Jewelry designer Laura Wass has been pretty lucky when it comes to Brooklyn living spaces: her first place in the borough—in a semi-repurposed industrial building in Crown Heights—was the kind of fantastical loft that seems only to exist in improbable NY Times trend pieces: “...staircases made of intersecting chairs, walls built from pastel vintage suitcases, a waterfall for a shower, secret peepholes, a full darkroom and woodshop,” she tells us.
Wass seems just as fortunate in her latest digs, a bright, open apartment in Clinton Hill, that she shares with Pepi Ginsberg (lead singer of the band Companion), and Lucy Childress (a photographer... and nurse!). Though perhaps Wass has made her own luck, choosing to live with an assortment of artists, designers and other creative Brooklyn types, insuring the kind of osmotic, (mostly) accidental collaboration that can often lead to great art (Wass recently made her acting debut in a Companion video). Communal living is the daily reality for an overwhelming number of young, creative Brooklynites, and rather than pining for unattainable solitude, Wass and her roommates have embraced the positive side of cohabitation, building a community from the kitchen table out.
Home Invasion: Inside the Wass Nest
Though it somehow never feels cluttered, this space is filled with a miscellany of oddments accumulated over the course of the lives of its occupants—and each one has a story to tell: an Ikat textile adorns Wass’s bed, under the watchful eye of a flying pig (both acquired on trips to Bali); a handwoven belt bought in a Bolivian market hangs next to a ceramic necklace made by Wass’s grandmother; a one-armed lamp named “Hernani” stands guard over Ginsberg’s art; a yard sale of objects populates Wass’s bedside table—“vintage bracelets, a glass pendant that my mother made for me, striated rocks given to me by Bedouin friends while traveling in Jordan, a little tool for weaving yarn into a square cord, coins from various countries, shells from various beaches, a vintage umbrella sent from a friend in Australia...”—providing daily inspiration.
Wass, of course, has put all this inspiration to good use, growing her jewelry line, WXYZ, through a combination of unrelenting creative energy and business savvy. Originally from Philadelphia, she came to Brooklyn and was immediately reminded of her hometown, except “with a bit more energy, hustle and constant movement.” Characteristics that could very well describe Wass herself.