Brooklyn, new york 1875

In 1875, my Great-Great-Grandfather founded a company called Brooklyn Lace Paper Works. His vision was to design and manufacture lace paper doilies for the restaurant industry. After years of small scale operation, the business landed in the hands of my Grandpa.

The doilies and the machines that stamped them were all meticulously designed, machined and built from scratch in-house. After a doily was drawn and patterned out onto paper, the design was then hand etched with a hardened chisel, multiple times across each stamping die. The attention to detail and time invested into this entire process was unbelievable.

When my brother and I were kids, the factory was a playground to us. Underneath the stairs to the second story of the building was our favorite place, the confetti room. Every tiny piece of paper that fell to the floor during the process of stamping the doilies was swept up and stored there. My Grandfather would pick us up over his head and throw us into the middle of that swimming pool of paper scraps. We couldn’t get enough of it. Occasionally, the room would be emptied out to supply the Broadway Theaters with fake snow. It was a special treat to see the confetti falling all over the actors of Beauty And The Beast. Back then, if you saw a Broadway play that had a scene set in winter, there’s a good chance that paper snow came from our confetti room.

In 2010 my grandfather passed away with the keys to the factory in his hand. Brooklyn Lace Paper Works was closed for good. My brother took it upon himself to keep our families tools in motion and the spirit of my Grandfather alive. He drove to Brooklyn and gathered together most of what was left in the factory. He took one last look around our childhood playground and then hit the road to Portland Oregon.

During this time I was following in my mother’s footsteps, trying to earn my BFA with a focus on illustration. But when my brother showed up wielding the tools from the factory, it shook me. I immediately changed my major to one that enabled me to take fabrication classes, I was dying to get my hands dirty. With the guidance of my brother and the factory tools, I graduated from the Pacific Northwest College of Art having built a motorcycle for my thesis. The project was called  ‘The Escape Machine’.  I had finally found true artistic satisfaction and happiness. Riding that motorcycle for the first time felt like a conversation with my Grandfather. He was telling me that he finally understood why I had taken the path I did. It felt like closure to our relationship, a final goodbye. Since then, every project that I have finished has had the spirit of my Grandfather in it.


Handmade with a deadman’s tools