Makin' It: Tripping with A5

A5-ayaka_displayA5's Ayaka Hara is an intensely talented artist caught up in the space between light and dark, positive and negative, almost yin and yang. And out of it all emerges brilliance. On one side she showcases pieces of jewelry created with thoughts of destruction, sickness, and natural disasters. You can get lost in the pieces if you look closely. On the other side is a table covered with flower petals and beautiful displays of things made with vibrantly colored dried flowers, like jewelry and greeting cards. The most intriguing of all the pieces are her dried flower vials. They come in a few different sizes and would be great for bringing some of that positive energy into any space.

You won’t want to miss Ayaka’s unusual creations. Find her at the market in Williamsburg this Saturday and Sunday.

Makin' It: Elephant in the Attic

caitlin-elephant-in-the-atticElephant in the Attic is the brainchild of Caitlin Brubacher, a playwright who has merged her love of thrifting and upcycling with her love of for the written word. Caitlin came to NY to study playwriting at Brooklyn College, and began to make plays out of materials that are often over-looked: a bizarre text found from a 1950s encyclopedia on women's health, an overheard conversation on the subway, even a transcript of the  contemporary reality TV show wife-swap. Through Elephant in the Attic, she has continued to frame the past and make something new of it, but now doing so through the visual medium of framing and matting vintage prints from mid-century books and other cultural paraphernalia. Her space at the market is a wonderland for the curious and eclectic-loving. Every space is filled with interesting items from hanging frames and baskets of matted prints to feathered hair clips and more. Caitlin irresistibly draws on her own theatrics with a greeting that is often quirky and memorable. Inquire about custom orders if there's an old book you're in love with or visit her facebook page to submit an inquiry and to follow her process.

Behold the delightful world of Elephant in the Attic every weekend in Williamsburg.







Makin' It: Prints & Patterns

Cora-NY-mini-market-pop-up-williamsburgIf you’ve ever come to A&F looking for a new dress, chances are you’ve tried one on from Erika Nakajima's design line Cora. With their whimsical prints and simple silhouettes, they are an easy dress to wear casually or dressed up. And that’s exactly what designer Erika Nakajima was going for when she started the line just a year ago. Around that time Erika split from her business partner to pursue her own unique line of clothing, which she had been showing at A&F every weekend. Since then she’s moved up, moved on and gained a following through her participation at Artists & Fleas at Chelsea Market last Spring and Holiday seasons. This past weekend she revealed her new collection and new booth at the market featuring handmade furniture by a local woodworker who has made custom furniture for others at the market - viva la collaborations! - turning Cora's booth into a legit mini pop-up in a market.

Come see the new Cora for yourself and find yourself in a cute number just in time for Spring!

Shanna Nash is Snash 24/7

snash-jewelry-brooklyn-shanna-nashIt's funny to look back and remember the first day that folks like Snash Jewelry's Shanna Nash came to the market to set up and show. Her now famous (we daresay iconic) grills are but one of the many knock-out pieces in her arsenal. And as Shanna takes to the road for shows far and wide to share a little bit of that Brooklyn vibe in her part-time role as Artists & Fleas ambassador (sorta), she wins the hearts and minds of hundreds who invariably say: When I grow up and move to Brooklyn, I wanna be like Shanna Nash. When did you first sell at A&F? March 2011

What's your fondest memory from that day? Explaining to Ruby and Noa how to take a mouth mold

What don't you miss from that day? Being the new kid on the block.

What's your most memorable customer? The first day someone asked for an 18k gold tooth

Your favorite weekend snack? Froyo yo!

Your proudest moment? Getting to the market on time!

Got a favorite bathroom graffiti? The pigeon that likes my shoes.

Get down with the wit and charm of Shanna Nash every weekend in Williamsburg. Wanna become her new BFF? Bring some froyo...



Makin' It: With Whimsy & Wood

into-the-forest-williamsburgInto The Forest is the beautiful, artistic and dream-like collaboration between two lovers living in Brooklyn. Sarah Zar is a dreamy artist full of whimsy, and her partner Naaran is an exquisite woodworker. She is inspired by literature and secrets and loves to share hidden things with strangers; he loves wood and builds custom furniture interiors found in cafés and restaurants around NYC. Together they built an alcove out of recycled wood and set up shop to showcase their art objects at A&F for the past two weekends. Stepping up to their booth felt like being transported into a fairytale where the imagination can run wild: small paintings in handmade frames, necklaces made from chandelier crystals up-cycled with drawings, memory fingers for gifts, bird cages to catch ideas, and antique lockets with miniature paintings. We can't wait for them to bring their world of wonder back to the market this Spring!


Falling in Love, a Valentine's Day Special

patty_shmataWhat's a maven? Ask Patricia Lie, designer, collector and vintage curator behind Ahshmata. We last did a catch-up during the Summer of 2011. Time flies and a lot has changed. When did you first sell with us? Fall 2010

What's your fondest memory of that day? That weird, fuzzy feeling of not having a boss and all the money I earned was MINE!

What don't you miss from that day? Packing it all up!!!!!!  (Now when the market closes, I just shut the lights).

What's your most memorable customer interaction: CL (2ne1) shopping incognito and loading up on shmatas right before her big show. Serious stuff!

What's your proudest moment? Seeing City girls on the streets wearing shmata leather shorts.

It's not yet shorts-wearing weather but Patricia is hard at work on her Summer collection and you can peep it in previews in Williamsburg any weekend day.

Falling in Love Again with FSMNYC

ronnie-aminov-FSMNYCWe're the first to admit it. We have something of a father/son obsession and pride with FSMNYC, Ronnie Aminov and Cynthia Caterra's fashion jewelry design line. The A&F community is a large extended family and the success story that is FSMNYC (formerly FancySexyMe) is one that we're proud of and love to share. We caught up with Ronnie, part of the dynamic duo the other day to hear a bit of their story looking back over the years.

When did you first come to Artists & Fleas?

Mother's Day weekend, 2009.

What is your fondest memory of that first selling day?

Someone actually buying something. We had no idea if we would sell anything. Seriously.

What don't you miss about that day?

The unknown - feeling hopeful, scared, excited and extremely nervous.

What's your most memorable moment?

I made - half as a joke - a really bad Australian impression to a customer. It turned out to be Kylie Minogue and when she pulled out her credit card, I nearly shat my pants.

What's the highlight of your time at the market?

Every single time we sell something, we make someone happy. I cannot get enough of it.

Makin' It: Origami far from Ordinary

chelsea-hrynickChelsea Hrynick creates art using cut origami paper and is inspired by the natural patterns that surround us. Her work, composed of individual squares consisting of brightly colored paper cut into shapes, comes together at scale when multiple tiles are placed alongside each other to create mind-blowing explosions of color, pattern and texture. An engineer by education, Chelsea soon realized that she was more left brain artist than right brain engineer. But her love of mathematics and geometry couldn't just go by the wayside so upon arriving to NYC this past Fall from Wisconsin (what's the story with the superstar Wisco representation at the market?), she has been focusing on getting her art out there and is actively seeking a home for her large-format installation. Stay tuned and check her out this Saturday in Williamsburg.


Hip and Happy Shoppers

sarahandjesse-hip-happy-shoppersSo many folks have got the look. Some bring it to the market. Some find it at the market. And many come back every week once they get turned on to the fab finds that await them. Sarah (@kicklat1) is from Germany and Jesse (@jessekotansky) is from Nyack, NY. She lived in the East Village for 5 years and now calls Brooklyn home. Last weekend was her first time at the market, but Jesse, a local musician and composer, been coming for a while. They love vintage hats and jewelry. Can't ya tell?

Got the look and wanna share it? We'll show you ours if you show us yours!

Makin' It: Mixed Media, Brooklyn-Style

copper-pipe-lampsWhen lighting designer and builder Sebastian Gonzalez, an electrician by trade and an upcycling artist at heart, dropped in earlier in January to share designs from his collection, Lihtan, we were floored. Sebastian started making lamps because he needed some for his apartment and didn’t want to buy them at a store. He paired his skills with his creativity and soon enough cold water copper pipes were soldered together into organic shapes that threw light and people were impressed. Lihtan lamps make use of basic store-bought materials and occasional salvaged parts from job sites, often mixing items that may not necessarily be made to work together. One of the more jaw-dropping pieces in Lihtan's portfolio is a tall table lamp that uses a water faucet handle as a light dimmer. Sebastian has been at it for 3 years and is working the Williamsburg restaurant and bar scene where some of his current designs are on display. He custom builds and his designs know no bounds so tap him for a new design to adorn your home or favorite neighborhood haunt.


Makin' It: One Stitch at a Time

another-work-in-progress-handmade-stitched-leather-journalsWe last profiled Another Work in Progress and Dara Hymowitz back in 2009 (whoa!) and she shared the story of the whim, method and inspiration behind her line of  notebooks, notepads, clocks and boxes made from vintage upcycled board games and board game pieces like Monopoly, Sorry and other cult-classic games from the 1950s to 1980s. The line continues to be a mainstay at the market --- and it's hard to miss them when you first walk in and walk down the center aisle where AWIP holds court --- but Dara has spent the better part of the past year expanding into leather journals and book binding. Call them journals for grown up kids, these journals come in many sizes, shapes, and materials. Some are spiral bound using vintage game pieces; some are made from leather and are bound using a long stitch; and still others are made with artistic paper and applique images and are bound using a coptic stitch. Her newest journals have metal and leather covers, and metal objects adorning the front – they’re like little works of art.

Upcycled art fans and nostalgia freaks can have a field day here with AWIP's board game spinner clocks and keepsake boxes made from the game itself.

And true to the artist's way, Dara is constantly innovating and cranking out new pieces each and every week so there's always something new to discover, uncover and make your own.

The Story Goes Something Like This...

fiber-and-water-from-portlandDesigner Miles Perry was silk-screening shirts in his studio in Portland, Maine a few years ago when he realized that he didn't want to just be another guy screen-printing t-shirts. Not that there was anything wrong with that, of course. But this is Maine, a place where pretense (if it comes) dies. So he decided to see how his simple but subtly sublime renderings of images taken from everyday life would look on burlap. Anchors and timepieces. Simple typography. Iconic images of a bygone era. The stuff of nostalgia Americana. And so began Fiber and Water, a design studio dedicated to the design and craft of hand-pressed burlap wall art.

Miles came down from the coast this past weekend for a little taste of the Brooklyn scene (he knows markets from the SoWa kids in Boston) and we were thrilled to see that these works were equally at home in L.L. Bean as they were in WillyB and we look forward to seeing more burlap from Miles in our borough and beyond this year. In the meantime, check out Fiber and Water on Etsy to get it now.


Makin' It: Re-Cycling Maps

brooklyn-bike-mapsKevin Marcell migrated north to New York from Venezuela when he was just 20 years old. When he arrived, he found himself spending a lot of nights riding the subway back and forth as a means of shelter and became fascinated with the people he encountered. Always an artist, he needed a way to make art during this time so he started drawing the scenes of the train on subway maps. He hadn’t considered selling the art until a passerby offered to buy all the works he had on him, and so his current business was born. Along with a small group of guys in Brooklyn, Kevin creates art on outdated NYC cycling maps. Using his original photographs, he screen prints and paints the maps with vibrant scenes of the city. The guys have been selling on the street for years, but it was only a few weeks ago that they decided to try an indoor market.

In addition to selling art directly, Kevin’s art has been sold in art galleries and was even featured in an Art Basel exhibition. Bikes are cool. Maps are cool. And recycling cycling maps are way cool. Check 'em out each weekend in January in Williamsburg.


Makin' It: Wire Wrapping Rosey B

rosey-b-wire-wrapped-williamsburgJewelry designer Rosey B has been a staple at Artists & Fleas for 7 years… and counting. At age 10, this NYC native started creating with objects found around the apartment and never stopped. Over the years her style has evolved but the inspiration still comes from objects, like zippers and wire, as well as nature. In her bedazzling collection you’ll find unique pendant necklaces, wide wire wrapped rings, and dangling earrings. Aside from her permanent spot at the market, she sets up at other spots around the city including FIT, where inspiration often comes from conversations with students. She (like many) thinks of A&F as a place for creativity and growth, a place that impacts its vendors and customers on a subconscious level, and loves calling it her home base. You can also find her jewelry at shops around town from Brooklyn to the Bronx and places in between.

Makin' It: Metal, Rope and Spiked

Andrea-Bocchio-braceletsAndrea Bocchio began her career as a print designer in the fashion industry. In her free time she would make textile-based jewelry, drawing inspiration from the women knitters in her family and the materials she buys from her native country, Peru.

Her jewelry has become so popular that she’s been able to quit her day job and is now dedicating all her energy to her growing, one-woman business. The collection is already sold in stores around the world and she’s currently working on launching the next line at trade shows around the US in early 2013.

If you like colors and chunky knits, you’ll love Andrea’s jewelry. It’s perfect for making a statement. You’ll find brightly colored textures, thick metal chains, and unexpected details, mixed with traditional knitting and crocheting techniques.
In order to keep up with the demand, Andrea needs to hire some help and she wants to keep it super local to ensure the best handmade quality. Check out her fundraiser here (, and see her later this holiday season on December 22/23.

Makin' It: Put Personality into your Celebration

Hartland-Brooklyn-handmade-stationaryEmily Johnson started Hartland Brooklyn Card Co. earlier this year, after several years of working in the fashion industry. Her most recent gig was designing undies for Aerie, where she’d get to incorporate her artistic talent and draw little illustrations in the designs. She also loved making birthday cards for everyone in the office, and that’s when she realized she was on to something. Hartland’s cards are quirky and fun, with sayings like “Lettuce Celebrate” and “You Rattle My Bones”. The images are cute and are all hand-drawn by Emily in her Brooklyn studio. Her process has been one of discovery – trying to find the best way to produce quantity, while making sure the hand-made vibe was still in tact.

Check Emily's website for a list of stores who carry the cards, as well as her Etsy shop. If you aren’t near one of the small shops listed, don’t worry, because come this Spring Anthropologie will be carrying the line!

Makin' It: For Dudes, Expressive Accessories

Everett-not-your-hipster-menswear-WilliamsburgEverett was founded just this summer by 3 friends Nathan Coleman, Tinoy Kashif, and James Brooks - all business-savvy men in their mid-20s who saw a real opportunity in the clothing industry for vibrant men’s accessories. Realizing that ties mostly come in just solids and stripes, they wanted to create a line of ties out of unusual textures, colors, and patterns like monkeys and elephants, two-tone paisleys, and multi color polka dots. All the fabrics are sourced locally in and around NYC, and products include neckties, bowties, and pocket squares. They're currently working on their Spring 2013 designs, which include linen, burlap, canvas, and seer sucker. They’re also getting ready to introduce tie bars into the mix, as well as stick-on pockets!! And their quirky style even comes out in their marketing: post a photo wearing one of the tie stickers on their Facebook page and get a discount.