Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Final Post & New Blog Launch

Dear Readers,

It is with mixed emotions that I post this, my final post for Greenjeans Blog, as I prepare to begin a new blog named Found Curve. As you have been such loyal readers over the years, I wanted to tell you about this change-over and invite you to come along with me.

I started Greenjeans Blog in April 2005, right after my now-husband Jae and I opened the doors to our tiny gallery and shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn. We didn’t have a website yet so I thought a blog might be a good alternative for a little while. And it was.

As Greenjeans grew so did the blog, both providing me a wonderful, indeed transformative experience of connecting with a community, learning about craft and sustainability, and gaining a sort of real-world MBA.

In summer 2008, we closed our location with the intention of reopening a larger space in a new neighborhood. With the unfolding of the global economic crisis, however, we decided to hold off and be a web-only enterprise for a while. We became regular vendors at the Brooklyn Flea, too. This was great for a while, but for me just wasn’t as fulfilling as running a permanent physical space. And so after months of deliberation, in May 2009 we closed our virtual doors as well.

I attempted to continue blogging, but it wasn’t as robust. Without a space or exhibitions to write about it all felt a little disjointed to me. As spring turned to summer and I started a new job in a different field, I couldn’t focus as much on the blog. So I took a break and during that time discovered I wanted to continue blogging, but needed to turn over a new leaf and start blogging afresh.

And so I started Found Curve.

Greenjeans Blog will remain fully live and all 706 posts are archived at this same original location right here, so all links to it should still work. I will likely post "from the Greenjeans Archives" on Found Curve from time to time.

The shape of Found Curve is still being discovered. In many ways it will be like Greenjeans Blog with virtual studio visits, craft and art world coverage, essays, reviews and experiences. But as it will no longer be tied to Greenjeans the shop and gallery, it will likely take on a form of its own over time.

One topic I hope to pursue here is that of barns, especially the barns of New England and upstate New York, as I begin a re-acquaintance with an old familiar passion.

It is exciting to be launching back into the blogosphere -- I have missed blogging and being a part of the amazing community that built itself around Greenjeans Blog! It is my sincere hope that I can make Found Curve into a meaningful place as I believe Greenjeans has been for many people, including myself.

Come with me onward now around the curve… and *thank you thank you thank you* for reading.

Very truly yours,

- Amy

P.S.
A “found curve,” by the way, is a timber-framing term for a length of wood that is naturally bent in such a way that it is as structurally valuable as a built angle. I like the name for so many reasons – the reference to barn building, the idea of nature as designer, the way the two words look and sound together, the mental sensation they evoke... www.foundcurve.wordpress.com

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quiet August, New Job

Hello Gentle Readers,

I just wanted to post a note to acknowledge how slow Greenjeans Blog has been lately.

It's simple, really: a few weeks ago I started a new job, and as with any new job it is taking some time to adjust. I work hard during the day and am tired when I am done. So for a little while longer, until I acclimate, I'll probably be a little quiet with the blogging.

The job is awesome: I'm a development (aka fund-raising) and communications writer for Millennium Promise, a non-profit organization devoted to meeting the Millennium Development Goals and eradicating extreme poverty. My job is to write enticing donor reports and grant proposals to keep the momentum going on the brilliant and impressively effective work taking place throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The field work puts into action economist Jeffrey Sachs' science-based "bottom-up" approach to international development, helping communities get their feet on the bottom rung of the development ladder and lift themselves out of extreme poverty.

It's a huge honor to be part of this work and to be surrounded by such brilliant people. And I love that I can work from home most days and then be a Midtown Worker Bee a couple days per week.

My passion for craft is still alive and well, it is just taking a summer holiday while I gain traction in my new job. Hopefully I'll be back in the swing of things in a couple of weeks, bringing you news and views from the craft world and beyond from my window seat here in Brooklyn.

Thanks for understanding, and for reading!

Cheers,

- Amy

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Afternoon Snacks!



Hideous or Fabulous?

Posted: 21 Aug 2009 11:40 AM PDT

Londong-based artist Fabien Cappello is making furniture from discarded Christmas trees. I appreciate the idea, but not sure I'd love it in my house... (Via HAUTE*NATURE)

Sarah Applebaum's Knit Art

Posted: 21 Aug 2009 11:38 AM PDT

Seeing this all about the blogosphere today. Fun and wonderful!! (Via HAUTE*NATURE)

Etsy Moving to Dumbo

Posted: 21 Aug 2009 11:27 AM PDT

It's out with the old (location) and in with the new -- they'll be at 55 Washington (down the street from my house!) starting next week. Welcome to the 'hood! (Via The Storque)

Retailers Optimistic for 2010

Posted: 21 Aug 2009 11:12 AM PDT

Things are looking up, folks! (Via LOHAS)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Afternoon Snacks!



Velvet Ribbon Belt with Rhinestone Buckle

Posted: 17 Aug 2009 08:15 PM PDT

I want this!! By bellebag on Etsy for $38. Etsy's blog, The Storque, is doing a great job covering the massive virtual craft and vintage sale that is Etsy. I'm loving what the various editors and guest bloggers are finding... (As soon as I get my first paycheck...!)

Make Roman Shades Out of Mini Blinds

Posted: 17 Aug 2009 08:05 PM PDT

THIS is what I've been waiting for: a do-able way to make shades for my windows using the fabric I want. Now to find some discarded mini blinds... (Via whip up)

Coverage of the Buyer's Market of American Craft

Posted: 17 Aug 2009 07:58 PM PDT

The summer BMAC is over in Philadelphia, but the organizer (Rosen Group) covered the show from the floor via their blog, Wholesale Matters. Nice for those of us who didn't get over there for it this year...

Cake Wrecks

Posted: 17 Aug 2009 07:45 PM PDT

I think this is a blog about crazy decorations on, maybe, supermarket cakes? In any case it's bananas. (Hat tip to Mason)

This Guy is Rad (click to see!)

Posted: 17 Aug 2009 02:19 PM PDT

Now THAT'S commitment to craft! [via Extreme Craft]

Robin Nagle Talks Trash

Posted: 17 Aug 2009 02:13 PM PDT

My former grad school prof Robin Nagle is the resident anthropologist of the NYC Dept. of Sanitation. Watch her awesome talk on how garbage defines us and the people who pick up after us. From the Gel Conference.

Old-school Handmade Athletic Gear

Posted: 17 Aug 2009 02:09 PM PDT

Super good-looking. By the Lineaus Athletic Company in Marfa, TX. [Via Cool Hunting]

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Alabama's Rural Studio in Metropolis Magazine


Tonight I finally got around to reading last month's issue of Metropolis magazine, and the interesting cover story about the Rural Studio in Alabama, a place where social justice and architecture meet. (You can read the article for free online: "Life After Sambo," July 2009.)

The article describes how Samuel "Sambo" Mockbee co-founded the studio in 1992, "determined to improve conditions for poor Southerners and teach architecture students how to make beautiful buildings. Soon, his devotees were schlep­ping three hours west to Hale County, Alabama... to sire 'shelter for the soul.' as Sambo would have said."

The Rural Studio's mission seems to resonate with that of Berea College in Kentucky, which produced the beautiful handmade brooms, umbrella stands, napkins, and placemats we carried at Greenjeans.

The article is an inspiring piece for anyone with passion for craft and social justice.

It also ties in nicely with tomorrow night's Salon with Bamboo Bikes at the American Craft Council, another socially-conscious craft-based project that I'll be reporting on here later.

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Image sourced here.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Etsy's Luster Tarnishing


If you haven't seen it yet, CNN Money published an interesting piece about Etsy a couple weeks ago written by Jessica Bruder. Discussing it as a business phenomenon, it goes in depth about its growth, as well as the more recent backlash.

There are many reasons to love Etsy, not the least of which is the fact that it's like a 24/7 global craft fair; an amazing online source of advice, how-tos, and celebration of the handmade; and has singularly transformed the marketplace for craft and handmade work. But we know that already.

More interestingly, the article highlights red flags, including the fact that earlier this year Etsy's visionary young founder, Rob Kalin, "quietly took himself off the payroll" citing that the site "was very incomplete and not up to my standards." He is still chair of Etsy's board.

(Kalin is now starting a new venture, called Parachutes, a craft collective based in Red Hook, Brooklyn. I've heard through the grapevine that this is a non-profit, but I don't know much else, and the website isn't filled out yet. As I learn more about this I'll report about it here.)

Another red flag is the fact that a major investor in Etsy is also on the board of Wal-Mart. Jim Breyer has felt the heat from Etsians, but stated last year, "It is possible to be the lead independent director of Wal-Mart and be absolutely passionate about art and crafted goods," he says. "Over time Etsy sellers, as well as Etsy shareholders, can do very well if we stay true to our mission." Seems like a double standard to me, but I don't know the guy myself.

Outrage over these issues and many others are voiced on blogs like Etsy Bitch which also lists online alternatives to Etsy such as Art Fire and Zibbet.

The article adds to the ire spouted in the piece that recently appeared in Double XX, which I blogged about in June.

What once seemed like a gleaming beacon of promise for craft continues to fade from glory. I don't think this has anything to do with the value or power of the handmade. Perhaps it's just a case that things that seem too good to be true usually are.

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Great Programs in Portland (MCC + PNCA + NGW)


In the past two days, the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, OR, and their curator, Namita Gupta Wiggers, have announced two awesome programs that make me fantasize about moving to the Left Coast.

First, I heard the MCC has made free podcasts available of dozens of interviews, lectures, and exhibition walk-thrus. Listen to Otto Nazler, Glenn Adamsom, Denyse Schmidt, Mandy Greer, and many more. You can listen online or download them to iTunes, all for free.

This is a GREAT resource for the craft, art, and design worlds, no matter where in the world you live.

Then today I found out Gupta Wiggers, whom I admire a lot, is going to be offering a course this fall titled "History + Theory of American Craft" at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (which recently merged with the MCC). I would love to take that class, or at least hear the conversations it sparks.

(I'm not even sure if there's anything else like it in other U.S. colleges. If you know otherwise, please post a comment!)

The MCC has some really good-sounding exhibitions on view now, too, including Call + Response which "provides a rare platform for artists and art historians to engage with each with other in dynamic conversation."

I really like how the MCC is directly engaging with the need for different parts of the craft world to dialogue, and to reach beyond the realm of craft (i.e. art, design, academics) for important broader conversations.

They are also doing a good job of letting people know what they're up to through their newsletters and Facebook updates.

And even though I haven't actually visited (yet!), I am constantly excited and inspired by the work the MCC is doing. It gives me a feeling of gratitude and hope. I hope other institutions are taking notes!


P.S.
N
ot that I'm counting, but this is my 700th blog post. Woot!


Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Image: Namita Gupta Wiggers (l) and Fiberarts editor Marci Rae McDade strike a pose before Darrel Morris’s emboridered piece, Pointing (2002). By Heather Zinger via Museum of Contemporary Craft.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Passing Strange and Wonderful: Richard Saja's Shelburne Show Reviewed in ReadyMade


This morning, tipped off by a Facebook status update by embroidery artist Richard Saja, I started my morning with a cup of coffee and the online version of ReadyMade magazine (Aug/Sept 2009 issue).

Saja is the subject of an unconventional exhibition at Vermont's Shelburne Museum this summer, and ReadyMade's Jen Turner was there to cover the story (right here: "How to Catch a Cabin").

The show is titled "The Bright and Shining Light of Irreverence" and features a quasi-domestic site-specific installation of a variety of Saja's work in the museum's Kalkin House. Saja invited a number of other regional artists to help fill out the show. Writes Turner, "Surprisingly enough, it all adds up to a welcoming place where one could imagine spending summer nights sipping mojitos and discussing the weird and wonderful world of Richard Saja."

Quilts, motorbikes, and Lewis Comfort Tiffany are the subject of other exhibitions on view this summer at the Shelburne. I can't imagine a more flavorful weekend trip.


The Bright and Shining Light of Irreverence: Richard Saja and the Historically Inaccurate School
Shelburne Museum
Thru October 25

How to Catch a Cabin
by Jen Turner
ReadyMade (Aug/Sept 2009)

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Image by Laura Moss for ReadyMade.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Afternoon Snacks!




Chinese Opera Built from Legos

Posted: 01 Aug 2009 05:13 PM PDT

I think Lego craft is always awesome, but this is particularly extraordinary. I like how the artist used the mini Lego guys as the "actors" in the bottom of the piece. (Hat tip to Dennis Yuen of Cai'lun <cailun.info>!)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Afternoon Snacks!


French New Wave Films at MAD Museum

Posted: 31 Jul 2009 10:03 AM PDT

While I have strongly mixed feelings about the Museum of Arts and Design, I must confess my excitement about their summertime partnership with the Museum of the Moving Image to show some fabulous films in their beautiful new theater. This Sunday's double-feature: Vivra Sa Vie (Godard) and Jules et Jim (Truffaut). How can I resist??

Craft Fairs This Weekend Nationwide

Posted: 31 Jul 2009 09:21 AM PDT

Craftzine is publishing weekly lists of craft fairs as well as application deadlines. Check it out!

Gardening in a Pickup Truck

Posted: 31 Jul 2009 09:15 AM PDT

Some folks in Brooklyn have converted the back of an old Dodge into a container garden featuring tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, and habaneros. Take that, roof gardeners! (Actually, they're partnering with roof gardeners in Greenpoint, too.) (via Civil Eats)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Weaving the Social Fabric - Goods of Conscience at ACC Salon

Father Andrew O'Connor is an unlikely fashion icon. Yet through his project Goods of Conscience, he has found a remarkable way to blend traditional weaving, organic cotton, community development, and an eye for style into a surprisingly chic combination.

As part of this year's Summer Salon Series at the American Craft Council, last week Father O'Connor, a Diocesan priest, presented his ideas about green craft to a live and online audience, guiding us all through his passionate story of preserving craft traditions and building a market for his sustainable style.

His story of is rooted in a social justice mission in a Mayan hill town in Guatemala. There a group of traditional back-strap weavers combine local, organically-grown and naturally dyed cotton with a highly unusual proprietary fiber (to undermine counterfeiting) into soft, luscious textiles in rich natural colors. (Read more about the process here.)

The lengths of fabric are weighed and then shipped up to the workshop in the South Bronx where Father O'Connor oversees a second mission at his home base, the Holy Family Church. There a small group of local artisans cut and sew the fabric, which arrives smelling of tortillas.

The finished garments are sold under the label Goods of Conscience. The artisans are all paid fair wages and the workshops are important sources of community pride and economic empowerment in both the Bronx and in Guatemala.

The finished products reflect this pride as well as the considerable skill required to produce them. Father O'Connor handed samples around to the audience to get a sense of the work, and I was impressed with the appealing designs and unquestionably high-end quality. These qualities are reflected in the prices, but as other forms of high-end craft remind us, the idea here to buy fewer high-quality things instead of lots of cheap, short-lived things. Certainly these classic yet edgy bags, jackets, dresses, and shirts are ones you want to live with, not trendy items you'll soon cast off. "Slow fashion" he called it.

When I asked Father O'Connor who designs the clothes, he said that he does. And where did he get his eye for fashion? "I grew up in Connecticut," he said with a cheeky smile. While the fabric reflects where it is made, the clothes don't fall prey to that "foreign language teacher" look so often associated with organic texture-rich fabrics.

On the contrary, it is quite Vogue-worthy, as the magazine's June 2009 shoot with Cameron Diaz attests -- those are Good of Conscience shorts she's wearing. He has started partnering up with the socially-minded fashionista Alabama Chanin on some projects as well.

Early on in his talk, he spoke of the notion that there may be a silver lining to the current economic downturn: the fall of the "egoistic consumer" and the curbing of over-consumption makes us focus on the resources we have ready to hand. Our modern sense of displacement and weakened sense of homeland might be repaired if we can get back in touch with the local and "make amends with the earth." He explained his point of view that green is communal, and that if don't want to imperil the earth, then we care about the actions of others as well.

Cultivating slowness. Craft as instinctively green. Teaching vanishing skills to the next generation. Making effort every day with every decision to live conscientiously of the environment and the social fabric. These are the lessons of Father O'Connor's work. The world is the better for his vision and the example he sets for how business can be done.


NEXT UP IN THE SALON SERIES:

Bamboo Bikes - Find out how some socially-minded innovators are creating a new model for social entrepreneurship and development, using craft, DIY techniques, and natural resources.

Wednesday, August 12, 6:30-7:30 p.m., reception to follow
American Craft Council
72 Spring Street, 6th floor, New York, NY 10012.
Reservations are required and space is limited.Price: $10; $5 for students with current ID, Free for ACC members.
To rsvp, contact Kate at intern@craftcouncil.org or call (212)274–0630 x272.

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Image sources: top, middle, bottom.

Afternoon Snacks!




Mad Men Yourself

Posted: 29 Jul 2009 08:36 AM PDT

I am a HUGE fan of Mad Men, and love this silly little feature they've created where you can make a Mad Men icon of yourself. So fun!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Afternoon Snacks!



Giant Log Pencils

Posted: 27 Jul 2009 08:18 AM PDT

Artist Jonna Pohjalanien made these "colored pencils" from fallen aspen trees. This reminds me of how I always want to make art in the woods around my Dad's house in NH... (via Dude Craft)

Pictures of Arctic Ice Melt

Posted: 27 Jul 2009 08:13 AM PDT

Pictures say 1000 words about global warming. These are pictures the Bush Admin. kept classified. Just released. (via Change.org: Stop Global Warming)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Inspiring Embroidery by Amy Powers

As someone who is (slowly) getting into self-taught embroidery, I was inspired by this sampler by Amy Powers. Just had to share with you all. (via Craftzine)

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Afternoon Snacks!

    The Passing of Otto Heino

    Posted: 22 Jul 2009 08:12 AM PDT

    The celebrated potter of highly sought-after work passed away last week at the age of 94. He is remembered with characteristic cheek here. (via Extreme Craft)

    Best Made Co. Axes

    Posted: 22 Jul 2009 08:01 AM PDT

    It is amazing stuff like this that makes me really miss having Greenjeans! These axes are handmade in Maine the old fashioned way, then painted up pretty by some designers in New Jersey. Rad. (via Cool Hunting) PICTURED

    Amanda Wachob Tattoos

    Posted: 22 Jul 2009 08:00 AM PDT

    Atonal tattoos. Nice. (via CoolHunting)

    Wal-Mart Launching Sustainability Index

    Posted: 22 Jul 2009 07:56 AM PDT

    The retail giant started auditing all its products with a 15-point survey covering "everything from a manufacturer's greenhouse-gas emissions and location of factories, to water use and solid waste disposal." Should be up and running for consumer use... sometime in the future. Interesting. (via Grist)

    Monday, July 20, 2009

    Craft for a Sustainable World at the American Craft Council

    This Wednesday, July 22, the third season of the wonderful Summer Salon Series returns to the American Craft Council.

    This year's theme -- Craft's Contribution to a Sustainable World -- is very much up my alley and I'm very excited about what the Craft Council's education department has on tap!

    Wednesday evening's program features Father Andrew More O'Connor (pictured), a visual artist and Diocesian priest in the Bronx, who will discuss his innovative project, Goods of Conscience, which employs Guatemalan Mayan weavers to sew apparel collections that "look good, feel good, and do good." His talk will focus on the role of the handmade in social and environmental stewardship.

    The second of this year's two-part Salon Series takes place August 12 and presents Marty Odlin and Justin Aguinaldo talking about the amazing Bamboo Bike Project in Ghana.

    Hope to see you there!

    Wednesday, July 22
    6:30-7:30 p.m., reception to follow
    American Craft Council
    72 Spring Street, 6th floor
    New York, NY 10012

    Reservations are required and space is limited.
    Price: $10; $5 for students with current ID.
    To rsvp, contact Kate at intern@craftcouncil.org or call (212)274–0630 x272

    Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

    Wednesday, July 15, 2009

    Afternoon Snacks!



    Making Biodiesel from Garbage

    Posted: 15 Jul 2009 08:59 AM PDT

    I don't blog about biodiesel much, even though it's one of my favorite topics (make-your-own fuel? Hell yeah!). Some smarties in Spain have worked out a way to add bacteria to urban waste to produce fatty acids that can be used to produce biodiesel. It may not be perfectly calibrated yet, but I like the direction they're taking there at Ecofasa. (via Haute*Nature)

    Find Indie Fabric Stores Online

    Posted: 15 Jul 2009 08:48 AM PDT

    Wish you didn't have to shop at chain stores for your fabric shopping needs? Check out Project 95, the new searchable database for independent fabric stores, now live in beta at www.fabricshoppersunite.com. Nice work, folks!!! (via Craftzine)

    Desk Lights Made from Old Pipes

    Posted: 15 Jul 2009 08:44 AM PDT

    The Kozo light by Israeli design group Demo/design clinic. Very Wall-e chic! And you can buy from Etsy. (via 3rings)

    Fiber Sculpture by Betsy Timmer

    Posted: 15 Jul 2009 08:37 AM PDT

    This stylized, fleshy fiber sculpture owes much to Louise Bourgeois, but nonetheless finds its own voice. Really evocative. (via Hello Craft)

    Six DIY Inventions for Energy Efficiency

    Posted: 15 Jul 2009 08:36 AM PDT

    Winners of the Earthjustice/Instructables United States of Efficiency Contest. (via Change.org)

    Friday, July 10, 2009

    Review: Cool Felt at Cooper-Hewitt


    I didn't fully appreciate how incredibly versatile a design material felt really is until seeing Fashioning Felt last week at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Presenting 70+ objects from a range of design and craft fields, the show celebrates the practical versatility and aesthetic possibilities of felted wool.

    While I’ve always appreciated the pleasing tactility of felt—all felt is made from wool, by definition—my favorite revelation is how much felt is almost like a natural plastic. As one bit of text mentions, felt has "a versatility rarely found in other materials—it can be made flexible and translucent or very dense and hard; it can be cut without fraying and molded into three-dimensional forms. Felt also provides protection against extremes of temperature and is naturally water repellent, windproof, and fire retardant." Amazing.

    Indeed, it seemed strange to be going to an exhibition about felt, a material I associate with warmth and closeness, on such a hot and humid day. Unexpectedly, I found the show to be light and fresh, and it didn’t feel at all dissonant with the season.

    Known since 9000BCE (the Neolithic period), felt is thought to the first man-made cloth. There are a few examples of shepherd's cloaks, carpets, and the like to represent these earliest applications.

    Most of the rest of the show presents objects made in the last 15 years or so. Surprisingly, although already familiar with some selections, everything seems rather innovative to me -- I realize I don't associate felt with only one form of thing. Why not make jewelry from felt? Why not a chair? Why not use it for good-looking soundproofing? I suppose the many carpets and floor coverings are expected, but some of their forms are not, like perennial favorite Tord Boontje's Little Field of Flowers carpet (pictured at top.) The variety is indeed remarkable. I encourage you to visit the exhibition’s website to see many more images than those I’ve included here.

    (And if anyone wants to hook me up with some pieces of German designer Christine Birkle’s lust-worthy clothes for Berlin label Hut Up, like the jacket pictured below right, I'll be your BFF!!)

    Fashioning Felt also underscores that whether done by hand, machine, or a combination of the two, felt-making is a very physical, laborious multi-step process. As such, it is also an art and craft unto itself. We can observe this in the three videos running simultaneously along a wall that capture a variety of techniques in action. Happily, I found these videos on YouTube as well: Felt Makers in Mongolia (6:20), the Canadian industrial factory Brand Felt (4:27), and JA Felt making Palace Yurt (10:20). From machines swirling in circles to women pounding their forearms into wet fibers, the actions of felt-making are very ancient and unifying. I could watch all day, and though I myself have little urge to join in, I overheard many finding it inspiring.

    I would be remiss not to point out two major attractions within this exhibition. The first is the undulating wall built from shaggy russet-colored wool, heavy felted wool, and felt in many other stages of being (pictured at bottom). It feels animalistic, alive and breathing, and you almost want to roll your body along its mysterious planes. Dutch artist Claudy Jongstra raises her own exotic long-haired sheep to supply her raw materials, then employs enormous vats of boiling water and natural dyes from locally-gathered plants to create panels of richly-colored texture. Almost predictably, the piece is called Inner Moods and is a reflection on "felt's healing qualities."

    The second is Janice Arnold's aforementioned Palace Yurt (pictured here). Created for installation inside the museum's first-floor conservatory, it is an all-white gauzy construction of wool felted into silk, Tencel, soy, and linen to an endless array of ethereal effects. You can easily find a spot along the curving window seat to enjoy being inside while thumbing through the exhibition catalogue. It goes without saying that this would be an awesome spot for a small wedding.

    The subtext of the show is that we the need to continue and deepen our thinking about environmental, economic, and societal sustainability vis-à-vis design. "The qualities that have made felt indispensable to nomadic life resonate with today's design needs," reads one bit of wall text. I don’t need to beat this drum right now, but I hope this show reflects Cooper-Hewitt’s commitment to encouraging no design without sustainability.

    This sustainability message is underscored when one exits the show and heads upstairs to Design for a Living World. There one is surrounded by ideas for how to use sustainable raw materials in architecture, product design, and much more. A durable and apparently travel-ready show--it's very heavily built-- I hope this exhibit, developed by the Nature Conservancy, reaches many people. It's engaging for many ages, the kind of experience kids leave wanting to go home and try making something they just saw. Which is a really good thing.

    Though not a "kid's exhibition" by any means, Fashioning Felt will also interest children; I think kids would derive a lot of creative ideas and a greater appreciation of their physical world. However I would have loved to see included in the exhibition some representation of felt products made for children. With so many clever felt toys out there and the way felt is so integral to educating young children in many cultures, it would have been an appropriate and engaging component.

    When you go to Fashioning Felt, and you should go, be sure to check out the many good felt-based gift items in the design shop (which are alas not available through their webshop). Felted sea stones, colorful felt jewelry by Hisano Takei, crazy primates… you’ll just have to go see it all for yourself. Bring your lunch and sit in the museum’s fine garden beforehand. It’s a surprisingly perfect way to spend a hot summer afternoon.


    Fashioning Felt

    March 6 - September 7, 2009
    Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
    2 East 91st St.
    New York, NY
    212-849-8400

    Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
    Images courtesy of Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.

    Thursday, July 09, 2009

    Afternoon Snacks!



    Needlepoint Graffiti

    Posted: 08 Jul 2009 02:12 PM PDT

    Love this!! Maybe if I ever finish my first embroidery project this could come next.... (via Craftzine)

    Federal Arts Funding & the Art Economy

    Posted: 08 Jul 2009 01:39 PM PDT

    Hrag Vartanian breaks down arts funding numbers in this age of economic stimulus. Part 1 of 2. (via Art21 Blog)

    Tuesday, July 07, 2009

    Website Down! - Update, Reflections, & Invitation


    I just accidentally deleted Greenjeans website (!!!) before arranging to redirect traffic to the blog (!!!!!!)

    Luckily I'd made a backup earlier, but still! Aaugh!!!!!!!

    Just in case anyone noticed and is wondering!!


    UPDATE & Reflection:

    The webshop url (www.greenjeansbrooklyn.com) should start redirecting to the blog here (www.greenjeansbrooklyn.blogspot.com) in a matter of hours. I didn't realize it would be so easy to delete the website!

    While I did indeed intend to take the site down today (*tear!*) and go back to my original blog-only web presence (more on that soon!), I'm a little sad that the site we worked so hard to design and build over so long is suddenly just gone!!

    At the same time, change is in the air. And sometimes change comes before we think we're ready for it. But once it has happened, it feels good, even refreshing.

    Besides, I'd rather my website go out with a bang than slowly fade away. Out-of-date websites lingering on the web are like abandoned houses.

    So, it's on with the blog redevelopment. I'm writing new copy today and playing with new layouts. Ideas about the format are evolving along the way.

    I'm again leaning toward renaming the blog, too....

    Why change the name when "Greenjeans" has recognition and many people like it?

    Because, well, why not? I've been looking for a way to refresh the blog, as well as my intentions for keeping it up, now that Greenjeans is no longer a retail concern. And I am intrigued by what it could be if I change it up...

    I will still be blogging about craft, design, art, and sustainability, but there will be a new look and host, new sets of links (including former Greenjeans artists and craftspeople), and a refreshed group of categories.


    Invitation


    I invite you to share your thoughts, if any, on this matter of revamping the blog.

    Should I change the name?
    What should the new format include?
    What would YOU like to be reading about here?

    Post your comments here, or email me at amy [at] greenjeansbrooklyn.com.

    So. Although the website is no more, a new blog is on it's way. That sounds like a good progression to me. You?



    Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

    Friday, July 03, 2009

    Happy Fourth of July!


    I'll be taking a break for a couple days for the holiday weekend.

    While I'm away, you might like to explore the many fun and clever 4th of July themed DIY projects from Craftzine such as Carnival Games and Confetti Popper Rockets (pictured here).

    Have a great 4th!!

    Kapow! Oooh! Ahhhh!

    Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

    Thursday, July 02, 2009

    Afternoon Snacks!



    Dumbest Moments in Business

    Posted: 02 Jul 2009 09:35 AM PDT

    Tropicana box redesign, GM's two-wheeled Puma, and more from this 2009 Midyear edition. From Yahoo Finance.

    Brokelyn: Website for "Living Big on Small Change"

    Posted: 02 Jul 2009 09:34 AM PDT

    Great source for everything cheap in Brooklyn.

    Solar Barn Built from Raw Materials

    Posted: 01 Jul 2009 05:34 PM PDT

    Hard to write a short description of this very cool barn. Just click it! (via Inhabitat)

    Wednesday, July 01, 2009

    Afternoon Snacks!


    Weird NYC Cloud Mystery Solved?

    Posted: 30 Jun 2009 08:22 PM PDT

    Emily Gertz reports on the strange ice-cream-scoop-looking clouds that appeared in the sky last Friday evening, and reflects on the journalistic problem of making direct connections between particular weather patterns and global warming. (via Change.org)

    Great 1970s Macrama Ad Captures a Mood

    Posted: 30 Jun 2009 08:15 PM PDT

    You MUST check this out: Cathy of California posted this ad from 1973 targeted at the "expressive generation." It's funny how contemporary it seems to me. How does it strike you? (via Cathy of California)

    Lights Out at Bushwick's Pocket Utopia

    Posted: 30 Jun 2009 08:11 PM PDT

    This pioneering space is shuttering soon. (via ArtCat)

    Droog’s Shadylace Umbrella

    Posted: 30 Jun 2009 08:06 PM PDT

    This is delightful. Reminds me I need to go check out Droog's newish NYC space. (via 3rings)

    Tuesday, June 30, 2009

    Highlights from First Annual Maker's Market


    The first annual Maker's Market set up shop in Long Island City, Queens, this past weekend (June 27-28, 2009). I visited on Saturday early afternoon, before the hail storm and after the minor typhoon that accompanied Friday night's opening party. Despite the Woodstock-worthy mud (which, while rough on the exhibitors, this visitor would take over a convention center ANY day), it was an impressive, enjoyable event with great future potential.

    The event was presented in Socrates Sculpture Park by Manhattan design gallery R 20th Century, the LIC-based Noguchi Museum, and American Craft Magazine (via editor Andrew Wagner before his move to ReadyMade).

    About 30 galleries and individual designer/craftspeople from across the country set up booths under three huge white tents placed throughout the park. It incorporated beautifully with the "State Fair" exhibition on view there now. A complete list of exhibitors with links may be found here.

    While not perfect, this show points the way toward a more up-to-date craft fair model with simultaneous attention to craftsmanship, design, and what I'd call curatorial character. Highlights for me included:

    Emerging glass artist Thaddeus Wolfe (no site, email thaddeus_wolfe [at] hotmail.com). Wolfe's head vases are pictured at top.

    Looking into a tent featuring Brooklyn furniture maker Palo Samko's work in the foreground.

    I love the Dumbo-based gallery Spring and was happy to see their booth crowded with supportive visitors. Those are Richard Saja toile pillows at lower left.

    Nice pod-shaped chairs (by ??) in R 20th Century's inviting booth find appreciators of all ages.

    I love the loft-living vibe of this illuminated concrete wall (that can be constructed at any scale) by Tom Winters Architect.

    Barn affecianado that I am, I couldn't help but notice the post-and-beam construction of the booth mounted by hivemindesign. It was great to meet Ruby Metzner and Sather Duke (and new baby) and see their homey yet design-forward work in person. Brooklyn-based until their recent move upstate, the timbers are in fact the frame for a barn they'll be building out this summer.

    Portland-based designer and glassblower Andi Kovel (Esque Studio) showed lively work including these drink glasses that look as though marked with lipstick. She said some people find them gross, but I love 'em.

    Chairs made from beautifully but simply machined metal and light-colored wood by new-to-me Brooklyn-based furniture designer Marcel Madsen (Produce).

    Conceptual, social, and aesthetic concerns imbue these handmade felted wool boots and mittens by Hope Ginsburg as part of Sponge, "a teaching, learning, and discipline-bending project."

    Unexpected forms, interpretive designs, and pleasing hand-craftsmanship popped in Craig Watson's booth. I love how the pieces look and feel, but later wondered if the specialized materials Watson uses for finishing are available yet in eco-friendlier formulas.

    Gorgeous and detail-rich ceramic work by Sanam Emami, whose work was on view earlier this year at Greenwich House Pottery.

    Custom bikes at a design/craft fair? Oh yeah. You don't have to be a gearhead to swoon over the precision and style of New Hampshire-based Walt Siegl's handmade motercycles.

    I drooled over Satomi Kawakita's jewelry too -- wedding band seekers take note!! -- but didn't get a good pic. Fortunately there are many on her website.

    Here's to year one of the Maker's Market. I'm looking forward to seeing how this edgy high-end show grows and evolves in the years to come.

    Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.