9 Awesome Items from the AMNH-Etsy Collaboration

Yesterday, the American Museum of Natural History and Etsy debuted a new collection inspired by the museum’s collections. Some of the Etsy artisans had participated in a behind-the-scenes tour, meeting scientists and peeking into drawers of AMNH’s departments to get inspiration for the products, which were to debut just a month and a half after the tour. “Everyone was just giddy,” says Vanessa Bertozzi, Program Manager for Etsy Wholesale. “It’s the first time that we’ve officially worked with a museum. We wanted to dig into the artistic process, and that’s been the most amazing part of this, to see what these guys come up with when you set them loose on a collection and what inspires them and their interpretation of it. I love the range—there’s something for everyone.”

The collection includes 140 items made by 22 Etsy designers; here are a few of our favorites, which are available in the museum shop, on its website, or on Etsy.

1. AMNH Bandana, $25

Fred DiMeglio and Mary Kate McDevitt—aka the Winter Cabin Collection—made this fun AMNH-themed bandana, which comes in three colors and features a quote from Teddy Roosevelt. “They sent us an email and we were like, ‘Yeah, that sounds great!’” DiMeglio told mental_floss. “[The museum] is a national institution, and we definitely wanted to be involved. We came and toured the museum and got plenty of inspiration from that.”

McDevitt (who did the lettering on our Origins of Everything cover) sketched various items from the collections as they toured the parts of the museum that were off limits to the public and as they walked the museum itself with a guide. “I was like, ‘I’m going to do as much drawing as possible so that I can leave knowing what we want to do,’ she says. “If you leave something on your to-do list for too long, you can lose your inspiration. So even over the lunch break [that day], we were kind of like, ‘What are we going to do? I already have some sketches done.'”

DiMeglio makes a lot of bandanas for his printing business, McDevitt says, so they decided to make that one of their items. The bandanas are hand dyed, and he uses a process called discharge to the remove the dye. “The white is the original color of the bandana,” he says, “and the gray is the dye. [With this process], you can touch it and won’t feel any difference between the two—it’s not rough in the print area.” The pair also made a fun tote and an awesome banner as a tribute to the museum’s scientists and their curiosity.

2. Fantastic Little Fox Coat, $160

Little Goodall constructed this adorable child's coat out of ecowool, which is made of plastic bottles. If foxes aren’t your kid’s thing, there’s also a dinosaur, a lion, and a robot. We probably won’t be the only ones wishing these cute coats came in adult sizes!

3. Speckled Leather Pouch, $48

Jessica Kertis Ulrich used to work in the museum’s marketing department before she began selling handcrafted goods on her Etsy store, kertis, full time. These Italian leather pouches—hand-painted with natural sponges—were inspired by a Lorenz Oken illustration of speckled eggs in the museum’s book, Natural Histories, as well as by thick-billed murr eggs from the museum’s Ornithology collection, which is one place Ulrich said she hadn’t had a chance to check out when she was working at AMNH.

Eggs and Ulrich's sketch. Photos by Erin McCarthy.

Each comes with its own brown tag: “In the collections, there are all these really cool old tags for each of the specimens,” Ulrich says. “I love the typography and the design, so i wanted to draw a little bit from that.”

4. Pigeon Vase, $28

Pigeons get a bad rap, but they’re actually fascinating (at least one is a war hero, and there are even fancy pigeons!). Pay tribute to the ultimate urban bird with BrooklynREHAB’s ceramic vase.

5. Blue Whale Pendant, $250

To get this sterling silver representation of the museum’s famous blue whale correct, Amanda of Craft0logy—who used to work in the museum’s library—came to the museum to sketch the fiberglass cetacean, then made use of archival photos of its installation from the museum’s Digital Special Collections.

Blue whales were once called Sulphur Bottom Whales. Amanda used this drawing to get the proportions of her pendant correct. Photo by Erin McCarthy.

She also visited the rare book room and used an image of a blue whale—which you can see above—from the 1874 book Marine Mammals of the Northwestern Coast of North America, Described and Illustrated, Together with An Account of the American Whale History to get the proportions right. “Just using the archival photos, it’s really hard to figure out the size of the tail and the proportions from the fin to the tail in relation to the rest of the whale,” she says. “I sketched it bigger and smaller until I got it right.” She used her final illustration to create a wax model that she carved detail into and made a mold with, and cast the sterling silver whale from that. (There’s also a platypus!)

6. Space Alphabet Poster, $40

This awesome 18x24 poster—which includes not just the alphabet, but also trivia—was created by 55 Hi’s. There’s also a dinosaur version!

7. Porcelain Iceburg Necklace, $98

Amy Hamley of RedRaven Studios jumped at the chance to create a piece inspired on the museum’s collections. “I’m definitely a little bit nerdy when it comes to the sciences, so I was really excited,” she tells mental_floss. She was particularly inspired by the museum’s Gems and Mineral Hall and its exhibition, Nature’s Fury. “I cast quartz crystal porcelain necklaces and planters in my regular line, but I wanted to step away and not just make a porcelain version of a mineral,” Hamley says. “So I was thinking about things that were formed similar ways to minerals—with heat and pressure and things leaching into the ground—and iceburgs are basically the exact same thing, just from extreme cold and pressure over immense spans of time.” She used a citrine crystal, which has similar facets to ice, to make a mold, which she filled with porcelain to create the pendant. Each pendant is fired, glazed, and finished it with platinum luster.

8. Crystal Amethyst Soap, $8

This soap, which is made by The Bower Studio, is so realistic looking that you’d be forgiven if you thought it was a real amethyst. The soap is vegan and made with palm and coconut oil.

9. The Science Box, $18

Curious kids will love this clever little box, which contains 60 simple science experiments on 30 wooden coins.

Courtesy of Royal Treasure Chest
If You Love Antique Stores, This Subscription Box Is For You
Courtesy of Royal Treasure Chest
Courtesy of Royal Treasure Chest

Do you love wandering the aisles of antique malls, shopping at vintage clothing stores, and filling your home with knick-knacks and ephemera from the past? Then this subscription box is for you.

Royal Treasure Chest is a curated monthly subscription that sends a package full of vintage goodies to your door, thoughtfully hand-picked based on your personal taste. The subscription box offering is an extension of Royal Treasure, an online vintage shop with a presence on Etsy and eBay and run by wife-and-husband team Denise and Royal.

Prices start at $15 for a monthly single-item box. Also available is a $40 plan (three items) and a $60 plan (five items). Your box is highly customizable. First, you select your category (or categories) from the following options: Beautiful old hardcover books, curios and knick-knacks, jewelry, tie bars and cufflinks, paper ephemera (like postcards or photographs), and ladies' or gentlemen's accessories. Then you can go into detail about your style, favorite eras, and likes and dislikes. That means it's great for indecisive people who want to treat themselves to a box of nice things every month.

To find the vintage collectibles, Royal Treasure's Pittsburgh-based team travels to estate sales in Western Pennsylvania and Ohio. Every box comes with a note printed on parchment paper recounting where your new treasures were found and gives details about the families that once owned them. (The grandfather was a World War I fighter pilot! This family of dance instructors counted a young Gene Kelly among their pupils!) It reads like a letter from a friend and gives a homespun feel to the whole operation.

I subscribed to the $40 plan and loved the items I got. Every box also included a bonus postcard with a message written by someone from another era. I definitely took Royal Treasure up on the opportunity to go into detail about my taste. One of the things I wrote was that I like dogs, and I got a lot of dog-themed stuff that made me smile. In one month's box, I got a porcelain dog figurine as well as a trinket box and a decorative plate with country scenes on them. I liked the puppy statuette and thought the box and plate were nice enough, but then I looked closer and realized they each had a tiny dog cavorting around the landscape and I appreciated them even more. Now that's attention to detail.

vintage clothes
Courtesy of Royal Treasure Chest
Mathew Tucciarone
Candytopia, the Interactive Art Installation Made of Sweet Treats, Is Coming to New York City
Mathew Tucciarone
Mathew Tucciarone

A colorful exhibition is sharing some eye candy—and actual candy—with visitors. The sweet art pop-up, called Candytopia, is heading to New York City this summer following successful stints in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, Gothamist reports.

Candytopia feels a little like Willy Wonka’s chocolate room. More than a dozen rooms with psychedelic backdrops will be on view, as well as candy-inspired interpretations of famous artworks such as Mona Lisa and The Thinker. The installation is the brainchild of Jackie Sorkin, the star of TLC’s Candy Queen.

Many of the art installations are made from actual candy, but unlike Wonka’s lickable wallpaper, visitors will have to keep their hands and tongues to themselves. Instead, guests will be given samples of various sweet treats like gummies, chocolates, and “nostalgic favorites.”

Forbes named Candytopia one of the best pop-up museums to visit in 2018. New York City seems the perfect place for the exhibit, having formerly hosted other food-inspired pop-ups like the Museum of Pizza and the Museum of Ice Cream.

Candytopia will debut in New York City on August 15 at Penn Plaza at 145 West 32nd Street. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and they can be ordered on Candytopia’s website. Private events and birthday parties can also be arranged.

Keep scrolling to see some more installations from Candytopia.

A wing of the Candytopia exhibit
Mathew Tucciarone

An Egyptian-inspired statue made of candy
Mathew Tucciarone

A candy version of the Mona Lisa
Mathew Tucciarone

A shark statue
Mathew Tucciarone

[h/t Gothamist]


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