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Monday, January 6, 2014

A Brief History of a Fascinating Company.

In the beginning there was jewelry

An Elegant Baby's Rattle in Silver, a Perfect Gift
and a Wonderful Memory.
In the beginning there was jewelry.  Bright, shiny, delightful charms that had a story to tell.  A story that was told through appearance, there were so many variations, dolphins, stars, the Earth, in different finishes, and textures, each unique, and interesting. Jewelry designed thoughtfully, with a purpose in mind.  While looking through the offerings there was always something that somehow reminded a person of something wonderful, a memory, a story, a time, something special, it held an appeal  as unique as the person holding the piece.  But, the real story came with motion, a wonderful song, magic and enchanting, was born with each shake, no matter how slight, it was a happy song, soft and touching, and warm.  It was a package that was irresistible to the thoughtful, and imaginative, a siren’s song to those who listened with more than their ears.  And from the sounds, and looks, a company was born.  The Harmony Ball Company.

Of course, no company can last long without testing new waters, exploring new avenues.  And this company was quick to find new items of wearable art that fit in with the existing product.  One very successful example; Love Letters, string-able cubes emblazoned with letters and memories, icons of life, (captured in a moment) they told as many stories as you could fit on a bracelet, or necklace, it was a perfect companion.  It had so much to say, and it had a charm and story that was told and evolved everyday.

This Piece May Capture the Essence Better than Any.
A Zebra  Turning the Tables on a Lion.
It was a trip to the UK that brought about the shift in the product landscape. They found these fantastic "boxes," quirky, off beat, filled with character and charm, almost irresistible. Each one designed and carved by one of the resident artists. Each piece had a story, several stories, hidden compartments, hidden messages expressed in some small detail. Each piece carried a cache of wit, and British humor expressed through design and execution. Tentatively, the little boxes were a unique, interesting place to keep a chiming piece of jewelry. Soon, though they became the whole show.  And Harmony Kingdom was born.

People loved them.  They flew in and out of the building. There was barely time to carry them upstairs, and re-box them. It was like a machine, in one end went 200 boxes, and out the other end went 600 smaller boxes. Destined for stores all over the country, where people waited to snap up the treasures, take them home, add them to their collection.  They clamored for more, and the small facility in the UK could barely keep up.  A partnership with a factory in Asia was formed.

A Piggy Bank that Really Looks Like a Pig.
An Areaware Icon.
But, that is not the end of the story. We come to the present, a unique mixture of art, and function. These pieces were an expression of form and function combining art and utility in a way that mixes disciplines, techniques, and materials. Not just art, but not just vocation either, both working together an equation that produces much more than the sum of its parts.  Each piece tells a story of usefulness and appearance, execution in harmony.
Areaware offers an ever growing line of products designed to appeal to needs and desires. Each introduction has to meet the bench mark of being useful and attractive, and mix the two in an interesting tale of fashion, and purpose.  Resin, wood, plaster, cast iron, metal.  These are the substances that AreaWare artists mold to their purposes, in exciting, sophisticated ways.  Nothing is impossible, and everything is open for consideration.  And if it has potential it has possibilities, and there is nobody better at turning possibility into Reality than the people who own this company.

Each time a new sample rolls in there is a chance to see something unique, and it has always been that way and probably always will.  Three times they have started from the beginning and three times they have succeeded.  That is amazing, by any measure.  The owners are dedicated to difference, and committed to innovation, and I am lucky to be a part of the organization.