As we start to regroup after the political shock of a lifetime, making an effort to focus on what is still beautiful and fun in life is more important than ever. This Sunday in Williamsburg—with a mix of denim, ceramics, Ikebana, music, and wine—that is exactly what you can do.
In a pop-up event called Silhouettes, Greenpoint-based denim designer Merica Lee, Ridgewood based ceramic artist Erin Louise Clancy, and Ikebana powerhouse Alicia McDole of Huntress Botanica, will combine their artistic mediums to create something all together new. Already, this is great but, even better (for the truly distraught among us), some of the proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood, says Lee—a necessary antidote to our collective election grief.
Using Lee’s indigo derrière-boosting bell-bottom denim as a canvas, Clancy adds to them her gorgeous, handmade stone-wear beads, each one hand-rolled, cut, formed, and painted. Dangling off the back-side of Lee’s jeans (four to six of them, selected by Lee, are threaded onto the pants’ back-side lace-ups), the groupings form a miniature wearable art installation.
“We’re making them in a way meant to be bounced around—and they do especially if you have a little wiggle in your walk!” Lee jokes one morning, sitting next to Clancy, sipping on coffee at Reynard. At the event on Sunday, Lee will sell around 15 pair of her collaboration jeans in different sizes. Some will also include embroidery from Sophie Lockhart (famous for adding her art to Drake’s jean jackets), who sews color-popping images like cherries to the back-side of Lee’s bell-bottoms; still more of the jeans will be air-brushed or ice-dyed.
Clancy, meanwhile, has sculpted vessels for Ikebana arrangements from Alicia McDole—whose floral work Lee describes as cross between “tropical and gothic.” “I was asking [McDole] what inspires her and she was like, my work is romantic, but it’s the dark side of gothic.”—so, basically, gorgeous and badass at once. Combined with Clancy’s ceramics—which include plenty of texture, hand-painted designs, and some eye-catching gold-luster—the combined result, aesthetically, is exciting and brand new.
In addition to shopping for ceramic stoneware and floral arrangements from Clancy and McDole, and pants from Lee that will last you a lifetime, you can, lastly, but very much not least of all, find garments from Brooklyn designer Kelsy Parkhouse, whose label, Carleen, produces innovative and colorful collections that usually make me want to drain my entire life-savings so that I can own all of it.
For further relief from political or existential sadness (or possibly anger, if you’ve already made it to that step) there will be music from DJ George Michael (one half of the band Naked Heroes, whose other half is Merica Lee herself) and, of course, wine (the natural kind; we are self-medicating in Brooklyn, after all). And, to repeat: purchasing a pair of Merica Lees, which will maximize the full potential of your butt, or one of Clancy’s ceramic creations, which will make your home a happier and prettier place, will also benefit women’s health, and Planned Parenthood in particular. What better reason than that to shop for your home, or get a hot new pear of pants?
Over breakfast, I asked Lee and Clancy how this collaboration came about, why it is meaningful for artists who are working in such diverse mediums to work together. Part of it, says Clancy, is selfish—but the end result is great for all of us.
“Artists, especially like myself, doing studio work, trying to figure out how to make your work into a vision, you’re operating in a bubble,” she answers, thoughtfully. “Collaborations are a way for people who are hungry for that connection to support each other, and work in very different mediums; I’m always drawn to it as an opportunity to get out of my own headspace, and own work.”
Plus, Lee adds, because this is New York—a place abounding not only with creative people, but creative people living, more or less, right on top of each other—these things come about naturally.
“It’s just the essence of New York,” she says. “Artists are thrown together and inspired by each other and it seems only natural that artists would start working together, especially if you have the same vision”—something that doesn’t always happen. But with Clancy, the stars were aligned.
The result of that, of combining materials and practices from different places, is the purple part of the ven diagram, a product that is greater than the sum of its parts. “Once you start making art and design, and thinking in this pattern, there is this constant search for how to not only improve what your’e doing, but expand it,” Clancy adds. “And the same principles apply whether it’s painting or design. We’re all just making these creations.”
And on Sunday we—and Planned Parenthood, and our temporarily reduced (but strong and hopeful, right??) emotional well beings—are the ones who will benefit from that magic.
Silhouettes retal pop-up and party runs this Sunday, November 13th from 12 – 6 PM at Picture Farm Productions (338 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg)