Sunday, May 24, 2009

Closing In

If you haven't figured it out yet, we are currently building out a new storefront space for our old friends at Saipua!

As exciting as this is, we're facing a tough task here for two reasons:
1. we are physically building out the space with only two people [eric and myself]
2. I really love the old Saipua - a space that could never be duplicated (which is good, because that's not how i work anyway.)

I just wanted to share a couple of early conceptual sketches and some progress pics to let you know where we were, where we are, and where we are going.

From the beginning, I have wanted to work within the language of Saipua which I feel is defined by the ongoing juxtaposition of meticulously wrapped handmade soaps, an assortment of found objects [mostly vintage], and of course the ever-changing layers [both living and dead] that make up Sarah's beautiful floral arrangements.

I hope for the new space to simultaneously be a quiet backdrop and an active participant in this conversation between the handmade, the found and the delicate, rugged beauty that is Saipua. Here a silver skin of weathered barn siding is wrapped to enclose two box like rooms - one nested within the other. In the smaller interior volume, rows of siding seem to slide back, revealing an assortment of wood box vessels - nooks, primed to receive Saipua's wares.

I've been thinking about the life and beauty that exists in an old dressmakers sewing box. That life lies not in the wood and brass hinges from which the box is made, rather it is found within the multi-colored jumble of spools of thread and the assortment of pins placed at random in the pin-cushion. This is an arrangement that could only emerge from use - the result of an ongoing act between the dressmaker, the dressmakers tools, and the thing being made.

With this in mind, one could not merely reproduce the old Saipua in a new space, rather I'm hoping that the new space will be timeless - timeless in the sense that this place will only be "complete" when occupied and filled with the life and beauty that results from the ongoing act of making.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


A few weeks back we took a trip up to one of my favorite places - Rosenzweig Lumber - to pick up the cabinet grade plywood that will serve as the box sleeves that will hold all of Saipua's handmade goodies. [more on the design concept in next post] If you're trying to head up to the Bronx to check it out yourself, be forewarned, Robert Moses did a number on that borough, and google maps has got it all wrong.

After picking out our material - no easy task when faced with such a large and varied selection - we headed upstate to Sarah's folks' place to rip down the plywood into 8" strips. Back in Redhook, we spent a day going through various finishing options before settling on a gorgeous chocolatey wood stain that works well with the weather worn silver finish of the barn siding.

next: final framing of the space, siding layout, box layout, warehouse door, storefront construction, floor


I'm a little behind in posting our progress on the shop out in Redhook, but as you can see, the framing for the main walls, ceiling and storefront are all in place.

Still to come, the free-standing interior walls that will house a playful series of boxes for flowers and soap. That next step is tricky, as we will let the varying widths of the barn siding determine the layout and placement of the interior boxes and framing. Like solving or designing a big 3-dimensional puzzle. May need a few more trips to the ice-house for a pint before we figure this one out.