Ivy Weinglass met me at Charlotte Patisserie for coffee and quiche on Tuesday morning and I had no trouble recognizing her from her emailed description, “I’m wearing a grey coat and have long brown hair!” But sitting down to meet her, it was the 11:11 timestamp stick-n-poke tattoo on her ankle that caught my eye.
“It was following me everywhere and it was a really good year,” Ivy says. “So that’s my number.”
“Greenpoint is just so special,” she says. “It’s a community, it’s a small town within a big city. There are families who have lived here for generations, and it shows. There are new restaurants and coffee shops for sure, but there are also stores and store fronts and businesses who have been here for years and years and continue to thrive! Being welcomed into that community has been so awesome.”
Having grown up in Manhattan, Ivy has the calm yet loquacious vibe of a native New Yorker though she did go to high school in Los Angeles. “I was very miserable in LA,” she says. “I don’t want to be in LA ever.”
Returning to New York to study at NYU in the Gallatin program, which she calls The Choose Your Own Adventure school, Ivy studied marketing and media with a “magazine bent” and worked for a few years at a music marketing company. “I didn’t do anything important in the slightest,” she says of her job. “And I hated every second of working in an office.”
Leaving that job to work as a freelance stylist eventually lead to a full-time stylist position but she quit after just a few years. “I just think working nine to five is not for me.” And that was the beginning of her journey towards becoming a ceramicist. “I was freelancing again and then I just fell into ceramics,” she says. “And I’ve just been doing that ever since.”
This was two and a half years ago, when her parents gifted her a 6-week class at Williamsburg’s Choplet Ceramic Studio for her birthday. And she absolutely loved it.
“I spent all my free time there,” Ivy says of her first weeks at Choplet. “I was in a kind of depressed stage of life and I said, ya know what, I’m just going to do it. Every waking hour I’m going to do it, just for fun, and then it snowballed from there.”
The open palm pieces are certainly her most popular pieces. And the design came from a longtime obsession and personal need. “I had been collecting hands for a very long time,” Ivy says. “Fabrics with hands on them, or there’s all these beautiful little milk glass hands at every thrift store. It was always something that felt very much like my symbol. I wore a necklace with a hand on it for so many years. And I burn a lot of sage and palo santo. And I never know where to put it. So I thought maybe I’d make a ceramic hand for myself. And it sort of went from there.”
Remembering a eureka moment, Ivy recalls thinking, “’Hey, maybe this could be my job.’ And I’ve just been trying ever since!”
Sure people say, eyes are the windows to the soul. But what of hands? Where did this obsession with hands come from? Why hands?
“There’s something very open about them,” Ivy says. “They’re opening, they’re giving you something or you’re taking something. There’s so much to give and receive with hands, this big cycle. That sounds super hippy but, you know, you shake hands with people, you give people things with your hands, you receive things with your hands…”