraved with a quotation handwritten in delicate cursive that reads: “The only people who truly know your story are the ones who help you write it.” A recent conversation with BB revealed how ancient art, a meaningful sentiment, and the devoted characters who fill our personal stories inspired the creation of this writerly, wearable artwork.

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Stefanie Wolf’s Mosaic Necklace 7 Ways

January 15, 2016

We knew that jewelry designer Stefanie Wolf’s Mosaic Necklaces are beautiful, versatile pieces, but we didn’t know that just how many ways you can wear them until yesterday, when Stefanie sent us this great video showing seven ways. (We’ll admit, it’s three more than we’d thought of, and we LOVE the new suggestions.)

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Maker Stories

Inside the Artists’ Studios: A Year of Creativity

January 8, 2016

Inside the Artists' Studios | UncommonGoods

One of the most exciting things about serving as Editor of The Goods is that there’s always a Maker Story right around the corner. I am honored to get opportunities to meet talented artists, to see what they make and how they make it, and– when I’m extra lucky– to actually step inside their creative spaces. Over the past year, I had the pleasure of visiting several artists and seeing them in action, as did a few of our blog contributors, photographers, and buyers.  

From woodworking to weaving to jewelry making and beyond, we saw so much creativity last year that we couldn’t help but give our 2015 Studio Tours one more chance to shine before heading out with cameras and notepads to capture more inspirational moments in the year to come. Here are a few hand-picked highlights from those Studio Tours, complete with a few inspirational quotes, photos that made me want to drop everything and start a new creative project on the spot, and plenty of great advice. 

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Ariana Ost

December 30, 2015

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 Ariana Ost, the artist behind our gorgeous new City Garden, Earth Elements, and Paris jewelry collections.

Ariana Ost | UncommonGoods

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I grew up in Brooklyn and have always been a dreamer. The city of Paris was, is and always will be my greatest muse. I grew up accompanying my father on business trips to France and marveled at the endless creativity and history at every turn. I studied abroad in Paris, while attending Parsons School of Design, and during that time I just knew in my heart that I would be a designer. I learned so much about expression through art, language, architecture and culture. I was so taken with French design and took in the spirit and passion around me.

I came home and knew jewelry would be my focus. Parsons didn’t offer jewelry design so to supplement I took an intensive course in London at the acclaimed Central Saint Martins and learned the technical skills to interpret my vision. I adored the Old World approach that London has and how historic the art of craftsmanship is to the British heritage. I wanted to revive European ingenuity and make it accessible to the contemporary American market.

Ariana Ost - Paris Collection | UncommonGoodsWhat was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist?

The moments when I first saw my designs in a chain store, being worn out on the streets, posted and styled on blogs, getting press etc. was magical. I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm, knowing that an idea I had had and executed in my own little world was out in the world market. Some of my old pieces made before the days of Pinterest are still being pinned, which amazes me that users uploaded images and found something special about my designs.

Ariana Ost | UncommonGoods

What does your typical day in the studio look like?

I come in catch up on emails, work closely with our creative director, sample makers and metal smiths. It is such a delight to have such a creative team to manage and execute my vision. I am also so lucky to have my father as my business partner; he handles all production and makes my dreams reality. We have lunch together every day and brainstorm about the business. We have been expanding into other categories and applying our jewelry approach to new avenues, I am most eager to launch my home line very shortly.

Ariana Ost | UncommonGoods

Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?

I am so privileged to be able to walk to my studio with my Maltipoo, London. He is such a dynamic character and the mascot of our workplace; he attends every meeting and handles client relations. I try and make our studio a haven and home away from home with various trinkets and symbolic items. So to create a warm and motivational ambiance we have essential oils handy for meetings and use the appropriate ones based on the topic. I have grounding blends, joyful blends, inspirational and creative blends, as well as de-stressing, calming blends. We have quartz to conduct strong energy and pyrite to bring success. I also light candles to set the mood and add a lovely aroma.

Ariana Ost - City Garden Collection | UncommonGoods

Imagine you just showed your work to a kindergartener for the first time. What do you think they would say?

I think that a kindergartener would find my pieces to be very pretty and fun. They would definitely know the items are to be worn and would try to feel glamorous. Jewelry is luckily an eye-catching category.

Ariana Ost - Earth Elements Collection | UncommonGoods

What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?

Never give up, always be the best version of yourself, and failure is never an option. I have gone through many moments of reinvention in my life. I lost my mother at the age of 25 and started my own business when I was 28, I took charge of my life and knew I had to create my own destiny.

Maker Resources

Jewelry Designer Jacqueline Stone Talks Design Inspiration and Tackling To-do Lists

December 9, 2015

We caught up with JCK Design Ambassador Jacqueline Stone to learn why she believes it is important to support other designers. Jacqueline is one of several members on the JCK Events team made up of industry insiders that have come together to ensure that each JCK event is flawlessly executed. She is also the lead designer and founder of Brooklyn-based fine jewelry company, Salt + Stone, so we tapped her to share her perspective as a designer with us. In part two of our interview, Jacqueline talks about where her design inspiration comes from and her secret to tackling a never-ending to-do list.

Missed the first part of our interview? Check it out here.


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Jewelry Designer Jacqueline Stone on Designing for the Millennial Audience and the Unique Challenges of Emerging Designers

December 9, 2015

Our decision to partner with JCK on the first-ever “UncommonGoods Design Challenge” for JCK Tucson was driven by our passion for supporting emerging jewelry designers. Also new to the larger JCK Events team is the appointment of Design Ambassador Jacqueline Stone. Jacqueline is one of several members on the JCK Events team made up of industry insiders that have come together to ensure that each JCK event is flawlessly executed. She is also the lead designer and founder of Brooklyn-based fine jewelry company, Salt + Stone.  As soon as we learned about Jacqueline’s new role on the JCK Events team and her diverse background in the jewelry industry we were eager to chat with her to get a designer’s perspective on the event.  In part one of this two-part interview series, Jacqueline talks about what it means to be the JCK Event team’s first Design Ambassador and why jewelers should operate with positive energy instead of fear.

Learn more about the “UncommonGoods Design Challenge” at JCK Tucson here.


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How We’re Supporting Emerging Jewelry Designers at JCK Tucson

December 8, 2015

IMG_0623-548x365 (1)

We are only as successful as the artists and designers we work with. Their unique creations are what keep our lights on and the reason our customers visit our website and read our catalogs.  Our passion for identifying the very best designs to add to our assortment of uncommon goods is why we’ve decided to partner with jewelry industry authority JCK on the first-ever “UncommonGoods Design Challenge” for JCK Tucson. JCK Tucson is an event catered to jewelry industry professionals that displays one-of-a-kind collections of finished jewelry and loose gemstones. The event takes place February 2-7 at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa in Tucson, AZ.

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