South Slope Design Mecca

photo-5.jpgMy neighbors and friends Amy & Jae took a brave step in March 2005 when they opened a small design shop named Greenjeans in Park Slope’s southern frontier. With a passion for sustainable design and an eye for “green” craft, the store has since developed into one of the city’s premier craft shops featuring artists from across the country.

I have to admit to being a little bit of a skeptic and wondered if the shop would fly, since location is everything when it comes to retail and the South Slope (as Park Slope’s southern part is referred to) wasn’t a magnet for foot traffic or chichi boutiques at the time.

photo-6.jpgNow, the tide has turned and Greenjeans is part of a revitalization that has transformed this once poor corner of Brooklyn’s otherwise tony neighborhood into a burgeoning destination of note.

As one customer who walked in today mentioned, “I’m looking for something for a friend’s birthday…everyone loves things from shops in Brooklyn nowadays”–how true.

photo-7.jpgSHAKER CHAIR BONANZA: If you need to know anything about Greenjeans and their impressive stable of craftspeople, I would suggest taking a look at the Shaker furniture by Brian Braskie (Canterbury, NH).

To whet your appetite for this traditional American furniture style, check out these stunning chairs at the shop and this visit to Braskie’s studio on the Greenjeans blog.

A furniture making genius, as Amy would say, his masterfully built objects can be custom ordered and available in months. He continues a revered tradition he learned from the last two elderesses of the Canterbury Shaker village in New Hampshire–talk about pedigree.

photo-1.jpgPERSONAL FAVORITE: I feel in love with Jane Kaufmann’s (Durham, NH) rough ceramic objects the moment I laid eyes on them. Fortunately, she has been a staple of Greenjeans from their first day and continues to display new imaginative objects she concocts in her New England workshop.

Stemming from what appears to be a very personal passion for clay, her objects sometimes veer to the political and are often infused with her own Quaker faith. Her finished objects display a sensitivity to human flaws and their awkward beauty.

photo-2.jpgHer latest series “10 Least Wanted Men” is wonderfully quirky. Composed of giant dice-like forms, the series features portraits of these somewhat (and sometimes completely) despicable males who irk a lot of people–the Donald Trump die is pictured in the image above.

Better know for her floral orbs that bulge with pastoral scenes or her clay finger puppets, she also makes tiles, columns and other fantastical things that inevitably make you smile.

OTHER NOTABLES:

  • Humpty Dumpty dolls made from reused vintage quilts & adorable vintage-looking teddy bears by Judy Geagley (Tallesboro, KY),
  • fine handmade books by Dennis Yuen (Brooklyn),
  • Pine Journal Quilts by Merrilyn San Soucie (Newmarket, NH) which are small hangings based on poems by the artisan, and
  • limited edition resin busts of President George W. Bush by James Williamson (Brooklyn) named “It’s Hard Work“–they make the commander-in-chief appear half chimpanzee, half Roman citizen.

Greenjeans, 449 Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215 — 718-907-5835 — the official blog: http://greenjeansbrooklyn.blogspot.com

CORRECTED: Greenjeans co-owner, Amy, informed me that she misspoke when she told me that Braskie’s furniture takes years to complete…thankfully they are available within months of your order.

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One response to “South Slope Design Mecca

  1. Thanks for this fabulous write-up, Hrag!

    Just one thing: Brian Braskie’s chairs are available to order any time and take only a couple of months to complete, not years!

    It has been so nice having you in the shop today. It’s just like when we work together at home, only with customers!

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