Friday, August 29, 2008

Goin' up to the Country...

Time to get away for a few days! Will be back from Vermont and blogging again Tuesday.

Have a great long weekend!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Help Blue Marble Ice-Cream's "Sweet Dream"

I love when two of my great passions come together. In this case it's an unlikely combo: Blue Marble ice-cream and international sustainable development.

Brooklyn's delicious, independent, local-milk-using ice-creamery Blue Marble has a good idea, and they need your help to make it happen.

They want to open another delicious, independent, local-milk-using ice-creamery... in Rwanda.

Hyue (formerly Butare) is one of Rwanda's largest cities, a college town and considered the intellectual capital of the country. Blue Marble's idea is to develop a dairy farm near to the city while launching an ice cream shop in town that will be managed by local women. Their project will create much-needed sources of income, as well as a sense of progress and a new source of joy (because who isn't happy when they're eating ice cream?)

The shop's name will be Sweet Dreams, but they need your votes to get American Express to fund it.

Cast your vote here to help Blue Marble win the Amex Members Project contest. It's free and it only takes 30 seconds. There you can read more about their project idea as well.

Act soon, like now, 'cause the deadline for voting is Sept. 1!

Good luck Alexis, Jennie, and Odile!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
3-D model of Earth made entirely of ice-cream sourced on Perdue U.'s website here.

Origins of the Peace Symbol

A bit of knowledge to amaze your your friends with at parties:

"The peace symbol was born from the flag positions that represent the letters 'N' and 'D' used to communicate nuclear disarmament. Gerald Holtom, a graphic designer who figured that the British anti-nuke movement would gain more traction if it had a logo, settled on this final approach and the symbol was developed."

Huh! How 'bout that.

Read more about it on Symblogogy, posted when the peace symbol turned 50 back in March.

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Image sourced here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

I came across this bit of prose today and couldn't help but share it. 1960s flower children might recognize it, or so I've read. It's very beautiful and well-put, even if it reads slightly fortune-cookie-ish to me at moments. Like the world's most earnest and thoughtful graduation speech ever.

Imagine hearing someone say these things at one of the Conventions this week...! That probably won't happen, so we'll just have to remind ourselves.

by Max Ehrmann, 1927

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant, they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.

With all its shame, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Hat tip to Scott Jordan Furniture.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vacation Season - Taking a Virtual Holiday

It is the height of vacation season. The neighborhood is empty of locals and full of tourists. Friends are out of town. Double-decker buses packed with sight-seers pass by my window over the Manhattan Bridge, flashing pictures of the city at night.

Surrounded as I am by the wonders of New York City, I find myself beset by wanderlust because as much as I've wanted to, I just haven't managed to get away this summer. I work a lot, and though I do take a day off here and there, I haven't done much traveling lately.

So tonight I decided to go through the vacation pictures I've taken over the past few years, most of which were road trips to visit artists and artisans for Greenjeans, or weddings, or both. (Most of which, too, were taken during an apparently prolific period of travel in the late summer/early fall 2006. Yup, it's been a while!) It didn't cure my wanderlust, but it was pleasant and did slake my thirst.

In case you have wanderlust too, here are some links to blog postings and Flickr sets from Greenjeans vacations past. Enjoy the trip!

Milwaukee - inc. Wisconsin State Fair
Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin
Chicago - inc. Asian ceramics at the Art Institute & Millennium Park

Hudson, NY - inc. storefronts on Warren St.
Fall in Vermont and NH - inc. taxidermy-filled general store in northern VT

Bread & Puppet Museum in Glover, VT (Oct 06) * a favorite!!

For links to all the Virtual Studio Visits, which include even more pics, click here.

(If you'd like to share pics of your summer vacation, please do! Maybe leave a link in the comments...)

Posted and photo of Taliesin by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Timeline for New Greenjeans

Ever have one of those days when you work and work and work, but feel like you don't get anything done?

Well, that's been my whole summer.

My list of things to do -- improve the Greenjeans Webshop, develop a new business plan, find a great new location -- remains unticked.

I guess sometimes things just take longer than we initially think they should.

And so, I am revising my timeline for the next phase of Greenjeans:

Rather than push to reopen this Fall, I am now projecting a grand re-opening for Spring 2009. We had intended to be up-and-running in our new space for the holidays, but I'm afraid to accomplish that would mean settling on a less-than-excellent new space, and I certainly don't want to compromise.

So over the coming months we'll continue to do the Brooklyn Flea, focusing on the Fall Furniture Festival at the Flea that will run through the month of October, and getting the Webshop in better shape so we can handle all your holiday shopping online.

Of course, you can always contact us to order from Greenjeans, bypassing the Webshop if you prefer.

(Jae and I will also continue freelancing -- me doing research, writing, and editing, and Jae doing graphic design. So if you or someone you know needs a team to produce a report or publication, please do keep us in mind!)

I will be posing questions to all you loyal readers from time to time about things like our space's new name (Gallery Greenjeans?), our new logo (or lack thereof?), our website (what works, what doesn't?) and so on.

Feel free at any time to send me an email and let me know what you think. We really want to improve things for you, so your comments are invaluable!

Thanks to everyone who has asked about our progress, and to everyone who is pulling for us from afar! Your support keeps us keepin' on.

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans. Image sourced here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Brooklyn Flea Presents: The Greenjeans Fall Furniture Festival!

From the barn workshops of Vermont to the lofts of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, our region is full of talented furniture makers who rarely get a chance to show their work in the Big City.

That is about to change because this fall the fine folks of the fabulous Brooklyn Flea will present the first Greenjeans Fall Furniture Festival!

The Greenjeans Fall Furniture Festival will take place over the four Sundays in October under a big tent at Fort Greene’s popular outdoor market, the Brooklyn Flea. (The Sundays are 10/5, 10/12, 10/19, and 10/26.)

Each Sunday, we will present work by a co-curated group of six to eight different furniture makers, focusing on the kind of furniture you need – chairs, counter-height stools, end tables, coffee tables, and more.

As always, we will offer as much ecologically responsible work as possible, including furniture made from reclaimed or sustainably-produced materials and treated with non-toxic finishes. All furniture presented will be the makers' own designs and beautifully crafted. And we’re focusing on local furniture makers (Brooklyn and surrounding 200 miles radius or so), but are open to more distant possibilities, too.

For a roster of furniture makers in the Festival, details about a great raffle, and more, stay tuned to the Furniture Festival page on our website.

The Furniture Festival will also kick off the new phase of Greenjeans, and (hopefully) will correspond with the opening of our new location. Stay tuned for more on that, too…

To learn more or if you're a furniture maker interested in possibly participating, contact us.

Come discover a bounty of fresh local furniture this October at the Greenjeans Fall Furniture Festival!
Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Image: Amy at the Brooklyn Flea, April 2008.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Visit to Pritam & Eames

On Thursday August 7, we escaped the busy city for a day in the East End of Long Island. We had made a date to go meet Bebe Pritam Johnson and Warren Eames Johnson -- of the eponymous East Hampton studio furniture gallery Pritam & Eames -- whom I've been inspired by from afar for years.

I took a bunch of pictures and they're all here in this Flickr set. Click on the pictures to read descriptions.

Bebe and Warren are a husband-and-wife team who decided to open a furniture gallery almost 30 years ago. Today Pritam & Eames is THE place to go to collect very fine furniture by American artisans. And we wanted to go sit at their feet and learn as much as we could from them.

But first, we wanted to explore the Hamptons a bit. Jae wanted to go all the way out to the end of the island (to Montauk) and I just HAD to see if we could track down the fabled Grey Gardens (we found it!! The picture's in the Flickr set.)

We made it to the gallery at about 5:00 where we were greeted by Bebe and Warren, then treated to an in-depth tour of the work on view. There was so much to look at and so much to learn! We took lots of pictures and asked lots of questions.

The gallery tour led to glasses of wine a tour of the Johnson's home which is filled with not only the most incredible examples of late 20th century American furniture, but also cabinetry, flooring, and furniture by Warren who has transformed this cedar-clapboard seaside cottage into a very personal Arts & Crafts-inspired home. Here I took more pictures, but my photography skills simply cannot do justice to the magnificent collection the Johnson's have accumulated over time.

Someone -- American Craft Magazine or a thoughtful interiors magazine -- MUST come and photograph the Johnson's home. It is absolutely wonderful!

After dinner in Sag Harbor, we went back to their home to wait out the torrential rainstorm that had suddenly descended (and run our soaking wet clothes through the dryer...). I think we could have stayed up all night talking about the gallery business, furniture, and the state of craft, but by midnight the rain had stopped and we headed back to Brooklyn.

It was fantastic meeting the Johnson's and we're most grateful for their generosity and hospitality. Looking forward to next time!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

League of NH Craftsmen's Fair Blog

It is midway through the annual League of New Hampshire Craftsmen's Fair -- this year running August 2-10 -- and I am stuck in NYC, missing it.

So I was really excited to see that the League has launched the brand new League Blog and is blogging the fair this year!

There are entries about fair set-up, artisans sharing perspectives, and a rundown of this year's winners of juried prizes. And this looks to be just the beginning!

I had a great time at the Fair last year (and blogged about it right here and here), and miss being there again this year. It's such an extraordinary event, so if you're in the area, don't miss it!

But if you can't make it, the League Blog is the next best thing! (You can subscribe via RSS feed, too.)

(P.S. I know I said I'd have an announcement today. I'm very eager to share, but it's not ready yet. Thank you for your patience...!)

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Image sourced here.
Top image: Juried League members Gordon Keeler (R) and Ethan Hamby.
Bottom image: Preparing exhibits.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Brooklyn Flea on Brian Lehrer

On today's Brian Lehrer Show -- my fave New York public radio program -- Brooklyn Flea manager Eric Demby came on to talk about the recent hiccups between the Flea and the Catholic church across the street, or in his words "the controversy that never was and never will be."

He got cut short JUST before mentioning the project we're working on together and that I'll announce formally tomorrow: showcasing a co-curated group of local furniture makers throughout the month of October at the Flea (!!!!)

Scan forward to the 9:10 mark to get to the Flea segment. (The bit before about the Monroe St. Market in Bushwick is definitely worth a listen too.)

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Friday, August 01, 2008

An Extra Hand

At one point during the salon at the American Craft Council last week, Bruce Metcalf made a comment about all the useless scraps he has from his jewelry-making. Co-panelist Chanel Kennebrew challenged him to use the scraps to make new work, or even sell them on Etsy. When Chanel asked the audience, perhaps rhetorically, who would love to have some of Bruce's scraps, dozens of us raised our hands enthusiastically, so Bruce offered to send free scraps to anyone who signed up at the end of the discussion. Naturally, I added my address to the list.

Fast-forward to yesterday: in my mailbox I found a small padded envelope postmarked Pennsylvania. I opened it up, and tucked inside was this amazing carved wooden hand and a note from Bruce: "This is for every time you need an extra hand." I was so impressed not only with the carving itself, but with Bruce's quick follow-through. And besides that, I think it's my favorite piece of mail so far this year! It totally made my day. I put the hand amidst a little grouping of wooden things I have in my living room, and I love it. Thank you, Bruce!

And wow, how I sure could use an extra hand these days! (Well, couldn't we all?) I have been swamped by a freelance writing/editing project these past two weeks which has kept me from jumping into a VERY exciting new project for Greenjeans (which I'll tell you about soon). And there are so many other new projects I'm dying to get into... but just can't get enough done in a day to feel like I'm on top of everything.

Maybe this little wooden hand grants wishes. If it does, I wish for infinite energy and focus, and a clone of myself...

One thing I'd have the clone do is put together the next issue of the Greenjeans Gazette, which I'm totally late with. Having completely missed the July issue at this point, I guess I'll do a combined July/August edition and shoot to get it out next week.

In any case, we will be a the Brooklyn Flea on Sunday with toys and ceramics, and hopefully the weather will be nice. Til then!

Posted and photo by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.