Karina Chronicles

Made in Brooklyn

We love our home-town and all that it’s doing to revitalize the small business. Made in Brooklyn is a trend we’re proud to be a part of – small, locally owned shops, artists, and ateliers working hard to make great products. The community of artists and designers that has grown around this movement is what makes today’s creative environment in Brooklyn so special. Today’s guest post comes from MaryAnne LoVerme of Wabisabi Brooklyn who makes bold jewelry out of humble pieces, at her home in Brooklyn, in the hopes of turning the ordinary into something great.

While Brooklyn has a long history of manufacturing, in the past decade there has been a clear shift from large factories to small ateliers. “Made in Brooklyn,” now is more likely to refer to specialty products, often made in an artist’s own home.

Whether this shift in production will take hold outside the County of Kings (beyond its kindred cities, Portland and San Francisco) remains to be seen. For now, it’s a Brooklyn thing.

I spoke to a few artists, designers, and artisans who live in and make their wares in the borough about what it means to them to be working in Brooklyn right now.

Glass artist Camila Crazut of 2C Design Shop says, “For me doing my work in Brooklyn is like working at home. I do work at home in part, and I love going to Urban Glass to make my beads. It makes me feel like I am part of the diverse and interesting community that is Brooklyn.”

Lola Falk, who makes leather handbags, wallets and accessories, says, “Designing and producing my handbag line in Brooklyn has had a major impact on my business – from both a creative standpoint and from the support and camaraderie I’ve found via other Brooklyn-based designers.  Being sandwiched between two of the most eclectically inspiring neighborhoods – Dumbo and Red Hook – I need do no more than take a stroll to get ideas on color combinations and interesting architectural shapes that I can translate into design elements on my bags and wallets.  And from a community standpoint, I’ve never encountered a group of fellow artists who were more generous with their knowledge or willing to share helpful tips on how to thrive in what can sometimes be a challenging career path.  I can’t imagine creating or living anywhere else.” Lola Falk’s work is available at By Brooklyn in Carroll Gardens, Trunk in Dumbo, and the gift shop at the Brooklyn Botanica Garden.

Annie Bruce of Brooklyn Owl makes New York inspired felt hair clips, unicorn horns, headbands, garlands, and bow ties in Park Slope. She says,

“Living in Brooklyn and raising my daughter here is the key reason I started my business.  Everywhere we go I am inspired by what I see.  From the brownstone-lined streets of Park Slope to the vintage rides and colors of Coney Island, Brooklyn is a feast for the senses and my favorite place to be. Making things in Brooklyn is awesome because it is the borough of creativity and entrepreneurs.”

Anita Hora of the vintage-inspired herbal apothecary Mulein and Sparrow says, “Our vintage styling and all-natural ingredients reflect the creativity of the Brooklyn community.  I’m always inspired by location, and Brooklyn begs me to make clean, natural, and timeless herbal products so that my customers can feel simply beautiful inside and out.”

Artist Faune Yerby says, “I like to make my art pieces in Brooklyn because I am surrounded by some of my main subjects: old industrial architecture including bridges and water towers. I really love riding my bike around different neighborhoods to discover the jewels that would be hard to see otherwise. Besides, my main art/craft crew reside in Brooklyn.

“No sleep in Brooklyn!”

Graphic and paper artist Ursula Jaro of Pepperpress says, “Why do I make my goods in Brooklyn as opposed to another borough? It’s been my home for more than 12 years now, and I wouldn’t want to do my work anywhere else. I also love not having a commute. So many of my fellow crafters/makers/friends are here, and it feeds into a collaborative, supportive, helpful, creative scene. Brooklyn still has a little bit of the fringe and an edge. Since it’s not Manhattan, it’s an outer borough – even though it’s THE borough!- it’s not too crowded. And it’s still affordable. It allows me to have a studio with two printing presses in it, yet it’s still close to the main Manhattan-based suppliers & vendors.”

Ceramicist May Luk says, “Brooklyn is this laid back borough that is very suitable for small creative industries. There is a very supportive handmade community in Brooklyn. Moreover, people are friendly, the animals are cute and children well-behaved.  I am proud to stamp my wares “handmade in Brooklyn.”

Knitting Guru Veena Burry says, “Being in Brooklyn definitely has a strong effect on my work. We’re located only 1/2  block from the harbor and the nearness to the water is important to me. There are a lot of ocean themed pieces in my collection as a result of the great sea light and the moody sounds of fog horns that surround me. In addition, we have a wonderful view of the NY skyline from the tip of Manhattan to the Chrysler Building. I always get a little thrill from that view and it, along with living in NYC all my life, gives an urban edge to my work.”

image via rich man, creative commons licence 

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