The Factory Floor: Meet Makers This Weekend

FURNITURE TAKES THE STAGE at The Factory Floor in Industry City in Sunset Park. The ground-floor venue is a former industrial space newly converted to showcase local design work. Sponsored by Industry City, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, The Pratt Center for Community Development and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, The Factory Floor is presenting primarily Brooklyn furniture makers, designers and builders. Last weekend’s show coincided with the Sunday opening of the Coming Together: Surviving Sandy art exhibit in the adjacent building. If you are interested in the art and craft of design, this is the weekend to make it out to 241 37th Street, Sunset Park, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 6pm. Bring the kids, Construction Kids has set aside an area where they can build their own objets d’art.

Here are a few highlights from Brooklyn Artisan’s visit:

Annie Evelyn at New Colony Furniture takes hard materials and makes soft seats. Really.

DSC00376

Diverse objects, from seats and shelves to vases and trivets at Souda’s space.

DSC00368

Funny and quirky pillow commentary from Alexandra Ferguson.

DSC00370

Beautiful maple stools and a passel of refrigerator magnets made from the leftover bits by Bower.

DSC00371

Brooklyn Aerodrome: Taking to the Skies of North Brooklyn

Forget Area 51, this is North Brooklyn's mystery aircraft, built from Kit 145.

Forget Area 51, this is North Brooklyn’s mystery aircraft, built from Brooklyn Aerodrome’s Kit 145 ($250.).

BROOKLYN HARDLY SEEMS THE PLACE TO TAKE FLYING LESSONS, given the utter and complete dearth of airports in the borough. But that hasn’t stopped computer scientist Breck Baldwin and schoolteacher Andrew Woodbridge from starting the Brooklyn Aerodrome Flight School. It offers training, clocks hours of flight time and then issues pilot licenses – to middle-schoolers.

The program began in 2010 with 15 students. Most of the curriculum is online, and the textbook can be bought online for $30. In complete and utter contrast with No Child Left Behind, the law of the land in which students study for nothing but the exam, the new Brooklyn Aerodrome Flight School actually teaches real-world applications for science and technology in a context that interests these students: making and flying planes. Brooklyn Aerodrome showed at last fall’s World Maker Faire in Queens and got a lot of attention, including from Wired Magazine. But a failed Kickstarter campaign in the first quarter of this year was a setback. Despite that they’re still up and running; for more info go to brooklynaerodrome.com.

Okay, there’s no functional Brooklyn airport, which goes to say no full-size airplanes either. So the kids go to the other most logical site, Brooklyn’s own McCarren Park in Williamsburg, and fly their own easy-to-build model called Flack, for Flying Hack. “It’s an electric-powered remote-control airplane built out of recycled trash,” Baldwin says. “Kids can build one in three to four hours.”

“It’s about aeronautics, that’s the core of it,” says Baldwin. “But the whole thing is trying to get kids to think about math, science and engineering  and make it fun and play—not sit in a room and be lectured, but to go outside and do it.” In other words it’s not rote book learning, but real-world, hands-on knowledge and experience.

“Solving workbook math problems is not how the world works, but students might have to do a lot of math to get something to work,” Baldwin adds, the “something” being their airplanes.  The program is not ignoring the liberal arts either: the students write reports, too, technical ones, not a “My Favorite Superhero Is…” essay.

And what do the kids get out of it? Not only math and science (and lots of fun), but they learn how general aviation really works, along with its rules and regulations. That last part may not be glamorous but it is essential, Baldwin says: “It makes it more real, adds depth to it, but it also provides structure. You have to have permission to enter the ‘runway,’ then you have to get permission to take off, and then the next plane goes.

“There’s a lot of necessary structure to flying,” Baldwin says, before he pauses and adds, “Imagine 30 kids with powered airplanes.”

Executive Editor Phil Scott has clocked some air time himself, not only in airplanes but also a replica of a Wright Brothers glider at Kitty Hawk, N.C.,.

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for March 21 through March 24

This weekend starts early on Thursday and it’s also the last day for Dine-In Brooklyn.
Winslow Homer, The Unruly Calf, circa 1875. Graphite and white opaque watercolor on blue-gray wove paper. Brooklyn Museum, part of Fine Lines: American Drawings. See below.

Winslow Homer, The Unruly Calf, circa 1875. Graphite and white opaque watercolor on blue-
gray wove paper. Brooklyn Museum, part of Fine Lines: American Drawings. See below.

Three reasons to go out on Thursday, March 21

steamboat1 • Brooklyn Museum stays open until 10pm on Thursdays so that visitors can linger in the galleries and take advantage of special evening programs. Several new exhibits have opened in the past few weeks including Fine Lines: American Drawings and the spectacular Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui. At 7:30, a Drawing Workshop for all ages will explore the drawing process and help budding artists develop professional techniques.

2 • The March edition of Steamboat, the comedy series, at Greenlight Bookstore gets down to funny business with comedian and author Bob Powers hosting some of the city’s best humor writers. Tonight’s roster includes multi-tasking Brooklynite Rosie Schaap, author of Drinking With Men: A Memoir, and Dave Bry, author of Public Apology: In Which a Man Grapples with a Lifetime of Regret, One Incident at a Time. Fort Greene. 7:30pm.

haggadah-04

A different take on a traditional Hagaddah.

3 • Brooklyn by the Book: The Bronfman Hagaddah. In time for Passover, author Edgar M. Bronfman and illustrator Jan Aronson will speak with Rabbi Andy Bachman of Congregation Beth Elohim about this contemporary retelling of the Exodus story. With its underlying message of human rights and freedom, The Bronfman Hagaddah brings together readings from diverse sources such as abolitionist Frederick Douglas to Ralph Waldo Emerson and poet Marge Piercy. At 6:30 there will be a kosher-wine tasting by Slope Cellars, food from Brooklyn-based Gefilteria (read more about them, below) and a book sale by Community Bookstore. Discussion begins at 7:30. Park Slope.

Three things to do involving seams, screams and Bob Ross

storefront21 • Saturday & Sunday Learn to Sew a Vintage-Style Men’s Shirt at Brooklyn General Store. This two-day intensive, for those with intermediate sewing skills, will cover techniques including felled seams, a lined back yoke and sleeve plackets. Instructor Heather Love is a Brooklyn-based mixed-media artist. Her Etsy shop hellomello handspun features her knit-based crafts and materials. North Red Hook is the home of Brooklyn General Store, the former Frank’s Department Store, and is an updated and welcome throwback to the era when Union Street used to be a thriving shopping block for food and goods. 9am-6pm.

lunaPark2 • Sunday Season Opener at Luna Park. Normally I might wait until warmer weather arrives to get excited about Coney Island, but this year’s opener has significance after all the rebuilding and restoration after Hurricane Sandy. The 86-year-old Cyclone is back in full operation, along with the Soaring Eagle and Steeplechase, a spinning disk called the Zenobio, and the Human Slingshot. As is the tradition, Marty Markowitz will christen the Cyclone by smashing a bottle of egg cream on her bow. Coney Island. 12pm-10pm.

PaintingTakedown3 • Sunday 1st annual Painting Takedown, a charity event to benefit Citymeals-on-Wheels. You remember Bob Ross, right? Twenty Brooklyn artists will be asked to throw away all taste and aesthetics by creating a painting à la Bob Ross. Audience members can bid and buy the finished canvases, while the painters will receive prizes for crowd favorites. Expect drinks from SixPoint Brewery, lots of chili, and goofy bad art. At former-feather-factory-now-arts-center The Active Space, Bushwick. 6pm-9pm.

caption and credit for Vermatzah goes here see item below

Eco-Kosher Vermatzah connects modern ecology with Jewish dietary laws and ethical standards.

Three purveyors of note for Passover and beyond

1 • Way Outer Brooklyn Vermatzah, small-batch, wood-fired matzah from Naga Bakehouse, Vermont. Locally-sourced wheat and farro go into the hand-shaped rounds produced by this eco-kosher baker. Albeit not kosher for Passover, this matzah is produced with care. With each order, the company attaches a small bag of wheat seeds to give home growers and cooks a chance to farm in their own homes. Order by Thursday for mail delivery for a seder, or revisit after the holiday.

carpInBathtub2 • Gefilte fish is a Jewish food that does not have any religious symbolism, but is a part of traditional Eastern European cuisine, especially at holidays. My grandmother used to purchase live carp and whitefish and keep them swimming in the bathtub until it was time to cook and grind the fish for the quenelle-shaped pieces. My mother resorted to jars of prepared gefilte fish that contained an unappealing aspic-sort of jelly and a couple of slices of limp carrot. No wonder we resorted to massive amounts of horseradish, jarred of course, to make it palatable. Forward to 2012, and three Brooklyn entrepreneurs open Gefilteria to specialize in artisanal gefilte fish with freshness, sustainability and flavor added to the traditional food. The founders describe themselves as “a trio of New York foodies, reimagining Old World Jewish food by adapting Ashkenazi classics to the values and tastes of a new generation.” Fish as well as several styles of horseradish are kosher for Passover and can be purchased at local retailers and online, but hurry, as supplies are sure to be snapped up.

caption credit goes here

(Photograph, Katie Sokoler/Gothamist)

3 • We can still go stand in line at Zabars or Russ & Daughters on a Sunday morning for a novy fix, but the neighborhood appetizing store, stocked with smoked and cured fish and dairy products, has largely faded away. Enter caterer Peter Shelsky in 2012, and he’s returned appetizing back to Brooklyn with Shelsky’s Smoked Fish in Carroll Gardens. Shelsky’s extensive kosher-style Passover menu offers tempting dishes such as Grandma Yetta’s savory gefilte fish, house-pickled herring in cream sauce, fresh apple horseradish sauce, vegetarian matzah ball soup, strawberry rhubarb matzah crumble, and homemade matzah. Beyond Passover, there’s always the sandwich menu; try the Brooklyn Native: eastern Gaspé salmon, smoked whitefish salad, pickled herring, sour pickle all piled on a bialy.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for March 15 through March 18

CSA Signups • Maker Opportunities Big and Small • Art and Literary Openings

heartwalk-1Now on location in DUMBO: Heartwalk, a 30-foot art installation made from Sandy-salvaged wood. Situ Studio, a DUMBO-based design studio was commissioned to create this piece for the Times Square Alliance and the Design Trust for Public Space where the Heart was installed in Times Square. Boardwalk boards from Long Beach, NY; Sea Girt, NJ; Atlantic City, NJ were repurposed for the installation. Through April 30, DUMBO visitors are encouraged to interact with the piece and tweet/instagram photos to #DUMBOHeartwalk@DUMBOBID.

Art and Literary Happenings
Elizabeth Welsh. Quilt, circa 1825–40. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of The Roebling Society

Elizabeth Welsh, Quilt, circa 1825–40.
Brooklyn Museum, Gift of The Roebling Society

Friday, March 15 Workt by Hand: Hidden Labor and Historical Quilts at Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. Until the late twentieth century, much of quiltmaking was thought of as a craft, and makers were often anonymous. This exhibit of 35 quilt masterpieces will explore the way quilts have been seen and understood as both an art form and a craft. Traditionally, quilts have been displayed horizontally to represent the beds for which they were originally designed. Workt by Hand displays some quilts vertically—in the manner of a painting or print—to encourage viewers to think of them as art objects. Opening Friday. On display through September 15.

Friday, March 15 Currency, juried solo exhibition by Denis Beaubois at New York Art Residency & Studio Foundation. Currency asks us to consider: How much is an hour of your time worth and what is the worth of each dollar you make? This exhibit examines thoughts about economy and labor, the value of a work of art, the worth of one day’s work, all on a global scale. Sydney, Australia-based artist Denis Beaubois will talk at 7pm. Sunset Park. 6pm-8pm.

Saturday, March 16 Gotham: Writers in the City at the Brooklyn Public Library. Novelist and short-story writer Nathan Englander discusses his latest book, What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, with WNYC’s Leonard Lopate. Grand Army Plaza. 4pm.

CSA signups happening now

The Vernal Equinox is on Wednesday at 7:02am. Balancing eggs on end: urban myth? Better to eat locally-sourced eggs—you could sign up now and get them through a Community Supported Agriculture group. CSAs work something like a magazine subscription in that members buy shares at the beginning of the season and receive regular deliveries of produce directly from the farmer. Now is the time that many CSAs are signing up customers for spring and summer shares. Just Food is a useful site listing all the CSAs in Brooklyn, and there are a lot. Here’s a short list of a few; check the site to locate more.

partnerstrace

Monday, meet New Paltz-based
Partners Trace during Huckleberry
Bar’s CSA Happy Hour.

< • Partners Trace CSA at Huckleberry Bar, Williamsburg. New Paltz, NY based Partners Trace offers produce and flowers with an under-two-hour travel distance to Brooklyn. On Monday, March 18 from 5pm-7pm, Huckleberry Bar will host a CSA Happy Hour for signups and information.

iliamnaIliamna Fish Company, a family-owned fishing cooperative on the Bering Sea in Bristol Bay, Alaska, offers shares in their wild red salmon harvests. The sockeye salmon from Iliamna contains the highest Omega-3 oil content and naturally occurring anti-oxidants of any Pacific salmon species. Customers include Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Applewood, and Dean & DeLuca. Shares will be available in late summer with pickup location in Brooklyn.

beetBrooklyn Beet CSA, serving Boerum Hill and Downtown Brooklyn. Season starts June 3 for 26 weeks.

Clinton Hill CSA, for Bed-Stuy, Clinton Hill and Fort Greene. Check out their informative newsletter The Beet.

For Makers and DIYers

craftCampSaturday, March 16 Brooklyn Craft Camp. This is a day-long DIY chance to craft your heart out, socialize and have fun. This may not start you on the road to Etsy-ville, but it sounds like a swell way to spend a Saturday learning some new techniques with like-minded craft lovers. The day will consist of four classes (with four finished projects); a chance to meet and work with craft-focused authors, bloggers and designers; and tastes of local food and drink. Brooklyn Craft Camp was founded by Brett Bara, a lifelong crafter turned DIY professional. Sponsors include West Elm, Purl Soho, Juice Box, The Crochet Dude, Vogue Knitting Live. Classes are filling up, so registration asap is advised. Greenpoint. 10am-7pm.

Sunday, March 17 Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Class: Easter/Spring Equinox Edition, part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy. The Academy offers a fascinating series of classes that reflect an interest in taxidermy, animal and insect anatomy, fine art techniques and arcane subjects. This 3-hour workshop will have you working with Rhinoceros beetles (thankfully they are provided), to make a shadowbox diorama. The class is taught by a former insect preparator from the American Museum of Natural History, and may cause you to see nature’s tiny giants in a whole new way. At Observatory, Gowanus. 1pm-4pm.

Gyroid, by Bathsheba, an example of 3D Printing by Shapeways.

Gyroid, by Bathsheba, an example of 3D Printing by Shapeways.

Monday, March 18 The Future of 3D Manufacturing—Brooklyn Style: an evening of panel discussions and demonstrations hosted by Brooklyn Futurist Meetup. This energetic, well-attended Meetup will be joined by Brooklyn Tech and Volumetric Society Meetups for a lively session with all-star 3D enthusiasts. Robert Steiner, from MakerBot will speak and demonstrate a MakerBot. D-Shape, Shapeways and Make editor Brian Jepson are among other participants. The event is wait-listed, but you can attend by following the instructions on the site. At Brooklyn Law School, Moot Court Room, Downtown Brooklyn. 7pm-9:30pm.

letteringLDBASunday, April 28 Lettering class at L’Ecole Des Beaux Arts. Classes at LDBA fill up and sell out almost immediately, so consider this a heads up if you’re interested in attending any future sessions. This 90 minute class, for 6 students only, will provide instruction and materials to learn classic hand-rendered lettering and font techniques to produce cards and envelopes. LDBA is a hardware, housewares and artist supply store and site founded by artist Sara Moffat. “We provide tools, techniques and materials to allow people to excel in their medium,” says Sara. Other unique classes are offered for all age groups, and include Knot Tying (a hot topic, apparently), Make Your Own Bow and Arrows, Picasso and Kandinsky Study for ages 5 and up, and all seem to fill up right away. Williamsburg.

October 1, 2012 (Photograph, Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.)

October 1, 2012 (Photograph,
Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.)

A post-Sandy update

Monday, March 18 Nathan’s Coney Island location on the Boardwalk is scheduled to reopen. And next weekend, as part of Coney Island’s opening weekend celebrations, the first qualifier round of the 2013 July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest will be held. There’s nothing slow-food or artisan about these dogs, but what’s better than enjoying one by the Atlantic’s surf? Nathan’s main location on Surf Avenue is still being repaired and will reopen Memorial Day Weekend.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Happy 32 Sol ♥

The Town’s Biggest Cigar Booster Since Fiorello LaGuardia?

Cigar entrepreneur David Diamante, creator of the Brooklyn Cigar Lounge a few blocks from the Barclays Center, is a fifth generation Ft. Greene resident. (Photo-illustration for Brooklyn Artisan by Mollie Ann Smith)

Cigar entrepreneur David Diamante, creator of the Brooklyn Cigar Lounge just a few blocks (some say “crawling distance”) from the Barclays Center, is a fifth generation Ft. Greene resident. (Photo-illustration for Brooklyn Artisan by Mollie Ann Smith)

Cigar in hand: Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in his famously messy office.

Cigars and the City: Three-term NYC Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in his cluttered office. A Republican, the former congressman (6 terms) was mayor from 1934-1945, and during a newspaper strike, famously went on the radio to read the Sunday comics. Only five feet tall, and sometimes called “The Little Flower,” he had a personality larger than life. He defeated the Tammany Hall political machine, united the transit system, built parks and public housing, reorganized the police and – an advocate of employment on the basis of merit – overcame the patronage system.

ON A RECENT FRIDAY NIGHT IN FORT GREENE, I sat in a leather lounge chair with David Diamante in his comfy Brooklyn Cigar Lounge and got a few pointers on rolling cigars. Diamante’s traveled to Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic to master the fine art of rolling. “It’s one of those things that you need to know the nuts and bolts to talk about it from an educated perspective,” he explains. And here’s what I learned:

1. Shred the tobacco into a uniform size. Spread it on a clean, flat surface, lightly mist it with filtered water.

2. After removing the center vein of the binder leaf, lay that on the same clean, flat surface, and sprinkle the shredded tobacco on it.

3. Wrap the binder leaf around the shredded tobacco and check it for consistent density. With thumb and index finger, squeeze it at one end and work your way to the other.

4. Spread a light coat of a binder such as bermacol, tragacanth, guar gum or egg white along one edge of the binder leaf, and ever so gently press against the rest of the cigar.

5. Trim off the excess leaf.

6. Roll the wrapper leaf around the binder leaf and seal it with bermacol, Tragacanth, Guar Gum or egg white, just like the binder leaf.

7. Overlap the ends of the wrapper leaf.

Using the Cigar Former

Place the cigar inside a former of the same size, which retains the cigar’s shape while its tobacco dries. (The former is made by nailing wooden strips onto a board. The former is  covered with a top and clamped down.) Wait for about 30 minutes, unclamp the top of the former, turn the cigars over, reclamp the top for another 30 minutes. Then place the former inside an oven just hot enough to warm the former, and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. When the cigar is dry, trim the ends. Store the finished cigar inside a humidor for a few weeks.

Diamante's Brooklyn Cigar Lounge on Oxford Street in Ft. Greene

You’ll have no trouble spotting Diamante’s Brooklyn Cigar Lounge on Oxford Street.

Diamante, who imports his own special blends for the lounge,  is not giving away trade secrets here. Rolling takes hours of practice, and seriously, where are you going to find good leaf tobacco in Brooklyn? It’s really better to just head over to Brooklyn Cigar Lounge and talk about the process with David — he’s the tall, skinny, well-dressed guy with dreadlocks down to his back pockets—while toking on one of his selection. As for the lounge, it’s in a restored brownstone at 108 Oxford Street, Brooklyn, 11217. (Call 646 MADURO, for Brooklynites who prefer dialing letters to numbers, or 646 462-3876, for out-of-boroughers.)

Executive Editor Phil Scott has previously written for Brooklyn Artisan about canning, shaving, glider-flying, and other manly pursuits.

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for the 2nd weekend of February

caption will go here Aric Snee

Under construction: UrbanGlass’s renovation and expansion in the
1918 Strand Theater on Fulton Street is as fascinating as their exhibits.
Above, A Fuller Translation, by Aric Snee, M.F.A., Alfred University, blown glass.

Thursday Feb. 7 Opening reception for UrbanGlass M.F.A. Exhibition Competition, a juried show of recent M.F.A. graduates from glass programs across the country. Four emerging glass artists, Alli Hoag, Benjamin Johnson, Jessi A. Moore and Aric Snee, are showing work at gallery space 111 Front Street in DUMBO. Tonight’s reception is from 6pm-9pm, and the show runs through March 1. At the conclusion of this exhibition, one of the four will be selected for a solo exhibition at the UrbanGlass gallery. Founded in 1977, UrbanGlass is dedicated to aspiring and established artists wishing to create with glass as a creative medium. Their permanent home is undergoing an extensive renovation and expansion as part of a multi-million dollar investment in the 1918-built Strand Theater by the City of New York and the Borough of Brooklyn. The finished building, a LEED Silver facility, will be a cornerstone of the Brooklyn Cultural District. Meanwhile, classes, studio space and other programming is being offered in temporary space in the Gowanus area.

Deadline alerts
Art House co-founders Steven Peterman and Shane Zucker, at the Brooklyn Art Library. (photograph, Blue Window Creative)

Art House co-founders Steven Peterman
and Shane Zucker, at the Brooklyn Art Library.
(photograph, Blue Window Creative)

The Brooklyn Art Library first came on the scene for The Sketchbook Project, a library of over 18,000 artists’ books on display in a storefront exhibition space in Williamsburg. The Sketchbook Project was created by Art House, an independent company that organizes global, collaborative art projects that anyone can participate in. Most projects include a digital component, as Art House strives to combine hands-on art making with new technology. Current project stats indicate that over 52,000 artists from 128 countries have participated in an Art House project; 5,771 sketchbooks are archived in the Digital Library, and 37 worldwide projects have been organized. Several projects are open for participation now: Five Minutes | Buildings, with a sign-up deadline of Thursday, February 7, asks participants to take five minutes to draw the tallest building in your town. Other intriguing projects you can participate in: Memoir Project (500 handwritten books), The Meal 2013 (documenting a global snack on February 22), and The Print Exchange (a print swap), along with the original Sketchbook Project.

hello_etsy_2013

Etsy: “We hope to show
that business does not have
to be brutal to be successful
and fulfilling.”

This event will sell out fast. Hello Etsy at Pratt: Reimagine the Marketplace, March 22-24 at Pratt Brooklyn. This is an annual conference of creativity and ideas as only the entrepreneurs of Etsy can present. The aims of this event are to explore new methods of production, new patterns of consumption, and more lasting and purposeful ways of working. Etsy’s take on building the creative economy of the future as connected, human-scaled and joyful will be discussed. Over 14 high-profile speakers include Chris Anderson, 3DRobotics and WIRED, Rachel Chong, Catchafire, Chad Dickerson, Etsy, along with workshops. Register now.

BOOKMARK THISShout out to redesigned site downtownbrooklyn.comby Smart Ass Design.The events page is a snap tonavigate, colorful, clear.This month, there’s even a drawing to win a ticket to flya friend to Brooklyn.

BOOKMARK THIS:
A shout out to
redesigned site
downtownbrooklyn.com
.
The events page is
a snap to navigate,

colorful and clear.
This month, there’s
even a chance to win
a ticket
to fly a friend
to
Brooklyn.

JumpStart NYC 13.0 is a three-month educational program to help unemployed or underemployed professionals explore opportunities at small entrepreneurial companies. Applications for the next session, starting on March 4 is due by February 11. The backstory: I attended the premiere session of JumpStartNYC in 2010 at SUNY’s Levin Institute. As a traditional-media print art director, I knew that my career choices were becoming limited and less interesting. JumpStart NYC provided me with incentive to explore work in alternative media with entrepreneurial companies. Starting with a five-day intensive boot camp, my sessions included lectures from Wharton and Harvard professors; next came a 10-week consultancy at a start up that provided video-collaboration business services. Regular networking events with peers, mentors and local businesses led me to Apple, where I continue to work while pursuing other media projects, such as Brooklyn Artisan. Sponsored by the NYC Economic Development Corporation and SUNY Levin Institute. Companies wishing to participate as consultancy project sponsors can get information on the Levin site. The program is free and limited to New York City residents.

caption goes here

Back to fun

Be an online cookbook judge: This is a new event to me but sounds like fun: The 2013 Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks. Every day for the next week or so, the colorful site Food52 is hosting an NCAA-style competition to determine the best among 16 cookbooks published in the past year. Expert judges include Kurt Andersen, Studio 260, Wylie Dufresne, wd-50, and actor and cookbook author Stanley Tucci. Books in the  competition include A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories, by April Bloomfield, Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book, by Jake Godby, Sean Vahey and Paolo Lucchesi, Bouchon Bakery Cookbook, by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel, and Japanese Farm Food, by Nancy Singleton Hachisu. Four rounds of judging lead to a final, and you get to weigh in along the way.

sandwichMaking me hungry: The Brooklyn Sandwich Society, a farm-to-table restaurant with seasonal sandwiches and an attractive website peppered with ephemera and hunger-inducing menu descriptions: The Clermont, roasted maitake mushroom, black ledge blue, lacinato kale, parsley aioli on ciabatta, The Grand, pan-fried squid, baby bok choy, cilantro, hot & sour glaze on ciabatta, and Celeriac Soup with crispy oxtail and chive oil. That’s just some of the lunch menu. House-made soda too. From a chef-and-designer team that started out as the Brooklyn Edible Social Club, but has morphed into a true brick-and-mortar place. Fort Greene.

browniesSweet tooth or Valentine’s idea: Help Red Hook-based Fany Gerson of My Sweet Mexico and La Newyorkina get back on her business feet—knocked out from under her by Sandy—by purchasing Fany Brownies from Robicelli’s. Robicelli’s once shared a kitchen with Fany and her paletas (Mexican-style frozen ice pops) and they have pledged to donate a chunk of profits from online sales of these brownies—swirled with Mexican cinnamon and cajeta—through the end of February. Other BKLYN-based food purveyers have signed on to help out too:  Brooklyn Cured, Liddabit Sweets, Whimsy & Spice, see the site for more. Friends indeed.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for the beginning of February

A mixed-bag of talks, rides, exhibits and Valentines for the shortest, but often sweetest, month.
caption tk see below

1922 meets 2013 with an amazing view at Jane’s Carousel. See Friday, Feb. 1.

begraciousThursday, Jan. 31 Artists’ Responses to Sandy, a panel discussion on relief efforts presented at School of Visual Arts. Five panelists will showcase work and discuss the impact the storm has had on the wider community as well as the art world: John Mattiuzzi, video artist; Jessica Rionero and Chelsea Marino, BeGracious.org; Kathy Shorr, The Summer in the City Project; Dena Muller, New York Foundation for the Arts. At SVA’s Amphitheater in Outer Brooklyn, Manhattan. 7pm-9pm.

janes_carousel-9

The Carousel was originally installed in Idora Park in
Youngstown, Ohio. Restoration began in 1984, and
the magnificent Carousel opened to the public in 2011.

Friday, Feb. 1 February Celebration at Jane’s Carousel. If you need an excuse for a treat this month, go for a two-for-one ride ($2) on Jane’s Carousel. Damage from you-know-who has been repaired, and the restored merry-go-round is in full splendor and ready for play—and it’s heated too. Made by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1922, this carousel has 48 exquisitely carved horses and two chariots along with original scenic panels. The carousel is on the National Register of Historic Places and is housed in a see-through minimalist pavilion designed in 2011 by Atelier Jean Nouvel. Brooklyn Bridge Park. DUMBO.

caption tk not as scary as it looks

Bees in the city: maybe not as scary as this looks. (Photograph from HoneybeeLives.)

Saturday, Feb. 2 and Sunday, Feb. 3 Organic Beekeeping Workshop, led by HoneybeeLives beekeeper/bee doctor Chris Harp, and beekeeper Grai Rice. This is a hands-on one- or two-day workshop to learn about Chris and Grai’s gentle approach to organic beekeeping. Saturday: Plan a new hive this spring by learning about bee communities and instincts, as well as beekeeper responsibilities. Sunday: How to care for bees through hive design, health and disease management, seasonal concerns. Pre-registration advised. The Commons, Boerum Hill. 10am-6pm each day.

caption tk

Part of Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collection, this Kachina looks ready to party.

Saturday, Feb. 2 Target First Saturday at Brooklyn Museum. If you’ve attended in the past, you know that from 5pm until 11pm, happy crowds of families, neighborhood types, and fun-seekers descend upon the museum (admission is free) to partake in programs of art and entertainment. The Dance Party, alas, has been put on hold, but there’s still plenty to explore. This month’s First Saturday is themed African Innovations and includes music, dance, hands-on activities, and a fashion showcase/performance by New York-based designers with music by Ethiopian DJ Sirak.

Melissa Godoy Nieto Myrtle ave caption tkSaturday, Feb. 2 A Patchwork Story: Myrtle Windows Gallery. Opening this evening, A Patchwork Story is on view in eight storefronts along Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. Over nine artists (Melissa Godoy Nieto’s work is at left) have contributed works to this month-long, curated exhibit that draws inspiration from African American quilts as part of personal identity and cultural heritage. Part of Black Artstory Month on Myrtle, in honor of Black History Month. Reception at Sans Souci Restaurant. 6:30pm-9pm.

Sesame Letterpress caption tk

Sesame Letterpress will pass
along their love of letterpress
on a Vandercook at Etsy Labs.

hearts_lg-300x224Monday, Feb. 3 Etsy Hands-On: Letterpress Valentines, a printing workshop from font-loving Sesame Letterpress. Here’s a chance to get an introduction to letterpress printing using the Etsy Labs’s Vandercook press. After learning about the process and printing a Valentine’s Day card, students will get to personalize their work using colored pencils, ephemera, and other collage materials. The typography class at my college, Tyler School of Art, included a semester’s worth of handset type printed on a Vandercook. Pre-digital, totally bespoke—it was hard work but a lot of fun. DUMBO. 5pm-8pm.

Tuesday, Feb. 4 How to Make It: Implementing Green Practices in Your Designs. Brooklyn-based online marketplace UncommonGoods is sponsoring a panel discussion about the whys and ways to incorporate eco-friendly practices in your business. Guests can present their designs and ideas for feedback by emailing in advance—or tweet #howtomakeitUG. Following the talk, there will be a networking happy hour (free Brooklyn Brewery beer) to mingle and meet panelists Tiffany Threadgould, chief design junkie at TerraCycle, Rebecca Krauss, EcoBizNYC, and Yuka Yoneda, editor of inhabitat.com. At Powerhouse Arena, DUMBO. 6:30pm-9pm.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Chalkboarding … Isn’t There an App for That?

Screen shot 2013-01-21 at 1.40.24 PMMAYBE NOT AN APP, BUT A KNACK for freehand – and some talented people have it. Others of us only wish. Still others don’t have a street-front retail location, but would like the look for our business materials (or personal scrapbook). Of course, having a calligrapher-barista on your staff or a daring and resourceful designer on your payroll is ideal. But at the bootstrapping stage of a new business, those may not be options. In which case, computer fonts to the rescue!

On the really-simple level, using a common hand-lettering style font and Microsoft Word, just by putting white type on a black box, you can nod to the style (see box).

But you can also do a lot better. Brooklyn Artisan rummaged online and came up with some font options to get you started. Some are free to download for personal use, but restricted for commercial purposes, so take care to read the directives for fair use on each site.

Nest of Posies, a little cloying in style if you’re an ironworker, but has specifics for people who want to be creative and do not use PhotoShop.

FontSpace has 19 free fonts that are tagged chalkboard.

French Kiss likes a crisp white-on-black look without the dust. The site blog has a good recommended font list, and a request: “Most of these are premium fonts that I purchased from MyFonts. Even for free fonts, please consider donating to the artists. Even a little can help say thank you.”  We like that attitude.

Fonts Cafe espouses the dust to good effect, and offers a “Chalk Hand Lettering Pack” for free. In commercials uses, fontscafe.com wants their tag to be used. Fair enough.

This is not Brooklyn Artisan’s last word on this subject, so please join the discussion with your comments, opinions or recommendations. We did come across one usage we personally wouldn’t recommend – chalkboard seems the wrong style for wedding materials. Unless the wedding song is going to be “My Sweet Erasable You.” A final thought for the day comes courtesy of Inspired by Charm.Life Is Short, Eat Dessert First.

ODD CONNECTIONS: ‘Avarice’ at the Brooklyn Museum and ….

Brooklyn Museum "Avarice" Fernando Mastrangelo 2008IT’S A SHOW-STOPPING GRAND FINALE TO BROOKLYN MUSEUM’S GREAT-HALL EXHIBIT Connecting Cultures: A World in Brooklyn, and no wonder, for the piece is spectacular. To Brooklyn Artisan’s surprise, it’s even more striking in situ than Gaston Lachaise’s monumental “Standing Woman” –  which we’d gone there to have another fond look at. (That, and the bronze foursome from Rodin’s “The Burghers of Calais” who’re standing around in the covered courtyard.)

What stunned us – and won us –  is the disc-shaped piece almost ten feet in diameter that’s called “Avarice.” Part of the museum’s collection of contemporary art, it was made in 2008 by Fernando Mastrangelo, who was then 30. Mastrangelo is a Brooklyn-based artist (whose mom lives in Texas, one learns from his Facebook page). As the name suggests, “Avarice” combines art and politics. Its artistic basis is, of course, the circa-1500 Aztec Calendar Stone – which recorded the creation story of the Aztec world – with the face of Tonatiuh, the Sun God, at the center. The political statement is what it’s made of, a wry example of Marshall McCluhan’s dictum that “the medium is the message.” The media in this case are:  White corn, white and yellow corn meal, epoxy, fiberglass, wood, and metal. (And maybe just a small shovelful from the recycling bin?)

In adjacent panels, some cobs and a Coke. Sounds like a summer snack in Mississippi.

In nearby panels, some cobs and a Coke. Staples of an American summer diet.

Toothpaste, spark plug, sliced lunch meat, see anything else?

Toothpaste, spark plugs, deli sliced meat. (Photos: Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.)

The museum sign also tells us, “The depiction of corn-based products draws attention to Mexico’s mass cultivation of corn to meet energy needs (via ethanol) and foreign consumer demands.” The Aztec visual reference brings up the whole sordid story of the Spanish Conquest; the devil in the details, however, is the “avarice” of North American agribusiness and consumer culture. Take a look at these close-ups and the large image at top, and you’ll find some telltale items.

Political art is nothing new for Mastrangelo; his 2010 TED Talk spoke of art as an evolving way to record history, to tell the story and capture the spirit of one’s times, including in today’s digital world. Last year he had a 3-month show in Miami at the Charest-Weinberg Gallery called Black Sculpture. The gallery write-up makes clear this is not about race. “After creating exact molds based on the work of Frank Stella and Ad Reinhardt, Mastrangelo casts his reliefs out of compacted gunpowder. The pieces teeter on the precipice of annihilation.” Yikes, talk about jimmy-crack-corn. “Yet the pieces are not simply bombastic,” the gallery says; “submerged beneath the tense potential for destruction is an elegiac calm. They give form to the Existential angst that inspired their Cold War-era predecessors….The black gunpowder, coupled with the Reinhardt’s cruciform and Stella’s teleological line work, firmly suggests an end of something.” Indeed. One hopes all future shows will be firmly No-Smoking zones.

Brooklyn Artisan came across what seemed to be a clear Brooklyn influence in Mastrangelo’s other discographic work from 2008 (click through to have a look). Though our favorite was composed of “Turquoise Sugar, Red Arbol Chili, Corn, Corn meal” and titled “Xochiquetzal,” we knew at a glance its visual vocabulary was from Brownstone Brooklyn’s   ornate plaster ceiling medallions, including the hole for the chandelier.

Meanwhile, back in the Great Hall: The stated purpose of the Brooklyn Museum exhibit is to “create new ways of looking at art by making connections between cultures as well as objects…. Connecting Cultures: A World in Brooklyn was a joint effort of the Brooklyn Museum’s curators, organized by Kevin Stayton, Chief Curator. The installation was designed by Matthew Yokobosky, Chief Designer at the Brooklyn Museum” and financial support for the long-term installation came from Lisa and Dick Cashin. Brooklyn Artisan salutes them all, but as much as we enjoyed working the room, we do admire this comment shown on the museum’s own web site: “it’s a strange collection that doesn’t seem to sync with each other. reminds me more of a victorian living room than a museum exhibit.” — Posted by Tameka G.

From totally outside the museum scope, there was one more odd cultural connection we couldn’t help making. Last fall Brooklyn Artisan visited another great hall exhibit, “American Made,” put on in Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Station by Martha Stewart. In our photos made at the time, take a look at the sign and its detail.

Painter's tape, sparkly braid and bating brush.

Painter tape, sequin braid, brush.

From the exhibit in Grand Central's Vanderbilt Hall.

From Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall.

%d bloggers like this: