Inks and Dyes

In December I was at the Aljo Manufacturing Company, makers of dyestuff, in lower Manhattan. Questions answered and friendly advice on techniques given, a slight comforting chemical smell in the air and invoices typed on an IBM typewriter always making the journey worthwhile. Exiting with supplies tucked in my bag, I took notice at what was happening in the front window. On a makeshift table and an old maple roll top desk were small constructions of randomly cut wood blocks loosely colored with dyes and paint. Inquiring whose work it was, I was told it was Herb, the owner. Traditionally a painter, he recently started these small scale sculptural “drawings”, inspired by Cubist and Constructivist sculpture, with the hopes of scaling them up.

Herb Schiffrin

Artworks at Aljo Mfg. Gallery
49 Walker Street
New York NY 10013
(917) 655-0614
wdlherb at
Liking how he rearranged his business so the front space is his personal studio/gallery, results fresh and playful. Thinking that the years sitting at his desk on the phone looking out the window amongst stacked shelves of tins and jars full of dyes, “testing” colors on swatches and scraps of wood perhaps began to inform this new work. Stop by and take a look.

In my printmaking studio where where my press was located, I started a design venture called Brooklyn Handknit. Printing during winter and spring months, Emily Mason would come once a week. After a days work, I would always leave her color-infused impressions on the wall until our next working session. As the

knitting business grew bit by bit, boxes of ordered yarns began to populate the space, the activities of printing and knitting began to merge. Pushing color, I started dyeing my own yarns.

With Tenzin Chodon, my head-knitter ready and willing to experiment, we set up our workshop outside on the sidewalk on abandoned South 6th Street. As the dye pot brewed on the industrial-style hot plate, color conversation with Emily transferred, like electricity jumping from one wire to another.

On a walk browsing in some shops, I came across this printed honeycomb pattern tray by Wolfum. Translucent colors elegantly printed on birch wood, illuminating the fun, multi-colored patterning. Percolating thoughts about creative influences, working parallel, how one thing leads to another, stories interconnecting, working with inks and dyes, all tied together.

Available for sale by clicking the images below

292 Manhattan Avenue (on Devoe St. next to church), Brooklyn NY


Graham Avenue L stop

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