This article made possible by a donation to our Writer’s Fund Raffle by Brooklyn Brainery

Freeman and Manhattan feels like the boondocks, especially for me who happens to live in the “other” Greenpoint.  However, the trek was worth it.

Tucked in a nondescript building on Freeman St, lies Artifact. : Cozy from the outside, cozier on the inside.  Exposed brick walls, reclaimed shelves and hand-made copper pipe racks are reminiscent of the lost art of workmanship of years past.

The ever-so-mysterious logo of an hourglass encircled by an Ouroboros, fully encapsulates the goodies that Artifact. has:  timeless vintage.  The store houses works of local artists and designers, novelty items and found objects, as well as hard-to-find zines and books. The owner Josephine Trzaska and her partner Timothy Aaron Huston, both designers in their respective fields, have been roomies and friends for years.

Artifact.  is the product of their meticulous eye for design and fused aesthetics.  It was such a pleasure to sit down with them and pick their brains over beers in their wonderful store.


GP:  What was the history behind artifact? What was the concept behind it?

TAH:  The history is that Jodie and I both had cool collections of weird interesting objects, books, housewares, etc. and when I moved in with her a couple years ago, we always had fun showing stuff to each other, then we started talking about creating a brand of found objects turned into furniture and functional art called Hüska (Huston+Trzaska), which is still a future idea … but then we also talked about how cool it would be to actually be able to sell vintage/new stuff that we like, sort of turning our hoarding tendencies into something productive! Fast forward a year or so, she found this space and then we sort of melded the ideas, and 155 Freeman is just Phase One of our Big Plan.

GP:  I know you guys have been open for a while, but when is the official opening?

A:  We are having the Grand Opening on Feb 28th.  RSVP!  Special thanks to Dandelion Wines for sponsoring the refreshments!

GP:  What sets Artifact. apart from the other vintage stores in Greenpoint/ Williamsburg area?   What’s the main focus/ outstanding feature of the store?

TAH:  I think Artifact has a distinct personality and we are both VERY particular and idiosyncratic. Oh, and of course the other designers we’ve collected bring their own flavor into the mix as well. The media has picked up on the PBR lip balm as a focus, but that was actually an afterthought. Jodie had them, and I threw them in a little box and marked $5 each on it. I mean there’s not a real focus per se, it’s an amalgamation—we aren’t trying to be the “vintage” store or the “place where you get ………” Things may change with time, things come and go, but you should always get a certain feeling when you visit Artifact. We want to be a destination for the unexpected, and push the boundaries a bit. We aren’t here for “sellable” and “safe” — if we both like it, and it sends out the right vibes, we’ll jump on it. Jodie is psychic and I have a visceral reaction towards clothing & objects I like, so we have a sort of second sense that says “yes” or “no” — not sure if that answers the question.

GP: Why “Artifact.”?  What’s the story behind the name and the store logo?

TAH: Artifact grew from ‘Timeless’ or ‘timelessness’ and that started from a conversation about time … Jodie sort of started from there. She has a certain relationship with time that she might be able to expand on. We were playing with the phrase Timeless Artifacts, and then we weren’t happy with the names we were coming up with and finally Jodie said, “How about just Artifact?” and that was it. The logo came from me drawing an hourglass with a circle around it, and Jodie said, “Turn the circle into an ouroboros snake” and that sort of worked out. The latin phrase simply means ‘Timelessness”

JT:  My initial concept had started with something like : THE INSTITUTE FOR TIME as a store name, or IFT (something i grabbed from a cool film I saw at spectacle recently). The concept was carrying objects that have made their way through space and time into the matters of your life (adorning your home or body). As an undergrad I majored in archaeology and spent summers studying ancient greek human remains at archeological sites throughout the aegean;  I would spend a lot of time wondering about the lives of these ancient humans that I worked so closely on for hours at a time, attempting to reconstruct their life in my imagination based on the objects that were found with them at burial, or the artifacts, rather, found to be so important to them in crossing over from existing in one aspect of time over to another. That, paired with my love of history and beautifully crafted objects and antiques (traits inherited from my polish gypsy grandmother), I thought it was important to share my vision of the new modern curated life with other people through the store as a sort of art project. The mission being: a well lived life contains things both old and new, made and found, valuable as well as valueless. So, Artifact. sort of reflects this concept that an object can come from any time or space, but the addition of your love for it diminishes the importance of time and becomes the gift of the present. Thats where i’d like to be.  Also, on a side note, IFT turned into timeless, which was later decided to be too much of a stevie nicks white lace witch vibe.

GP: What’s your top three favorite inspiration/object in the store?

TAH:  #1: A bit self-serving, but I like the vintage paper ephemera (greeting cards, books, games). #2: Maker’s Circle Lamps and other ceramics. #3: I love the Heirloom and Purush rugs

JT:  My fave pieces/inspiration in the store are the mayunina bags, and the taxidermied pheasant pelts. I also gain inspiration from our customers and community.  🙂

GP:  My fave pieces are the taxidermied pheasant pelts, the antique turquoise frames and the haunting ylang-ylang perfume oil. Thank you Artifact. for letting me play dress-up!

155 Freeman St.

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