I recently illustrated and designed the poster for Jessica’s (The Shiny Squirrel) new pop-up shop which opens tonight in NYC. Perfect timing for some gift shopping for yourself, or that special someone’s gift for Valentine’s Day.
Tag Archives: The Shiny Squirrel Pop-Up
For our fifth feature in the series I got to spend time with my good friend Kate Jones of Ursa Major in her studio in TriBeCa this past weekend. Her mum, who is also an amazing jewelry designer, was in town for Kate’s birthday so we spent the afternoon chatting and geeking out about jewelry. I took the opportunity to take some shots of Kate working on the necklace my boyfriend got for me for Christmas and chatted with her about what she’s been up to and what she has planned for Ursa Major this coming year. Also click here if you want to read my Q&A with Kate from earlier this year!
Q. This fall you’ve started creating pieces for men. Are there different challenges that you face making men’s jewelry compared to women’s?
A. The cufflinks are pretty straight forward- but there is a real issue of functionality. I love the look of cufflinks that use chain in between, but all men tell me they’re impossible to use. I don’t like the look of hinged backs- so it was about finding a balance of aesthetics and function, which I love. Rings are a different thing- the scale is completely different to the women’s I’m used to. Sounds obvious, but it’s harder to be as minimal as I like and still make sure it’s gonna work for a guy- are the walls too heavy? Too thin? Too dainty? I’m always open to feedback. Fortunately I’ve got a lot of design opinionated guy friends As for the rest, it’s really just a challenge to make pieces that men want to live in, but one I’m happy to take on.
Q. Do you find that more men are comfortable wearing jewelry these days? Is there a piece that is commonly commissioned from you?
A. It seems that way. Men seem to be paying more attention to accessories and details. I think they realize it’s a way to make an otherwise very simple daily “uniform” personal. And most guys come to me after a piece which is ultimately very simple yet unique, and something they can live in. I do a lot of wedding rings.
Q. You’re cuff links look amazing and I’m sure will be a huge hit. Can you elaborate on the process of making them? Including your inspiration behind the patterns they feature
A. Well I was hanging around Scott Schuman and we were talking about how few good, simple cufflinks are out there that aren’t novelty. Vintage ones were the closest we could find and both agreed it was time for an update. Plus Freeman’s had been asking me to make some. Some of the patterns come from etched plates I made, others from existing patterned metal, and one, the Squash Blossom, is a design I came up with and had engraved- an amalgamation of the iconic American Indian motif and old coins (like the buffalo nickel, commonly turned into jewelry).
Q. And finally, what we’ve been asking all our vendors involved in the Pop-Up shop, what do you see for yourself and Ursa Major in 2012?
A. Big things! Finally the men’s line will come to fruition. I’ll begin selling Ursa overseas and the work’s been published in a couple of books coming out in the fall. Plus a new line I’ve created with a couple of great guys, Derek Brahney and Edge Trullinger, called Hyde. It’ll focus on men’s accessories- namely belts, but some fun bits and pieces too- like the “Spin to Pay” bottle opener you guys have got at the pop-up and available online at Partners and Spade http://store.partnersandspade.com/2011/12/05/spin-to-see-who-pays-bottle-opener/
Fifth in our series is Ted Harrington of Terrapin Stationers & Engravers. He’s a hoot and a half so hope you enjoy our rather silly Q&A below!
Q. Terrapin Stationers & Engravers is one of those rare family run businesses. What’s it like keeping work in the family?
A. It’s difficult to articulate. All I can say is I have an Old Steelcase desk in back of the shop with the bottom drawer kicked in…
Q. You’re infamous Fuck Off and Go Home and Change cards became a huge hit overnight. How did you come up with these brilliant concepts?
A.The Engraved FUCK OFF Calling Card was Michael Williams idea. I just made it happen. I have probably pushed it a bit too far but it is popular. Go Home and Change was Mister Mort’s idea. I’m not that confident nor am I that Natty. Let me repeat that, the Go Home and Change card was Mister Mort’s idea. (How is that Mordechai?) I think Puff Puff Pass could be a future collaboration…
Q. Can you elaborate on the printing process of one of your items, how about printing a business card.
A. Sure, unlike Letterpress, our plates our made of etched copper and our images are recessed. We stamp our paper with a carver press (late 1800′s). The result is perfect, crisp and raised. These plates last forever. We have dies from the 20′s.
Q. How does your Made in the USA production define your business?
A. I love it. It does not suck to produce work for companies like Red Wing or to walk into Club Monaco and see our cards on the Made in the USA table. It’s a dream come true. It’s just fucking cool. We don’t need to buy tons of cheap crap made offshore. Buy a few well made things. I guess what I’m saying is FUCK COSCO.
Q. What are your hopes and dreams for Terrapin in 2012?
A. To make sure everyone here is earning a fair wage, has health insurance, vacation. The basics. Taking a regular paycheck would be amazing.
And because Ted and I can’t communicate with each other without a dose of juvenile humor, I’ve got some unnecessary questions for him:
Q. When did your hair begin to gray?
A. Junior Year of High School
Q.So you’re not 66 years old?
A. No. I’m an immature 45.
Q. You have a beautiful big brother relationship with Michael Williams. How do you guys maintain such a wonderful bond?
A. I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate but I think he feels sorry for me . It’s not unusual for him to ring me up just to tell me I’m pathetic or worse. Seriously, Michael Williams is the Man. Legally that’s all I’m allowed to say.
Q. What are your favorite expressions that you use daily?
A. Oh Hell Testes. Thank you spell check. Also FUCK OFF. Obviously.
Chatted with Eric Heins of Corter, yet another Bostonian and fourth in our series of Pop-Up Shop vendor features. Read up on why he likes to spend his days working with leather and what it takes to actually make one of his beautiful wallets and belts.
Q. When did you first start working with leather? Are you self-taught?
A. I started leather work a month into my junior year of college in late 2007. I wanted a Redmoon wallet, but couldn’t afford it being a student. I found a thread on the fashion forum Superfuture about someone that made their own Redmoon-style wallet, and it inspired me to do the same. I ordered some low grade leather, watched some tutorials while it was in the mail, and ended up making the first wallet while home sick for a few days in September. I posted pictures on the forum, and was in business January 1st of the next year making custom wallets.
Q. What makes your products stand apart from other leather good shops?
A. I try to make things that are functional, affordable, and accessible. I’ve always designed for myself first, because I know a lot of my customers are very much like me. I’m not sure that it sets me apart from other leather companies, all I hope for is that the things I make are needed and used.
Q. For those who may not be familiar with how to craft leather, can you explain the process you go through for making one of your wallets or belts?
A. Sure thing. First I’ll design a piece in sketches. Then I go straight to leather and prototype the piece, which can take from 2 hours to 3 days to get right. I never really use patterns except for the Folded Bifold I offer- I just commit the measurements to memory and cut them one-by-one. After the prototype is in use for a few weeks, I adjust and tweak the things that need to be changed and make a final proto. From there, I design the production process that allows me to make every one myself, make a batch, photograph it, and put it in my shop. As far as the actual production, the general process is to cut the pieces, poke holes with an awl, and stitch- all by hand. I use a saddle stitch, and finish edges with a burnish and some bee’s wax from a farm in Rhode Island.
Q. You’re still a one-man shop, handling the crafting, sales, and PR/marketing. What’s your favorite part about running your own show?
A. My favorite part has always been designing. I design everything, from the actual look of the piece to the process that allows me to make the piece in quantity all by myself. I enjoy that the most.
Q. Where do you see yourself and Corter in 2012?
A. I’d like to do another charity project like the For Japan sale this year, it’s awesome to be able to help people. Other than that I can honestly say I have no clue at all. I need to move into a bigger shop again, but otherwise I’ve never had a business plan and kind of go wherever it takes me. I don’t want to be making things people don’t need- I’ve never wanted to be white noise- so I hope to keep making things people use and enjoy.