Yum! Ample Hills Creamery Cookbook is Here

 

Ample Hills Creamery Cookbook

Co-authors Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna included Ample Hills’ famous salt crack caramel recipe in the new cookbook, which can be yours for $25.00. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

YESTERDAY WAS PUBLICATION DAY for the new Ample Hills Creamery cookbook, and copies were stacked up on the counter at the popular premium ice cream store on the corner of Vanderbilt Avenue and Bergen Street, in Prospect Heights.

Proprietor Brian Smith, right,  was on hand in a front booth to inscribe copies. He confirmed to Brooklyn Artisan thatAmpleHillsBrianSmith the company’s new location in Gowanus is scheduled to open by late June. Ice cream will be made right on site as at the Prospect Heights location.

“Our business is more than an ice cream store, really,” Smith said. “It’s a neighborhood hangout.” The Prospect Heights store has a toddler play area, just visible over Smith’s shoulder.

The familiar Ample Hills ice cream carts will be back out in their locations near playgounds and parks this summer also. Smith co-founded the business with his wife and cookbook co-author,  Jackie Cuscuna.

 

 

Kickstarting Brooklyn

Sogoal Zaghardi produces gorgeous, artful and sometimes irreverent cookies and is seeking to expand her Sogi's Bakeshop with the help of a Kickstarter campaign.

Just one of the many Brooklyn projects raising funds on Kickstarter:
Sogoal Zolghadri produces artful and sometimes irreverent cookies
at her Sogi’s Honey Bakeshop.

THE MOST RECENT CREDIT CRUNCH began in 2008 and  reportedly ended this summer. Remember those images of Lehman Brothers staff tossed to the sidewalk with their little boxes of belongings? In the months following, credit dried up and small businesses were starved for the financing needed for growth and hiring, laying the basis for a long grueling recession. But also within those same months—in April 2009—a small startup launched in Manhattan that has become the go-to funder for creative projects: Kickstarter was born. In the four years since its founding, Kickstarter has gone viral and raised pledges of more than $870 million in crowd-sourced funds from more than 5 million backers. (Like any good Internet company, it posts its stats online.)

The premise of Kickstarter is that entrepreneurs, artists, designers, musicians or filmmakers with ideas bigger than their bank accounts can launch a campaign on the Kickstarter site, set funding goals (which can grow over time) and deadlines, provide incentives to investors for various funding levels, and generally plead their case to gain followers (think Facebook “likes” with dollar bills attached). The ideas flourish or languish, gaining financing or not in a mysterious financial Darwinism. Some projects blow past their target budgets by tens of thousands of dollars, while others fizzle out despite their merit.

Given the power of Kickstarter for small creative inventors, makers and producers, Brooklyn Artisan will be covering it as a financial and manufacturing beat, highlighting the notable, successful, hopeful, and even the occasional noble-yet-doomed project. As well, we will provide advice, tips, strategies and tactics to aid in successful campaigns.

Brooklyn is certainly well represented, with more than 2,000 projects currently raising funds, more than double the number of projects coming out of London, for example. To look for promising projects or to make sure your investments stay in borough, Kickstarter provides city-based discovery.

The Brooklyn Brief commuter bag by Owen & Fred of Greenpoint comes with a handy inspirational
quote screen-printed on the inside.

Today, we’re highlighting two projects. The first, by Greenpoint-based Owen & Fred, is a series of bags (above) that is tantalizingly near to reaching the $45,000 campaign goal. The bags are promised to be durable, sustainable, meticulously detailed and U.S. made. One nice touch is the inspirational quotes screen-printed on the inside, for your eyes only.

Sogi’s Honey Bakeshop (picture at top of post) set less ambitious goals: raise $6,500 to buy supplies and a bigger mixer to aid the creation of the hand-painted cookies that have already attracted the attention of Martha Stewart Weddings and are popular on Etsy. Happily, baker Sogoal Zolghadri has raised the money and then some.

It can be a lot of work and planning to produce a campaign that meets or surpasses its goal. Kickstarter itself provides some basic tools and information to get you started. But who knows—next time there is a big shakeup in the financial world, those staffers might be seen shlepping their belongings in one of your Brooklyn-produced duffel bags.

Moving Parts: Brooklyn Furnishings Design at The Factory Floor

SMALL, MEDIUM, AND LARGE: Otherwise, it’s hard to categorize the ingenious designs of Brooklyn makers at The Factory Floor in Industry City in the recent two-weekend show. But starting small, Brooklyn Artisan will do our best, for the record.

Small batch, small scale, big thinking at bhold design: Product development under the eye of Susan Taing, founder, takes certain characteristics from the MakerBot desktop 3D printer used to produce prototypes in the bhold lab. Double-walled thermal saki cups, for instance, with little fingerholds on one side.

Using the MakerBot 3D desktop printer, b-hold can turn around and refine prototypes in a few hours that might take days in traditional development cycles.

Using the MakerBot 3D desktop printer, bhold labs can turn around and refine prototypes in a few hours that might take days in traditional development cycles. (Photo: Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool/dfs)

Or—our favorite, above—colorful little two-tone, two-piece objects that separate: the outer C-shape that hangs on the restaurant table and holds your bag or helmet by its handle or chin strap; and the inner part that emerges to wind and store your earbuds tangle free. You can work with the bhold labs on your own designs; contact susan@bholddesign.com. Or like us, you can just stand at a design show and play with the appealing objects fitting them together and taking them apart over and over again as minutes tick by. 

Founder/owner Mark Righter crafted sliding shelves that don't tip, thanks to the sliding dovetail joint.

Founder/owner Mark Righter crafted sliding shelves that don’t tip, thanks to the sliding dovetail joint. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool/ams)

Small detail, big advantage: Cambium Studio is a Brooklyn-based woodworking furniture and design company founded by Mark Righter. From its Greenpoint location, Cambium will create custom designs for clients, and on its website offers a portfolio of pieces of its own design.

Talking shop with a potential client, Cambium Studio's founder Mark Righter, with coffee, is next to his shelves with sliding dovetails. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool/ams)

Talking shop with a potential client, Cambium Studio’s founder Mark Righter, with coffee, is next to his shelves with sliding dovetails. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool/ams)

What caught our eye at The Factory Floor was deceptively simple but elegant shelving for display of favorite small objects—a place to put the candles, the Japanese vase, the framed photo—that can be adjusted as the array of objects changes. How?

The framework is hung from a secure cleat on the wall, but individual shelves operate on a sliding dovetail joint. The shelves, using bamboo, are beautiful finished and the sliding function gives you an excellent excuse to pat them and fiddle with them for the pleasure of touch.

Then there’s the MidCentury-looking coffee table with lift up hinged covers on its four storage compartments. Three of the covers are in a 60s’s orange and one is in bamboo strip laminate. Fittingly it is named Mod Quad by Wonk, its maker.

David Gotl lifts the four cubby covers of the streamlined coffee table,

David Gotl lifts the four cubby covers of the streamlined coffee table,

Other combinations of finishes to suit individual clients are possible, Wonk’s website says.  In fact, since each piece is custom-made for you, you are confronted with swatches and urged to pick from them. Takeaway notion? Wonk if you love finishes.

The laminate frame holds the cushions in place; upholstery fits cushions closely.

Pratt grad’s design: The laminate frame holds the cushions; upholstery fits cushions closely.

Change the color statement (or hide the pizza drippings) at will.

Change the color statement (or hide the pizza drippings) at will.

Along with others, Pratt Institute was a co-sponsor of the design show at The Factory Floor.  At the Pratt Industrial Design booth—Pratt Institute is, by the way, based in Brooklyn—Brooklyn Artisan was engaged by a very clean-lined yet comfortable loveseat. The foam cushions made it quite sittable. And as its Pratt graduate designer demonstrated, the cushions can be flipped to your choice of color contrasts.

More coverage from the recent Brooklyn design show at The Factory Floor in Industry City, Sunset Park, is to come in the next few days. For Brooklyn Artisan’s prior coverage, follow these links:

Overview by Bruce A. Campbell

Alexandra Ferguson: Done is Better

Sleeping on The Factory Floor

The Art of Sleeping on The Factory Floor

Materia Designs's centerpiece was made of reclaimed chestnut.

Materia Designs’s centerpiece was made of reclaimed chestnut.

AT THE BROOKLYN DESIGN SHOW LAST WEEKEND this beautiful bed was practically a show-stopper for Brooklyn Artisan: We wanted to kick off our boots and lie right down in the calm surround of the Materia Designs booth. Manners prevailed, however, so remaining upright, we talked with owner/designer and craftsman Matthew Enser of Materia Designs.

The accents of black metal wrapping the bedposts made of reclaimed chestnut added a touch of elegance to the spare design with its handsomely mortised lattice headboard. The booth also showed good-looking three legged lamps, a sweet rocking horse, some chairs, an eye-catching striped storage bench, and more. A beautiful complement were the graphic textiles selected and/or designed by Megan Sommerville, Matthew’s partner. The confident metal zippers on the reading pillows came off looking industrially chic rather than scratchy or snaggy.

So…Kerhonkson?, we asked (thinking, Bless you!). Right outside of Kingston, he said, a little ways up the Hudson. Not Brooklyn?, we pushed. “Oh, Materia Designs used to be in Brooklyn,” Matthew assured us, “we love Brooklyn.” Before Brooklyn Artisan could probe about whether cost was a factor in the move, Ensner explained: “We were driving up that way, and—well, we fell in love with a big barn.” Enough said.

More Brooklyn Artisan coverage of the recent show: Alexandra Ferguson profile and The Factory Floor: Meet the Makers, overview by Bruce A. Campbell.  The Factory Floor is part of artisan-friendly Industry City within the Bush Terminal complex in Sunset City, Brooklyn.

‘Done Is Better Than Perfect’ Proves It’s a Winner’s Slogan

Alexandra Ferguson started small on etsy.com but now it's her full-time career.

Alexandra Ferguson started small on etsy.com but now it’s her full-time career. She has more ideas in the pipeline and at least one already in production.  (Photo: Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

INSPIRED BY  Bruce Campbell’s report, yesterday another Brooklyn Artisan team visited the design show at The Factory Floor (Industry City, 241 37th Street in Sunset Park, just across from Costco), and there encountered Alexandra Ferguson, about whom we’d written earlier. Hers  would easily win a “Cheeriest Booth” award, with its colorful pillows enticingly arranged. You could almost hear the mental clicks of recognition as visitors to the show read them, nudged their companions, pointing out favorites to each other.

As Alexandra has recounted in her blog, she started her business in 2009 just about on a whim and a dime, posting on etsy.com a few pillows she’d made and expected to give friends as surprises. Business plan? Nada. Capitalization? Ditto. “Done is Better Than Perfect” was her slogan.

Sales were great, so she added more designs—sticking to environmentally friendly materials, of course—and her business grew and grew until it became her full-time livelihood. She moved it out of her apartment and into Mom’s garage in Westchester.

Alexandra Ferguson: The Business has taken another great leap upward, Alexandra (the person) says. Last summer she had four people working for her, but now to keep up with fall and holiday demand, she has added nine more employees. Her office and production space? Right here in Industry City. She moved it back to Brooklyn in July of this year. There are new product ideas, too. A makeup case, for instance.

Brooklyn Artisan had to ask: Where did she get her mantra? From Sheryl Sandberg, the author of Lean In, Alexandra said. And yes, we couldn’t resist; we told the story of originating the “Done is better than perfect” saying at Redbook magazine in 1979. You can read that backstory here.

Until we were starting Brooklyn Artisan, we had no idea the quote had gone viral. Cool.

Anne Mollegen Smith is editor and publisher of brookyn-artisan.net, and is a former editor-in-chief of Redbook, Working Woman, McCall’s, and the Art of Simple Living. 

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.

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

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Funny and quirky pillow commentary from Alexandra Ferguson.

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

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3-D Printer Pioneer MakerBot Acquired for $403 Million

MAKERBOT, DEVELOPER OF A POPULAR 3-D PRINTER, today announced that it is merging with Stratasys in a deal worth $403 million. The Brooklyn-born and -based MakerBot recently moved into a 50,000 square foot space in Sunset Park. Not bad for a four-year-old startup.

Bre Pettis, CEO of Makerbot, at last summer's Maker Faire in Queens.

Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot, at last summer’s Maker Faire in Queens.

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.

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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

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