Postalco x Calder Foundation

By Tom Ran

Published: April 30, 2014 under Handmade

Postalco for Calder Foundation: (clockwise) Travel Wallet, Card Holder, Tool Box

Photo: Postalco

When Postalco was approached by the Calder Foundation last year to develop a line of products based on Alexander Calder’s work, founder Mike Abelson jumped at the chance. It was an opportunity for him to explore Calder’s massive body of work that extended beyond his mobile sculptures. Calder was a maker in the truest sense of the word. He was constantly tinkering away, creating not only his sculptures but one of a kind toys, jewelry, and household objects. He also painted, sketched and created fantastic graphical work. This is where Abelson honed in on with the collaboration. For Postalco’s Fall / Winter 2014 collection, five leather and stationery items have been produced based on Calder’s geometric shapes and patterns. They include a travel wallet, card holder, tool box, snap pad, and an A5 notebook. The leather items are handmade in Japan from goatskin while the notebook and snap pads are embossed on hand-pressed cotton fabric. Though the collection is modest, it is an outstanding offering of fine quality stationery items that Postalco is well known for.

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Wallpaper* Handmade Issue

By Tom Ran

Published: July 23, 2013 under Handmade

Fort Standard 'Life is Precious' Survival Kit

Photo: Fort Standard

Wallpaper* released their annual Handmade issue recently as a documentation of their exhibition at Salone del Mobile. Now in it’s fourth year, the special edition commissions designers from around the world to craft unique products with two in particular that caught our eyes. Fort Standards ‘Life is Precious’ Survival Kit and Hand Tools by ChauhanStudio and Fiskars. The Survival Kit is handsomely designed to hold a pocket knife, whistle and signal mirror, matches, sewing and fishing kits all wrapped in canvas with screen-printed instructions for use. The entire kit is contained in a brass capsule with a compass doubling as the lid. ChauhanStudio refashioned the essential manual tools for Finnish brand Fiskars. The tool set includes a hand drill, hammer, tape measure, pliers, dual-headed screwdriver and pencil holder with a balance indicator. Each piece incorporates Fiskar’s signature orange in a subtle and clever way. Unfortunately both of these sets are not available anywhere. Wallpaper* notes that the designs are just one-offs created specifically for the exhibition.

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Classic Wrecks

By Tom Ran

Published: August 8, 2012 under Handmade

For John Findra, his love affair for classic cars is unlike most. While many of us are drawn towards the flawless restoration of cherry hot rods, Findra embraces the imperfections. The more rusted, beat up, and broken, the better. This is reflected in the models he makes. Taking inspiration from the cars he’s photographed in junk yards, he turns pristine models into classic wrecks, fitted with corrosive bodies and bullet holes. Many of his models are American classics with a few VW’s in there including the classic Bus and Beetle, one of Findra’s first cars. Etsy just launched a short film with Findra where he discusses his affection and creation of these beauties.

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Nic Webb

By Tom Ran

Published: July 10, 2012 under Handmade

A pile of spoons designed and made by Nic Webb.

Photo: Michael Harvey

A spoon is nothing more than a functional utensil, but in the hands of a craftsman, the object can be revered. We came across the work of Nic Webb recently, a London-based craftsman working out of his studio in Camberwell. Though he’s still in his 30’s, Webb has been a painter and craftsman since the mid 1990’s, making spoons, vessels and other tools by traditional and modern methods. In particular, he’s fond of using green wood. The moisture within the still living timber makes it malleable and ideal for carving. As an aesthetic approach, Webb is also interested in letting the grain and character influence the design of the objects he creates. With his knowledge and skill level, Webb is open to sharing his techniques. Sporadic workshops are held at his studio as well other locations. See more of Nic Webb’s work in his gallery.

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Makers & Brothers

By Tom Ran

Published: June 19, 2012 under Handmade

A selection from their catalog featuring Irish makers.

Photo: Makers & Brothers

Makers & Brothers is an online retailer based in Dublin, Ireland. We met one half of the founding team, Jonathan Legge, last month at NoHo Design District where he introduced us to the concept behind the store. To our delight we discovered that we shared similar values when it came to the provenance of everyday life objects. The people that make them and the way they are made are no trivial matters. Makers & Brothers do an excellent job at hand selecting their catalog. Many of which are made by fellow Irishmen and women – though they are not limited to the region. The products range from wooden bowls and stools to tumblers and lambswool throws. What sets Makers & Brothers apart from other online retailers is their styling and their devotion to the people behind the products. They’ve been featuring several of the creators with interviews and studio visits in a section they call Makers. This enhances the experience and gives the customers a better understanding and appreciation of the products. It’s something that is not usually paid attention to and we tip our hat to Makers & Brothers for making the effort.

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David Lynch’s Box

By Tom Ran

Published: June 3, 2010 under Handmade

Keepsake box made for a friend by David Lynch

Photo: David Lynch

The little things you find out about a person through twitter can be incredibly mundane or surprisingly enlightening. Take @DAVID_LYNCH for instance. The man who is best known as a director is also a visual artist dabbling in painting, photography, illustrations and builds lamps and boxes for friends on the weekends. He recently shared a couple photos of his handy work, including the beautiful keepsake box shown above. Mr. Lynch, the next time you’re in NY may we interview you?

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Alya Kazakevich

By Raven Keller
Alya Kazakevich in her shop in the Lower East Side

Photo: Rose Callahan

On a damp and muggy summer morning on the Lower East Side, Alya Kazakevich slowly stitched up the edges of a leather coin purse and recalled her childhood in Eastern…

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By Tom Ran
Partners Robert Highsmith and Stefanie Brechbuehler

Photo: Samuel Bristow

Stefanie Brechbuehler and Robert Highsmith, are the partners behind Workstead. The two met at Rhode Island School of Design while studying architecture and opened their studio in 2009,…

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M.Nii John Moore

By Tom Ran
M.Nii Tailor, Waianae, Hawaii 1959

Photo: Tom McBride

The photo is one of the few relics that remain of M.Nii’s history. An image that recalls the golden age of American surf culture. Three friends in front…

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