Jimmy + Maeve
“Making has always just been a part of my life,” says Liz Hobin, the creative force behind the one-year-old scarf-centric line Jimmy + Maeve. Raised by a grandmother who showed her the knitting ropes and a master-quilter mother, Liz, with her “genetic instinct to create,” was pretty much destined to go the DIY route, and, after leaving L.A. to study public health in SF and Portland, she settled down in Greenpoint in 2010 and established her label in 2011.
But, really, why scarves? As Liz explains, “coming from L.A., living in Brooklyn means a big comfort sacrifice that I’m not willing to accept—scarves are like comfort food.” So much so that Liz spent the entire summer knitting scarves on the beach. “I’m inspired by anxiety—if I’m not making something or reinventing a project, I go crazy,” she says.
Don’t let her fool you: Jimmy + Maeve, made of the softest materials Liz can find—wool, alpaca, cashmere, merino—is not just a Xanax alternative. It’s a biz, with a team of three hand-knitting from her studio, which, conveniently enough, happens to be located in her apartment. The ultimate goal: “I want it to be like having a blanket for your neck and face,” she says. —alisha prakash
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The 3 NYC Spots In God We Trust Calls Home
Find yourself an excuse to visit all of them.
Shana Tabor has come a long way: “When I first started, I had a tiny corner of my bedroom where I would sit for 12 hours every day and make jewelry,” she explains of the roots of her line In God We Trust, which now tackles apparel, too. But in 2005, about two years after she started working on her line full-time, Shana decided it was time to set up shop—an interest she had from the very beginning. She now has a trifecta of super-influential, crazy-cool locations in Greenpoint, Soho, and Williamsburg that carry the likes of D.S. & Durga, Billy Kirk, and The Hill-Side, beyond her own creations. Here’s how each shop came to be. —alisha prakash
“The Greenpoint store is where all the magic happens. Our design studio is here, and it’s where all the manufacturing takes place. I found this location in search of a bigger studio space. I loved the idea of our studio being attached to a retail space—it’s the best of both worlds. This space is by far our largest location, allowing freedoms not available in our smaller locations. The brick walls were already here. We added one large-scale piece of furniture, and it was done. Greenpoint has a real sense of community that is lacking in most New York neighborhoods, especially in North Brooklyn.” (70 Greenpoint Ave., Brooklyn)
“This store is our first Manhattan location. I was prompted to look in that neighborhood by a fellow shop owner, and when I saw the space was available, I left a note under the gate and waited for a call. Thankfully it happened. This stretch of Lafayette is a place that I used to shop in during the nineties. It’s also an interesting location in the city because we are not quite in Soho and also not really in Nolita. That makes for an interesting mix of people and lifestyles. The space is long and narrow, so there’s not much you can do. The main concern was removing the glass walls and six layers of X-Girl wallpaper (even on the ceilings!).” (265 Lafayette St.)
“This Bedford Avenue store is our newest location, which opened last summer. It is home to our perfect customers—this includes tourists and locals. Can’t help it, haters: This is my home. I have lived in Williamsburg since 2000. I love working in the same ‘hood that I live in—even though I sometimes hate it, too.” (129 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn)
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Lisa Levine Makes (Healing!) Earrings for Of a Kind
Yes, you’ll feel better just putting these things on.
When Lisa Levine closed her Williamsburg store in 2008 to focus on the healing arts—like calming breathwork, Reiki, and massage—it seemed like her just-bohemian jewelry line may have been done for good. But now she’s is back in the game with this ethos in tow: “Beauty, creativity, and healing all go together.” See how she fused them in the chain-strung earrings that are made, as Lisa she says, “for the goddess in all of us.” —lauren caruso
“I really believe in the power of sacred objects—that things we wear affect how we feel. Something you know is handmade has a different vibration than something that’s made as cheaply as possible, so the production is very important to me. This is very untechnical, but we would usually make a template, which is pretty much a piece of paper that has the length of each of the chains. You line up the type of chain and then cut to those lengths. It’s very organic and low-tech. Each earring may be a tiny bit different, but that’s the beauty of it.”
“The most tedious part is opening the squares of chain so that the hoop fits through, but metal can stretch a bit. Now that all ten chains are on, I make the latch—it’s just a little circle for the part that goes through your ear to go through.”
“Hammering the molecules in the metal together—which is called work hardening—gives it more form and strength, and it actually gives it a faceted shine because it’s flattened.”
“The final step is to file the tip so the part that goes through your ear isn’t sharp.”
“And there she is! I’ve been really into gold lately, for the sun. The chains are super disco-y and modern, but the earring is assembled in an organic shape. That juxtaposition is really fun. They’re definitely summer earrings.”
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Though Lisa Levine probably wouldn’t consider herself as much of a businesswoman as a healer, hand-crafting jewelry has always been lucrative for the Pittsburgh native—both spiritually and in the more standard, money-in-the-bank sense. “When I was a child, I could draw or paint or create to help me clear any bad emotions,” Lisa says in her six-inch voice. “I started making jewelry as a little kid and even selling it.”
Before taking things further as an adult and opening her eponymous Metropolitan Avenue jewelry store in Brooklyn in 2005, Lisa spent a year at Parsons and later shipped off to San Miguel de Allende—an idyllic artist community in Mexico—to study silversmithing with the legendary Billy King.
After a three-year run, Lisa closed her store and took “a 90% break” from designing to focus on breath work and Reiki more intensively, and now her cozy Greenpoint loft is home to a healing center, a yoga and meditation space, and her design studio. The jewelry thing is such a part of who she is that trying to escape it would be plain silly—luckily, all of her endeavors, with their open-endedness, meld together quite nicely. Or, as she puts it, “There’s a lot of positivity and healing that goes into making the jewelry. You can feel if there’s love in it.” —lauren caruso
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Lisa Levine Teaches Us How to Relax Already
She’s a jewelry-maker and healer, all rolled up into one.
Lisa assisting a handstand in her light-filled, hard-working space.
Lisa Levine’s inimitable Greenpoint apartment-turned-studio-turned-relaxation haven could easily incite jealousy, but luckily, as a certified Reiki Master, Lisa has the training to extinguish any negative thinking you might be experiencing. When the NYC transplant isn’t busy hand-crafting her line of delicately earthy jewelry—Lisa often juxtaposes animal elements like feathers and quills with oxidized silver and gold-fill coins—she is guiding meditations, practicing inner-healing, and spending time with one of her many shrines to Amma (the hugging saint!). Take a peek inside her endlessly versatile loft and pick up a few tips for coming down. —lauren caruso
“The space I live in is also home to a healing center, Maha Rose, and a yoga and meditation center, Kusala Yoga. I’ve lived there for eight and a half years, and it has evolved as much in that time as I have.”
“My guru, Amma, is the hugging saint. In this culture, I think the idea of a guru is really foreign, but she’s all about the religion of love, and I subscribe to that. The world needs more love.”
“What these hands were originally has changed in the context of this room. A lot of the healing work I do is with my hands, so it’s symbolic in that way.”
“I’ve always liked oracle cards, so I thought I’d make my own! They’re not finished, but I like some of them without any color. It’s important to make the decision to turn today into the best day of your life. Sometimes, we can be lazy. The mind is on autopilot so often, so unless we are consciously driving the mind, it starts to drive us.”
“This table’s kind of charged from all the work that’s been done on it. Just laying on it may make you feel relaxed, but a body scan—which involves starting at the feet most often and bringing your awareness to each part of the body, feeling the bones, the muscles the skin and allowing each part to feel heavy—is a great way of relaxing because really brings you into the body. Too often, we’re stuck within the mind.”
“You can do a body scan on your own, or have someone guide you through it. Relax all the organs around the belly and allow them to take in the oxygen, allowing them to soften and be at ease. Invite all your organs to relax. Thank them for the life that they bring you, even when you’re not thinking about it—that they always do their job so perfectly. Thank all of your internal organs for taking such good care of you.”
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Sara Shows Off Her Space
She’s adorned it with all kinds of massive printing tools.
Sara Gates has been live-working from the same location in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, for the last five years—long before most people were converting lofts and familiarizing themselves with the G train. “When I first moved in, I lived with a bunch of people, but over the years, the business has sort of taken over. It was half-house, half-studio, and now it’s more like three-quarters studio,” the woman behind the dye-happy bag line Cook & Gates explains. Here, she shows off some of the highlights and heavy machinery of the studio, where she also runs a screen-printing company.
“These are the two screen-printing presses that I use. I tend to do pretty small runs. I work with a lot of local artists and designers. I do up to a 1,000 pieces but not usually more that that.”
“To create the printing designs, you put photo-sensitive emulsion on a screen, let it dry, and tape the image—which is black on clear—to it. You put it in this machine, which vacuums it in place, and turn a 6,000-watt light on it to expose it. It’s really bright—and also really loud. The light hardens the emulsion, and the black blocks the light. Then you hose it down.”
“I do a lot of oversize printing, which a lot of printers don’t do because you need huge screens and huge equipment. There are little versions of the equipment, but printing tiny objects just on T-shirts is not that compelling for me.”
“The dyeing I do for Cook & Gates happens everywhere. I have buckets all over the place—I do a lot of it on the roof. That bag on the clothesline has been living on the roof for three months. That’s its home.”