Get Some Everyday Inspo With Carolyn A’Hearn

Her walk around Greenpoint is on-point.

The commute from Carolyn A’Hearn’s apartment to the studio she shares with about a dozen other jewelers is, oh, maybe ten minutes. But that quick stroll is enough to spark a collection’s worth of ideas. “I know it sounds sort of corny, but I am so inspired by New York City,” she explains. And she doesn’t mean just mean the bright lights and big city—nah, Carolyn’s drawn to cracks in the sidewalks and piles of unexpected rubble. Here, Carolyn shows us the things in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, you might not have noticed—but she definitely did. —jane-claire quigley

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“I love to walk as much as I can because I find New York City so visually stimulating—for the density and also just the sheer amount of stuff everywhere. Sometimes on my walks I will come across broken bits and discarded things strewn across the ground, like this tiny fractured mirror. I always like thinking about how little cast-off shapes might be re-imagined as something brand-new. “

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“My studio is in an old brick building near McCarren Park. It was built in 1930, and the structure has a wonderfully substantial feel to it. These cylindrical shapes were drilled from the solid brick walls. The silhouette changes from each angle, and each becomes several different shapes.”

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“Wandering in Greenpoint, sometimes I will get lucky enough to peek into one of the warehouses and find a hidden treasure. I love the way these slender arches stack one on top of the other, and how the gentle curve has a softness to it. I like how the idea of softness and structure can interact in jewelry, and I’m always trying to create pieces that have a very tactile quality.”

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“This bit of plaster is so great because it is actually a part of the wall where some tile fell off and revealed this pattern underneath. Not only is it scraped over its foundation in such a pretty, unintentional pattern but it also reveals an interesting history and craftsmanship that isn’t always immediately visible when looking at something so ordinary and everyday.”

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“At dusk, I walk from my studio to my apartment, and I always love looking up at the beautiful trees that line my street. I’m always trying to bring out that feeling of organized asymmetry in my work in subtle, unexpected ways.”

Carolyn made us a pair of rose gold earrings that are pretty major.

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Step Inside Bernice Kelly’s Homey Greenpoint Studio

Here’s to making the most of a chalkboard wall.

A good workspace—one with positive vibes that encourages productivity—is not so easy to come by. “I had been looking for studios for about a year when I fell in love with the old-style building and its view,” says Bernice Kelly of the rustic-yet-warm space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where she set up ops for her jewelry line Macha. We’ll let her show you around (and, if you want her to make your engagement ring or something, you can check out the spot in-person!). —alisha prakash

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“This is a view from the door of the studio. I’m blessed to have such a big space to work in—and amazing assistants!”

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“We painted a chalkboard on the wall of our showroom area. An artist friend, Matt Huynh, came by to visit one afternoon, and after I left him alone for ten minutes, the entire wall was covered with these incredible sketches.”

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“I had this workbench custom-made for the space to encourage a collaborative environment. We all share ideas and inspiration and keep each other entertained.”

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We built this meeting table ourselves from reclaimed scaffolding. This is where we meet with clients and chat about our ideas.”

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“We built shelves inside an old medicine cabinet to keep the fine jewelry collection safe.”

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“What can I say!? We never tire of looking out the window. It’s the icing on the cake.”

The most adorable ring straight out of Bernice’s studio—check it out!

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Hang With Christine Alcalay for the Day

There’s some good making—and eating—to be done.

Christine Alcalay has a whole freaking lot on her plate: She designs a so-polished apparel line, co-owns the boutique Kiwi in Brooklyn’s Park Slope, and has two little girls. Whoa. How does she juggle all this stuff? Follow her around from morning to night and see. —nicole loher

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7:30 AM: “The girls and I leave our house. We go to Root Hill Cafe for a chai latte and toasted bagel with butter or Runner and Stone for a pretzel and chocolate-banana croissant for breakfast before I drop them off at school.”

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9:00 AM: “I head into Manhattan to visit my contractors, check on production, and speak to Mei, who owns the factory I work with, about upcoming projects and their progress.”

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10:30 AM: “Coffee break at Culture Espresso!”

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10:45 AM: “I search for fabrics, trims, and inspiration in fabric shops. I also pick up trims and fabrics for new designs.”

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12:00 PM: “I head back to Ditmas Park in Brooklyn to my studio to work on design, construction, and draping.”

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2:00 PM: “Snack time. This always consists of cut-up veggies. They gives me the extra boost needed for the remainder of the day.”

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6:00 PM: “Dinner is a family affair, and on most nights we prep and eat together. On Friday evenings, we head to our favorite restaurants and treat ourselves to great food and family drawing sessions.”

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10:00 PM: “After bedtime stories and many kisses, I either kick my feet up with my hubby or head back to the studio to tidy and finish up whatever I started.”

OOF you’ve got to see this dress Christine made us. It’s MAJOR.

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Eat a Whole Lot of Dim Sum With Vincent Lai

Follow his lead and go this Saturday. And the one after.

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For Vincent Lai of the bag-and-tie line Skinny Vinny, a weekend dim-sum outing is as much ritual as meal. “Dim sum means dot of the heart. It was originally not a main meal—it was only eaten as a snack and therefore only meant to touch the heart. It’s about the experience—a time to catch up with family and loved ones and have great conversation over great food,” he says. So where does he head when he wants to check in with those near and dear? Visit his go-to in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and see what he orders. —alisha prakash

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East Harbor is a walking distance from my apartment. In my opinion, it’s the place to go for dim sum in Brooklyn. It gets really busy on weekends around 11 a.m. or 12 p.m. The key is to get there early.”
(714 65th St., Brooklyn)

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“I go every weekend—sometimes even twice a week. It’s the thing my family does in the morning. They grab breakfast and a newspaper and read and sit there for hours. People have their diners—this is basically that for them. They get there really early, but I stroll in around 9 AM, eat, and catch up with them. This is Mom and Isabella, my cousin’s daughter. She enjoys it almost as much as I do.”

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“The one wrapped in leaves is stuffed with sticky rice, sausage, and mushrooms. It’s basically a wallet of goodness. You unwrap the leaves and eat the rice inside. It is steamed and gets its flavor from the leaves, too. I also usually order Jasmine tea.”

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“This is rice wrapped with fried dough inside and soy sauce over it. It’s kind of like a fried doughnut, but not sweet.”

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“The one that looks like a sushi roll is chicken wrap with soy sauce. They only have it at this place—it’s their own concoction. It’s my mom’s favorite. The giant ball is a steamed dumpling with taro and minced meat. And the other is a shumai, a steamed pork dumpling.”

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“This is dofu fa, which translates to tofu flower. It’s a Chinese dessert dish—steamed soft tofu served with sweet ginger syrup.”

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“A Bacon-wrapped fried shrimp ball—a guilty pleasure. It’s not very Chinese—and is one of the more American dishes there—but it’s just too good. I have to get it every time I go with my friends.”

Vincent made the neutral primary colors a thing—get on this backpack now.

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Walk to Work with the Man Behind Workaday Handmade

And go ahead and grab a cup of coffee on the way.

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When Workaday Handmade’s Forrest Lewinger needs inspiration, he forgoes traditional transportation and hoofs it across Brooklyn, from his Williamsburg home and his Bed-Stuy studio—a 30-minute stroll that always sparks something for the ceramicist. Here’s what he passes on his path from Leonard to Powers to Lorimer to Flushing. —jackie varriano

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Gimme is the first place I stop in the morning—for a cappuccino. Great coffee!”

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“You will see a lot of these little vitrines and alters with saints or the Virgin Mary inside of them. I really love how outwardly decorative they can be around here. It’s not about taste or style but more about tradition and family.”

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“When I am walking around the city, I’m looking for unexpected color combinations and patterns that may find their way into my work. There are a few patterns on my pots that have come directly from something I saw while walking around.”

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“Going under the tracks at Lorimer and Broadway represents a big shift in not only cultural and religious communities but architecture as well. My studio is right in the middle of the largest Hasidic Jewish community in the world. It is a very autonomous community, with shops and places of gathering and worship. I love watching how the people connect to the city that surrounds them. ”

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“Sometimes you really feel transported to another place and time in this area. I imagine that I could have seen the same scene 100 years ago.”

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“When you walk through the ‘hood, you can really get lost in the details and juxtapositions of everyday objects and words and activity. It’s a mess—and that’s what I love about it and where I find inspiration. I look for the handmade wherever I can. Having something handmade, whether it’s a pot, some food, or a sign, gives the thing character even if it’s almost perfect.”

Forrest made the prettiest darn tumblers for your home—get the set now.

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Get a Load of the Communal Jewelry Studio Elizabeth Thompson Created

900 square feet just bursting with creativity.

“We are a tribe that sees the beauty in small things,” says Elizabeth Thompson, the hyper-talented jewelry designer behind Elizabeth Knight, of her clan of 13 like-minded makers at the open-24/7 workspace FluxWork Studio, which she founded in 2008 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. What do you get if you’re part of Elizabeth’s posse? A bench—i.e., the jewelry-world equivalent of a cubicle—and access to come-one-come-all workspaces for tackling projects like grinding, polishing, and soldering. Go on—take a look around. —alisha prakash

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“The studio in the morning. As you walk in, you can feel the calm and the potential in the air. Throughout the day, people come and go. Some days the studio is empty, and others people will be working through the night. I love the company of my studio mates—sharing ideas and tools. I also love these silent mornings accompanied by the unspoken magic in the room.”

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“Many people don’t know jewelers’ benches are raised so that one can sit eye-level with their project. Making jewelry is a very close, intimate experience that requires an extreme eye for detail. Often I find that working in this way can be very meditative and calming. I love to work by my favorite window that gets the best sunlight throughout the day.”

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“These are my girls. How I love them. On the left is Emma—who was an intern for the summer—working at the soldering table with my assistant, Nina, on the right.”

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“In December, we had a wildly successful event with Jean-Noel from Top Notch Faceting and his partner, Dale. The pair came to New York to discuss the process of ethically mining stones in Africa and to present stunning stones cut by Jean himself. Jewelers from New York, Philadelphia, and across the East Coast came to FluxWork to hear Jean and Dale speak. It was a sincere pleasure to host these guys at the studio and was very rewarding to have the support from a wide community of jewelers.”

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“One of my many boxes of treasures. Texture, color, and pattern from natural objects have always been my inspiration. You can find small collections, just like this, all around the studio.”

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“Working at the soldering bench is always a thrill—the powerful rush from transforming and fusing metal can make a jeweler want to consider being an alchemist. We have a few different tank set-ups at FluxWork, providing different combinations of oxygen, acetylene, and propane gas. Each option allows us to control the heat and metal in a specific way.”

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“This was an awesome find on Bedford Avenue! While meandering to the studio, I cruised a record selection laid out on the sidewalk. When I set my eyes on Patti, I knew I wasn’t going to leave her there—this is my very first Patti Smith record. Music is a big deal in the studio. When I am in the studio alone, I turn to my favorite music blog, Left As Rain.”

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“This is the grinding wheel, the machine we use to take down large sprues from our castings. You must keep a focused eye on the wheel as it removes metal—and fingernails—very quickly. This is how I look when I am in the zone.”

Select photos courtesy of Jacob Pritchard.

The necklace that Elizabeth made in this rad studio is a keeper—see it now.

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Hang With Yegang Yoo in Her Greenpoint, Brooklyn, ‘Hood

A half dozen reasons to get exploring.

“I love the water and the quiet streets around it. You see the city right in front of you—you feel so close, yet it’s just so relaxed here,” says Yegang Yoo of her neck of the woods—somewhere between the East River and Newton Creek in Greenpoint. “One of the best parts is the cluster of new food and drink spots popping up on and around Franklin Street. Their design-savvy but down-to-earth atmosphere fits right into the neighborhood.” Hey, sounds kind of like Yegang’s not-trying-too-hard bag line IMAGO-A! See where the Brooklynite chillaxes when she’s not hard at work. —alisha prakash

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Dandelion Wine
“The best wine shop in the area, by a long shot, is Dandelion. I lived around the corner from the store for many years and have loved this store since they opened. Everyone is extremely cool and unpretentious. You can go in and ask questions and always leave with something great. You can shop just by the ‘staff picks’ tags alone—always great recommendations!”
(153 Franklin St.)

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Paulie Gee’s
“Paulie Gee’s is hands down the best pizza in the area—and I know this is a touchy subject. Most good pizza places have pretty lousy interiors, but this is a total exception. The interior is beautiful—always very dark, but with lots of great details. I especially love the bathroom and that beautiful blazing oven from Napoli. Two of my favorite pies right now: the Greenpointer and the Sweet Lou…from the secret menu. Shhhhh!”
(60 Greenpoint Ave.)

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Transmitter Park
“Transmitter Park was in the works for what seemed like forever. It has a kind of zigzag-y pier, which is nice because it has no other purpose—it’s not a ferry station or anything—so it’s always quiet. You walk out on this pier and it feels like you are in the middle of the East River. There used to be almost nothing down there at the end of Greenpoint Avenue.”

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Glasserie
“Glasserie popped up less than a year ago at what used to be an old glass factory right by the Newtown Creek. It’s just unbelievable—it’s stunningly beautiful inside, and everything I’ve eaten there is next-level. The foods have a hint of Middle Eastern spices with lots of flavor from grilling. My favorite on the brunch menu is the poached eggs and spicy tomato stew.”
(95 Commercial St.)

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Alameda
“Alameda is beautifully designed by the Haslegrave brothers of Home, who designed some other great places in the area including Tørst and Paulie Gee’s. It has amazing cocktails and food. The majestic bar is the center of the place—I love the geometric tile works and great carpentry around it.”
(195 Franklin St.)

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Achilles Heel
“Achilles Heel is also really new and well-designed with an extremely cozy interior. It’s located on the super-quiet West Street by the river. There’s a common thread to all these newer places—something about the way they combine a DIY feeling with a great, tasteful craftsmanship. Achilles Heel is another place that seems to really get it.”
(180 West St.)

Whoa baby is Yegang’s latest edition so good!

 

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Step Inside Mimi Eayrs’s Cozy Clinton Hill Apartment

Stay as long as you want.

“The space is like a Tetris game,” says Mimi Eayrs—who designs the bangin’ bag line Earyslee with Joanne Lee—of her Brooklyn pad. “We have optimized every corner for storage—we had to make sure we could squeeze everything in a way that doesn’t seem too cluttered.” See how she, her husband Jason, and their son Indigo have done a lot with a little space. —alisha prakash

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“This is our living room. My husband made the coffee table many years ago. The blue book on it was a gift he gave to our son on the day that he was born. It is called Conversations with Blueour son’s name is Indigo—and has the most beautiful, delicate prints made with cyanotype. Basically, the whole apartment is a juxtaposition of both our styles. Jason is a little more modern and likes cleaner lines. I tend to be drawn to more vintage stuff, like the mirror above the mantle.”

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“This picture was given to us by my best friend in Argentina for our wedding. It’s from an artist named Nahuel Vecino. We call it our auspicious painting.”

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“We love vinyl. The record that is on—by Father John Misty—is what our son listened to while he was in the womb. When he was just a couple of weeks old, this was one of the few things that would really soothe him and put him to sleep. To the left is the Eayrslee Lou iPad bag and the Cooper mini bag in stingray. The painting is one of mine.”

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“My husband made the four moons painting last year while I was in Brazil for business. He had never painted anything before and decided to try something out—which ended up looking pretty awesome.”

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“My grandmother brought that little table with her all the way from Argentina, though it originally came from India. The photograph was a Polaroid our friend took at our wedding that he then blew up and gave to us. And that’s an Eayrslee yellow Henry wallet on the side table.”

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“This used to be the Eayrslee office. Joanne and I always referred to Eayrslee as our baby…until the actual baby I had with my husband came along, and the space became his room. The curtain came from India; the rug we found in the north of Argentina, after searching for days. We picked the color for the walls before we found out the gender of the baby—it was a unanimous decision.”

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“The little bunny was handmade in Argentina, and the rattle was a gift from our good friend. Whenever we’re changing Indi and he starts to cry, I say ‘magic!’ and shake the rattle, which makes the sound, that in my mind, they would use for a magic moment if our lives had a soundtrack. Indi loves it and becomes completely absorbed by it.”

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“The painting on the left was a gift to Indi from his godmother in Argentina. It’s pretty crazy because it looks just like me, and it reminds me of how I would have drawn myself. We love it. The llamas come from a little town called Purmamarca in the north of Argentina, and the little drawing on the right is a mini Yves Klein that we printed on a regular old printer.”

Check out the rad leather clutch Mimi and Joanne made for us here!

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Head Home With Lia Cinquegrano of Thomas IV

There’s LOTS to see here.

Back in 2006, Lia Cinquegrano, the super-skilled designer behind the bag line Thomas IV, was living in a closet on 18th and 3rd in Manhattan. No, like actually a closet: “It was off my roommate’s room and had a children’s twin lofted bed, which touched three of the walls,” says the ex-Floridian. After a stint in Chinatown, she packed her bags for Greenpoint, Brooklyn, in 2012, moving into a 1,400-square-foot space with her BF Nick. See what she’s done with those seven beyond-spacious rooms here. —alisha prakash

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“A Lego VW van—one of Nick’s pieces—on a custom slanted tabletop behind our living-room couch. In the background is the Pez collection Nick inherited from his grandma and a flocked portrait by the artist Virgil Marti.”

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“This is our crazy wall of art right by our front door. Nick has a very extensive collection. My brother, Tommy, designed the three larger black-and-white architectural prints in the center. He makes photo montages of warehouses and has them screen-printed by Kayrock Screenprinting in Greenpoint.”

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“I love my dining table. I bought it at a church thrift shop on Gramercy Park. I recently painted the chairs and table legs bright teal. Also, it has our autumnal arrangement on it.”

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“This is a view of the kitchen—and our magnet collection. The magnets are from around the world. Atop the fridge are three cast pineapples by Nick Paparone.”

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“My favorite spice rack is a converted ‘Doctor Scholl’s Foot Comfort Remedies’ display shelf. Above it is a replica of a Van Gogh painting by my mother, Marilynn.”

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“This is my sewing machine with some inspiration on the wall behind it—images of the crystal cave in Chihuahua, Mexico, and of the Tarahumara people of northwestern Mexico in pre-Easter costumes. Also, an illustration of one of my bags by Emily Rose Bartley!”

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“A large banner by Nick hangs behind the bed, and a rug he designed lies below.”

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“I love my cuckoo clock and branch shelf, displaying a collection of tiny tchotchkes, on the wall opposite our bed. The rattan loveseat formerly had more of a Golden Girls vibe. I recovered the cushions in toile and painted the bamboo a high-gloss red.”

Get your hands on Lia’s new jacquard clutch before someone else does!

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Watch Morgan Carper Fix Up Her Fort Greene Casa

Extreme Makeover: Designer Home Edition

When Morgan Carper—the force behind the textile-fueled apparel line of the same name—and her hubby, Chris Bradford, got their hands on a 125-year-old Fort Greene brownstone in February 2013, they were pumped to dive in and make it their own. “There’s still work to be done, but this house will constantly be a work in progress,” she says of her (very major) renovation. “I love the idea of growing and evolving into our home.” See what she’s done with the place so far. —alisha prakash

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Before!

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After!

The Living Room
“This is the parlor-floor living room—beautiful bones, but so dark. Because the house is so extremely narrow, we wanted to lighten up the space as much as possible. Bringing down a few walls, painting everything bright white, and laying down white oak floors was our solution. The old floors were actually quite beautiful, but they weren’t original to the house—and the red oak made the space dark. New flooring transformed the space, while adding a personal element to make it our own. I have always loved the classic look of herringbone flooring—the lines elongate the room, and the light finish brightens it.”

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Before!

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After!

The Study
“We removed a wall with double doors, opening up the space. The restoration of the moldings was painstakingly time-consuming but incredibly rewarding to preserve such detail and character. Chipping away at all the years of paint was like going back in time. I loved thinking about the families that lived in this house and what was happening during that time, color by color.”

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Before!

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After!

The Kitchen
“We wanted to make the space as light as possible, so we gutted it and replaced the dark cherry cabinets with black countertops with white cabinets and Carrera marble. We splurged on the countertops while maintaining low costs with the Ikea white lacquer cabinets—it’s all about balance. Getting to see the skeleton of the house was amazing. The beams and foundation are so stout and solid—they just don’t make them like they used to!”

Talk about amazing, Morgan’s latest cape will seriously step up your outerwear game.

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