How It's Made


Nick Wroblewski Woodcut Prints

Nick Wroblewski is a native of South Minneapolis and returned to settle in the Midwest after attending Bennington College in Vermont. His interest in art was cultivated in his childhood and nourished by a surrounding community of artists and his experience in the Heart of The Beast Theatre Company.

His early experiences and dedication to pursuing art in many forms led to his work as a printmaker. Nick focuses on large multicolor woodcuts and has developed a distinct aesthetic reminiscent of the stylized Japanese masters, yet uniquely his own. His work depicts the reverence he has for conversations of the wild and loyalty to the honesty of handcrafted arts.

Nick's work can be seen in private collections and galleries throughout the country, as well as commercial designs and illustrations. He lives and prints from his home studio in the Driftless region of Wisconsin.

 

 Sid Dickens Memory Blocks

At the first stage of the design process Sid Dickens uses 3D printing technology for rapid prototyping some of the sculptural Memory Blocks.  Returning then to the traditional methods of sculpting, mould- making and plaster casting in order to build the final product.

 

Sid Dickens' Memory Blocks are made of a high quality porcelain-like plaster, free of any toxic solvents. He creates his own handmade 6” x 8” polyurethane moulds, which are used several times before disposal.  Plaster is manually poured into the molds and left to harden. The blocks are left to dry naturally and then stored in a muffled kiln to release any remaining moisture. 

Once the Memory Block is dry, hand-crafted and top-coated, the decorating stage begins. Different techniques of glazing, gilding and staining are methodically applied in layers to achieve the colour, texture and desired finish. Many of the Memory Blocks also contain metals (iron paint, gold and silver leaf, etc)– leading to a tactile and reflective texture.

All paints, stains and coatings used are water based. The only solvent used is biodegradable and made out of orange peel by a Canadian company based in New Brunswick. These products settle naturally into the plaster, leaving a slightly raised and shiny effect, becoming part of the body of the pieces.  Plaster is durable and resists the wear of time, without adding additional weight to the walls.

 The in-house team of artisans carefully apply the desired finish either by freehand or with stamps and stencils.  Each tile that leaves the warehouse bears the pride of these artisans for whom these Memory Blocks represent; not just the fruit of their labor, but also the heritage of what has become a tradition. As these Memory Blocks are the work of artisans, slight imperfections, irregular edges and the appearance of fine crazing are inherent to the product and an inseparable part of their distinctive character.

 

Housten Llew Spiritiles

 

The glass is applied to one side of the metal using stencils and relying on precise layering with hand sifters. The piece is only fired once. After firing, a pin is rolled over the enameled metal to form intentional crazing marks in the glass.  

Although it goes against the medium's traditional teachings, Houston says this technique creates increased light refraction, particularly in the transparent glass, and allows for easier malleability. Like all beautiful enamel works, the results are best seen in person to fully appreciate the effect.

Every Spiritile is handmade according to the same dimensions following the golden mean ratio. With a quirky smile, Houston likes to say these artworks are “Created as windows of the enlightened spirit,” inspiring those who interact with them. 

While every piece has its own unique essence, all are created to live in community with the others, giving an eclectic collector limitless possibilities of personal expression. 

Spiritiles are represented in selected fine art and craft galleries across the US. To represent the line, retailers hold just the right blend of eclectic product, presence and personality. 

It is Houston’s aspiration that every gallery representing Spiritiles be a place to seek the unusual - the moving - the enlightened element for the environment of the collector. 

 

Rebel Nell Jewelry

 

Rebel Nell was started with the sole purpose of employing, educating and empowering disadvantaged women in Detroit. We make jewelry from unique local materials, while providing a transitional opportunity for women in Detroit.  Our goal is to help these women move from a life of dependence to one of self-reliance, overcoming barriers to employment through the fruits of their own labor.  Working directly with local homeless shelters, we identify women who are ready to make this transition to a new phase in their lives.

Rebel Nell’s product line starts by repurposing graffiti, an abundant local resource here in the Motor City.  We collect this graffiti after it has fallen off of walls.  Initially these scraps of graffiti look a little rough on the surface, just like many people’s first impression of Detroit.  However, after we take it through our process, we’re able to reveal all the beautiful layers that make up the graffiti, just like the intricate layers that make up our city.  After some hard work and TLC, the women of Rebel Nell turn that scrap of graffiti into a unique piece of wearable art.

Our primary goal at Rebel Nell is to restore the confidence in the women we hire.  In addition to employment, we provide financial literacy, business education and a focus on life wellness to help them successfully transition to an independent life.

 

Alchemy Goods Bags

People say that “necessity is the mother of invention,” and that’s exactly the way Alchemy Goods got started. My messenger bag got stolen and I needed another one. But the perfect messenger bag eluded me.

There were always extra inner tubes lying around my apartment, and I realized that I could probably build the perfect bag out of stuff I already had. The first prototype was born on my home sewing machine. It wasn’t perfect, but it was exactly what I needed.

Soon, my friends wanted their own. Then local bike shops caught a glimpse and expressed interest. Each bag improved over the last. Thanks to my friends, demand grew and grew, which led to the founding of Alchemy Goods.

So to whoever it was that stole my bag...you were the inspiration for my imagination. Thank you.

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