There is seemingly no object that Lena Corwin can’t embellish. The Fort Greene textile artist first caught our eye with her cool pillows, but she uses all mediums for her original patterns and illustrations, from City Joinery’s scrap wood to melamine plates to hand-printed wallpaper.
She teaches her popular silkscreening and handmade stamping classes in her Fort Greene studio, along with guest designers. (Cal Patch and Laura Normandid will be teaching two classes this month.) Some are geared to beginners, some are meant for folks who know their way around a sewing machine. All are intimate workshops — six people max! — that guarantee one-on-one time, and during the daytime classes, homemade snacks. A few people have even perfected their own patterns in Lena’s classes before selling them around Brooklyn, like Libby Anderson, who sells her pillows at Urban Alchemist.
Many of Lena’s tips can also be found in her DIY guide Printing By Hand (which, incidentally, we have two copies to give away to subscribers. Just email us with the words “Lena Rocks” and we’ll randomly select and announce the winners on Twitter this Friday.) But her publishing career doesn’t stop there. Together with fellow artist Maria Vettese, she’s branched into indie publishing with two imprints. Their first, Lines & Shapes, publishes an artist series which invites others to reflect on suggestive topics like Thread, and a journal series featuring Lena and Maria’s collaborations, like their brand-new Journal of Plants. Other Books, which they launched this month, will publish more ambitious art books like MAPS, a compilation of illustrated cities that Lena designed for Elle Decor magazine.
What are the attractions on Lena’s personal map of Brooklyn? Below, she shares her five favorite places around town. A few happen to be perfect Labor Day escapes.
1. The Brooklyn Flea. It’s just a couple of blocks from my apartment and I love going there for vintage dresses, and the food is amazing.
2. Franny’s on Flatbush is one of my favorite restaurants. I used to just order pizzas — I’m pretty boring, I often get the margherita — but I recently had a pasta dish that was amazing. And I like that they use seasonal ingredients.
3. Fort Tilden Beach* is a recent discovery for me. It’s so different from the other New York City beaches — it feels quiet and not as overcrowded. It used to be an Army base and I love walking through the paths. I’m actually looking forward to going in the fall, when dogs are alllowed, and I can bring Gus.
5. Erie Basin Park in Red Hook. I’m almost hesitant to say it because it seems like not a lot of people know about it. I love how they’ve done the landscaping — there are all these native plants and there are lounge chairs you can sit on, overlooking the water.
*[Ed. Note: Technically in Queens but just over the border!]