Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bloom Swarm and Smack

It sounds a little like you're stuck at open mic night and its time to start looking for the door, but bloom swarm and smack are just words used to describe a group of jellyfish. I didn't know this until recently, when a bloom took up residence here at Uncle Jer's.

Our glass jellyfish capture the beauty of these mysterious sea creatures - the lacy tentacles, the diaphanous, translucent bells - without any of that bothersome poison.

Completing our enchanted, underwater garden scene are two amethyst tea-light holders, also available in citrine. This photo doesn't quite do them justice - they really put on quite a dazzling light show before the candles are even lit. Come check them out or write us.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Things Made From Other Things III

Just because a timepiece doesn't tell the time anymore doesn't mean it's job is done. Two artsy gals in Mexico City have been taking old watch parts and little defunct circuit boards and turning them into these adorable keychains. I'm betting that having one of these little guys smiling back at you is worth more than knowing what time it is anyways.

So, tomorrow, April 22nd is Earth Day. Come spend $50 or more with us and we'll give you a free eco-friendly envirosax bag to carry all your stuff. These big,colorful, re-usable bags roll up super small which makes them easy to throw in a purse or pocket so next time at Trader Joe's you don't have to say, "Yeah, I brought my own bag but I left it in the car." At a normal price of $9.00 that's like almost 20% off!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Things Made From Other Things II

Every year thousands and thousands of discarded flip-flops wash up on beaches all over the world. In Kenya, some enterprising artisans have begun to compress these colorful bits of detritus together and carve them into this and that.

Pictured here are the last three flip-flop balls we currently have in stock, perfect for either someone who has (almost) everything or your nephew who just started juggling. (Don't worry, he'll have friends someday. I speak from experience.)

And, behold, these mirthfully striped balls are nestled in a sleek desktop box. At first glance, these boxes appear to be made of some exotic reptilian hide collected at great bodily risk to our humble boxmaker. In fact, they're made of inner tubes! Why inner tubes need to resemble alligator hide, I have no idea, but it certainly makes for a snazzy desk accessory and keeps those inner tubes out of the landfill.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Things Made From Other Things

Over the next couple weeks, we'll be featuring items from our store that embody the spirit of the upcoming Earth Day (April 22). We're happy to stock a selection of not just organic and items made from recycled waste, but also things made directly out of what otherwise might be trash. (I don't think the concepts of re-use and recycling are particularly new, just making a comeback after being beaten down by consumer culture for a good while. I'm curious how many synonyms for trash we have in English compared to, say, Swahili or Hmong.)

These bits of trash turned into art, decorative items or even useful things always provide a unique sort of thrill as your brain recognizes a brand name, or material, or a shape but can't quite contextualize it for a moment. Then it dawns on you, "Wow, that necklace is made of flip flops". Whenever I see a customer have that epiphany, they always grin and start looking for someone to talk to.

Today, we've got these cameras by Dionisio Silva.
Dionisio is an 80-something street artist in Mexico City who makes a variety of things from aluminum cans: neckties, curtains and these cameras. The cameras are obviously and charmingly handmade, gobs of glue hold the seams together and the moving parts are ingenious in their simplicity. They don't take a photo, but there is a viewfinder, a shutter, a lever, even a knob to forward the imaginary film.

Rotate the lever and voila!

Our friend who met Dionisio in Mexico City tells us she was out to lunch with him one day and when the Coke he ordered was delivered in a can, he sent it back, saying he only drinks from bottles. What does he know about those cans?