Thursday, March 11, 2010

HOUSE CALLS: Sara and Phil from Rocks and Salt

Sara and Phil, the owners of Rocks and Salt describe themselves as "vagabond milliners who travelled varied artistic, musical, and terrestrial paths before meeting in a natural foods kitchen in Brooklyn, N.Y." That was the beginning of the creative and collaborative journey they took together, resulting in the unique and vibrant handmade millinery creations of Rocks and Salt. After featuring their fabulous work a little while ago right here, I thought I would ask Phil and Sara to give us a deeper understanding of what drives them and their business forward. Here we go...

Rocks and Salt Hats make you Happy! Phil and Sara.

Describe the work that you do? "We design and produce two seasonal lines of men's and women's cut and sew hats with an eye toward style and function; we also work with sterling silver, up-cycled leather scrap, and semi-precious stones to create unique jewellery pieces. This Spring we are introducing a line of playful and practical everyday skirts based on Sara's need for just such a skirt. We also produce a number of belt bags for summer fun."

Belt Bags are now available through Rocks and Salt

What was the career/education path you took to get to this point? "Phil's degree in jazz composition has been instrumental in both pattern making and our overall performance needs, while our combined skills in natural foods cooking and baking ensure that we are properly nourished and have the stamina to do mind bending geometry when designing hats. A Certificate in Permaculture Design which we received together keeps us mindful of the limited resources around us and in tune with the bigger picture."

Where do you get your inspirations? "The rich diversity of New York city's people and street art, coffee, samba, European soccer, and the sea."

Describe the creative process in designing and constructing a particular piece. "Ideas to sketches, sketches to sample patterns and pieces, samples adjusted and patterns graded, and then cut and sew. (Usually there's lots of samples)."

Some of the collections Rocks and Salt create...

Janis Plaid Wool Hat

Rita Linen Knit Hat

Amelia Green and Pink Aviator Hat

Lola Emerald Green Wool Hat

Where do you create your work?

The Rocks and Salt Studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Share some of your favourite artisans whose work you admire.

Lynne Puhalla, a New England Ceramicist inspired by the forms, shapes and textures in nature.

Selections from The Pottery Collection

Venezualen born, Jose Paternoster, a metal artist and watchmaker, who creates unique time pieces in collaboration with Kasia Manninen, available through the Etsy shop Kapa Designs.

Pocket Watch with Blue Dial

Copper Dial Wristwatch

Os Gemeos, are Graffiti artists Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo. Brazilian Twins whose vibrant work can be seen in museums and galleries as well as on streets, their style incorporates traditional Hip Hop influences with a socio-political and Brazilian folklore inspired commentary.

Gallery Installation Image (above) taken from Deitch Projects 2008 show "Too Far Too Close"

Where do you sell your work? Go to the website Rocks and Salt, and check out the retail page, or go straight to the Etsy shop.

What/who are the things you love most in your life? "We have been hugely influenced by our travels, friends, and family around the U.S., Brazil, and Europe; and plan to visit new places and continually connect with new people, sharing artistic ideas and homemade gourmet meals if we're lucky."

What would you do “in your wildest dreams”, if there were no restrictions? "Begin a multi national and cross cultural foundation with bases in Brooklyn, Brazil, and Barcelona; with concentrations in sustainable design (land,water, and food use), community development, and arts outreach."

What is your greatest professional achievement? "Founding and sustaining Rocks and Salt as a full time enterprise and therefore learning and experiencing the wonders and struggles of being small business owners."

What is new with you and your work? "Spring, skirts, silkscreen designs, and a Juki overlock machine!"

Do you have a motto for life? "Not really, lately it's kind of been "You can do more"."

And that they are doing! Check out their latest Spring/Summer Collection here. I love their new Carmelita range, in seersucker cotton! Fabulous stuff, thanks Guys!


  1. Those hats are fabulous! I think Rita would be perfect for winter trips to the alps! Can we buy em in the UK? Libby

  2. Hey Lib. Go to their Etsy store and see if they ship. I bet they do. I am in love with the Amelia!


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