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Portuguese Artisans, a Rubber Stamp Shop, and a Course in Collecting Design

Portuguese Artisans, a Rubber Stamp Shop, and a Course in Collecting Design

Hello! It’s been a while since we shared an Ottra8—our monthly roundup of things that caught our attention. I hate falling behind, but some reprioritizing was in order, as my dad got very sick and passed away in August. I’m back after many weeks in my hometown outside of Toronto, grateful for the time I had there with my family, and also for the team here that kept things moving forward. As we wrap up summer and start my favorite month of the year—September is all about possibilities and fresh starts, right?—here are eight bits of news, resources, events, and more.

There’s a tiny stretch right at the start of Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue that’s gone from a bit empty to exuberant (although the argument could be made it’s always been exuberant, thanks to the 80-year-old dive bar Montero’s). By late spring, on one of many walks to and from the playground, I noticed the contemporary art gallery Eleventh Hour Art, ask well as Sarajo, an incredible resource for unique textiles, repair/restoration, and mounting of delicate pieces. There was also one more familiar name: our former neighbor from our Dumbo days, designer Jenna Chused (aka the townhouse whisperer!), opened ANTIK, a storefront featuring a mix of vintage, antique, and new furniture and objects (although you can always find her curated array of furniture and rugs on 1stDibs, too).

We love a good newsletter here, and my team’s latest favorite is Kim Robinson’s 3pts. His focus is on sales and marketing for creative entrepreneurs, but being the stellar sales/marketing pro that he is, he squeezes in a curated news section with links to articles I’d likely never stumble on myself (like Teen Vogue’s 54 African Designers You Should Know); a link to a music video just for fun; a section listing various grants, workshops, and other resources; and an always a welcome word of encouragement too. Have a look and subscribe here!

What is our team discovering around town? Here’s a good one! One of our makers, Taylor Sanders, came across Casey Rubber Stamps in the East Village. It’s the last custom stamp shop in the city, and was founded by John Casey back in 1979. You’ll find personalized stamps here, but also a dizzying array of designs that are already available, from snowflakes to speakeasy ladies. This article dives deep into the business…it’s a fascinating read!

Every time my family visits Martha’s Vineyard, we find something new to love (and top on that list: Island Alpaca!). A very quick visit a few weeks ago led us to one more favorite. Cottage City Oysters—founded by brothers Dan and Greg Martino of Texas—offers a close-up boat tour, platters of oysters harvested that day, and lessons in shucking (even for the kids!). The tour was so informative, but we were all so inspired by their utter passion and excitement for what they do, as well.

If there was one thing I managed to do well this summer, it was falling into Instagram rabbit holes! One of my discoveries: Casa Cubista, a source for modern Portuguese artisanal home goods. On my wish list: a few cork bowls, embroidered linen towels, and all things bold and striped! And a neat side note: this happens to be a company founded by my old high school friend David Pimentel and his husband, designer and stylist Arren Williams.

It’s back to school time and I have an online course suggestion: design historian and connoisseur Daniella Ohad’s Collecting Design: History, Collections, Highlights, offered through Christie’s Education department. The ten-session course delves into all aspects of collecting through dialogues with dealers, critics, collectors, designers, and writers. It also includes time spent with the class at Design Miami—perfectly timed for early December.

We’re in a heatwave these next few days and October still seems like a ways away, but mark your calendars in any case! We are so excited to be part of the Red Hook Open Studios tour on October 7th and 8th. Tour our shop and see our sculptural furniture in the process of being made. And upstairs in the showroom, we will share some of our latest designs. Also not to be missed: all of our talented neighbors, including Shiny Sparkle Studios next door, and Liberty Labs Foundation (including the work of Annika Bowker), among others. See the full lineup here.

And one last thing that has Team Ottra excited about fall: Strongtoberfest, right next door at Strongrope Brewery on Friday, September 15. In addition to live music and delicious food by @sliwinskisgeneral, there will be stein-holding competitions and Oktoberfest beers from 8 local craft breweries. See you there?!


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