Thursday, April 30, 2009

Afternoon Snacks!

Enjoy the snacks! Brought to you by my delicious feed.

Brooklyn Flea's 2nd Outdoor Location Announced

Posted: 30 Apr 2009 10:05 AM PDT

The Flea will be setting up in the yet-to-open park area directly beneath the Brooklyn Bridge starting in May. Cool!

KnittaPlease Coming to Tag Brooklyn Heights

Posted: 30 Apr 2009 09:56 AM PDT

And you can join the fun!

Guerrilla Knitting on 9th Street

Walking past P.S. 122 on 9th St. in Manhattan yesterday evening, I came across this fun group of guerrilla knitting. I especially like the little "hats" topping the spiky fence.

I'm not so sure how guerrilla it is when the knitters post their names -- isn't tagging a covert op? But a sign posted attributes the installation to about 12 knitters led by a Karen Eubel, and the results are pleasing despite the officialness of it.

I'm also not sure if this group is associated with knittaplease, who is scheduled to come tag 69 parking meters in Brooklyn Heights in mid-May.

Maybe it's a rival knitting gang! What would that show-down look like...?

Posted and images by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Technical Difficulties...

My new feature didn't go off today, obvs.

Workin' on it. Stay tuned!

Monday, April 27, 2009

New Feature Debuting Tomorrow

I have been working on a new way to share clippings from the blogosphere with you to replace the too-time-consuming Friday Snacks feature that I ran for a while.

Called Afternoon Snacks, it will appear at around 3:00pm each day here on the blog. It will be a list of links and clippings I've noticed over the course of the day. The application I'm using to do this (in case you're curious) is called delicious. Some of the bloggers I admire use it, so thought I'd give it a try.

Hopefully it'll launch successfully tomorrow afternoon!

Enjoy the snacks!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Green-washing by Hummer

Don't know if you can see this, but it took me by surprise today when I logged onto the Weather Channel website:

It's a banner ad that reads "Green is Universal" and "Green shines here" sponsored by... Hummer! Of course! Because Hummer is just SO green...

Gotta love that green-washing!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Thoughts

April 22 marks the 39th observation of Earth Day in the U.S. And while in the past I've offered Earth Day Tips or designed a green-themed window display, this year I'm feeling more... pensive about Earth Day.

What is Earth Day for? It's fine for it to be a day to take the kids to a community garden, or to set up power strips so you can reduce your CO2 emissions. And I admit I kind of like the kitsch (children-holding-hands-around-the-globe posters, lots of pleasant leaf and flower motifs).

But it seems to be getting increasingly commercialized. TV networks shade their logo green and run (kind of idiotic) tips along the bottom of the screen during prime time. Walmart hawks a carpet cleaner built from 50% recycled materials ("and if all 200 million of us were to buy one...").

Moreover, just a single day doesn't seem enough time to run those sales and those ads, so some places start referring to their program of events as taking place during Earth Week or even Earth Month.

This year the whole Earth Day thing is leaving me cold. Maybe it's all these corporate attempts to appear ecologically relevant. And so the question is this: what is Earth Day really for? (And shouldn't we celebrate Earth Day every day??)

I guess I'm looking for some meaning. So another question I have is this:

What do you do for Earth Day?

Those are my thoughts, written while watching Poisoned Waters on Frontline. If you need a good dose of Earth education, watch it -- it's all about our contaminated water systems and reminds me saliently why we want to take action every day, of what is at stake, and what the priorities should be. (Two words: public engagement.)

Because Earth needs us to pay attention to her well-being every day, no matter what we do on April 22.

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Picture of Earth Day window, 2006.

Monday, April 20, 2009

KnittaPlease in Gothamist

There's a nice little interview with Magda Sayeg, the hero/genius behind KnittaPlease, on Gothamist today.

I am a HUGE fan of knitted tags -- it's anarchic street art meets loving hands at home -- and in fact I want to re-learn how to knit so that I might participate, clandestinely of course.

I don't know why I've no interest in making scarves or sweaters or hat. But there is nothing more worth knitting that I can think of than parking meter cozies, lamp post wraps, and hydrant scarves!

Excuse me while I get my yarn...

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Image sourced here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Art Around NYC This Weekend

Feeling the itch to be out and about this weekend and want to catch some good art? Allow me to make some suggestions:

Four shows of note at the Chelsea galleries:

This Dutch artist stitches the canvas to create lovely textured surfaces. It's interesting to think about how the imagery would be different if he'd just painted instead of stitched.

A new installation by this Swiss-born artist, this time around the theme of the gym (hence the title "Universal Gym"). At once hilarious and damning in its tone, Hirschhorn's use of packing tape and cardboard is, once again, truly prodigious.

3) Pablo Picasso at Gagosian Gallery (21st St. location)
This museum-quality show of late paintings will make you reconsider your idea that Picasso's late work stank. Truly incredible show.

Showing this fascinating French artist's piece "Take Care of Yourself" from the 2007 Venice Biennale. (Haven't seen it yet, but it's high on my list!)

Then head uptown to MoMA for:

Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective
- Saw this today. Outstanding. Big lusty paintings and copious exhibition posters on the 6th Floor, and a great installation of his fractured-then-reassembled art furniture on the 2nd. Look for the many appearances of fried eggs and learn about his tragic obsession with wooden shipping paletes. This is what "hipster artists" wish they were able to do...

Performance 1: Tehching Hsieh - documentation of this performance artist's year-long self-imposed imprisionment.

Paper: Pressed, Stained, Slashed, Folded - works by dozens of artists working from a minimalist and conceptual approach in the 1960s and 70s.

Stage Pictures: Drawing for Performance - sketches for costumes, stage sets, and ballets by artists better known for their visual art (Chagall, Picasso, Kentridge) than their stage work. Includes great video footage. THE SLEEPER HIT OF THE MUSEUM this spring.

The Brooklyn Flea is reopening in Fort Greene on Saturday too, so if Brooklyn's your destination that's your ticket!

Enjoy the weekend!
Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Brooklyn Flea Back in Fort Greene

Double your pleasure!

This weekend, the Flea returns to its original outdoor location in Fort Greene!

Dumbo-Flea lovers do not despair: the Flea isn't leaving the two storefronts spaces it took over in January.

So this season's Flea sched is:

Saturdays outdoors in Fort Greene, 10am - 5pm.

Sundays indoors in Dumbo, 11am - 6pm.

Find maps, vendors lists, and more at

We will NOT be there this weekend, but may come out once or twice this summer. So if you need some wooden toys or items from our huge Spring Thaw Sale, please visit our webshop or give us a call.

It's supposed to be a gorgeous weekend, especially Saturday, so here's to a great opening day in Fort Greene!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Let's Go Fly a Kite!

Craft shows and design fairs are the story of the season, with SOFA in town this week, Brooklyn Designs and the ICFF lining up for May, and much more.

But today I added something altogether different to my calendar: the first ever international kite design competition and kite flying event in NYC!

Called FlyNY, the event takes May 9 out at Riverside Park's Pier 1 (at 70th St.) in Manhattan from 10:30 to 4:30. It's free and open to the public. Anyone can enter their handmade kite and fly it on the day of the event.

I love kites and can't wait to check out this event!

Dig the fly graphic design, too...

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Little Tax-Time Humor

I'm reposting this from a few years ago...

It's a "tacks shelter," made by Bill Summers.

Get it?

Original post here:
A Little Tax-Time Humor

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Andrew Wagner Leaving American Craft Magazine

After breathing new life into American Craft Magazine, editor Andrew Wagner is moving on.

His major redesign of the venerable mag was met with strong reactions both enthusiastic and critical, first reflected in the Oct/Nov 2007 issue that I reviewed here. Wagner (pictured here sans handlebar mustache) also oversaw the launch of the magazine's excellent website and blog.

However controversial, there is no doubt Wagner brought the magazine, and to some extent the Craft Council along with it, to a new level of relevance in the broader worlds of art, craft, and design. It will be interesting to see what happens with the mag now.

His next move: taking over as editor of ReadyMade magazine. ReadyMade seems to me in much better shape going in than American Craft Mag did, so it'll be interesting to see what he brings to that new project.

Coming on board as Guest Editor until a permanent replacement is found will be Janet Koplos, who, according to the press release, was until recently a senior editor at Art in America magazine in New York. "Koplos, currently a freelance critic and an adjunct professor at the Parsons School of Design, has written widely on art, architecture and design and has long had a special interest in contemporary craft. Her latest book, Makers: A History of American Studio Craft, co-authored with Bruce Metcalf, will be published this year by the University of North Carolina Press."

Andrew has been a friend of Greenjeans since we first met back in Oct. 2006, and I've always found infectious his energy, curiosity, and openness to new ideas. We wish him all the best at his new gig!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Image sourced here.

Extreme Easter Bonnets

The annual Easter Parade in NYC is a great place to see the stylings of New York's craftiest. It's amazing the work that goes into some of these hats!

Thanks to Gothamist for posting a bunch of great pics!

And did you know, the Easter Parade is the largest spontaneous annual gathering of New Yorkers? It happens every year without permits, organizers, or announcement. The police just know to come and protect paraders from traffic.

It started back in the 19th century when rich upper east siders flowed forth from the big midtown churches in their Easter finery and walked back up to their fancy homes for dinner. In a time before glossy magazines telling us what's hot-or-not, the prols would come out to look at what the rich were wearing as a glimpse into trends to come.

Today, though, it's more like a more upbeat, springtime version of Halloween.

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Images via Gothamist.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sale Extended Thru May 10 (Mother's Day)!

We know you're having fun shopping our Spring Thaw Sale, so we've EXTENDED it thru May 10, Mother's Day!

Those unprecedented discounts on perfect Mother's Day gifts, fabulous wedding presents, baby shower gifts, and much more are yours for the taking.

Remember we are closing our webshop operations, so this is your last chance to shop Greenjeans as you've come to know and love it.

Thank you for your orders, and keep checking back -- we're still adding new items every few days!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Amy on Design Evolution TODAY!

[UPDATE: If you missed the show, you can listen online or download the mp3 right here. I'm on at around the 30-minute mark, though the whole thing is worth listening to.]

Tune in to the VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network today at 1:00 EST for Design Evolution with host Naomi Pearson.

Click here to listen to the live broadcast online!

I'll be the second guest on the hour-long program, following Monica Becker who has spent the last 20 years as an eco-consultant to companies and government agencies.

If you miss the live broadcast, you can listen to it later -- the archive is full of all Naomi's past shows, all available to hear for free.

The multi-talented Naomi is an environmental graphic designer who also executed the amazing wall drawings for the Searchlight Artists Exhibition back in February.

Looking forward to a good interview, and thanks again, Naomi, for asking me on your show!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Craft Fail Blog

Winston Churchill said, "Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."

This might be the motto of my new favorite blog, Craft Fail, a place for crafters to share their unsuccessful crafting attempts.

I'm sure some will say the "failures" aren't that bad, but let's face it -- not everything we try comes out right, and there's nothing wrong with that!

Looking forward to seeing how this blog plays out -- hope it's, er, successful!

(Hat tip to Craftzine.)
Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Amy Blogging on Unconsumption

Rob Walker (Handmade 2.0, Consumed, Buying In) has started a blog tracking his idea of Unconsumption and recently asked me to be a contributor.

Unconsumption means using what you have instead of buying new, finding new uses for stuff you were going to toss, and "the accomplishment of properly recycling your old cellphone, rather than the guilt of letting it sit in a drawer." (Wow, amen to that last one!)

I started posting today on art made from junk, tables made from shredded magazines, and what to do with your yellow pages phone book.

It's good stuff, and the format - Tumbler - an interesting new online media form for me.

Check it out! And thanks for bringing me on board, Rob!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Image: Detail of Swimming Cities by Swoon .

Prospect Park Craft Fair - Apply by April 17

The lovely and talented Dara Oshin is organizing the second annual Prospect Park Craft Fair to take place Saturday, May 9.

We did the fair last year and it was wonderful -- great exhibitors, indie vibe, easy location, tons of people coming through. It was very fun and worthwhile.

Applications are due April 17, and space is limited, so apply soon!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Photo of 2008 Prospect Park Craft Fair sourced here.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Walmart Ad Illustrates Economies of Scale

I saw this Walmart commercial tonight for compact fluorescent light bulbs. Maybe you're already familiar with it -- apparently it's been around for a while.

I'd never seen it though, and was surprised by how perfectly it illustrates the power of dollar voting and economies of scale, which I've discussed before in this blog.

Never mind the kitschy "forest setting" and folksy acting. And hold the debate on bulb-replacement efficacy -- Walmart wants you and me to shop there, no doubt.

It’s about power in numbers. The pink-sweatered hausfrau of today cheerfully explains how not only will changing one bulb save you 40-something-dollars a year, but if all 200 million Walmart customers each changed one bulb, it would be the equivalent of taking 11 million cars off the road. And that's a good thing. (No time to elaborate on how reducing car usage is good because it means less release of CO2 into the atmosphere, etc. but oh well.)

This is a great illustration of economies of scale – the impact of one or two is small, but as the numbers grow the impact grows exponentially.

Of course, this rule applies not only to eco-friendly light bulbs but ALL the stuff they sell. And all the ways they do business, for better and for worse. The more you buy the more you’re part of their impact, positive and negative. Don’t be seduced by the Juno-esque background music.

So. Economies of scale. Dollar voting. Learn it and live it, wherever you shop.

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Building Blocks - Pre-Order Now!

The lumber supply problem solved, Building Blocks by Frank Ridley are in production again!

These are untreated solid maple blocks, sanded smooth, and boxed in a set of 54 classic shapes, plus a drawstring sack sewn by the toy maker's wife.

If you want a set, contact us by FRIDAY, APRIL 10.

The price, as before, is $99.

We will NOT be stocking these, so make your pre-order now if you want 'em!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Friday, April 03, 2009

A Spring Day in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Though today it's raining, yesterday was gorgeous here in NYC, and I just couldn't focus on work. So I took myself to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to see what's springing up there.

I took lots of pictures, which you can review here, or sit back and treat yourself to the slide show.

There's nothing like colorful flowers to cheer up your rainy Friday!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Zola Quote

Thought for the day, courtesy of Emile Zola:

"There are two men inside the artist, the poet and the craftsman. One is born a poet. One becomes a craftsman."

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Gary Haven Smith at Cynthia Reeves Gallery, NYC

Our friends Gary Haven Smith and Susan Pratt-Smith were in town last week for the opening of Gary's new exhibition at Cynthia Reeves Gallery in Chelsea.

Gary and Susan live and work in my hometown, Northwood, NH. Susan is a glass artist; some of her wearables are available in our webshop.

Gary makes amazing sculpture from stone, working with a huge diamond-studded lathe with which he's able to transform rocks and boulders into lithe, sinewy forms.

I didn't get to take many pictures -- we arrived late and they were literally turning the lights off on us! -- but here are a couple of shots.

Susan and Gary both looked great and so does the show. Congratulations, Gary!

The two-person show also features atmospheric minimalist paintings by Gudrun Mertes-Frady. On view thru April 25.

For pictures of Gary and Susan's studios, see the Virtual Studio Visit with Susan Pratt-Smith and Gary Haven Smith I posted here last summer.
Posted and images by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.