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.

Straight Chalk Express: Spreading the News

Ample Hills sidewalk signFleishers Now Open 7 daysNEWSFLASH! Expanded openings to seven days at Fleishers on Fifth Avenue called for a chalkboard bulletin. Last autumn, Ample Hills Creamery in Prospect Heights put out this board on Vanderbilt Avenue. The style – homage to Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” – reminded all that Ample Hills is child-friendly.

(Photographs by Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

Still Stalking the Chalk: Time to Brine Those Cukes

Brooklyn Brine Dancing CukesOkay, so what would no round-up story on artisanal Brooklyn food business seem complete without?

YOU GOT IT IN ONE: Pickles, of course. Brooklyn Brine has sponsored three pickle-eating contests annually in October. Usually we think of strawberries to go with our champagne, or if it’s to be something from the briny deep, then we think of caviar with our bubbly. Nonetheless, Brooklyn Artisan admits to finding the adorable happy-looking, dancing-tooting-and-toasting, puckered-up, party-hatted pickles waving their champagne flutes a lot more inviting to identify with than the soon-to-be-sick-as-a dog in the most recent annual-pickle-packing’s poster (click for a look). Just sayin’.

(Photograph from Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

Still Chalk-Talking: Ahoy, More New Year Notes On Board

Couleur Cafe New Year's Board.ZuZu's Petals New Year's GreetingsBIG IS BOLD, BUT A CHALKBOARD DOESN’T HAVE TO BE EITHER; it certainly needn’t cover most of the wall or even the sidewalk easel’s surface to convey an eye-catching message: Look (left) at the charming sign peeking from behind the poinsettia leaves at ZuZu’s Petals window. The frame around the slate-like surface dresses it up nicely, and the Happy New Year’s Day message is friendly.

While Brooklyn Artisan is still hovering over New Year’s signs, check out the Couleur Café‘s New-Year’s-with-a-wink sign (above). A nice example of soft sell!Let's Celebrate Another Revolution.

The invocation outside the store Sterling Place on Seventh Avenue (right) gets our vote for double-take cleverness: “Let’s Celebrate Another Revolution Together,” it says, and with Emma Goldman‘s famous words in mind, we were about to start dancing in the street. But then we realized the board was showing the Big Blue Marble Earth in orbit around the Sun as a visual clue: No politics here, it’s about the passing of another year!

(Photographs from Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

Coming Up Next: What a Brooklyn artisanal business round-up would hardly seem complete without at least one example of….

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