sneak peeks by 15

In Brooklyn, A Plant Filled Loft

We made the lamp using a DIY tutorial from the amazing lighting designer Lindsey Adelman. I think it's so great that she shares her designs with people, and it's how I feel about sharing my knowledge about dyeing in my workshops, tutorials and in my new book
Textile artist and designer Shabd Simon-Alexander has lived in this airy Williamsburg, Brooklyn loft for the past five years and has had a studio in the same building for six years. Since Shabd is surrounded by so much color in her professional life, she tries to make her home a reprieve, by choosing furniture with clean lines and modern features: white, wood, chrome and glass. By the looks of her plant and textile-filled home, it appears she can’t completely extricate herself from her love of color. Those modern, minimal aspects of her home are just a quiet backdrop to the riot of plants and colorful textiles and ceramics that are layered throughout the home. In addition to being a textile artist and designer, she is also an author and educator. Her clothing line, Shabd, is produced locally in New York City’s garment district and her fabrics are dyed by hand in her Brooklyn studio. Her first book, Tie-Dye: Dye It, Wear It, Share It was released last June. Thank you Shabd, and special thanks to Paul Barbera from Where They Create and Emily Johnston for the lovely photos! -Shannon

Image above: We made the lamp using a DIY tutorial from the amazing lighting designer Lindsey Adelman. I think it’s so great that she shares her designs with people, and it’s how I feel about sharing my knowledge about dyeing in my workshops, tutorials and in my new book. (Tie-Dye: Dye It, Wear It, Share It, published by Random House/Potter Craft).

My indoor jungle.
Image above: My indoor jungle.

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See more of this Brooklyn loft after the jump…

I've lived in this neighborhood on-and-off for over a decade, and I've really seen some changes. Our building used to be the tallest on the street, now we're the shortest.
Image above: I’ve lived in this neighborhood on-and-off for over a decade, and I’ve really seen some changes. Our building used to be the tallest on the street, now we’re the shortest.

I got this woolly weaving from a Navajo weaver on a reservation in New Mexico. He makes one a year, with his mother, and it's equally stunning on the back. This particular weaving was made of undyed wool, but he also had more traditional colorful rugs as well, and we geeked out about dyeing for a while - he had recently been testing out kool-aid dyeing and was loving the neon results.
Image above: I got this woolly weaving from a Navajo weaver on a reservation in New Mexico. He makes one a year, with his mother, and it’s equally stunning on the back. This particular weaving was made of undyed wool, but he also had more traditional colorful rugs as well, and we geeked out about dyeing for a while – he had recently been testing out kool-aid dyeing and was loving the neon results.

This was a birthday gift from my brother - one of the best gifts I've probably ever gotten. It seems to be a cross between a cactus, a succulent and a rose.
Image above: This was a birthday gift from my brother – one of the best gifts I’ve probably ever gotten. It seems to be a cross between a cactus, a succulent and a rose.

I used to think I had a brown thumb until we moved into our loft. Now we have a jungle - we just added 4 new trees and 5 new plants that we rescued from the artist Hanna Eshel's loft when she moved out after 35 years. Too bad Paul came over to photograph just before that!
Image above: I used to think I had a brown thumb until we moved into our loft. Now we have a jungle – we just added 4 new trees and 5 new plants that we rescued from the artist Hanna Eshel’s loft when she moved out after 35 years. Too bad Paul came over to photograph just before that!

Around the time I started dyeing fabric , I was also doing ceramics - and there was a lot of crossover in the way I was applying color. I made this pedestal to hold a matching sculpture for a gallery show in 2009 - I think it's important to blur the boundaries between art, craft, design and display.
Image above: Around the time I started dyeing fabric , I was also doing ceramics – and there was a lot of crossover in the way I was applying color. I made this pedestal to hold a matching sculpture for a gallery show in 2009 – I think it’s important to blur the boundaries between art, craft, design and display.

Winter produce, a sadder bounty than what's on our table in the warm months.
Image above: Winter produce, a sadder bounty than what’s on our table in the warm months.

It took me a year and then mixing together 3 different paints to get the right color for my kitchen wall. apparently no one else wanted pale-skin nude colored walls.
Image above: It took me a year and then mixing together 3 different paints to get the right color for my kitchen wall. apparently no one else wanted pale-skin nude colored walls.

We bought this chair, the woven Wegner chair in the living room, and an amazing ceramic mid-century desk lamp from a couple on Craigslist. They had been scouring yard sales in New Jersey for furniture for a mid-century modern house they thought they were going to buy, but in the end they bought a condo instead.
Image above: We bought this chair, the woven Wegner chair in the living room, and an amazing ceramic mid-century desk lamp from a couple on Craigslist. They had been scouring yard sales in New Jersey for furniture for a mid-century modern house they thought they were going to buy, but in the end they bought a condo instead. The furniture didn’t fit in so they sold it all off cheap, and since all of the buyers ended up being in Brooklyn they rented a van and delivered it all in person, it was so sweet.

My book and some others I'm flattered to have been featured in.
Image above: My book and some others I’m flattered to have been featured in.

More ceramics. I found this pineapple piggy bank in Mexico for $1 and got the strawberry to go with it from the ceramicist Helen Levi. The misshapen ball next to it is one of mine, and the marble egg was a gift from a friend for dyeing all of the linens for her wedding.
Image above: More ceramics. I found this pineapple piggy bank in Mexico for $1 and got the strawberry to go with it from the ceramicist Helen Levi. The misshapen ball next to it is one of mine, and the marble egg was a gift from a friend for dyeing all of the linens for her wedding.

 I got this rope ball on an impromptu father-daughter bonding weekend in Acadia National Park in Maine with my dad - we climbed a mountain, swam in October waters, and went sailing.
Image above: I got this rope ball on an impromptu father-daughter bonding weekend in Acadia National Park in Maine with my dad – we climbed a mountain, swam in October waters, and went sailing.

These bookshelves were built by the guy who lived in the loft before us. They're actually really oddly shaped and sized (some cubbies are deeper or wider or taller than others) but that only adds to the charm.
Image above: These bookshelves were built by the guy who lived in the loft before us. They’re actually really oddly shaped and sized (some cubbies are deeper or wider or taller than others) but that only adds to the charm.

My dad and brother made the bed for me and my boyfriend when we moved in together. On it are some pillows from my collection, and a pillow I made in collaboration with the artist JoJo Li - it buttons together in different configurations.
Image above: My dad and brother made the bed for me and my boyfriend when we moved in together. On it are some pillows from my collection, and a pillow I made in collaboration with the artist JoJo Li – it buttons together in different configurations.

These blankets get pulled out in the colder months to cover the bed and sofa and make everything a bit cozier. Some I collected from travels, but most were gifts from my aunts in Greece - they were all dowry blankets that they made for their own marriages when they were young. The striped one was a family effort - the wool came from the family sheep, was carded and spun by my great-grandmother, dyed with natural and synthetic dyes by my grandmother, and woven by my aunt when she was 17. There were two, as a set, and she gave my mom the matching one.
Image above: These blankets get pulled out in the colder months to cover the bed and sofa and make everything a bit cozier. Some I collected from travels, but most were gifts from my aunts in Greece – they were all dowry blankets that they made for their own marriages when they were young. The striped one was a family effort – the wool came from the family sheep, was carded and spun by my great-grandmother, dyed with natural and synthetic dyes by my grandmother, and woven by my aunt when she was 17. There were two, as a set, and she gave my mom the matching one.

More pillows from my collection.
Image above: More pillows from my collection.

The vase on the left is another Helen Levi, the white ceramics are all sculptures that I made, and green vase and the cat (I call him Uncle Gato) are from an amazing ceramicist I met in Mexico City - I had to buy a new suitcase to bring home all the stuff i got from him.
Image above: The vase on the left is another Helen Levi, the white ceramics are all sculptures that I made, and green vase and the cat (I call him Uncle Gato) are from an amazing ceramicist I met in Mexico City – I had to buy a new suitcase to bring home all the stuff i got from him.

I just got back from Mexico when Paul came over and was playing with my new toys.
Image above: I just got back from Mexico when Paul came over and was playing with my new toys.

My parents found this tool bench on the street in their neighborhood in pretty bad shape. The butcher block was bowed, so my dad put it upside down on their lawn overnight - the morning dew moistened the wood from the bottom and the rising sun dried and pulled it up from the top and it straightened right out.  C97U7982
Image above: My parents found this tool bench on the street in their neighborhood in pretty bad shape. The butcher block was bowed, so my dad put it upside down on their lawn overnight – the morning dew moistened the wood from the bottom and the rising sun dried and pulled it up from the top and it straightened right out.

More little things I've made.
Image above: More little things I’ve made.

Some inspiration in the studio - Sonia Delaunay's coat & car designs, balkan felted capes, a studio shot by the artist Paul Sepuya (he's the best, I try to work with him any time I get the opportunity), an embroidery swatch that I made, and boris old and young, who I found on the street in Berlin 2003 and has come with me everywhere I've moved since then.
Image above: Some inspiration in the studio – Sonia Delaunay’s coat & car designs, balkan felted capes, a studio shot by the artist Paul Sepuya (he’s the best, I try to work with him any time I get the opportunity), an embroidery swatch that I made, and boris old and young, who I found on the street in Berlin 2003 and has come with me everywhere I’ve moved since then.

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Image above: Peeking out from behind the clothing rack you can see my wall of inspirational color palettes, I put them up years ago and can’t bear to take them down.

Picking out colors for a new custom dye project.
Image above: Picking out colors for a new custom dye project.

A corner of my studio. We're lucky enough to have found an old factory loft - half of it is our apartment, and the other half is used as shared art studios - me and my boyfriend and a couple of other friends each have studios in there and it makes for an inspirational workspace.
Image above: A corner of my studio. We’re lucky enough to have found an old factory loft – half of it is our apartment, and the other half is used as shared art studios – me and my boyfriend and a couple of other friends each have studios in there and it makes for an inspirational workspace.

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15 Comments

CIRCA Old Houses

I just love the kitchen wall color – pale skin, what a brilliant idea! I look at all these plant pictures and just imagine how fresh and wonderful this whole apartment probably smells.

Kim

Does anyone know what model that juki sewing machine is? I’m looking to buy a used one and the model numbers are much different today. Thanks!

HB

Gosh, this is a dream. I MUST know where everyone gets all of these industrial workdesks and odd sized work cabinets!

jodi

Hey Shabd, I think that plant your brother gave you is a euphorbia “crown of thorns.” I used to have a plant like the one to the left of the pineapple that I grew from a tiny little start. It finally died; seeing yours makes me miss it!

Carys

You’re lovely, you’re colours are lovely and the family tie
to wool blankets very special. Thank you for sharing and in such
lovely light too.

liane

great space- i’ve admired shabd’s work for awhile and i’m so happy to see where she lives.

danielle

your apartment is awesome. i have some of your tie-dyed clothes and they are awesome, too!
do you have a favorite plant store in brooklyn? i am inspired to get more plants!

lc

i love this because of the plants. i think the plant from your brother is actually euphorbia trigona…african milk tree. the euphorbia milii…crown of thorns mentioned above has thorns on a brown stem and yours looks to be like a long cactus with little leaves? anyway, google the latin names and you’ll be able to tell which one you have!

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