Saturday, December 4, 2010

Studio Kaiju In Da House!

So there are geeks, then there are Geeks.

Risking the possible damage to my persona as a fashion designer, I am totally okay to admit that I am a geek.  I stood in line for three solid hours, in torrential downpour for the Episode 1 (then came out of the theater on the other side of the blackhole of disappointment a few hours later).  I have a friend who "wouldn't say fluent in it, but can carry a conversation in Klingon."

Randy and Co. of Studio Kaiju are, Hyper Geeks.  Randy grew up in this fine country of Superman and Batman, yet he did so while watching all the goofy Ultraman and Godzilla and Kamen-Rider and stuff - all the Japanese kid TV shows I grew up with. I didn't even know people watched that stuff outside of Japan.  It's a bit embarrassing, really.  These shows did help built my moral fiber, teaching me to protect the weak and fight the bad guys who hijack school buses in Japan in the process of taking over the entire world.  But that was, you know, for, goofy Japanese kids.  I watched them, just because they were there when I come home from school.  But Randy LOVED them.  Enough, so that when he reached the cusp of the adulthood, he decided that was what he was going to do for a living.  He produces the "live action theater" of Kaiju Big Battel.  His hands are in everything - from costumes to script.  On the other hand, I eventually moved on to something more grownup.  Like, um, drawing unnaturally super skinny women with, um, made-up clothing on them.

Anyway, so this Geeky-ness isn't just with Randy and Co., it seems to be all over the world.  A cute young girl of about 16 walked into the store this afternoon, with her aunt.  The girl was cute, in her little plaid skirt and some sort of brown fuzzy monster hat (I should have seen it coming right then and there).  The girl and the aunt watched the Kaiju Big Battel dvd on our TV for a bit, then spoke to one another excitedly in Spanish at length.  Thinking now was the time I show some professionalism, I started explaining to them what Studio Kaiju was about, when the aunt said, "She knows what this is. She's seen it." "Oh really? In Brooklyn?" "No, in Chile."

Apparently, YouTube clips of Kaiju Big Battel is HUUUUUUGE amongst youngsters in Chile.  The cute young girl gave me a small, embarrassed smile, and said they came into the store because she spotted the DVD's from outside.  Thank goodness for the enormous windows.  

So, it pays to be Geeks.  You get to make your passion into a way of making a living, and have a huuuge following on the other side of the globe.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Being A Small Business - an essay

by Kazuki Kozuru-Salifoska

It is interesting owning a business.  I never thought of myself as a business person.  As I was studying fine arts and then fashion design, my mother kept telling me to go for MBA.  I suspect she had any idea what MBA stood for, or even the fact that it is a master's degree which comes after the bachelor's degree.  She knew you'd make lots of money if you had one.

Now that I "own" a business of sort, people are asking me things I never thought about.  I am even invited to a small gathering around a local politician.  I am going to attend, just so I will hopefully learn the kind of things I need to be wanting from the government as a small business owner. 

In my mind, Creators' Co-Op is a community, where we the artists and designers stage our creations for a local audience and customers.  The Co-Op itself is also a business, I guess, but I didn't really think of it that way. 
Black Friday and Small Business Saturday is on this week.  The Co-Op is having a store-wide sales for these 2 days.  Gaetano, baby Kharin and I will be at the Co-Op bright and early with steaming pot full of spiced apple cider.  I am thankful for the opportunity to be in this position, learning and making things up as I tumble along the path. 

Janet Morgan and Gregory Frux joined the Co-Op with their cards featuring their paintings this week.  They are Encouragement Cards, Belly Dance Art Cards, and Death Valley Cards.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Creator Spotlight: Gaetano Canella of Lume and Nera

Gaetano Cannella is a Brooklyn based clothing designer with a zeal for fashion that began at the age of five.  After having worked in the industry for 13 years and not being creatively fulfilled, Gaetano decided to start the Nera and Lume lines to finally design from what inspires him.  With that idea he decided to setup shop in his basement in Bushwick, Brooklyn where he toils away making the dresses that he loves.  He hopes that the women who wear his clothes get as much joy out of wearing them that he gets from designing and making them. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Creator Spotlight: Gina Schiappacasse Illustration

Gina Schiappacasse started studying fashion design back in Wisconsin.  She eventually followed her dream and was inspired by New York City where she now lives.  Her work has a painterly, fine art quality to it mixed with the stylish flair of traditional fashion illustration.  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Creator Spotlight: Anthesis Organic

Have you ever watched a flower bud blossom into a vibrant and beautiful flower? Have you ever noticed the perfect balance and harmony between the flower and its surrounding environment? When a flower is in bloom it is at the most beautiful and flourishing period of its life. Blossoming flowers are a source of nectar for bees, birds and other animals, a splash of vibrant color on nature’s canvas, and the providers of sweet, uplifting floral fragrances that fill a Spring day’s breeze. The period of a flower’s life when it’s blossoms is called Anthesis.

Anna Almiroudis founded “Anthesis Organic Skincare” with the belief that that by using skincare products formulated with authentic, pure, natural and organic ingredients your skin will also “blossom” and be at its most beautiful state. She also believes that by using fresh, natural products that are packaged in recyclable packaging and not mass-produced you are doing your part in the environment as well. Her products are hand-made in small batches from sweet scented floral waters, vitamin-rich botanical oils, herbal extracts and precious essential oils. She is very passionate about creating natural skincare products that harness nature’s “love” and puts her heart and soul into everything she makes.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Creator Spotlight: Baby Noir & Baby Solaire

Not a pastels kind of Mom? Do duckies and teddy bears make you ill? Do you need your little one to be dressed as chic and cosmopolitan as yourself? New mother Kazuki Kozuru was a New York fashion designer for some of the top houses in the industry. When her daughter was born, she naturally wanted to dress her in the same, stylish aesthetic that she herself subscribed to. However, after shopping the market, she realized that baby clothes in the stores did not follow suit.

The popular new parent book states, "Urban Babies Wear Black". If that's true, where were they all shopping?

Looking to correct a glaring glitch in the market, Kazuki started a small, home-grown baby collection from scratch. The stylish onesies have Victorian-inspired ruffles down the front and tees have fabulous screen-printed motifs (my favorite is the warrior-like sword-wielding princess). She even has accessories, like the black rose petal hat modeled above. Baby Noir is her dark hued collection.  Baby Solaire has brighter, seasonal colors.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Creator's Co-op Grand Opening Party Tonight!

Are you ready to shop and meet the designers?  Get ready to sip wine and nibble on cheese tonight at the Creator's Co-op Grand Opening Soiree!  Many of the artists will be on hand to answer questions about their work.  Don't you want to see the hands that made your handmade piece?

See preview photos above!

Creator Spotlight: Batja Bell, Krewe de Tcheque

GORGONA STUDIO is rooted in the beadwork traditions and materials of Central and South Eastern Europe.    For over 30 years Batja has produced unique crochet and needle-woven beadwork accessories -- contemporary in design, but based on traditional Balkan and Carpathian techniques.

Batja’s newest line, Krewe de Tchèque , however, began as a bag of salvaged strands of molded and lampworked vintage beads found in New Orleans

Hand-strung necklaces, of glass and sometimes early plastics, were imported to the Crescent City from Czechoslovakia (and occasionally Japan and India) for Mardi Gras parade throws between the 1920s and the 1960s.
After Carnival, prized beads were saved in attics and closets, later turning up in flea markets and junk stores as families moved.

As Hurricane Katrina forced many people to lose or abandon homes, sources for the old beads were lost; they are now increasingly rare.   Batja was fortunate to collect these beads only months before the devastating storm.

Krewe de Tchèque revives and recomposes broken strands into new whole necklaces, adding other vintage Czech beads and new findings as needed. The resulting jewelry recalls Carnivals past, but is wearable everyday.

Removable sterling extender chains are included with shorter strands so that you can adjust the length to show off more of these beautiful beads.   

A percentage of proceeds from Krewe de Tchèque is pledged to the
New Orleans Musicians’ Relief Fund. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Creator Spotlight: Jonathan Castro's Anomaly

Inspiration for Jonathan Castro's  'Anomaly' aesthetic was a design that was floating in his head and in his sketch book for about a year's time.   For the artist, the Anomaly aesthetic derives from looking at bizarre biological growth of the known and newly discovered in nature and is largely influenced by plant life on land and in the sea.  

"The potential in combining functional and sculptural realms allowed me to explore develop, and produce forms that remain functional.   In adding sculptural elements to functional forms, my goal was to bring functional forms to life, and have that Anomaly "growth" be an unexpected creature.  Starting with the most basic of forms in ceramics, the bowl, I developed the aesthetic with other forms such as vases, bottles, serving trays, etc.  The anomaly designs for each form depends on, revolves around, and accents the shape of the individual piece.  The goal is to have a visually exciting and functional conversation piece that brings my artist voice to a space"

Check out his amazing work at the Creator's Co-op!

Creators' Co-Op Grand Opening Soiree!


Come meet the designers at a Wine & Cheese Soiree for the Creator's Co-op in Astoria!

We're hosting a fabulous party to introduce our makers, crafters, designers and artists.  Check out the work, learn more about the face behind the creation.  Sip wine, nibble on cheese, and party!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Creator Spotlight: Paul Klenk

Paul Klenk is an origami artist based in Astoria, Queens.  He began folding origami boxes in Minneapolis around 1995, filling them with his mother's and grandmother's fabulous gingerbread (recipe available on request). Acquiring new and beautiful papers quickly became an obsession. He recently learned that his original paper supplier in Saint Paul, Minnesota still has the origami box he presented to them 15 years ago, in brown and blue Florentine prints (c. 1901) on Italian paper. Paul is also a singer and pianist, is fond of anagrams ("An excellent anagram ~ can relax a gentleman"), and is an Executive Assistant by profession.

Paul selects from the world's most beautiful decorative papers, in an unending variety of patterns, colors, fibers, dyes, and textures. He then cuts, folds, assembles and sculpts them into collections that coordinate easily to spectacular effect. This is a hallmark of Oriboxi art.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Setting Up the Store!

So much has happened!
I am about to open a co-operative style store full of hand-made goods in Astoria, Queens.  It all started when I was dropping off some babyNOIR merchandise atKrisTEES.  I was telling the owner Kristie that someone should take advantage of the market she developed in that part of Astoria for the past 5 years by providing a beautifully chosen designer fashion in the area.  There are many young, hip people in my neighborhood, but they mostly go to Manhattan and Brooklyn to shop.KrisTEES changed that a bit.  I told her I would like to open a store in a few years, with babyNOIR and babySOLAIRE along with some complimentary lines.  Then, she told me about a little store front available a block from hers.  She said, "someone should turn that into a cool boutique."

My brains did some working behind my back for a few days - you know how you can't really trust your own brains with interesting information - then one day I suddenly an idea about a co-op style store for all my creative friends and colleagues.  It was brilliant!  By sharing the overhead cost, I didn't have to carry the burden of it all by my self.  And, all my friends who'd been wanting to have a venue to sell their creations will have a space with walls and a roof!

I signed the lease (super cool landlady!), got the liability insurance, opened the Con Edison account, started leaving fliers everywhere, painted the walls (til 3am!!), got the furniture in (thanks, Gary!!), and got the first artist's creations in - MSG by Mami Suzuki!  The door is to open on November 3rd, and grand opening soiree in the evening of the 5th!

Will keep you posted!