Cultivate Your Offbeat Aunt Style at Artifact


A chia pet you'll display with pride. Photo: Anastasia Friscia

A chia pet you’ll display with pride. Photo: Anastasia Friscia

“Eclectic, a little eccentric, but also a little homey. Maybe like your weird aunt!” That’s how Jodie Trzaska describes artifact, the store she opened just last month in Greenpoint. Featuring everything from PBR-branded lip balm to vintage Turkish rugs in a cozy, exposed-brick space, it does seem like it was curated by your cool, well-traveled aunt.

The Queens-born Trzaska worked as an urban planner before opening artifact with partner Aaron Huston, a furniture designer at Shimna. The two were also roommates, and the idea for the store sprang from the way they decorated their own apartment. “We were antique hoarders who had a really good eye for design and for beautiful things–whether they’re old or new or found or made–and we have a lot of friends who make beautiful things,” Trzaska said.

Owners, Aaron Huston and Jodie Trzaska pose in artifact. Photo: Anastasia Friscia

Aaron Huston, partner and Jodie Trzaska, owner pose in artifact. Photo: Jodie Trzaska

The mix of vintage and Brooklyn-made items may seem overly familiar by now, but there are surprises here. Take Hadria’s cameo-less cameo rings–they come with a space where the cameo would be–all the better for showing off an accompanying temporary tattoo. Or Makers Circle’s ceramic planter, which reminds us of a Chia Pet you’d be proud to have in your apartment.

There are also items from way beyond Brooklyn, including Mayunina’s colorful fair trade accessories from Central and South America, and Heirloom’s vintage Turkish and Kurdish rugs.

For men, there are hats and scarves by Cathexis; for women, the store stocks lingerie made from vintage fabrics by The Loved One, and pieces from Williamsburg-based designers Raquelle and Sobotka. Trzaska notes that the designers behind both lines have day jobs, as do many of the designers and artists represented at artifact. “They’re working full-time jobs but they’re doing this because they love it,” she says. “If we can help them get closer to their own dreams by us being able to get closer to our dreams, then it’s really a beautiful thing.”

Housewares include Leah Beth Fishman’s gilded mirrors, stained glass by Halona, and Trzaska and Huston’s vintage finds.

Thrift store-sourced gems include Garbage Pail Kids cards, books on subjects ranging from witchcraft to first aid, and Casper and Star Wars board games.

Yes, they do sell PBR chapstick, for about the same price as a cold PBR. Photo: Anastasia Friscia

Yes, they do sell PBR chapstick, for about the same price as two cold PBRs. Photo: Anastasia Friscia

“We want anyone to be able to come in here and find something that they love–whether you’re 50 or you’re 15, whether you have $5 in your pocket or $500 in your pocket,” Trzaska says. Small items like the PBR lip balm (not PBR flavored, unfortunately) and some accessories are under $10, higher end accessories and eyeglass frames can be had for $50 to $60, and you can also splurge on apparel in the  $100 to $200 range.

artifact., 718-530-6137, 155 Freeman St., between Manhattan Ave. and Franklin St.

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