For this month's Lived In Series we are interviewing our dear friend Lily Piyathaisere, a woman of many talents, she is a graphic designer, natural dyer, ceramicist, jewelry designer, and I'm sure many other things not listed here. Through her company Gamma Folk she is able to explore her many talents while creating beautiful, hand made jewelry and accessories in her Beacon, NY studio. Each piece is created using fiber naturally dyed at her studio, often times combined with ceramic elements. This girl also pays attention to the details, each piece with fringe or tassels comes with a complimentary comb to keep the threads straight!
I met Lily five years ago at a Renegade Craft Fair, we had both just started our companies and had a mutual love for one another's work. Through the small textile community here in Brooklyn we continued to bump into one another and quickly became good friends. She's one of those amazing people that is completely individual, and is truly one of the funniest people I know. For her baby shower this past summer they set up a five foot tall velvet vagina for guest photo ops and her wedding last year was a Cosmic Disco with full scale glitter astroids and on-site glitter face make up!
To learn more about this amazing woman, where she got the name Gamma Folk, how life has been after leaving Brooklyn and more please check out our Q&A below!
Gamma Folk is my jewelry and accessories lovechild that incorporates traditional techniques including natural dyeing, weaving, braiding and ceramics.
Gamma Folk started in 2011 when I was living in San Francisco and began as embroidered jewelry. I had moved to Brooklyn and then the more I embroidered, the more I became interested in dyeing my own yarns and discovered natural dyeing through the Textile Art Center. That’s when I rediscovered fiber arts and how the current manifestation of Gamma Folk came to be. I try to incorporate new techniques and skills I’ve learned along the way.
I believe that we all exist on different frequencies and that’s where the first part of my name is a reference to. Gamma brain wave frequencies are associated with increased focus, REM sleep, visualization and are often present in those who are experienced meditators. Folk is a reference to folk art and its influence on the work I produce.
We’ve (my husband and I) been in Beacon for almost 3 years and now work out of a home studio. All change comes with adjustment, but we’re happy we did it. Besides having more physical space, my mental space has shifted as well. Time slows down up here, there’s no hustle and bustle so your mental capacity is able to focus on other things and I feel more grounded. The city always made me feel like I needed to keep up with this that and the other, it’s nice to just do our own thing, even if that’s nothing.
I still go into the city for work about once a week. And while the energy, visual stimulation and delicious food are exciting, I am much more awareness of the effect it has on me. What’s new, a New Yorkers love/hate relationship with the city! Typical.
The seasons feel particularly strong outside of the city or it could be that I’ve just come to notice it more, but the beginnings of Spring are fascinating to witness each year. I know Spring is around the corner when turkey vultures gather on our roof, the cardinals and robins chirp more than usual and crocus starts to bloom up from the frost. After nature has been hibernating for months and it’s profound to see it awaken and also how that affects your own behaviors. I’m also just glad to see the fruits of our labor from fall gardening appear. It’s really beautiful.
Well, I’m currently 5 months pregnant and growing a human gives you perspective on many things. The magnificence of female bodies but also the awareness and connection between physical and mental. I feel strangely calm and zen throughout this pregnancy so far and that has helped nurture my creative process. That is, when I’m not dealing with my new found indigestion.
Experimenting with new materials or techniques helps to sharpen and shift different parts of my mind and gets me out of overthinking my work. It could something as simple as switching from yarn to raffia or trying a new glaze. Patience and time are always helpful too.
As creatives, the focus is always on the process and making, but I’ve realized the importance of having business skills as well. I’m much better at it in my graphic design business, so learning to take those chops into Gamma Folk as well. It’s what will create longevity and renewed interest in a market that is so saturated. That has definitely helped bring insight into my work.
U.S. Girls, Fela Kuti and Brian Eno
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Like many of us, I was introduced to Ilana Glazer through the genius of Broad City, a show that she and pal Abbi Jacobson created and starred in. So when Ilana came to our Fort Greene shop last fall, we just about lost it! We shared that this year is Kordal's ten year anniversary and it would be such an honor to feature her in our Lived in Series to mark the occasion. Fast forward a few months later and Ilana is rolling up to set in Crown Heights on her bike, and yes, she's just as cool and kind as you'd expect. She's generous with her time, has everyone cracking up and looks incredible in our knits - even on a humid 90 degree day. We got a chance to talk about pregnancy and healthcare, how styling informs her characters, and finding levity amidst existential challenges.