A Steady Glaze: Arresting art from a ceramic education center

story by Jaclyn HardgroveFounded in 1974 by five artists who needed workspace, The Clay Studio opened with the goal of providing affordable equipment and a shared space for recent art school graduates. Soon though, the founders shifted their mission to focus on education and community outreach. By 1979, the Clay Studio had evolved into a nonprofit educational institution.
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Paper Chase: Art torn from the pages of yesterday's books

story by Liz PachecoTwo years ago, Liddy Russo challenged herself to craft gifts for friends and family without buying new materials. Her solution: Make paper ornaments from old book pages. The spherical origami was so well-received that she started a business, Made by Liddy, and began selling the pieces. “I think it’s really important to use what’s around us instead of having to go out and purchase stuff… [and] I really enjoy working with my hands,” says Russo, who is also a freelance graphic designer.
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Rocking Horse Winner: An industrial design career takes an unexpected turn

story by Samantha Wittchen | photos by Albert Yee WHILE PURSUING an industrial design degree at the University of Cincinnati, Carrie Collins had an epiphany: She was making waste. “You’re being trained to design trash,” says Collins, acknowledging that industrial designers are often employed to create short-lived consumer products destined for the landfill. The realization caused a career crisis for Collins, and she decided to take time off from school to reconsider her future.

Three months later she returned to enroll in a new sustainable design course being offered by her favorite professor. The class changed everything for Collins. She finished her degree, and for her senior thesis created a business model for Fabric Horse—a business that would connect design with her passions for sustainability and sewing.

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Bird Calling: Salvage homes for our fine-feathered friends

story by Jaclyn Hardgrove“The first time we tried to sell our [bird]houses in public, the customers knew more about birdhouses than we did,” admits Matthew Borgen, co-founder of Recycled Rowhouse. Borgen and his partner Monica Giacomucci started cobbling birdhouses from found wood as gifts for friends and family. But after that initial attempt to sell them, Borgen—a professional artist and gallery technician—decided to take the projects more seriously, visiting the library to learn about local birds. The result is functional birdhouses with a unique aesthetic.
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Ring Leaders: Bario-Neal creates a new gold standard

story by Liz Pacheco | photos by Alyssa Robb

When college friends Anna Bario and Page Neal reconnected at a wedding a few years ago, the pair discovered they shared an interest in creating sustainable jewelry. At the time, each had an independent jewelry label, but in 2007, decided to forgo those to launch a collaborative line, Bario-Neal, which features handmade pieces crafted from reclaimed metals and ethically-sourced gems.

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Storybook Ending: A couple's romance with the past yields timeless pieces

story by Molly O'Neill | portrait by Chris Crisman AT PEG AND AWL, stories bring products to life. Every découpaged candleholder, leather book necklace and sturdy wooden caddy proudly reveals the source of its reclaimed materials. A chalkboard tablet is reborn from oak bleachers of the century-old Liberty High School in Bethlehem, Pa., and finished with a leather pencil loop that first served as a World War II gun holster. A scrap of leather from the drawer of an 1835 summer kitchen finds new purpose as a journal cover, sheltering hand-sewn, archival-quality pages.

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Merchants of Cool: Grid's 2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Finding that special holiday gift that won’t be tossed aside with the wrapping paper can be a challenge. So, here’s our advice: Buy gifts that are totally cool. What does that mean exactly? Consider these criteria before opening your billfold:  1 Is the gift homemade? 2 Is the design thoughtful? 3 Are the materials salvaged or sustainable? 4 Is the item useful? 5 Is it made right here in Philadelphia? We’ve featured a handful of local businesses we think score really high in the cool department. All the products—the jewelry, candy, birdhouses, ceramic goods and housewares—possess quality and style, just like you. And that’s what cool is all about.

The issue will be on stands this week, but for a peak inside check out the full gift guide in the digital edition, available here.

Grid Gift Guide 2011: Nester

How lucky we are to live and shop in Philadelphia. We can bypass box stores and their buffet of bland and cheaply made goods and instead, we can choose thoughtful gifts, sold to us by our neighbors. When we give our gifts, we’ll know our family and friends will recognize the thought and care taken in our selections. And the best part—the whole time we will be stirring the local economy.
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Grid Gift Guide 2011: Chic Geek

Fingerless gloves? Check. Wool socks? Check. Handcrafted hat and shirt? Chic! Don’t be Scrooge-y. That PA-manufactured folding bike isn’t going to put itself under the tree. The stylin’ urbanite in your life won’t know how to thank you. Then you can tell him where to go and how to get there with help from GRID’s good friend, Julie Lorch’s Where to Bike: Philadelphia.
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Holiday 2010: Birds of Paradise

If you’re making your holiday turkey selection based on personality, then a heritage breed Red Bourbon is probably the way to go. As we approached their enclosure at Griggstown Quail Farm in Princeton, NJ, the colorful birds moseyed on over to say hello. They gobble-gobbled, the males fluffed their feathers into that familiar crown (an embellished childhood hand come to life), and the army of birds intently followed our path as we traversed to a dry patch of land.
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Gift Guide: Sweet

Gift Guide - Sweet

#1 - Betty's Tasty Buttons - Betty’s Speakeasy offers their Tasty Buttons in a variety of seasonal flavors, including white chocolate eggnog and dark chocolate with cranberries and orange zest. Crafted using local cream and local goats’ milk, the bite-sized pieces of fudge are packaged in locally-made boxes.

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Handmade Holiday: Food in Jars

Learn to have a can-do attitude

Featured Artisan: Marisa McClellan

Knowing where your food comes from makes it taste better, and being part of the process is even more rewarding. That's where home canning comes in. It not only preserves garden fresh foods through the winter months but also gives you complete control—and might even save you a few bucks.

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Handmade Holiday: Glass Blowing

This year, create your own ornament

Featured Studio: Hudson Beach Glass 26 South Strawberry St.

A combination of science and art, glass blowing may seem like an unattainable and exotic skill. The technique, which involves inflating molten glass into a bubble using a blowpipe or tube, can be a bit intimidating. But, at Hudson Beach Glass, the magic of playing with hot glass is within reach. Opened last October by Sean Gilvey, a third generation glass blower, and his wife Emily, the shop not only produces beautiful glass products but hosts demonstrations and instruction.

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Handmade Holiday: Pottery

Play in the mud, make unforgettable gifts

Featured Studio: The Clay Studio 137-139 North 2nd St.

The Clay Studio's ground floor houses a vibrant gallery of pots, mugs, jewelry and decorative items produced by expert artisans, but the building also hosts three floors of studio space, with artists hard at work. Open since 1990, the studio offers a variety of classes and workshops at all levels, taught by both visiting and resident artists.

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