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a new look for dead horse bay candles

October 22nd, 2012

By Drew,

More than a year ago now the idea for Dead Horse Bay Candles was born. Us folks at foundation4.com learned about a bay in South Brooklyn, NY that was the site of NYC’s horse rendering plants in the 19th century.  Several such plants were making fertilizer and glue, I suppose, from… uh… retired city carriage horses giving the area the name “Dead Horse Bay”.

Dead Horse Bay

The site would later become one of New York City’s first landfills that connected several islands west of Jamaica Bay and created the foundation for Floyd Bennet Field. The landfill, that was “capped” in the 1930′s, began to erode in the 1950′s and has since been spewing late 19th and early 20th century trash onto the beach there.

What remains really is only what hasn’t decomposed over the decades. You’re sure to find many shoe soles, mangled doll parts and even.. yup.. neatly chopped up horse bones. Most abundant though are old glass jars and bottles not so gently weathered by time and the ocean. Stepping onto the beach there is like traveling back in time. The quantity of whats there is mind blowing! and as much as you collect the landfill continues to erode and replenish the beach.

The question became “how could we possibly reuse some of this stuff in a meaningful way?” The answer was, in the end, simple: collect, clean, and up-cycle the glass bottles and jars. We’ve made light fixtures, vases, and most popular… scented candles.

dead horse bay candles

Our goal with the candles was to use the purest and most natural ingredients. It took a long time to get it right and we are so proud of what we’ve come up with. We only use pure essential oils from easily renewable sources (no tree oils). The wax is 100% natural soy wax with no additives. Finally our wicks are cotton coated with natural vegetable wax. We’ve developed three scents: Gingergrove (ginger & grapefruit), Oak Moss (patchouli, lavender, & bergamot), and First Frost (mint, lavender, & orange).

Over the past year we’ve tested the candles at flea markets and with friends and family. We’ve had amazing positive feedback, and after a few packaging transformations we are offering the candles online in a big way. All candles ship free from our website until the end of the year! (click any candle photo in this post to be redirected) We’ll even be selling through a couple of local Brooklyn stores!  dead horse bay candlesOur 7oz repurposed and recyclable jar candles are now sporting new colorful labels. They’re presented in natural cotton drawstring bags made in the USA. The bags are inspired by packaging of decades past. The ink is intended to be hand washed out and the hope is that the pouches will be repurposed. They’re great for jewelry storage, arts and crafts supplies, marbles?… whatever! We’ve also introduced new 3.5oz travel tins so it’s easy to take your candle with you and make anywhere feel more like home. The tins are also great for repurposing after the candle is gone and if all else fails, they can be recycled too.

 

dead horse bay candles

Please have a look at our original jar candles and our new travel tins. Did I mention we’re offering free shipping on all candle products from now until the end of the year! Thanks!!!

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Farm Chic

August 8th, 2012

By Drew

Having been a long time fan of Farm Sanctuary I was so excited to get their facebook update today introducing a new line of tee shirts designed by American designer John Bartlett.

Most of us want to support causes we are passionate about.  What better way to do that than by getting something for your donation.  Personally I think this is the new face of charity, not that the practice is new.  I think that fundraising through commerce is one way we can all contribute, feel good, and outwardly support those who inspire us.

Gone should be the days of $1000 dollar plate luncheons and silent auctions for the rich and famous… Tacky.  I’m not going to completely turn my nose up at this activity so long as money is being raised for a good cause.  Truth is, after the expenses (of throwing a gala worthy of such guests) are paid, the actual amount reaching the organization of honor is significantly less than the money raised.  Few really consider that.

Back to John Barlett.  I became familiar with him last year when he launched his Tiny Tim collection to help raise funds for his own nonprofit animal-rescue organization, “The Tiny Tim Rescue Fund” which helps support independent rescue groups across the country.  10% of the profits of this clothing line go directly to his organization, but it wasn’t the non profit support that initially piqued my curiosity, but the amazing three legged dog silhouette logo emblazoned on all the pieces.  I love when the design of any given object is as strong (if not stronger) than it’s charitable backbone.  Gaining the attention of not just those who want to support the cause, but anyone who simply loves the product for more… superficial reasons.

The new line of tee shirts titled the “Ambassador Collection”  are black 100% cotton with a bleached out silhouette of a cow, chicken, or pig.  On the sleeve is a number in the millions or billions representing the number of whichever animal featured on the shirt are slaughtered on deplorable factory farms for food each year in the US.  The numbers are subtle yet staggering.  Best of all they’re not in-your-face depictions of slaughtered animals likely to turn stomachs.  There’s a place for that, but not on a tee shirt.  This design can only help to start the conversation of why Americans rely too heavily on factory farms that employ disturbing and inhumane practices.  I would add that I don’t think you have to be a vegan to support Farm Sanctuary.  Although Gene Bauer (totally buy his book!) may disagree, if you must eat meat,  you can do a little research or frequent a farmers market and purchase meat products raised on small farms that treat their animals with respect and slaughter them as humanely possible.

The tee shirts are $40 (yes, more than a tee shirt at Target, but remember they’re raising money for a good cause and it’s considerably less than that $1000 plate) and available on John Bartlett’s website: johnbartlettny.com.  Do yourself a favor.  Contribute.  Feel good.  Buy one!

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A Little More Butch…

July 26th, 2012

By Drew

…Butch Anthony that is.  I’ve been swooning over Butch Anthony, his work and life for some time now.  He is a self described “artist, picker, and builder of things” from Seale, Alabama.  My interest was piqued while watching reality TV of all things.  The History Channel’s American Pickers visited Butch’s Museum of Wonder in 2010, where I spied on the ground a grouping of old photographs that had been drawn over with skeletal figures.  Butch had mentioned in the episode that he was an artist and I wondered if this was some of his work.  I turned to Google and found that Mr. Anthony, despite his casual nature and backwoods property heaping with junk (and I say that affectionately) was far from undiscovered.  In fact I think in some circles he’s a bit of a celebrity.

The photographs indeed were of his creation and by far my favorite of his work.  He calls the process and product “intertwangleism”.  His partner and mother of his daughter is Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin fame.  I was already a huge fan of hers and was so thrilled to make the connection.  So much has been written about Butch, his Museum of Wonders, his Possum Trot Auctions, and his annual Doo Nanny festival.  Check out the New York Times write up from April of 2010: “Art Shapes a Rural Alabama Compound” .  I can’t wait to get to Seale someday and take it all in for myself.  It’ll happen…

I’m not going to rehash what’s already been said, but it’s worth mentioning that he doesn’t just make art, he lives it.  Even his home, as reported by the Times, is of his making.  He has done what I have threatened to do for years and create a daily uniform for himself.  Imagine how much thought and time we could devote to other things if we didn’t have to worry about what we were going to wear on any given day.  His devotion to his local area, simple truthful living, making use of what we already have, and all around positive attitude towards life are all things I aspire to.  Have a look at a few  You Tube videos featuring Butch.

I’m mesmerized by his ease, his Woody Guthrie lilt, and the surroundings he’s created for himself and anyone who happens by his “Grandaddy’s old farm”.  I’m not so naive to think that Butch’s life is without issue, we all got ‘em, but I wouldn’t mind being a little more butch.

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Born in the USA…Made in China

July 16th, 2012

By Drew

Ok so many of us are buzzing about the announcement that the 2012 Team USA Olympic uniforms designed by Ralph Lauren were made in China!  My first reaction was disgust and I assume that was the reaction of most Americans.  How dare Ralph Lauren… how dare the the US Olympic Committee!  After some thought though I came to rest the blame for such an atrocity not on the USOC or the uniform designer but on.. well myself and Americans in general.  I came to this conclusion fairly quickly.  As I was fuming about the report I stopped and said to myself “do I even know where the clothing I’m wearing right now was made?”  The answer was: “Nope”.  So I began pealing off my clothes to check:  T-Shirt – Made in Honduras, Shorts – Made in Vietnam, Undies – Made in India, Flip Flops – Made in Brazil.  Not a stitch originated from the Country I call home.

Now I consider myself to be someone who takes great pride in supporting businesses based in and products made in the USA.  I’m forever suggesting to friends and family to buy local, but still my wardrobe was largely made elsewhere. Sure, somewhere in the back of my head I knew that I was buying clothing (and other products) made in foreign countries.  Its so hard to find clothing made in the USA.  All of the larger apparel retailers, with the best sales and prices, sell little to no articles made here in our country.  So blame the big retailers right?  Again… “Nope”.  The blame is still ours, after all no one is forcing us to buy two for one t shirts at Target.  Believe me I would love to spend $28 on  a Gnome Enterprises t shirt handprinted in Brooklyn on an American Apparel shirt made in the USA. (aside: big fan of Gnome Enterprise!)  Truth is, like so many Americans, I just cant afford to spend $28 on a T-shirt right now.

Here’s the deal…  To buy clothing made in the USA it will cost us more than clothing made in a far away country.  Manufacturers in the United States have to spend more to make their product and sell for more to stay in business.  In the US, companies must pay their workers a minimum and hopefully a fair wage.  Taxes and operations costs are far more in America than they are elsewhere.  To put this in perspective,  companies like Old Navy and Target have strategically worked out that they can make more money by outsourcing to countries like India and China.  Even with the added cost of importing all these goods to America the final cost is significantly less than what it would be if made here in our back yard and we buy it… because its cheaper.

My Nana was known to flip over every item at a store to see the “Made in…” label.  not because she thought products from China were cheaply made, but because she felt strongly that to buy things not made in the USA was “putting an American out of work”  Where did we loose this sense of national pride and concern for our neighbors?  When did saving a dollar become more important than the unemployment rate in this country?  Can we get back to a place where Americans do buy locally and support ourselves?

We all really just need to try harder to look at those labels and spend a little more, if we can, on items made in this great country of ours.  If we really cant afford to do that, I think it’s essential to know where these products are originating from just the same.  It is that awareness alone that gives us our best chance at change.  We also need to stop pointing our fingers at the government and organizations like the USOC.  It’s not their fault, its ours.  If we didn’t create a market for imported goods this wouldn’t be an issue.  At the end of the day a Team USA Olympic uniform made in China possibly best represents who we truly are as Americans.  Like it or not…

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Hangin’ in the Hamptons

November 13th, 2011

by drew photo by Ty Cole

Heath Nash is a favorite for Architect and Designer, Jason Fay of Reade Street Studio in NYC.  Here he highlights a beautifully simple stairway and landing in The Hamptons with Heath’s Leaf Ball Pendant furnished by and available at foundation4.com

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unconventional mentionables vol. 1

March 9th, 2011

by drew

here’s a love note to a couple notable folks using their talent and intellect to create thoughtful items of value.  I find myself drawn to items that traditionally have a destructive or otherwise unsustainable nature and have been reinvented in a sustainable, positive way.bang! bang! I love guns, but hate guns you know what I mean? San Francisco artist Sarah Applebaum does.  she has created this amazing handgun using felt.  I have to have… eventually.  her website and blog (http://www.sarahapplebaum.com) are equally fantastic.

 

I’ve always had a fascination with taxidermy, specifically animal head trophies.  I just can’t bring myself to purchase one and I could never venture out into the wilderness to acquire my own.  I’ve always wanted to hang one over my toilet (wouldn’t that be awesome!)  San Antonio artist, Jennifer Khoshbin (http://www.jenkhoshbin.com/transform-_ation) has a great humane alternative to hunting for your own trophy mount.  I promise if I buy one I wont mount it over the commode.

I’m in no position to judge those who hunt animals and proudly hang their severed heads or carry and use handguns.  neither are necessities in my life.  I appreciate the symbolism and aesthetic without the destruction or ill intent.  the cost here is far less than the real thing… you know what I mean.

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the writing on the stall

March 7th, 2011

by drew

writingonthestall

apologies for the horrible blackberry photo, but I couldn’t help myself nor could I make a case for running out to grab my camera and take it into the rest area bathroom for a quick photo shoot.  I cant say what the artist’s intentions were for this graffiti masterpiece but I feel that all art, especially public work, is subjective by nature.

this really got me thinking.  my thoughts tend to drift to societal and environmental errors made by the human race and the consequences of those actions.  I like that the text in the thought bubble is written backwards suggesting that we all have these feelings but they are abstract for most of us.  you also have to consider the environment in which this was rendered (the business side of a bathroom stall door).

brilliant!

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25 years of Farm Sanctuary

February 16th, 2011

by drew

Farm Sanctuary is celebrating 25 years in 2011.  since 1986, Farm Sanctuary has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about how food is produced in the US and the abuses suffered by factory farm animals.  Farm Sanctuary also runs two shelters in New York and California dedicated to rescued animals.

mother_jonesfs1

Co-Founder Gene Bfarm_sanctuary_coverauer penned “Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food“  After reading I stopped eating meat, falling short, however, of becoming a vegan.  I have shared this book with many and support anyone who, faced with the reality of factory farming, have made any change to their diets, large or small.

you can help support Farm Sanctuary by donating, buying products, or simply reading the book.  check out their website by clicking the picture above.  Should you purchase something from the foundation4 website you can select Farm Sanctuary as the partner organization you wish to devote a percentage of your purchase.

congratulations Farm Sanctuary!

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r u serious!

February 15th, 2011

pink bedroomgreen sittingroomby drew

I love the South African aesthetic.  Bold , colorful, daring, perhaps accidental?  This style is best represented in the townships.  These images from the  Quivertree Publications book Shack Chic are amazing.  I treasure this book and was so surprised to learn how difficult it is to get a copy in the US.

shack-chic-cover1

If you know anyone travelling to South Africa, have them grab all the Quivertree titles they can!

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flat tire, fat wallet

November 5th, 2010

by drew

we have a new line of accessories at f4. wallets, belts, and card holders, all made from re-purposed bicycle tire inner tubes.  I ride to work on my bike everyday, rain or shine, all year long and I’ve had my share of blowouts.  I’m not one to change my own tire and living in Brooklyn, NY, surrounded by bike shops, I don’t really need to.  What does become of those used and useless inner tubes?  well, Alchemy Goods in Seattle, WA has found the answer.

walletbelt

well designed, perfectly functional, and longer lasting than their leather counterparts.  each piece is also labeled with thier percentage of re-purposed content.  we’re pleased to offer this fantastic line.  there are so many re-purposed creations out there.  although all mean well and should be encouraged, at foundation4 we pride ourselves on finding those goods that are truly exceptional!

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