Style Spotlight: Jessica Winzelberg makes rough-hewn gems of jewels you can only get at HMNS

Have you ever sat at your desk, daydreaming about leaving your 9 to 5 and becoming an artist? (I never have, but then my job happens to be awesome). Jessica Winzelberg took that leap and left investment banking to become a San Francisco jewelry designer and metalsmith.

I stumbled across Jessica’s work surfing the internet one day (it’s called RESEARCH, I swear!) and knew immediately that her vibrant stone choices and elegant, streamlined metalwork would be a perfect fit for the museum store. Fortunately, Jessica thought that was a great idea, too, and we are now the only store in Texas to carry her gorgeous designs.

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Jessica handpicks unique stones just for us — like fiery boulder opals, unusual agates and jaspers, and sliced aquamarines — and custom creates each piece. Sometimes, because she knows we can never have too much of a good thing in Houston, she doubles up on the glamour by setting a polished, organically shaped opal with say, a brilliant pink tourmaline.

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While all of the stones are beautiful (I don’t want any of them to get their feelings hurt), the boulder opals are my personal favorite. Found in Australia, veins of opal occur in an ironstone rock matrix — it’s like catching a glimpse of a gemstone rainbow through a secret window.

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Check out Jessica’s work in-person at the Museum Store, or take a look online. Orders made by Dec. 17 are guaranteed delivery by Christmas, and 100 percent of the proceeds from our pretty things benefit the Museum and its programming.

Let it insta-snow: Make faux snow grow this holiday season!

In the age of Instagram, instant rice and instant gratification, it can’t come as much of a surprise that there also exists insta-snow.

How does it work? Carolyn Leap knows. Our youth educator facilitates an Outreach Program here at HMNS called Science on Stage, and my favorite topic has to be Cool Chemistry. I love watching her stick things in liquid nitrogen, set things on fire that never burn and make a cup of water disappear in an instant. Carolyn is magical.

Okay, she isn’t really magical. Everything she does is totally explainable with science, but seeing kids watch these demonstrations for the first time is super fun. They are totally amazed!

One of the topics she focuses on in a Cool Chemistry program is polymers. My favorite polymer demonstration has to be instant snow. If you’ve never seen it done, it is super fun! But what is it?  And more importantly, where can you get some? First things first, my friends…

Learn how instant snow works and get your own at the Museum Store!I asked Carolyn to explain exactly how instant snow works the other day, and here is what she had to say:

“Whether it’s called ‘Amazing Snow Powder®,’ ‘Insta-Snow®,’ ‘SnoWOW®,’ ‘Magic Snow®’ or anything else, any faux snow that grows when you add water works the same way. Instant snow powder is made of some very large molecules (polymers) composed of repeating units that are hydrophilic, or ‘water-loving.’ Most synthetic polymers are not hydrophilic; plastic soda bottles, PTFE (Teflon®) coatings, and PVC pipe, for example, are not.”

“As you add water, the powder acts like a bunch of very tiny but very good sponges. When you look at a regular kitchen sponge, you can see the pores that the water fills in; with instant snow powder, the places the water occupies are way too tiny to see, but they’re still there. Fake snow’s chemical name is ‘sodium polyacrylate,’ but the absorbent polymer in disposable diapers goes by the same name, because they have very similar chemical structure. Most people call instant snow by its simple name for clarity. Depending on who you ask, polymer ‘snow’ was first developed either as a blood absorber for hospitals or as a material to use in indoor snowboard parks in Japan. However it was invented, it’s awesome!”

Want some insta-snow of your own? Visit the HMNS Online Store and pick some up for yourself! These little jars make perfect stocking stuffers, particularly for kids from southern Texas who may have never seen snow before. Want to keep it after the holidays? You can dry it out and store it for the next year, but it takes weeks to months in the Texas humidity.  We tried it one year and finally gave up around spring break!

Attention, shoppers: The HMNS Museum Store has a new address at museumstore.hmns.org

Ermagherd, it’s here!

The HMNS Museum Store has a new address online

 

The HMNS Museum Store is now online. That’s right, all the gleaming goodies at our stunning store are now available for purchase at our brand new online address: museumstore.hmns.org.

Apparel and accessories that make you think. Home goods that make you giggle. Jewelry that makes people jealous. It’s all online just in time for the holidays, with a little extra cheer: 100 percent of the Museum Store proceeds benefit HMNS and its programming. AND you can get it all with your member discounts that you won’t get anywhere else.

 

The HMNS Museum Store has a new address online

 

So what are you waiting for? Get shopping!

Look smart with jewelry that fuses fashion and science — only at HMNS!

Some of you might not know that some of the Museum’s most spectacular specimens are located downstairs in the Museum Store. We’ve long been a go-to destination for fabulous jewelry by the likes of Alexis Bittar and Houston’s own Rebecca Lankford, along with other  designers you can’t find anywhere else, like Hyla Dewitt and Assad Mounser.

Now, we’re welcoming a new designer that perfectly fuses fashion and science: Somerville, Massachusetts-based brand Nervous System.

Nervous System jewelry fuses fashion and science

Nervous System approaches jewelry design with a scientific mindset. Using generative design methods — including mathematical algorithms — founders (and MIT-grads) Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg create jewelry inspired by natural forms and processes occurring in the world around us. From aggregations of coral to cell cycles to the growth patterns of algae, Nervous System crafts its designs by developing systems that create distinct forms — every one unique.

Nervous System jewelry fuses fashion and science

Our always impeccably styled buyer, Jen, first heard of Nervous System a number of years ago when its designs were featured in the blog Design Sponge. After the Museum Store was expanded and Jen was reintroduced at a convention this August, she reached out and secured the line for HMNS. The Museum Store is now (at the time of publishing) the only place in Houston to carry these innovative designs.

Come see for yourself! One hundred percent of proceeds from the Museum Store support HMNS and its programming.