Monday, January 31, 2011

imagining brooklyn

I was checking the weather forecast when I noticed how simply brooklyn is shown in this google map on the national weather service website. if you've never been here, it can be hard to imagine what it looks like in comparison to manhattan or the rest of new york. Brooklyn is the southwestern-most point on long island, bordered on the north and east by queens.

The large land mass on the SW corner of the map is Staten Island, with New Jersey and Manhattan above it on the other side of the NY harbor. The tail coming out below Brooklyn from the SE is the area known as the Rockaways. The area above it with the little islands is Jamaica bay- the solid rectangle is JFK airport. There is a train that runs through the middle of Jamaica Bay, which you can see on the map.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

new stuff

has it only been a week since I picked my prizes at sodafine? we rented a zip truck today and picked everything up- I couldn't wait! something erin had hiding in her apartment was a wood and glass jewelry case that has tons of storage drawers in the back. a piece we could definitely use. b is going to give it a bit of restoration and it will look great in the store. we're trying to figure out when it was made. I like the fact that it has a slightly more modern, boxy look to it than most of the furniture we have- like it could be from the 60's. we also acquired a rustic-y corner cabinet which erin brought here from philly- b found a spot for it in his "museum."

I unpacked and sorted the clothing this evening- so many pretty spring and summer dresses! and okay, yeah I kept a few for myself. there are also some (warmer) items we can put out this week- sweaters, wool skirts, and some in-between dresses. We have a bunch of vintage shoes also, a few belts and bags, and a great stash of silk scarves.

I looked at the framed embroideries one by one, and there are some incredible pieces in the collection. Embroidery was such a common hobby in the 70's- I couldn't have imagined the finished pieces being something I would collect as an adult, but there you go. they do need a bit of sprucing up, so Kim and I will be busy this week making everything shop-worthy.

sometimes I think about running a shop and how weird it is- we get stuff, then we get rid of it. then we get more, then we get rid of it. then we get more. It kinda never ends, huh? back when i worked for corporate america we got shipments twice a week! and it didn't seem weird at all. but then again I was 22 years old and pretty much just thinking about what was right in front of me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

so long sodafine

I should have a rule: must do a blog post before browsing other peoples' blogs.

erin weckerle was one of the first people I met upon moving to nyc almost 7! years ago. my bff willie told me to look up her friend meeo when I arrived here. upon learning that I was a jewelry designer meeo offered to introduce me to erin, who co-owned sodafine boutique, which was then in fort greene. the three of us met for *rock n' rollerskate* at office ops in bushwick, and erin and I discussed selling my work at sodafine over drinks afterwards.

around the same time I also met jenny kwok, then owner of cut+paste, a pioneering online shop for handmade and indie goods. I also started selling my jewelry with jenny- but the details are fuzzy. was it upon erin's suggestion? don't know. but erin, who knits and crochets, was also selling her work on cut+paste. time moved on and jenny left nyc for istanbul. I saw her moving sale posted online and went to fort greene to have a look. it was there that I met another amazing talent while she was helping jenny with her sale, roxy marj. I found a bunch of great things, one of which I'm wearing now!

I always loved my trips to fort greene to check in with erin and inventory my work. In my second year in nyc I moved from Astoria, Queens to Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. traveling the couple miles to the adjacent neighborhood was confusing and mysterious, being a fairly recent transplant. Brooklyn is sort of grid-like as Manhattan is, but large diagonals cut through the massive borough, dividing it into many different neighborhoods. Sometimes the division between two will be dictated by the direction in which the blocks face. so I was always a little lost when I arrived in fort greene via the g train, but it was part of my nyc education, learning the city neighborhood by neighborhood. de kalb avenue was just starting to come alive in the mid-2000's, so I loved to spend some extra time exploring the area. I always made a point to visit Tillie's coffee shop, which was right next door to sodafine.

Sodafine was unique in that it was one of the first shops to stock designs by makers involved in the burgeoning craft movement. as erin has stated, she sells work by people who consider themselves artists first. indeed many of the people who sold with sodafine early on had backgrounds in fine art, rather than coming from the design world. (myself included!) Erin helped introduce me to the diy world, which I was becoming aware of before I left L.A. for nyc. she designed her own website without having a technical background and encouraged me to do the same. in those early days I was fascinated by how artists were using the internet to expand their careers in ways that were previously impossible. or rather create careers for themselves that didn't even exist before. we spent hours discussing all of this and more, every time I visited. I also loved looking around Sodafine to see erin's amazing collection. I should mention that I met rena tom at sodafine's x-mas party, who was also selling her jewelry at the shop. when rena opened the first rare device in park slope, (which has since moved to san francisco) she also asked me to sell my work in her shop.

after a bit erin's partner at sodafine called it quits, so she moved the store to a smaller location in williamsburg. she did the store up right, using eco-friendly materials and custom- designed fixtures. again my visits to see erin were fun, because now I got to explore an even more happening neighborhood. as the years went by jenny kwok moved back to the states, then returned to nyc last summer, working occasionally at sodafine. I opened my store this past fall, and now sodafine is closing its doors at the end of the month. I needed to settle up with erin, and had an inkling she might have some inventory and store supplies and fixtures to sell. so b and I sloshed in the freezing cold rain today up to w-burg to meet with erin and her partner-in-crime jenny.

what an awesome afternoon it was. I fished through piles of treasures, amassing a nice little collection for ebmerc. I found tons of vintage dresses and other assorted clothing, vintage shoes, silk scarves, a giant collection of framed embroideries, various display items, a couple of pieces of furniture, wooden hangers, packaging and a whole box of x-mas decorations! before leaving I spotted a pile of knit hats sitting on the counter- most of them erin's creations, and three 70's ski hats. so as things have come full circle, I will be selling erin's purldrop designs in the store!

so much as I will miss sodafine, I am happy that erin has found the opportunity to move on and explore other adventures. the girl has a master's in sculpture from yale! and was doing incredible things with yarn when I first met her. I am glad for knowing her and the other amazing ladies I have met through that first initial suggestion from willie. cheers erin!

p.s. jenny closed the cut+paste shop recently too, relaunching the site as a personal photo essay blog.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

mad for plaid

Now that x-mas has passed, we've had two weekends off in a row and survived SNOWMAGEDDON, we're busy as bees at ebmerc stocking the store back up with NEW and EXCITING merchandise. while b has been scouting out and restoring vintage lighters, I've been hunting for soft, warm and stylish clothing.

see here our clothing tree, filled with plaid flannel and western shirts, and nordic sweaters. I've also come across some great dresses that happen to be in mint condition, from the 60's through the 90's. (are 90's vintage?)

oh, and although I've neglected to mention it here (but you might have noticed from our events calendar) Felecia Maria's Open Level Yoga Class is a weekly occurrence. I have to tell you that I am LOVING this class. Just an hour long, it's the perfect mid-week refresher. Felecia teaches a class that is somehow gentle and challenging at the same time. She has a great flow, that varies and evolves from week to week. We get in all the basics like sun salutations and warrior poses, plus fun balancing tricks like half moon and headstand. Last night I did my first headstand in the middle of the room EVER! I think it's Felecia's gentle encouragement that allowed me to be brave and go for it.

we just installed a new window display, but Jenna's Origamitron show will be up for another couple of weeks.

so lots to see and do at Everbrite- come on down to Red Hook. You know you want to.