Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Suzanne Norris - Curiosity Cabinet

If you're at all familiar with the Otherist, then you know we're madly in love with Cabinets of Curiosities. One might even say that Ye Olde Worlde Wunderkammers are one of our biggest inspirations when we go in search of new items with which to populate the shop. So it should come as no surprise that when one of our customers clued us in to Suzanne Norris' amazing new screen print Curiosity Cabinet we quite literally jumped at the chance to have this amazing work in the shop.

This print houses a collection of meticulously drawn two-dimensional specimens, perfect for the avid amateur scientist, art lover, or biology fanatic.

The deets:
- limited edition of 28 pieces
- Incisioni paper (220gsm, pH neutral, 50% cotton)
- The print measures w 39.9cm x h 47cm (15.7” x 18.5”)
- The paper measures w 50cm x h 59cm (19.7” x 23.2”)
- one colour non-toxic water-based ink (velvety black) silk screen print

Available for purchase in-store at our Leliegracht location or in our web shop.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Pictorial Webster's

Prior to the instant gratification of the world-wide web (we ♥ U Wikipedia!), the best place to find the weird and wonderful was the unabridged Webster's Dictionary. Even before the wonders of wordplay made themselves known, this repository of knowledge was guaranteed to be packed to the gills with meticulous engravings of the world around us (in addition to the copious amounts of words). Whether the item pictured was easily seen, unseen, or out of reach of anything but our imaginations, something about these intricate images sparked a fire in the heart of young scientists and artists alike.

In Pictorial Webster's: A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities, John M. Carrera has undertaken the arduous task of not only tracking down more than 1,500 amazing 19th-century engravings from Webster's Dictionaries, but also cleaning and restoring them to provide a visually breathtaking collection sure to both inspire and delight. With images ranging from Acorns to Zebras, Bell Jars to Velocipedes, this chunky tome "is a treasure trove for art lovers, designers, and anyone with an interest in visual history." When we first saw this book, there was no question: Yes, MUST have! This chunky little tome is chock full of drool-worthy graphical goodness. Available for purchase in our web shop or come by the Leliegracht and thumb through it in person.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Shadow of Lula - Kyoko Hashimoto

From Kyoko Hashimoto's Shadow of Lula collection, this limited edition pendant is a beautiful twist on traditionally somber mourning jewelry. Each pendant depicts the silhouette of an extinct insect species hung from a long adjustable brass chain. Using both traditional and modern techniques, Kyoko has carefully hand crafted subtle layers of beauty and depth that have become time capsules in memory of the tiny lives that no longer inhabit the earth.

Each pendant is produced in a limited edition of 30 pieces and has both the name of the insect as well as the edition number on the reverse side. See available pieces in the webshop, or stop by the Leliegracht to see them in person.

Monday, September 21, 2009

ADAM&EVE - Aleksandra Wisniewska

Collecting and pressing plant specimens has always been a great way to preserve snippets of nature's beauty. Swiss designer Aleksandra Wisniewska has taken this age-old activity one step further, not just preserving the leaves, but transforming them into subtly intricate pendants that evince nature while transforming it into something wholly different.

Aleksandra's technique preserves each leaf creating a distinct filigree effect in which the veins of each leaf are revealed to accentuate the delicate structure. Each sterling silver pendant is as unique as nature can make it, each leaf donated by a generous oak, magnanimous olive tree, or bountiful rose bush. See available pieces in our webshop or drop by the Leliegracht and see them in person!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lyndie Dourthe - Curiosités Under Glass

There was always something infinitely and uncomfortably attractive about walking into biology class and seeing the specimens arrayed in all their yellowed, formaldehyde-y glory. The salamanders, birds and other beasts almost made the teacher's interminable lectures bearable. Almost.

So it's to be expected that our eyes were drawn like lead filings to a magnet (gratuitous science class reference!) when we first happened upon Lyndie Dourthe's Curiosités Under Glass. Hand stitched, beaded, and burned encyclopedia illustrations on stuffed canvas guaranteed to turn any 'ews' into 'aahs'; displayed under removable glass to facilitate admiration both with eyes and hands. See available pieces in our webshop.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Insect Lab

"Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world's first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster."

Oh, Steve Austin. Sure, our parents' generation had Bonanza and Rawhide defining what it was to be a man; that rugged, horse-riding Marlborough Man of a man, tough when he had to be and gentle only to his mama, with calloused hands and weathered features. Thankfully by the time I rolled out and around, Lee Majors was already running around in that red tracksuit with a sound effect that none of us who watched the show will ever forget and were most likely emulating on the playground (dje-je-je-je-je-je!!!).

One of my first imperatives was the acquisition of the Bionic Man Doll (sorry folks, Action figures, for all their impressive accessories, are still dolls), featuring the amazing roll-back skin on his arm that revealed the 'bionic' components beneath, and don't even get me started on how amazing it was that you could look through the back of his head and see via his 'bionic eye'.

It's funny (ha ha) how much childhood obsessions carry through into adulthood. When I first saw Mike Libby's Insect Lab specimens my eyes widened, my jaw dropped, and the same sense of excitement filled my stomach as the first time I saw the Bionic Man in his box. And I'm afraid that while the Bionic Man will always have the nostalgia factor behind him, these amazing specimens put my old doll to shame.

Borrowing from science fiction and fact, Insect Lab customizes real insect specimens with antique watch parts and other technological components. From ladybugs to grasshoppers, each is individually hand adorned, and original- a unique celebration of the contradictions and confluences between nature and technology. The pieces aren't intended to function, but playfully and slyly insist that they could. For me the most difficult time will be when I have to relinquish the illusion that they're mine and watch as some lucky customer takes them home. See the available pieces listed in our webshop

Monday, August 3, 2009

the Otherist

Fledglings leave the nest, puppies are weaned, and children move out of their parents' houses (or should). Realizing that change brings new challenges and rewards, we here at egg mercantile have decided it's time for us to hatch into something different. Happily, not every metamorphosis has to be as brutal or depressing as Kafka's - on the contrary, we're as excited as a fuzzy caterpillar about to break free of the cocoon and spread its wings for the first time. Don't fear, friends and neighbors, we'll still be and have all the great things you've already come to associate with egg mercantile; stunning ceramics, wonderful wool, beautiful bags, wicked wallets and other hard to find treasures that refuse to fall prey to my articulate alliteration. So we continue turning a blind eye to the standard; to the run-of-the-mill; to the mundane and the typical. We want only the exceptional; the memorable; the unconventional; the other.

We're changing our name to reflect this continued focusing of our collection towards merchandise that is anything but ordinary, so effective immediately egg mercantile will be transforming into The Otherist. We also hope that the name change will help clear things up for passersby who just read the sign or those who hear our name in polite conversation. Because in answer to the questions that were on far too many people's lips; no, we do not sell eggs. Nor do we sell everything to do with eggs. Or chickens. No, you can't have yours scrambled sir, and no, ma'am, you cannot have yours poached. And no, 'egg mercantile' is not a special brunch dish or something you can order at the Chinese takeaway.

Looking forward to seeing you either in the shop or online at, and

Joshua & Steven
-the Otherist(s)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

By the pricking of my thumbs....

"By the pricking of my thumbs
Something wicked this way comes."

Okay, technically I don't think one would call it 'wicked', per se. Unless one were speaking in Bostonian slang (and when one opens the floodgates of slang usage, one might even find oneself unexpectedly using words like 'hella' or 'hecksa'), but we figure using slang is at the very least balanced by quoting Shakespeare. Anyway, nothing evinces a feeling of importance and impending change like serious literary quotation, so in the interest of making it sound even more portentous, we're also quoting Andy Warhol, who said; "They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." And that's exactly what we're doing. Change is on the horizon for egg mercantile, so prepare yourselves for something hecksa new!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Alexa Lixfeld - Metamorphose

My parents were true believers in the theory that hard work builds character and integrity. At least that's what they said... but often I wondered if it was just an easy way for them to to say; "We had to work, so you do, too". Childhood grudges aside, every summer I was sent to work with my father laying concrete foundations (I had switched from Captain Caveman to a G.I.Joe thermos for lunch, while he had the incomparable Stanley vacuum bottle), hauling concrete forms and generally 'helping out' - which I later realized meant 'not getting paid'. (Oh, sorry, grudges aside.) While I can't speak as to whether or not 'helping out' assisted my parents with the monumental task of instilling any staunch moral fiber or tireless work ethic in me, there were other things that I took from those dusty, dirty, drawn-out summer days. One of them was an appreciation for the unsung beauty of concrete. Back then concrete was for driveways and basements, to be utilized only as a foundation, not an aesthetic. Nowadays it's all around us, and there are a multitude of designers and architects who have embraced industrial chic. Pottery pioneer Alexa Lixfield is one of these, and has captured the essence of this aesthetic in her Metamorphose collection, a series of colored porcelain vessels that artfully combine the roughness of concrete with the sophistication of modern form and color.

The interesting seam-work and play between the matte exterior and glazed interior highlight this contrast, transforming a simple shape into a textural triumph that is just as satisfying to hold and feel as it is to gaze upon. And unlike my formative years, appreciating this concrete-inspired crockery won't require any back-breaking labor on your part. See available models in the webshop.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Blackbird Fly Twin Lens Reflex Camera

We're as guilty as the next person when it comes to falling in love with the digital photography revolution. Hell, we're guilty of buying a camera because we loved the fact that it fit into an Altoids tin. But we have to agree with our music-loving, vinyl-hoarding friends when they say that something is lost when we move completely to digital; when a photo is just a collection of pixels on a tiny screen that are just as easily deleted as created. But don't you fret, friends and neighbors, we've found just the thing: the Blackbird Fly Twin Lens Reflex Camera.

With a design hearkening back to the early days of photography - when many believed having your picture taken might mean the loss of your soul - Blackbird Fly gives you instant street cred and a variety of options to exercise the artist in you.

Unlike other twin lens reflex cameras which use 120 format film, the Blackbird Fly uses readily available 35mm film. The twin lens design allows you to take photos either from waist height looking down into the viewfinder or use the "sportsfinder" for quicker shots. Couple this with the (provided) masks, and you can take photos in the regular 35mm format, square format, or remove the masks entirely for the larger square format that allows the image to fill the entire width of film, including the sprocket holes (our personal favorite). For shooting during the day, you can alternate between apertures f/7 and f/11, with a shutter speed of 1/125. At night, you can switch the shutter to B-mode to let in as much light as you might need, or you can also attach a flash for even more possibilities. In the webshop

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottles

When I was a kid there were few things that excited me more than the prospect of going on a day trip to the mountains with my dad. I'd like to say that it was because I thought the outdoors was cool, but if I'm honest the scenery itself never entered the equation.

My interests were directed towards the fixins; a huge maple donut for breakfast, and to wash it down piping hot chocolate, housed in my Captain Caveman thermos. But no matter how much I loved Captain Caveman (and the Teen Angels), my dad's Stanley thermos always pulled a Joan Crawford: it was bigger, it was stronger, and it would always beat mine. I’ve always coveted that thermos; then for its sheer capacity and ability to maintain the warmth of that chocolate for hours, now for both that and the nostalgia factor. Okay, you got me, it’s still for the sheer capacity, sweetened by the lifetime guarantee.

These days I’m no longer reduced to coveting; finally I've said goodbye to Captain Caveman and have embraced at least one thing my dad and I have in common: an appreciation for a product that can house a whole lot of chocolate, coffee, or any other beverage - and keep it hot or cold all day long. See our Stanley Classic collection in the webshop.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Oohhh... Nesting Boxes - Lok Ming Fung

Whether you collect shoes, books, toys or jewelry, one of the greatest challenges any collector ever faces is answering the Storage Question. Too often our collections end up in attic boxes, stuffed beneath the bed or pushed to the back of a drawer, and this inability to keep them in any accessible order severely limits our ability to enjoy them to their full potential. Marie Antoinette solved the Question as it pertained to her immense jewelry collection by commissioning two monumental cabinets, one of which is still displayed at Versailles and the other at Windsor Castle.

While most of us don't have to answer the Display Question on such a grand scale, it's still rewarding to find solutions that are just as elegant as Madame Antoinette's cabinets but that aren't too large to transport nor barricaded behind velvet stanchions in ancient castles. When we saw Lok Ming Fung's "Oohhh..." ceramic nesting boxes we knew we'd found just such a solution; bedecked with beauteous barnacle-esque bits and equipped with varying numbers of trays and compartments, these handmade works of art will not only provide you with the perfect place for prized possessions, they'll become one. See available boxes in the webshop

Thursday, March 5, 2009

made by rENs - kopje kopje

Most people agree that one of the last hurdles in learning a new language is understanding the sense of humor. So you can imagine my sense of accomplishment when I 'got' my very first Dutch play on words - and it was all thanks to Kopje Kopje. For you other nederlandse neophytes, you know (as I now do) that 'kop' means both 'head' and 'cup' in Dutch, and the diminutive (not derogative) -je ending signifies both the small size and big beauty these cups contain.

So whether your eye for beauty runs to traditional dolls or you're someone like salacious Salome and just like heads (that one's for all you Bible readers out there), we've got just your cup of tea...... what, too much? Handcast by Renee Mennen & Stefanie van Keijsteren (collectively know as Made by rENs).

Available in matte black, glazed white porcelain or a combination thereof. You can choose either the crowned princess or the bonnet wearing red riding hood. Come by and check them out, or see them in the webshop.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

mid-Winter Sale... egg mercantile!

It's a tale as old as retail; a cycle tied to the seasons just as surely as that of the farmers and their crops. It comes after the holidays have left us unsure as to whether we're sated or exhausted, happy for their passing or sad. When the icy fingers of Winter slither beneath our collars and through cracks in windows, and when the definition of pleasure is a good measure of whiskey in a hot coffee with a dollop of whip cream. Yep, you guessed right; it's mid-winter SALE time!

Knowing that everyone loves a bargain and not wanting to disappoint, egg mercantile is offering up some dashing discounts on select items throughout the store. So whether you need a 2009 calendar to start planning the new year or your favorite color Pantone mug to house that aforementioned coffee (2 for €20!), don't let Winter's clutching fingers intimidate you (because you can shop online, too)!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fruit is not a dessert... Penkridge Ceramics

One of our greatest joys in life comes at the end of a fine meal when dessert is finally served. And one of our greatest disappointments must be when that dessert is served and it's plain old fruit. Fruit can make a cheese plate complete, provide a necessary component in fondue, or possibly even a salad. But sorry, hosts and hostesses around the world - we don't care what time of year it is, fruit is not dessert. Special dispensation can be granted if one includes whipped cream, pastry, or a sweet little labor-intensive cookie, but we stress that this is only acceptable in the heat of high summer, or if you picked the berries from your own garden (and even then, it's an exception, not a blessing).

What fruit can also be is an amazing piece of decor, as evidenced by the incomparable collection of realistic ceramic fruits and vegetables by Penkridge Ceramics. Founders Lorraine Taylor and Nicky Smart have created a luscious feast of eye candy comprised of unique pieces that are handcrafted to look and feel picture perfect. Through the application of multiple glazes each apple and pear is given brilliant color and rich texture, which combined with distinctive hand painted blemishes and carved wooden stems makes for a finished product almost indistinguishable from the real thing. Unless, that is, one opts for the sophisticated monochromatic variations which showcase the beautiful shape and all of "nature's" imperfections. See what we did there? Anyway, check out our collection in the webshop.