Washed ashore// philosophical Gifts from the Sea

Working on my upcoming product launch, I was brunching with a friend and discussing the tale of my product.  Storytelling is a huge part of my new objects, since the inspiration comes from distinct geographic triggers and the tales that spin from them (more on this later).  In the conversation, she suggested I read A Gift From the Sea.

Written in 1955, the book contains musings and ruminations of what it means to be an independent human being and the challenges in balancing such a life. What is really interesting is she writes this from a little shell of a beach house, surrounded by her favorite shells she has collected. She picks up each one and learning from their individual properties, provides a lesson for each. Beautiful…

Many of her words about social pressures, connections, and balance  ring VERY true, having been spoken in other iterations during our current time.

Plant your solitude with your own dream blossoms.

Nurture your inner world as much as your outer. For creatives, these clear moments of solitude are so necessary to refill our reserves and allow us to create.

Her reflections happened while she had the vast sea in front of her. Sometimes certain places have this effect on us- give us a clean slate to bounce our inner and creative thoughts off of and get our wheels turning.  I have a couple places like this- the sea is one, the redwoods another. What places do this for you?

So beautiful is the still hour of the seas withdrawl…
as beautiful as the seas return…
when the encroaching waves pound up the beach
pressing to reach those dark rumpled chains of seaweed
that marked the last high tide.
Perhaps this is the most important thing to take from
beach living, simply the memory that
each cycle of the tide is valid,
each cycle of the wave is valid,
each cycle of the relationship is valid.
And my shells? I can sweep them all into my pocket.
They are only there to remind me that the sea
recedes and returns eternally.

Poetic, philosophical, and in so many ways like the sea- eternal.

Hear the waves yet? Maybe its time to reconnect.


I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud…



I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing Daffodils;
Along the Lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee: —
A poet could not but be gay
In such a laughing company:
I gazed — and gazed — but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850)


Considered William Wordsworth’s most famous poem, this was published in 1807.

Clouds have been on our mind as summer has rolled in. See our cloud post here.

Eva Zeisel

As things are getting busy and time in the  short, we thought it would be a good time to revisit one of our heroes- or heroines. Eva Zeisel is one of the greats in Modern Design and declared the “grand dame of organic design”.  A self proclaimed “maker of useful things”, she designs from the heart.  Creating designs with formal spontaneity, an eye for spatial relationships, and with an understanding of the emotional resonance of forms, her work is curvilinear and beautiful.  Eva’s work is a jewel among a crowd of hard-edged masculine Modern designers as a result of her work’s soft organic shapes, thematic relationships and perchance to beauty. Eva is our design mother! Her belief that the objects we use everyday should “bathe a home with grace” has become part of our manifesto.

Carved Table


Classic Century Table Set



Classic Century Salt and Pepper Shakers


Classic Century Teapot



Town and Country



for Nambe


The breadth of her work, which spans over 5 decades is too numerous to explore here!


Watch her talk at TED:


Her book, The Magic Language of Things, is a wonderful and gentle reference when you are stuck.  Her voice comes through clear and nurturing from years of teaching at Pratt and of making with joyfulness. Read her  book. This is a simple primer on seeing and making, acting as a delightful reminder to be curious regardless of your skill and experience.


“To create things to be used, to be loved, to be with, to give as a gift, to fit into a normal day, to match a festive mood, to be proud of, is to create the culture of the life that surrounds us.”

Eva Zeisel, “The Magic Language of Things”

Tales of the Honeybee

For our next project at Unurth we are centering the design around the magic of the honeybee. Purveyors of sweet honey, aromatic and useful wax, and pollinators of the earth, we are enthralled with the fuzzy little gals (yes most are girls).  In our research we have come across several books that are delightfully enriching to the story of the bee, its mythology, and to the amazing visual micro world of the bee.

Sweetness and Light by Hattie Ellis explores the history of the bee and its relationship to humans throughout time.  A foodie, she has focused on the honey and its role as both a healing tincture.  This book fun read filled with nuggets from a variety of resources.

“This year the purple spread to the horizons. Clouds of pollen puffed up at every step, whitening animals’ muzzles. The nectar flowed and the bees massed on the flowers, drinking deep. …Man makes use of bees, but only by respecting their nature.”

On the other side of the spectrum, The Shamanic Way of the Bee by Simon Buxton is an initation into Shamanic rituals with the honey bee. It is a tale of his discover of the ” Path of Pollen” and a detailing of some of the initiation rites of the Bee Masters.  Like a Don Juan book for the honeybee, this read is poetic, wonderfully strange and altogether magical.  The book draws you in and like the Don Juan books, shows you another vision of the world. How much truth is involved is up to the reader, but this is definitely a delight! The magic of the tale has informed the design process with a touch of the otherworldly.

“True,” he continued, “the Path of Pollen has its dangers, for before there is birth there is labor—if honey, then also sting. But at its completion, it confers upon those who attain it extraordinary control over physical conditions. These include the ability to transmute matter, to heal all diseases, and to prolong the span of human incarnation. The Path of Pollen is our yoga, our means of union and communion with the incredible hidden universe and this beautiful blue-green jewel that is our Earth.”

Last, but definitely not least, Bee by Rose-Lynn Fisher is a photographic tribute to the bio-mechanical complexity of the honeybee. Fisher has partnered with the scienctific community to take stunning photographs of the body of the honey bee at microscopic levels. Beautiful and alluring these photographs provide a view into a microscopic world the imagination would be pressed to replicate.

“The first time I looked at a bee’s eye magnified I was amazed to see a field of hexagons, just like honeycomb. I wondered, is this a coincidence or a clue? Is it simply that hexagons are ubiquitous in nature, or is there a deeper correspondence between the structure of the bee’s vision and the structure she builds – in other words, similar frequencies being expressed in similar form? This got me pondering on the connection between vision and action at a more abstract, metaphoric level. Is there a parallel kind of encoding relevant to humanity? At a refined level of our own nature, does our deeper capacity to see and to do correspond with an intrinsic structuring?”