Colorado cool stuff: Funkwerks, yo-yos and antique beads
FUNKWERKS CHERRY SAISON
The first batch of winter seasonal beer has been bottled at one of the state's newest breweries, Funkwerks. Accountant Brad Lincoln and engineer Gordon Schuck co-founded the brewery last year after meeting while studying brewing at Chicago's Siebel Institute.
Funkwerks specializes in Belgian saison beers, which Lincoln describes as "a farmhouse ale from the Wallonia region in Belgium," noting that Funkwerks' saisons are a tad more alcoholic (6.8 percent by volume) than the norm.
"It was given to workers during summertime when they were thirsty," Lincoln says. "It was kind of a dead style, but it's coming back again." Cherry saison: $14.99 per 750-milliliter bottle. Traditional saison or white beer: $10.99 per 750-milliliter bottle.
Brewed by Funkwerks Inc., Fort Collins, (970) 482-FUNK, www.funkwerks.com. Available at the brewery at 1900 E. Lincoln Ave., Unit B.
CLEMENTINE ART GIFT SET
After Diana Mercer started Clementine Studio in Boulder in 2003 to teach kids arts and crafts skills, she found herself continually confronted with a situation.
"I'd look over, and a baby would have a paintbrush in their mouth like a lollipop," Mercer says. "Parents would look at me and ask, ‘Is this OK?'"
To be sure that it was indeed OK, Mercer started making paints and dough from natural ingredients for her studio, then launched Clementine Art with six products in 2008. The Clementine Art Gift Set includes all six: soy-wax crayons and crayon rocks, markers, modeling dough, paints and wheat-based glue.
The concept promptly took off. "We've broken $500,000 in sales this year," says Mercer, touting national distribution with Whole Foods and Baby Gap and temporary placement in 5,000 Starbucks in 2009. "It seems like we're hitting a chord with parents who are looking for something better for their kids." Gift set: $48 retail.
Made by Clementine Art Inc., Boulder, (303) 447-0473, www.clementineart.com. A store locator is on the website.
DORJE DESIGNS JEWELRY
After working with everything from hair to real estate, Anna Holland came out of retirement in 2005 to turn her passion - collecting ancient and antique beads and artifacts - into a business. "I decided I wanted to make necklaces for me," she says of Dorje's beginnings. "I started wearing them and people wanted to buy them."
So she launched a website with the help of her husband, Mark, and business boomed. "Almost immediately I started selling internationally," Anna says.
She sources her beads from all over the world - some are 2,000 years old - and takes cues from African, Indian and Indonesian jewelers for her necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets. Since founding Dorje (Tibetan for "thunderbolt"), Anna has kept plenty busy - she estimates she has created about 1,000 pieces in all - and seen her works grace the models in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue. $275 and up retail.
Made by Dorje Designs, Boulder, (303) 494-0184, www.dorjedesigns.com .
After Ed Davidson retired to Colorado Springs in 1996, he had some time on his hands.
"I started tinkering with a hobby I had since junior high: turning wood on a lathe," he says. "A lot of people make boxes and bowls and wine stoppers - I started making yo-yos to distinguish myself."
From a solid piece of wood or acrylic, Davidson churns out one-piece yo-yos, their sides embellished by a rare replica of a hand-powered "rose engine." Davidson says he's made more than 2,000 yo-yos in this fashion, noting, "I'm pretty much the only person in the world that does this." $30 to $50 retail for a standard yo-yo; up to $700 for a custom collector's model.
Made by Ed Davidson, YoYoSpin (a dba for Davidson LatheCraft LLC), Colorado Springs, www.yoyospin.com. A store locator is on the website.