I wish I were a pigeon feather, sealed in a test tube and beautifully photographed by Alyssa of BROOKLYNrehab. I would become a thing to treasure, to be looked at anew, a witty and clever idea executed to perfection. Every object collected, re-visioned, customized, created in the BROOKLYNrehab studio fills me with longing and a little bit of joy, it is no wonder that every single best of Etsy post I have put together has included something from Alyssa’s shop. I have developed a serious passion, let’s join Alyssa right now!
Tell us a little about yourself, the media you work with and your creative process.
“Hi! My name is Alyssa Zygmunt, fashion designer by day and indie crafter by night. Most of what I am paid to design professionally is ultimately discarded in the cruel product life cycle also known as “the pursuit of the latest greatest fashion,” so the least I can do is make up for it with my creative hobby. The idea behind what I do as BROOKLYNrehab is to re-look at the objects around me to update, repackage and promote them as things of beauty to be saved and treasured rather than thrown away.”
“The starting point for me can either be vintage or modern mass production. Vintage objects are easy. I find the aging process a thing of beauty. The bumps and briuses accumulated along the way hint at past lives and serve to add character. I love to photograph these items in modern settings that suggest new uses and have others fall in love with them as well.”
“Brand new objects born into the world through mass production are much harder to “save” as it is often designed with a built in obsolescence in mind. These are often viewed as interchangeable and sometimes indistinguishable. Since I can’t stop the mass production of these (as much as I love handmade), my goal is to transform them from anonymity into something memorable or personable.”
” I consider these a blank canvas for my own designs and commentary. For example, I repurpose test tubes as specimen jars for my pigeon feather take on the modern New York souvenir. I customize restaurant grade egg cups to enhance the feeling of ownership. You’d think twice before throwing away a cup that has your name on it!”
“While all this is true, sometimes I just like to have fun! Even though I *think* way too much sometimes, ultimately my goal is to make people smile. I want to enrich people’s lives and encourage them to form positive bonds with their objects. It sounds silly but I think of selling my gnomes as finding homes for wayward chotchskies (sp?). It is an adoption process not a retail experience. I’ve given birth to quite a few porcelain delights which leads me to the next topic *i*n*s*p*i*r*a*t*i*o*n*”
From where do you draw your inspiration: music, books, people, nature etc?
“As much as I draw inspiration from the city and all that it offers, it is what is missing that also motivates me. I miss nature. I love the sights, sounds, textures and animals associated with the great outdoors, so I create it in the studio in the form of branches, birds, owls, mushrooms and squirrels.”
” I also enjoy being a modern anthropologist observing how people relate to the world around them and the objects they hold dear. I was directly inspired by my observations to create the “Love note series” where I pair a vintage postcard and a found object, then add a message such as “lost and found” or “secret rendezvous.”
“I hint at an underlying story that you can choose to use your imagination to complete or use as a jumping off point for your own lives.”
If you could talk briefly about the background to one of your pieces which would you choose and why? Please tell us the story behind the piece.
“The piece that everyone seems most interested in right now is the pigeon feather New York Souvenir. I’ll try to answer the most frequently asked question: “WHY?” After nearly 10 years of living in New York, I still find it a thrill to be here. Perhaps it was growing up watching Fame on TV; somehow, I just knew I would live here one day. It seemed like the place to be if one is creative. Pigeons to me are just one of those reminders that I made it here. The feathers are also symbolic to me so I started picking them up on my path between home and the ceramic studio. As they accumulated, I found creative ways to display them which I posted on flickr and on my blog.”
“After receiving positive responses, I decided to find a way to share my finds with other feather fans. A test tube is the perfect way to transform the once simple feather into a treasure with sentimental value. It also seals it from being touched which allows me to tap into the collective consciousness that we all share as city dwellers and poke fun at the notion that pigeons are dirty. I do have plans to expand on this idea which hopefully will show-up in my ETSY store soon.”
Places to find Alyssa:
Thank you so very much Alyssa for sharing your work with us and for being such a sweetheart too. Really, I am such a lucky girl, I get to *meet* my heroes, ask them questions and then spend contented hours exploring beautiful images to post on LL&O. In fact, I am sitting up in bed at 10.37 am writing this, the sea gulls are shrieking and the fog horn is wailing. Next week we will be in South America and I will reveal a tiny new addition to the LL&O sidebar! Hmm, curious kittens, meet me back here soon.