THIS IS AN ARCHIVE OF EVERYTHING KIOSK HAS COLLECTED. TO MEET THE DIGITAL, WE HAVE A PHYSICAL, CURRENTLY IN STORAGE IN NEW YORK. NOTHING YOU SEE HERE IS FOR SALE. PLEASE USE AS A REFERENCE AND AN INSPIRATION AND PLEASE WRITE US IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR INFORMATION TO SHARE. WE HOPE TO START COLLECTING AGAIN SOON. THANKS.
Sponge for your sponge bath; so dainty, as you are. We should be upfront here, sponges are animals not vegetables as I and biologists once assumed. They're not the most animal-animal however, as they do not have nervous, digestive or circulatory systems. Instead, most types rely on maintaining a constant water flow through their bodies to obtain food and oxygen and to remove waste. The natural sponge is the skeletal remains of the animal. When I was growing up, we had a big, natural sponge in the bath for us kids; it was fun to wring it over our heads and throw it back and forth at each other - a simple bath toy that also made us clean. The beauty of natural sponge is it is inherently anti-fungal which means it won't get all scummy like artificial sponge does. Our sponges come from the Gulf of Mexico - more specifically, from George Biliris in Tarpon Springs. Interestingly enough, up until 1947 when a red tide hit, there was a thriving sponge industry in Florida. It began in the 1880s when wave after wave of Greek immigrants came to work in Tarpon Springs, bringing their sponging knowledge with them. Today, the town still has the largest Greek-American population in the nation. It's a sweet place - we were struck by how Mediterranean it feels, closer to a Greek or a small, coastal French village than Floridian, which makes sense. In the late 1980s, under George's guidance and determination, the Florida sponge industry made a comeback, and in the fall of 2007, a record harvest of sponges by a single boat was made. The spongers today are careful to only take a piece of the sponge, allowing the animal to naturally regenerate. It can grow back to its original state in 6-8 months. Their approach is a delicate balance where the environment is carefully considered. Today most natural sponges are imported from Greece, Turkey and Egypt; it's nice to see the American industry making a comeback.