Monday, December 31, 2007

Greenjeans Year in Review: 2007


In a matter of hours, 2007 will be all over. The year flew by for us at Greenjeans, but looking back through the days I can see we accomplished a lot!

Overall we enjoyed a year of considerable growth and we count our many blessings.

We are grateful to our regular customers and new customers alike for making it possible to open our doors every day. We are grateful to the craft community for embracing our efforts and inviting us into the fold. We are grateful to each of the 60+ artisans and artists we work with for the fine works they create and their generous spirits. We are grateful to our family and friends for their support and encouragement. And we are grateful to each other for being constantly committed and passionate about our work, qualities that make this adventure exciting and rewarding beyond anything else we've ever done.

In 2007, we added several wonderful new artisans to our roster: Elisa Difeo whose incised porcelain cups instantly became a shop favorite; woodworker David Emerson whose fine Shaker peg boards now grace many a Brooklyn hallway; Hiroko Kurihara whose wool scarves are as warm and beautiful as her business practices and who introduced us to the Park Slope Women's Shelter sparking the beginning of a great neighborly relationship; Keith Lebenzon whose handmade artist brushes have amazed and delighted the lucky artists who have found them on our shelves; Valerie Mitchell whose sculptural, botanical silver work inspired our Summer Succulents jewelry exhibition; 91-year-old Bill Summers who makes sublime jewelry boxes from butternut wood; Ruth Tomlinson whose porcelain jewelry captivated us the moment we saw it; and last but not least the students of Berea College in Kentucky who make wonderful old-fashioned brooms, woven placemats and napkins, and traditional baskets in exchange for tuition. We thank each of you for your fine work and wonderful spirit!

To mention just a few highlights from the year, we (finally!) launched our website and e-newsletter; mounted our first two exhibitions ("Summer Succulents" and "Garbage Collection"); found ourselves the subjects of a piece on couples in business together for the CBS Early Show; juried the showcase exhibitions for the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen's Fair (part 1 and part 2); spoke at the American Craft Council about blogging and the handmade and posted our tips; and offered picks as a Featured Buyer on Etsy.

We also developed this blog, which as of today weighs in at 352 posts and reaches hundreds of readers each week. We added virtual studio visits with video, and categories making it easier to find our reviews, virtual studio visits, and essays.

Now we are ready to jump into 2008 with plans to amp up our publicity efforts, enrich and expand our website, find great new artisans and works to offer our customers, and continue our efforts to build the market for craft and champion the relevance and excitement of craft today.

There is a lot in store for 2008, and to keep up with what's going on at Greenjeans be sure to read this blog, and also subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter (click here and scroll down). We want to share our adventure with you, and hope you'll stay with us for all that is to come!

Now it's time to get all dressed up and head out to celebrate the turning of the year! See you in 2008!

With our best wishes to you and your families for health, happiness, peace, and prosperity in the New Year,

- Amy & Jae

Photo by Anders Bergstrom taken New Year's Eve 2006.

Greenjeans Year in Review 2006
Greenjeans Year in Review 2005

Saturday, December 29, 2007

FS Call for Entries, New Jewelry Studio Space

We're back at Greenjeans for the weekend in between our Christmas trip to New Hampshire and a few days off for New Year's. Things feel much calmer compared with last weekend's frenzied last-minute shopping! It all went by so fast.

We will be putting a big batch of things on sale for a couple weeks of January, since that seems to be what one does if one runs a shop in these parts. Plus we want to make room for all the great new work we'll be adding to the shop in 2008! Stay tuned for a sneak peek at the sale on the blog, but come in for the best selection.

Finally, some announcements to share with you that have come across my desk recently:


New Brooklyn Studio Space for Jewelers

This January, a new jewelry making workspace called Fluxworks Studios is opening in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and the organizers are looking for jewelers seeking rental space. Fluxworks will be in a 1000 sq. ft. space equipped with the basic jewelry making tools and machines. Call 917-359-3910 or email fluxworksny@gmail.com to learn more.


Call for Entries from the Furniture Society

The Furniture Society is inviting submissions for a juried show called Multiplicity: the Art of the Furniture Prototype, to be presented at the 11th annual Furniture Society conference in Purchase New York on June 3, 2008. Cash prizes will be awarded, and the winning pieces will be exhibited at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City in May. To learn more, click here.


Enjoy the weekend!

Posted by Amy Shaw.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Jae's Famous Mulled Apple Cider


If you've been to Greenjeans this holiday season, chances are you've enjoyed a cup (or at least the aroma) of fresh hot mulled apple cider. Jae has been mixing up big batches all month and we keep it percolating in a giant stockpot over candleflame in the shop. We'll be serving it up until Christmas Eve, so come by for some if you haven't yet!

It's been such a hit that many of you have asked for the recipe. So without further ado...!


JAE'S FAMOUS MULLED APPLE CIDER

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 gallons apple cider (preferably local, organic, free-range, LEED-certified, etc.)
3 navel oranges
3 lemons
6 cinnamon sticks
3 Tbsp. whole cloves
3 Tbsp. whole allspice berries
3 Tbsp. crystallized ginger, chopped

Using a large square of rinsed unbleached cotton cheesecloth, prepare a bouquet garni with the cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, and ginger. Add the zest of one orange and one lemon. Form into a sack and tie closed with cotton string.

Juice all the lemons and oranges (including the ones you zested). Strain out seeds.

Combine the apple cider, citrus juice, and bouquet garni in a great big stock pot. Heat to just below the simmering point. Do not boil. Allow to steep over low heat for 45 minutes - 1 hour. (You can leave it on the stove with heat off overnight to develop more flavor.) Skim any sediment that rises to the top. Discard bouquet garni. Serve warm. Spike with rum or brandy if desired/necessary!


This is a fun recipe to experiment with. Jae derived it from one of Oprah's, but he eliminated the added sugar and amped up the flavor. You could try making it spicier with black peppercorns and dried chilies, or fruitier by adding chopped pears, apples, and cherries. Have fun, and enjoy!

Posted by Amy Shaw. Image by missginsu sourced right here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The NY Times on Craft & the Internet


This past weekend, the New York Times Magazine published an extensive piece about craft and the Internet titled Handmade 2.0.

Covering the phenomena of Etsy as proof positive that high technology is fostering a resurgence of traditionally low-tech practices, the piece covers some serious ground.

It is thrilling to see craft receive attention from such a widely-read mainstream publication. Anyone who thinks craft is musty and old-fashioned, or that craft is going nowhere, really needs to get online!

Ok, back to holiday shopping!

Photo by Thomas Hannich for The New York Times of crocheted laptop by Joana Vasconcelos. Posted by Amy Shaw.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Last-minute New Arrivals!

We received two big boxes of stuffed toys by Judy Geagley today!

Humpty Dumptys, Heart Bunnies, and Flat Elephants are back in abundance.

And we have some new friends too! Made from recycled sweaters, the Baby Octopus (shown right), Seahorse, Duck, Starfish, and Knotty Pig are all soft and adorable. Come in to see for yourself! (Priced $15 - $34).

I've also included a picture here of the journals by Dennis Yuen we still have available. They are a perfect last-minute gift. ($44 - $78).

Today's the last day to order for shipment, so if there's something here you like, call us up! We'll accept phone orders until 7pm (718-907-5835).


Posted and photos by Amy Shaw.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Last Call for Holiday Orders!!

We will be accepting online orders and any other orders for shipment ONLY UNTIL TOMORROW, December 18th, at 5pm!!!

If you'd like to place an order for something you do not see on the website, give us a call: 718-907-5835.

Cheers!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More Holiday Gift Guide 2007


Tonight (Dec. 13) some 150 shops in Park Slope are staying open until 10pm to celebrate the season!

This first-annual Snowflake Celebration is also a way for us to thank our neighbors for shopping locally this holiday and all throughout the year. Come out tonight to share in the cheer!

Now, if you're still looking for great gifts, you have plenty of time. Naturally, Greenjeans has something special for everyone on your list (and for you!). We box things up very nicely, too, and ship anywhere in the world.

Style meets substance, craft becomes luxury, and luxury is always a great gift!

TO ORDER: Call us at 718-907-5835 or email info@greenjeansbrooklyn.com. Great items also available in our online store! Remember, we ship anywhere...

Porcelain cups, bowls, and plates in holiday vintage colors like dark red and cream by Mary Anne Davis ($18-$116).

Who doesn't wish they owned a classic picnic basket? This one by Ray Lagasse is perfection ($300).

And if you like that one, we have lots more... ($80-$450).

Looking for something fabulous and slightly off-the-wall? A finger puppet by Japanese puppet maker Aya*shii will amaze and delight ($200).

Sculptural plates by Chris Rom and Geoff Buddie would also fit the bill (though they're more "on-the-wall"...) ($100 each).

This chunky brushed silver ring beats five golden ones any day. By Chelle Kraus.

Adorn with this ginko-shaped pendant fashioned from a photo of an orchid set in a sterling silver bezel. By Alison Mackey ($150).


Warm and SOFT, these handwoven scarves and shawls by Brooklyn weaver Susan Weltman make luxurious yet practical gifts ($80-$200).

Built from hand-tooled stainless steel, fine leather, and rivets, the Slim Bag by Wendy Stevens evokes the chic of a sleek and sexy Art Deco lighter ($360).

A pleasing covered pot to keep cloves of garlic fresh. By John Zentner ($35).

Fine texture, rich color, and a pleasing shape. We have only two of these teacup and saucer sets, and they make a lovely pair. By John Zentner ($36 each. Call to order.)

Snow white and iceberg blue swirl around this porcelain tea bowl by Kit Cornell ($25).

The armless Eberhart Rocking Chair by Brian Braskie is handsome, gorgeously finished, and a very pleasant seat ($750, call for orders and availability).

Our freshly replenished supply of Solmate Socks runneth over... ($16-$20, sizes infant to adult).

In refreshing candy colors, Renato Foti's fused glass coasters are a great "little something" ($28 per pair).

Reclaimed fabrics in sun-washed stripes (remember summer?) cover these riveted journals and albums by local art teacher Beth Riemer ($28-52).

Nativity Set by Jane Kaufmann ($225. Smaller set also available.)

Children's books published by Brooklyn's-own sister-run Enchanted Lion Books are artfully illustrated and tell extraordinary tales. 7 titles available ($16.95).

Hand-cut dovetails and a satiny finish are the hallmarks of quality that distinguish David Emerson's Shaker totes. Use them to help organize your mail, your project table, or your electronics. ($82-$170).

Any artists on your list? They would love one of these artist's brushes handmade from natural animal fibers and bamboo by Keith Lebenzon ($25-$170).

When you purchase a stylish boiled wool scarf by Hiroko Kurihara, you are also donating a handmade polar fleece scarf to the Park Slope Women's Shelter. Double happiness! ($80-$215).

Made from reclaimed sweaters, Judy Geagley's stuffed baby toys are as sweet and well-loved as her bears, bunnies, and Humpty Dumptys ($15. A big order of Judy's toys is on its way!)

A friendly angel with peaceful wishes by Jane Kaufmann ($25).

This wagon filled with blocks is toddler-perfect. Toxin-free, it is made of 100% untreated Maine pine by Frank Ridley ($49).

Bring an elegant funkiness to your look wearing a artisan-made bracelet by Lisa Crowder, Valerie Mitchell, or Kristina Kada ($125-$410).

Perfect for holiday parties, succulent green stones adorn these delicious necklaces and earrings by Chelle Kraus ($60-$180).

Click here for Part I of Greenjeans' 2007 Holiday Gift Guide!

Posted and photos by Amy Shaw.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

We're Blushing!




Thanks to Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn for including Greenjeans in this year's Park Slope 100!







Images sourced here.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

New Arrivals! (Sculpture, Scarves, Baskets)

We are getting new work in every single day now that the holidays are here. It's a very busy time for us, and I wish I could get everything online right away for you to see, but it's a challenge!

Here is a peek at brand new sculpture by Chris Rom & Geoff Buddie, fabric-covered journals and photo albums by Beth Riemer, soft, vibrant scarves by Susan Weltman, and a cornucopia of big beautiful baskets by Ray Lagasse.

Also in store, new jewelry in by Lisa Crowder, classic brooms by students at Berea College, and a great selection of non-toxic wooden toys by Frank Ridley.

Come shop at Greenjeans early to find the best selection of fabulous handmade holiday gifts for everyone on your list! To order or reserve something you see here, give us a call (718-907-5835) or email (info@greenjeansbrooklyn.com) since these works are not in the online store yet...

At the top, new porcelain bottle sculptures by Chris Rom & Geoff Buddie of Ohio ($90 each).

Beautifully handwoven baskets with hardwood bottoms and lids by Ray Lagasse of New Hampshire ($80-$450, most around $150).

Journals and photo albums covered in reclaimed fabrics with expandable riveted bindings by Beth Riemer, a public school art teacher and Brooklyn native. Available in three sizes ($28, $40, and $52. Largest size not shown).

Hand-woven of silk, alpaca, and wool in the artist's Brooklyn studio, these luxurious scarves by Susan Weltman offer warmth and a rich punch of color ($80-$200).

Sculptural stoneware bottles by Chris Rom & Geoff Buddie ($90 each).

A set of three kinetic tile wall sculptures of ceramic, wire, and felted wool by Chris Rom & Geoff Buddie ($130 for set of 3).

A second set of kinetic wall tiles by Chris Rom & Geoff Buddie ($130 for the set).

Meant for the wall, not the table, these porcelain plates by Chris Rom & Geoff Buddie play with the concept of function in craft ($100 each).

Posted by Amy Shaw. Photos by Amy Shaw and Jae Kim.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Things to See and Do

Is is a wintery day in Brooklyn. The air is filled with gentle white snow. The Nutcracker is playing in the background, and shoppers enter Greenjeans happy to find it warm and inviting.

Being a shopkeeper during holiday time is quite a full-time job, leaving me little time to blog. But I wanted to share a couple of announcements that have come "across my desk" recently.

Hope you're all staying well and warm!

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From our friend and journal maker Judy Lee of Five and a Half:

ModernMart
TONIGHT! (Wed. 12/5, 7-9pm)
Design Within Reach
124 Huston St. (at N. Moore) in Tribecca (212.219.2217)

A special evening of holiday shopping at Design Within Reach, curated by Supermarket. It'll be a night of gift bags, chocolate, music and champagne, and a stellar selection of independently-designed goods by guest designers.

Besides Five and a Half, other designers who will be there are:
Lotta Jansdotter, Deadly Squire, Maxx & Unicorn, Prismera Design, Sleepyheads, Loyalty & Blood, Domestic Rehab, Have Some Patience, and Sovereign Beck.

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From the Society of Arts and Crafts Newlestter:

2008 SAC Artist Awards: Call for Entries
Application Deadline: January 4, 2008

New John D. Mineck Furniture Award and Increased Award Amounts!

Initiated in 1994, the Artist Awards encourage and support the work of New England craft artists who demonstrate a mastery of their craft media and create original and innovative work.

This year marks the establishment of the John D. Mineck Award in Furniture, funded by the John D. Mineck Foundation. John was a long-time friend and supporter of SAC and past president of the Board.

Three artists will each receive a $3,000 cash award and be included in a group exhibition to take place at The Society of Arts and Crafts on Newbury Street from June - August 2008.

The awards are open to all craft artists currently residing in New England (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT). Students are not eligible. Work in all craft media (ceramics, fiber, glass, metal, wood and mixed media) will be considered . Two of the awards will be in any media and one award will be dedicated to furniture.

To apply log onto: http://www.callforentry.org

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From the American Craft Council:

New American Craft Magazine Website

The American Craft Council is pleased to announce the launch of its new web site dedicated to American Craft magazine, www.americancraftmag.org. With more stories, reviews and listings, including one of the most comprehensive craft calendars in the United States, www.americancraftmag.org is poised to become the meeting spot for makers from all mediums. Please take a look, tell a friend and enjoy!

Posted and photo by Amy Shaw.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Greenjeans Review: Extreme Embroidery at Museum of Arts & Design

PRICKED: EXTREME EMBROIDERY is a rich showcase of contemporary embroidered work created by 48 artists from 17 countries now on view at the Museum of Arts & Design in New York City.

The show, presented on three floors of the museum, offers up a feast of color, technique, materials, experimentation, and ideas. Appearing in dozens of different and unexpected manifestations, embroidery is presented here as a vital and relevant creative form no longer relegated to the confines of a wooden hoop propped upon a lady’s lap.

The strength of the show is the way it conveys how much embroidery can DO. Artists are applying embroidery, not only to make (or modify) needlepoint on fabric, but also to sketch, paint, tattoo, upholster, sculpt, write, adorn, and embellish. Captured on film, embroidering even takes on an aspect of performance. There are great examples of each chameleon turn here, many worthy of mention and more than I have space to address.

Of particular note is David Willburn’s “Let’s Try This Again Tomorrow,” a ghost-like rendering of two chairs stitched right into the gallery wall. Also particularly interesting is Nara Lubelki’s “Clumsy,” for which she traced in red stitches the large stain on a yellow tablecloth. Works by Maira Kalman, Tilleke Schwarz, and Andrea Dezs√∂ are engaging as they break aesthetic and even socio-cultural rules of embroidering on fabric. There is also plenty of technical virtuosity on view to please the skill connoisseur.

Since embroidery is often rendered in beautiful colorful threads of glistening silk, the eye candy quotient is delightfully high. Stephen Beal evokes the sheer aesthetic joy of encountering a variegated rainbow display of embroidery floss in a fabric store, as well as his own synesthesia, in “Periodic Table of the Artist’s Colors.” And Angelo Filomeno’s large embroidery on silk shantung (shown top) is pure dazzle, especially in person.

As these works demonstrate, embroidery is inherently superficial. Yet while its effect is to create a surface, embroidery is always also through and beneath. Some artists explore that aspect, with Xiang Yang exposing long lengths of gossamer “guts” between two surfaces placed several feet apart, and many others leaving the ends of threads to dangle on the surface or exposing the back or “wrong” sides of the work.

While there is a lot of wonderful work to see, the exhibition doesn’t take the viewer very far beyond the works themselves, and I found this to be disappointing. Clever ideas and eye candy can only take a curious viewer so far, and then they are going to start craving more substance. For example, while the exhibition does acknowledge how many men are now embracing this craft form traditionally associated with women’s work—a nod to gender context—I would have liked to see more contextualizing (in terms of labor, art history, fashion, material culture…).

I also noticed that embroidery done by hand appears in the show side-by-side with machine embroidery, as does studio work with designs “shopped out” to workshops overseas. This presents an opportunity to engage issues of labor and authorship that would have made for a meaty essay.

Regardless of these shortcomings, I definitely recommend this exhibition. PRICKED is a logical and welcome follow-up to RADICAL LACE AND SUBVERSIVE KNITTING, (which I reviewed in this blog here.) As the press release aptly states, “Like Radical Lace, this new exhibition challenges the way the public views the contemporary evolution of an ancient art.” Both shows are doing a great service to craft by presenting it in a bold and refreshing way.

As a final note, be sure to also check out CHEERS! A MAD COLLECTION OF GOBLETS on view in the lower level of the museum (thru March 9). This show is like a fabulous dessert at the end of a good meal, offering a totally different texture and feel, short and sweet and exploding with flavor. The show includes a great piece by Matthew Eskuche (whose work we show at Greenjeans and recently featured in GARBAGE COLLECTION)—imagine limp, deflated clear glass goblets hung with clothespins on a line, dripping dry...

Posted by Amy Shaw. Image courtesy of the Museum of Arts & Design.

[Previous Greenjeans Reviews]