By Hand Made

img_6161Brooklyn Artisan slipped out of the borough last weekend to attend the massive NY Now wholesale market held at Javits. Our mission: to locate designs and artisans that exemplified the best in handmade creativity. Result: a selection of beautiful products with a Brooklyn origin.

Above, a Brooklyn-themed card hand-printed by letterpress in the Bushwick studio of Lovewild Design. Lovewild characterizes itself as “family-owned, women-run” and has developed a range of handmade products that are highly sustainable. The greeting cards encourage reuse—seeds are embedded in the paper and will actually germinate into tiny wildflower patches when planted in soil. The cards provide charming and sometimes pointed sentiments—a favorite is “I’m so relieved you found someone to marry you. Really.” Lovewild founder Sierra Zamarripa insists that was what her grandmother actually said to her. It could qualify as Most New York Congratulations ever.

fullsizerender-12Wilcoxson Brooklyn Ceramics displayed a wide range of bold, modern tableware in elegant forms and colors created in its Greenpoint studio. The style of ceramic is characterized by designer Kevin Wilcoxson as “New Modern,” a derivation of a traditional Japanese Mingei style and highly valued in museum gift shops. Another interesting activity of the studio is the schedule of workshops where participants get hands-on experience in the craft. Other craftspersons might want to consider how to incorporate similar real-world interactions into their businesses.

fullsizerender-7Jewelry definitely appears to be a growth industry in Brooklyn (viz. our piece from October). Swooping curls of sterling silver and gold are the creative product of designer Lucia Perluck, shown above in the Emerging Makers area at NY Now. Her minimalist designs under the label Lucia Pearl are available IRL in Crown Heights at Marché Rue Dix and online at Etsy. Especially notable is her collaboration with a Moroccan master engraver: Maalem and Maalema.

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Williamsburg-based designer Tracey Tanner showed an impressive array of leather products—wallets, clutches, pouches—in an astonishing variety of leather finishes. (And here I was thinking leather essentially came in brown and black. Anyone for sparkling magenta?)

As a footnote, all the designers featured in this piece in all their diversity work within a one mile radius in the Williamsburg/Greenpoint/Bushwick nexus. It is becoming difficult to grasp the volume of creative energy across the whole of Brooklyn.

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Visiting Maker Faire 2016

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Emiko Shinozaki showing her elegant, chemistry-inspired jewelry at this year’s World Maker Faire 2016 (October 1 and 2 at the New York Hall of Science grounds in Flushing). Shinozaki, seen here wearing one of her signature pieces, lives in Carroll Gardens and works in her Dumbo studio (yes, artists still work in Dumbo). Trained in classical music, she chose jewelry design over medical school, yet keeps a link to her roots by often incorporating imagery that references organic chemistry, “especially caffeine.”

Open Studio at Maria Castelli: Elegant Bags to Covet

 

Cobalt blue bag is soft and chic.

Cobalt blue bag is soft and chic. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

SORRY, FOLKS, THE DISCOUNT WAS JUST FOR THE DAY, last Saturday, the first Open Studios at Industry City in Sunset Park, and you missed it. But you can feast your eyes anyway, as Brooklyn Artisan did, while talking about the Maria Castelli business that just launched last month.

“We just launched,” daughter Veronica explained, “but we’ve been working on it for about a year and a half.” Though her lovely face was free of bags under her eyes or furrows in her brow, her expressive body language managed to suggest some weeks of round-the-clock effort.

“It’s a lot of work,” she confided, as her mother talked to a handful of serious-looking people on the other side of the room. Retail buyers, we hoped, who’d put dozens of these handsome bags into distribution.

Maria Castelli leather bag in black

As some Belle Dame d’Industry City might say, Chic is the thing with feathers.

The bags are rich looking with thick pebbled leather, yet flexible and almost slouchy in construction so that they’re easy to wear on your shoulder. (Just don’t load up with the Yellow Pages or bags of river rocks and you’ll be fine.) Although some small pouches on another table had the ubiquitous industrial zipper as design statement du jour as well a closure, the handsome shoulder-able bags were clean and as zipperless as Erica Jong’s famous **** (Fear of Flying).

We also liked the alternate bag in black that we spotted on a side shelf. The leather tassel of the blue version was replaced by two bunches of feathers on the black. Irresistably touchy-feely—in fact, we were quite tickled by them.

A co-founder of the erstwhile Getting It Gazette, Anne Mollegen Smith also writes about personal finance for investopedia.com. 

See our other Industry City Open Studio coverage, with more to come later this week.

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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