Boots & Pine


Josephine Heilpern in Greenpoint

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Where did you grow up?

I was born in NYC and grew up in Woodstock, NY and Buenos Aires , Argentina

What brought you (back) to New York?

Both my parents are from Buenos Aires but ended up here, in NY. In 1996 my family moved to Argentina from Woodstock. My mom always wanted us to move back to the US, so when I got old enough she sent me back to New York on my own to finish High School. So 14 year old Josephine got on a plane all by her self and came back to NYC. I have been here since.

What do you do for a living?

I make ceramics. But I still have a part time job at a print studio called Two Palms. It’s a little hard for me to leave, they are like family.

How did you get started?

My BFF Kim Mullis, wanted to take a ceramics class at the 92nd Street Y. I got a little jealous so signed up as well. I had done ceramics here and there, mostly in high school and while living on a farm one summer in college, but not enough to really have any skill. I got REALLY obsessed and couldn’t stop. I was concentrating on a bag line at the time and doing a lot of sewing, but it didn’t feel right. Making functional objects for everyday use really made sense to me. I always wanted to make things that people could enjoy daily and am hoping that I can expand my line to other items that can make day-to-day living more pleasurable.

What’s your favorite thing about your neighborhood?

I live in a very residential part of Greenpoint. It feels very neighborhoody, everyone says hi to you when you walk your dog. I love my neighbors, most of them have been here for years and love to talk and tell stories. “Good Morning George”, this guy who stands on the corner of Meserole Ave. and Eckford St. will greet you everyday between 8 am and 9 am. The area is very green and very quiet, but you are only a five minute walk away from chaos. That’s not to say that I don’t like being close to all the best restaurants and bars but knowing that little neighborhood gems still exist like ACME Smoked Fish and Pit Stop Bar, is awesome and comforting. I also love my old polish landlady. I call her grandma, she draws her eyebrows on.

What’s the last treasure you found?

When I was  kid I had a book called “Josephine, the great collector”. It was my favorite, not only because the protagonist (an alligator) and I shared the same name but also because I loved objects. I think the book ruined me!!! I collect everything and have an obsession for things, border line hoarder minus the newspapers and cats.  Its hard to ask a hoarder what the last great treasure she found was because basically everything I set my hands is a treasure! The last collection that I completed (with the help of friends) was of geometric cut stones, but I’m sure I’ll find more of those and won’t be able to say no.

If you were going to eat your last meal in New York, where and what would you eat?

My last meal would be at home, with my friends. I would cook for everyone, most likely a finger-lickin’ chicken and lots of different salads and lots of cheese. There would also be about five different kinds of desserts, because I can never choose just one thing to bake.

If you could have a sleepover with anyone who has ever existed, who would it be?

Varvara StepanovaLyubov Popova and Olga Rozanova, the three most bad-ass women of the Russian Avant-Guarde.

If your life was a TV show, what would be the theme song?

My brother Sebastian is an incredible musician. This song, Coexistence, is the perfect driving song, but in my case, since I don’t have a drivers license, the perfect song for getting behind the ceramic wheel.

What does New York need that it doesn’t have now?

A teleportation portal to the Catskills so I could leave on a whim and return in time for supper.

 See Recreation Center online and follow on Instagram @josephinenoel

© 2012 Arden Wray