Saturday, December 31, 2005

Greenjeans' Year in Review

As 2005 draws to a close, Jae and I reflect on some of the events, landmarks, and happy times we’ve had over the past year. There are lots of links here to great places we’ve visited and discovered over the year, so check ‘em out!

Happy New Year everyone! See you next year!!

2005 In Review

- We sign the lease for a little storefront at 449 7th Avenue in Park Slope on Christmas Eve, 2004
- Dozens of studio visits with artisans all around New England, New York, and Brooklyn (January – June)
- Trip to the Berkshires to visit Greenjeans' artisan Mary Anne Davis and tour Hancock Shaker Village. Stayed at the Chambéry Inn, an 1885 schoolhouse converted into huge suites complete with slate chalkboards and tin ceilings (Jan. 12)
- Our first craft fair as retailers! American Craft Council's Wholesale Show in Baltimore (February 2005)
- The Gates! (Feb. 12-28)
- Sam arrives in Brooklyn from Chicago with the minivan Jae’s cousin gave us for free. Sam meets the lovely Carrie for the first time… (Feb. 17)
- Book release party for Tom de Zengotita at NYU for his amazing must-read, Mediated (March 7)
- First day of business. Big dinner afterwards with friends and family at Sea in Williamsburg (March 9)
- Charles and Gretchen introduce us to the culinary wonder of Schnack (March 17)
- Sarah Pershouse brings her 5th graders from PS 295 to learn about small businesses (March 18)
- Mention of Greenjeans’ opening in the Park Slope Reader (Spring 2005 issue)
- We discover the Kitano Hotel for great live jazz and cocktails (April 2)
- Sold our first Shaker Chair! (April 15)
- International Exposition of Sculpture Objects & Functional Art (SOFA) at the Park Avenue Armory (June 2-5)
- Aliki & Dan’s wedding at the gorgeous Tribecca Rooftop (June 12)
- Trip to the Bronx Zoo for a change of pace (June 20)
- Mention and photo of Greenjeans appears in NICHE magazine (Summer 05 issue)
- Jody and I drive up to Maine to be reunited with our long-lost high school friends Greg and Heide and meet their amazing kids Oliver and Guthrie (July 4th weekend)
- Amy & Sung’s (Jae’s brother) wedding engagement party! (July 10)
- Official Grand Opening of Greenjeans. Big dinner afterwards at Java down the block. (July 21)
- League of NH Craftsman’s Fair at Mt. Sunapee (Aug. 8)
- Article about Greenjeans appears in Crafts Business Magazine (Sept/Oct issue)
- Jae and Ruth go to the Rolling Stones concert in Madison Square Garden (Sept. 15)
- White Stripes concert at Keyspan Park in Coney Island (Sept. 25)
- Mention and picture of Greenjeans appears in American Craft magazine (Oct/Nov issue)
- Jae and Amy's Wedding in Portsmouth, NH (Oct. 8)
- Spontaneous honeymoon at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY
- Hrag throws us a fabulous wedding party in DUMBO, Brooklyn at Jason’s loft (Oct. 15)
- Performance of Greenjeans artisan and dancer/choreographer/costumer Rebecca Davis’ dance piece “The birds are here. I hear them” at The Chocolate Factory (Oct. 28)
- Tom Dubois’ bocote stem vase appears in Domino magazine (Nov. issue)
- Got our new 100% natural Talalay latex mattress in an organic cotton casing hand-sewn by an Amish couple in Ohio. Bought it from North Star Beds. Our sleeping lives are changed forever… (Nov. 17)
- Jae takes me for a wonderful birthday dinner at Brooklyn's divine organic restaurant Applewood (Nov. 10)
- Holiday Crafts fair at Park Avenue Armory. We meet Dan Dustin and his magical spoons (Dec. 3)
- Craft Fair at PS 321 (Dec. 10)
- Too many craft fairs to count! (all of Dec.)
- Transit worker’s strike leads Brooklynites to shop locally for the holidays. We have stellar sales! (Dec. 20-22)
- Tom Dubois' yew wood bark vase appears as a Fresh Find in Natural Home & Garden magazine (Jan/Feb 2006 issue)
- Christmas Eve in Westchester with Jae's family. Christmas Day in NH with my family.
- New Year’s Eve 7-course dinner at Sakura, the outstanding Japanese restaurant on 5th Ave. in the Slope.
- Fireworks at Grand Army Plaza at midnight!!

Wishing everyone peace, joy, love, and light! - Amy Shaw & Jae Kim

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Greenjeans in the Press!

Greenjeans artisan Tom Dubois' yew wood vase is a "Fresh Find" in the latest issue of Natural Home and Garden magazine!

"Woodturner Tom Dubois imagines that 'the spirit of the tree is found and released in a new form' in each wooden vessel he creates. Dubois' pieces are extraordinary for their variegated coloring and smooth texture. Yew wood-bark vase: $80. (718) 907-5835;"

See page 15 of the January/February 2006 issue to see it in person.

Wow, press kits really work!

Congratulations, Tom! And thanks, Natural Home and Garden!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Holidays!

It has been an eventful and intensely busy week, and we are very tired but very happy. Today is Christmas Eve and we will be open until 5pm. Then we have to close the shop and head up to spend the evening with Jae’s family in Westchester. Tomorrow morning bright and early it’s off to New Hampshire to spend Christmas Day with my family. We’ll be up there for a couple of days visiting with friends and relatives and getting some fresh winter air. Then it’s back to NYC on Tuesday night.

We will re-open on Wednesday, and will resume blogging then, too.

Until then, we wish all our blog readers and customers a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyful Kwanza, Solstice Greetings, and in the immortal words of George Costanza's dad, it’s Festivus for the rest of us!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

New Artisan: Frances Dunston

Frances Dunston has transformed the kitchen of her West Midwood home into a veritable soap-making factory. With the support of her husband, children, and a local small-business development network, she has launched LeOna Hurnice, a brand new line of mild, lightly scented glycerin and castile soaps that prove soap can have soul.

After raising five children and working full time for many years, Fran found herself nearing burn-out and decided the time had come for her to rediscover who she was and what she wanted out of life. Soap-making appealed to her, so she took a class to learn the basics and started experimenting at home. With her friends and family as willing testers and her teenage daughter her toughest critic, she developed a small line of products that are simple, mild, and long-lasting with no additives or preservatives. She made up labels and chose straightforward clear packaging so that the beauty and simplicity of the soaps stand as their own strongest selling point.

Though simple, LeOna Hurnice soaps are far from dull. The glycerin soaps come in pretty colors (purple, yellow, green, pink) and carry a very light orange patchouli fragrance. The loofah soap is a round glycerin soap with a slice of loofah suspended inside so you get some exfoliating action with your wash. The unscented castile soap is as classic as it gets: olive oil, water, and lye. And then there are the wonderful bath bombs (or, to be more pacifistic, bath fizzies) that create a wonderful geranium-rosemary scented mineral soak in your tub.

Fran and her helpful son delivered our order last weekend and already it is half sold out. But we hope to carry the fine, classic soaps of LeOna Hurnice at Greenjeans for a long time to come.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Transit Strike Chic

Today the city's mass transit workers went on strike shutting down all subways and busses in all five boroughs. People trying to get into the city had to either car pool, ride their bike, or walk, making for a fairly dramatic morning commute. Granted it has been extremely inconvienent for people, but in another respect it's kind of chic -- practically like living in Paris!

Where we are in the southern end of Park Slope, Brooklyn, many people opted to skip work today rather than hike the several miles through the cold to their offices in Manhattan. But evidently, rather than stay home, they came out in force to holiday shop.

This was good news for Brooklyn shops like Greenjeans. Sales in Manhattan may have been down dramatically today, but us Brooklyn shops had nothing to complain about! In terms of foot traffic, today was the busiest day we've ever had. There was hardly a minute that passed when there wasn't someone in the shop looking around. Many said they were glad to have the opportunity to check out the local shops, and we'd have to agree with them.

We hope that the transit workers and the MTA are able to come to an amenable agreement very soon so that everything can get back to normal. But in the meantime, we hope local residents will take this opportunity to continue to enjoy the neighborhood. Because shopping locally is always chic.

(Thanks to Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn for picking up this post!)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Notes on a Monday

This weekend, with weather so fair and days before Christmas so few, we had our busiest two days yet. Everyone seemed to be finding plenty of pleasing gifts and the mood was festive and fun. Today we are bushed, but it has been mercifully slow, with only a dozen or so customers coming in to look around and only a few purchases. We are looking forward to a long winter's nap tonight.

I wanted to share this picture today of the nativity set made by shop favorite Jane Kaufmann. We had good fun setting it up, using the shop's cactus to indicate the desert and setting the angel into flight by magic. (Ok, it's Jae's handy work with fishing line, see upper left.) We added the moose, cat, and snowman since we don't have any handmade donkeys, sheep, or other appropriate stable creature to include. But the set includes the 3 wise men, the angel Gabriel, 2 shepherds, Mary and Joseph, and the baby Jesus in a little manger. It is a little irreverent as her sculpture tends to be, but it makes for a wonderful holiday piece.

I also wanted to mention an article I read in the New York Times yesterday about how artists, artisans, and others in the "creative class" are moving out of NYC due to the increasingly high cost of living here compared with other cities around the country -- "New York, Once a Lure, Is Slowly Losing the Creative Set" by Jennifer Steinhauer. It's an interesting read, but it didn't tickle my feet -- Greenjeans is here to stay.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

New Artisan: Chelle Kraus

Today we debuted a new line of jewelry at Greenjeans by Manhattan-based artisan Chelle Kraus.

Chelle makes substantial, highly wearable silver pieces including earrings cast from ginko leaves and cuff bracelets impressed with shells and trilobyte that look almost like fossils. My favorite piece is the "porthole" cuff bracelet -- it looks amazing on, chic and funky at the same time. Most of her pieces have an appealing brushed surface, and they are all beautifully crafted and thoughtfully designed. Prices range from $45-$220. We will be getting more in once they're ready, so stay tuned...

And as with most other things at Greenjeans, no one else in the NYC area has these pieces, so if you're still looking for a thoroughly unique gift for someone who has seen it all, Chelle's jewelry would be just the thing!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Gift Ideas for Under $50

Hope everyone is finding wonderful gifts this holiday shopping season. If you're looking for interesting, beautifully handcrafted items, Greenjeans has great finds for under $50, including...
(click here for slideshow of items listed)

- Classic wooden toys (including fire trucks, waddle ducks, & sail boats that float) made in Maine by Frank Ridley (from $7, most $15-$40)

- Fun and funky Raku finger puppets (characters include "Gardening Angel," "Chocolate Moose," & "Woman with Balls," $24 each) and orbs (poppies, landscapes, $35-$38 each) by Jane Kaufmann

- Christmas stockings in pleasing colors and patterns made from reclaimed fabrics by local artisan Jennifer Lawrence ($48 each)

- Eclectic handmade sketch books and albums by local artisan and art teacher Beth Riemer ($18-$48)

- Lovely pottery tea bowls and mugs by New Hampshire artisans ($16-$40)

- Distinctive handbound journals with innovative stitching by local artisan Dennis Yuen ($15-$48)

- Sweet porcelain juice cups in vibrant dual-colors or polka dots by Mary Anne Davis ($16 each)

- Gorgeous flameworked handblown glass ornaments by Matt Eskuche ($23-$45)

- Fabulous earrings, from elegant to edgy, by jewelers from Seattle to New Hampshire (from $34)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Consumer Culture: Dollar Voting

The holiday shopping season is in full swing, and this year, in the spirit of conscientious living, we at Greenjeans ask you to consider the notion of the “dollar vote” as you shop for the people on your gift list.

The dollar vote is a concept economists use to describe how, in a market economy, consumers effectively vote for products—as well as how those products are produced, transported, marketed and sold—by spending their dollars. Through our “consumer sovereignty” we have the power to make our preferences known, one dollar vote at a time.

Founded on the social and aesthetic ideals upheld by the Shakers and the Arts and Crafts movement, Greenjeans promotes the values of craftsmanship, sustainability, and conscientious living by providing a source to find thoughtful, beautifully made objects for the home and children. From classic wooden toys and inviting pottery to fine porcelain dinnerware and handsome furniture, Greenjeans offers an exclusive selection of items made one-at-a-time by independent artisans, bringing traditions of fine handcraft to the urban market.

With an eye toward slowing the corporate-driven consumption cycle that exploits the global labor force and plants “big-box” stores in old cornfields, Greenjeans facilitates connections between people who care to own quality, handmade things and the skilled artisans who make them.

A dollar spent at Greenjeans is a vote for integrity, sustainability, and small-scale production. We invite you to shop with us this holiday season, and we wish you peace and joy.

A portion of proceeds from our holiday season sales will be donated to local charities.

(Thanks to Brooklyn's develop-don't-destroy blog No Land Grab for picking up this article!)

(Photo: Ben Rushton)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Studio Visit: Toymaker Frank Ridley

Originally uploaded by amyshaw.
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
- Thoreau (from Different Drummer Workshop’s brochure)

Back in November, Jae and I made a visit to Solon, Maine, where Frank Ridley lives and makes traditional wooden toys from local pine and maple. (Solon is in the middle of the state, north of Skowhegan, about 8 hours north of NYC.)

Click here for the virtual studio tour!

Ridely is a spirited, good-natured man who builds solid, gentle toys that are free from toxic finishes and made with mindfulness toward young children’s development and curiosities. “We believe,” he writes in his brochure, “that toys intended for children should be non-violent and simple in design, leaving the child to use his or her own imagination (instead of a battery) to fill in whatever details are needed at the time of play.” When we tell customers about Ridley, we often say he even looks like Santa’s brother. You can see why…

Ridley has been making wooden toys since 1973 when he and his family moved away from the “big city industrial rat race” to the Maine woods and set up Different Drummer Workshop. They cleared a yard, built a passive-solar log house from what they cut down, and built a barn that serves as the workshop. For a while he worked with his wife and children, but today it’s just him.

Evidence of Ridley's early life as an engineer is everywhere. The way he packs a box of toys is remarkable—everything fits together like a puzzle into a perfect, compact package. His house, a showcase of forward-thinking, ecologically-minded design, is heated in part by the carefully calculated therodynaic synergy between the long bank of south-facing windows and the massive Trombe wall that runs the entire height and length of the house.

Frank doesn’t seem to miss city living at all. Even after 32 years of toymaking, his work still gives him joy and he is passionate when talking about what he does. (He is also a huge fan of the Red Sox and the New England Patriots, but he and Jae, a long-time Yankees fan, still get along just fine.)

You can see him here in these pictures (click here for slideshow) packing our order, explaining the rules of traditional games, and fixing a busted helicopter that we brought up to him for repair on behalf of a customer. We are lucky to have found Frank Ridley. And we feel grateful to be able to offer our customers at Greenjeans his wonderful toys.

Click here to see what we have available through our Online Store. There are many more of Frank's toys and games to be found in our Brooklyn shop!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Consumer Culture: "Mass-Produced Individuality"

In today’s New York Times Magazine there appeared a short piece titled “Mass-Produced Individuality” that caught my eye. Written by Rob Walker, the piece talks about how companies are offering consumers options for customizing their mass-produced purchases in an attempt to help consumers feel that they are being served as individuals.

We’ve all heard in recent years (or has it been only months?) about products like the Toyota Scion, the bread-box shaped car that you can “customize” by choosing from lists of features and details from the color of your shift knob to whether or not you have a center arm rest. I’ve also noticed people talking about customizable sneakers (is it Adidas? Nike? Puma? All of the above?) where you get to pick the colors and laces and such. And then there’s Build-A-Bear Workshop at your local mall where kids are taught to expect to be catered to by the mass market, er, I mean where they get to “create” their own new friend.

These offerings seem to be a response by producers to help consumers feel like they have more control over their purchases, and maybe even that they’re getting something of higher quality since it’s “custom.” But I feel that the issue is swaying more toward the realm of overchoice than better choice. (This also smacks of a sprawling of “the blob,” "me-world," and our culture of options – see Tom de Zengotita’s writing, especially his outstanding recent book “Mediated.” Or check out this interview with him in The Brooklyn Rail from May '05.)

But my overwhelming response to the Times’ piece is that if the question is “what can save us” from the homogeneity of mass-production, why is the answer more technology and mass-production? Why not call for a return to small-scale production? I don’t necessarily mean making our own clothes and furniture like Walker mentions at the beginning of the piece, but rather buying quality products from artisans that you don’t need to replace during your lifetime. That way you get to own something that is not only truly unique, but also that is built to last. Because the mass-market relies on things breaking to sustain it—planned obsolescence is still a fact of design, maybe not in all cases, but who has a cell phone that’s lasted more than 2 years? Granted we’re having a hard time finding hand-made cell phones, and that’s not really my point. But I do think that if we want to find a real solution to the problem of preserving consumer individuality perhaps we should consider small-scale, artisan-based production.

From the article:

“Many people used to make their own clothes and build their own furniture. The Industrial Revolution, with technological innovations like power looms and power lathes, and now today's far-flung supply chains, made it easier and more practical to buy ready-made apparel and housewares. Lately, however, mass production has been cast not so much as the best thing that ever happened to consumers but as an annoyance, even a problem. It stands in the way of our individuality. What can save us?

“Of course the answer must be more technological innovation, and in the past several years there have been many attempts to tweak mass production (of everything from sneakers to M&M's) in ways that will deliver "mass customization" and "the one-to-one future," in which every single consumer gets unique treatment. …

“The new version of mass customization does not seek to turn back the clock to [the follow-a-pattern and do-it-yourself] era: do-it-yourself publications like Make and ReadyMade have their constituencies, but most people who want, say, "unique" footwear do not actually want to learn how to manufacture a shoe. They want to pick out a color scheme on a sneaker made by a company with vast and sophisticated manufacturing capabilities. Alienation from the means of production is a selling point."

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Acronym of the Day: LOHAS

A friend of Greenjeans recently introduced me to the phrase LOHAS, which stands for Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability. I'd never heard of the phrase before, but it seems right up our alley here at Greenjeans, where craftsmanship, sustainability, and conscientious living are our founding and guiding principles.

Our friend wrote that LOHAS is a movement that started in the U.S. but is more popular in her native Japan. She said that in the U.S. the equivalent would be things associated with organics, green, fair trade, sustainability, and so on. But LOHAS sounds like a more coherent movement idea to me. I wanted to know more.

So, as we 21st century folk do when confronted with a question, I googled. Indeed all but one of the top sites that came up was in Japanese. But the first hit was in English: From their website I found a definition and lots of information about conferences, business networks, and other resources to help those of us interested in this movement to connect.

From their website:

"Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) describes a $228.9 billion U.S. marketplace for goods and services focused on health, the environment, social justice, personal development and sustainable living. The consumers attracted to this market have been collectively referred to as Cultural Creatives and represent a sizable group in this country. Approximately 30 percent of the adults in the U.S., or 63 million people, are currently considered LOHAS Consumers."

I started a blog a few months ago called Conscientious Living ( where I planned to start exploring the possible connections between sustainability and commerce. But I am beginning to see that this Greenjeans Adventure blog is really where to engage such questions, since it is exactly these sorts of ideas that inspired Greenjeans and that form the basis of our work here.

So, here's to living mindfully of health and sustainability. Here's to LOHAS. Here's to Conscientious Living. And thank you, Yoshiko, for introducing me to such a helpful acronym!

And check out Yoshiko’s wonderful blog about cooking and living in Brooklyn with beautiful photos of meals she has prepared or eaten in restaurants: And a tip: if you use the “translate this page” function in Google you will get to understand something of what she’s writing (unless you can already read Japanese) that double as really wonderful, funny found-poems. But that’s for a blog entry on another day...

Friday, December 09, 2005

Tiger Maple Picnic Basket

Originally uploaded by amyshaw.
Amidst all this snow and wind today, let us think for a moment about summertime picnics!

Ray Lagasse of Lempster, NH, makes the kind of generous, beautiful, useful baskets that will inspire you to prepare lovely light suppers to carry to the park, the way a nice big copper pot can encourage hearty batches of soup.

His trademark is the special hardwood he uses for the interior bottoms and, as in this case, the tops of his sturdy baskets. They are just exactly what a good basket should look like, feel like, and serve like, but they have the added
value of a peculiarly gentle beauty. Something about them reminds me of the grace of spotting a deer in the forest.

This particular double-hinged picnic basket (click here for slideshow) that we just brought in yesterday has the most handsome piece of dark tiger maple we've ever seen. It is rich and ribbony and has more character than you'd think a piece of wood could. The photos in the slideshow don't do it justice, but they hint at the idea.

The interior bottom of the basket is nothing to sneeze at, either. It's made of 4 panes of bird's eye maple and some lighter tiger maple fastened with brass tacks. It vividly speaks to the care and attention Ray gives to his work that the bottom should be so fine.

All of the wood is polished smooth with non-toxic, all-natural Block Oil. And the piece is signed and dated on one of the protective bottom runners.

We have a number of other baskets in different sizes and shapes as well, including a deep wool-gathering basket, a jaunty round serving tray, and an elegant longer piece called the double-pie basket (because it's made to fit two pies side by side -- very holiday handy!) We also have a wine basket made with a long harness leather-covered handle designed to carry 2 bottles.

Come check them out at Greenjeans!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Stockings & Ornaments

Stockings & Ornaments
Originally uploaded by amyshaw.
"...The stockings were hung on the pegboard with care..."

Bring these one-of-a-kind handmade stockings and ornaments into your home and create new holiday heirlooms that you and your children—and their children!—will treasure.

The stockings are the coolest take on this Christmas tradition we've ever seen. They're made from appealing fabrics like silk shantung and soft cotton brocade. The colors are festive without screaming "Christmas" -- such a relief! Park Slope artisan Jennifer Lawrence (Rehash) makes them, and as with her pillows and curtains we have at Greenjeans, they're made from reclaimed fabrics.

We have two lines of ornaments, one in glass and one in turned wood.

The gorgeous flameworked blown glass ornaments are by Matt Eskuche (Ess Vetro) of Milwaukee. Matt’s ornaments are every bit as mysterious and enchanting as the perfume bottles and tiny lampworked dogs and nymphs that Greenjeans shoppers love.

The elegant turned wood ornaments are fashioned from exotic woods like zebrawood, tulipwood, and quilted maple. They are by Tom Dubois of Eliot, Maine, the artisan who also makes the much-admired ring boxes and yew wood vessels we have at the shop.

Embrace the warmth and soul of one-of-a-kind handmade holiday decorations – and remember: you won’t find them anywhere else in NYC!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

New Artisan: Dan Dustin, Spoonmaker

Originally uploaded by amyshaw.
Unless you've seen Dan Dustin's spoons before, you've never seen anything like Dan Dustin's spoons (click here for slideshow). Holding one is like touching the warm heart of a tree. They are soft and supple and alive, and they will change your mind about spoons being at all banal. We are honored to have his spoons as the newest addition to Greenjeans.

Each wooden spoon that Dan Dustin makes begins with a walk in the New Hampshire woods. He says that the trees make the spoons and he just discovers them. But his method is a little more involved than that.

The best spoons reflect the natural curves formed in branches and trunks by a tree reaching for light. Dustin, who lives in Contoocook, NH, makes spoons from mountain laurel (known as spoonwood), lilac, and blueberry bushes, and apple and peach trees. (All of the spoons at Greenjeans are made of either laurel or lilac.) He finds an appropriate branch preferably from wood left behind from timber harvests, but sometimes from a standing tree. Then he splits, hews, and shaves the wood into the form of a spoon, allowing the grain and the feel of the wood to guide his cuts.

The spoon is then heated under beeswax and walnut oil to replace the sap, filling and hardening the wood. This makes the spoon very strong yet flexible, with a hard surface but yielding to the hand. Finally the spoon is rubbed with orange and walnut oils that he buys at his local health food store and mixes himself.

Dustin, whose work has been exhibited at New York's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, says that historically utensils made from pewter and silver have been more valued than wooden ones. But he believes he is helping change that. People value his spoons. "They not only collect them," he says, "but they travel with their favorite."

His work has inspired the novel Spoonwood by Ernest Herbert, about a man who retreats into the woods with his infant son and makes a living by carving wooden spoons with primitive tools. He is also the subject of a forthcoming graphic novel.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Felted Wool Mobile Escapes the Nursery

Felted Wool Mobile
Originally uploaded by amyshaw.
Greenjeans is full of unusual things, but one of the objects that most inspires wonder is this felted wool mobile by Ohio-based artists Chris Rom and Geoff Buddie. Visitors sometimes get caught up gazing at its red cones, gold balls, and white clouds twisting and drifting around one another from delicate filaments tied to hand-tooled metal bars. This one has a sister toward the back of the shop of greens, grays, and light blue. We think they would look smashing over the dining room table or at the top of the stairs. No need to relegate mobiles to the nursery!

Rom and Buddie are a husband-and-wife team working together to create sculptures reflecting their shared aesthetic for what I would call the "surreal-yet-friendly." They met in high school art class in Cleveland, went on together to art school, and then set out to make a career as potters. However they soon tired of the repetition of pottery production and turned to dying, felting, and sculpting wool. Their sculptures do still sometimes include clay elements, as in “Smokestack” and the “Ballerinas” we have at the shop (images forthcoming). I don’t know of any other artists working in a combination of clay and wool, but it is a surprisingly appealing pairing.

Their uniqueness and skill aren’t going unnoticed. This past spring the couple was honored with the Artists' Choice Award from a field of 175 entrants at the CraftBoston show. And they have shown in many juried shows including the prestigious American Craft Council fair. As they gain more recognition and continue to develop their wonderful work, we hope to help spark a keen following for the singularly playful and mysterious sculpture by the couple we fondly refer to in-house as “BuddieRom.”