Handmade in Westchester

Exceptional county artisans offer everything from kooky kaleidoscopes hand-crafted in Hartsdale to chic shrugs crocheted in Cortlandt.


Karen Nadel Tree of Life medallion necklace ($120)

The Glimmer of Gold—Sans the Price
Karen Nadel (KN Designs), Chappaqua

Casting about for a creative outlet while working as a Manhattan lawyer, Karen Nadel decided to revisit her childhood interest in jewelry making. Taking courses at the Jewelry Arts Institute and 92nd Street Y, Nadel soon realized her interest in jewelry design surpassed that in law. Ergo KN Designs.

Working in her home studio, the Chappaqua resident handcrafts stylish necklaces and earrings of pure sterling silver plated with 24-karat gold, a technique that, she says, “allows me to create a piece that has the look of solid, 24-karat gold—without the high price tag.” Nadel’s gemstone designs feature pearls and such semi-precious stones as jade, whisky quartz, smoky sapphire, and lemon citrine, while her medallion styles bear geometric-inspired symbols, hearts, and peace signs.

Her designs can be purchased at Beehive Co-op in Mount Kisco and kndesignsjewelry.com. Necklaces range from $45 to $120 and earrings from $40 to $80. Custom design services available. For more information:  info@kndesignsjewelry.com

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Stephen Prescott Daisy necklace in sterling silver ($975)


Timeless Sterling-
Silver Styles
Stephen Prescott (Stephen Prescott Designs), Hartsdale

After a series of ad agency mergers in the late ‘80s found former Mad Man Stephen Prescott in a job with nothing much to do, the Hartsdale resident enrolled in jewelry-making classes at the Parsons School of Design and the School of Visual Arts to fill the time. Today, he designs sterling-silver jewelry full-time.

Beautifully handcrafted in his home studio, Prescott’s line encompasses some 200 necklaces, bracelets, earrings, cufflinks, and belt buckles. Carried full-time at Bloomie’s in Manhattan, Prescott’s designs are available locally at Citrine in Bronxville and via trunk shows at Bloomingdale’s in White Plains. Most cost between $80 to $300, with larger pieces from $600 to $2,000. For more information: stephenprescott.com.


Leslie Latto
Golden Athena earrings ($298)

Elegant Earrings
Leslie Latto (LML Designs), Croton-on-Hudson

When she started to lose her hearing in 1996, former legal secretary Leslie Latto began designing and crafting jewelry. “I needed something to do with my energy,” she says, “so one day I picked up wire and beads and that’s how it all started.” She decided to turn her interest into a business venture, launching LML Designs in 2005.

Latto specializes in lush, cluster-style, sterling-silver and 14- and 18-karat gold earrings featuring a paint box-like spectrum of gem-grade, precious, and semi-precious stones, as well as pearls.
Latto’s jewelry, ranging from $20 to $398, is available at the Beehive Co-Op in Mount Kisco. Custom designs available. For more information: (914) 815-0846; designsbylml.com.





Ceramics & Glassware

Photo by Joe Giacquinta

Dalia Berman Red porcelain bottles ($55 each)


Tasteful Porcelain Tableware
Dalia Berman, Scarsdale

A gift of a ceramic bowl sparked Dalia Berman’s interest in pottery. “I thought it would be cool if I could learn to make one just like it,” she says. Twenty-five years later Berman creates clean-lined bowls, mugs, serving pieces, vases, and other vessels. “I focus on the form rather than the decoration,” she says. “I make sure that all of my pieces are functional rather than just decorative.” Highlights include a chubby creamy white tea pot with jaunty pointed top, a set of six white cups with washed light aqua and green interiors nestled in a round tray, and a trio of ultra-sleek bottles in a high gloss oxblood red. Berman’s pieces range from $25 to $150 and can be purchased at the Clay Arts Center in Port Chester. For more information: (914) 472-8738.


Photo by Loren Maron

Debra Holiber Scalloped vegetable server ($110)

Striking Ceramic Tableware
Debra Holiber, Chappaqua

“Ceramic tableware was a perfect way for me to combine my Italian family’s focus: food and construction,” says Chappaqua resident Debra Holiber. “I am actually constructing something to present food on the dinner table.” A former art teacher, Holiber has been creating gorgeous high-fired, functional porcelain tableware for the past 20 years. Her dishes, bowls, mugs, vases, and vessels combine “a refined aesthetic with playful, often whimsically-shaped forms,” she says. Her favorite pieces include olive oil vessels whose white-colored bodies are perked up by colorful handles and spouts ($58-$62). Holiber’s work starts at $25, with most pieces priced between $50 and $100, and is available at Mamaroneck Artist Guild in Larchmont and James Gallery in Bedford Hills. Custom design available. For more information: (914) 275-8435; dholiber@gmail.com.


Photo by Loren Maron 

Reena Kashyap Shino vase ($125)


Earthy Porcelain Pieces
Reena Kashyap, Rye

One might say that Rye resident Reena Kashyap’s 20-year career as a ceramicist came about in part because of a happy accident. New to Rye from her native India, she was looking for a creative outlet at a local arts center. The only opening at the time was in a clay class—Kashyap enrolled. Today Kashyap creates finely crafted porcelain bowls, plates, and drinking vessels as well as striking vases and serving platters. Kashyap’s work can be purchased at the Clay Art Center in Port Chester. Prices run from $25 to $300 and custom orders are available. For more information: (914) 937-2047 ext. 221.


Cathleen Newsham Agate slice vase ($260)

Magnificent Mosaic Sinks & More
Cathleen Newsham (Modern Mosaic), Waccabuc

In 1999, then graphic designer Cathleen Newsham had a vision for the perfect powder room sink for her home in Waccabuc. She just couldn’t find it. Struck by a Seattle restaurant’s beautiful hand-blown, lit glass sink—but taken aback at its $10,000 price tag—she set out to create the same look for less. The stunning result led to her new career designing and handcrafting luxurious yet functional mosaic art. Newsham’s ready-made and custom designs, including “glass on glass” vessels or vases, light fixtures, and her limited edition sinks, can be found on yachts, hotels, and private homes.
Vessels range from $190 to $380 and sinks from $1,650 to $3,000. Light fixtures start at $130 and run to about $5,000 for a chandelier. For more
information: (866) 497-6303; modernmosaic.net.


Gorgeous Decoupage
Carol Cohen (CCCreations, Ltd.), New Rochelle

“I was in my forties and it was my mid-life crisis,” says self-trained decoupage artist Carol Cohen about her decision to abandon her career as a nutritionist. Inspired by an article about decoupage, the art of decorating a surface with paper cutouts, Cohen tried her hand at a small glass plate. When the gifts she created brought rave reviews—and lots of orders—she launched CCCreations, Ltd. The New Rochelle resident designs and handcrafts decoupage glass plates, bowls, vases, and platters—all food-safe and hand-washable. Cohen’s distinctive designs are created from wine labels, wrapping paper, photographs, and computer art. Prices range from $20 to $150; custom designs are available. While they are sold in gift shops across the country, Cohen’s work is not available locally but can be ordered from her directly. For more information: (914) 636-4007; cccreationltd.com.







Arny Weinstein Impulse! wooden kaleidoscope ($850)

Kooky Kaleidoscopes
Arny Weinstein (A.W. Scopes), Yonkers

Intrigued by an exhibit of handcrafted wooden kaleidoscopes in an Arizona gallery in 1999, Yonkers resident Arny Weinstein, who worked as a computer software designer, set about to teach himself the art of kaleidoscope making, ultimately trading in his cubicle for a home studio full-time in 2001. Weinstein’s scopes are encased in such rich hardwoods as lacewood cherry, Peruvian walnut, and bird’s eye maple. His scopes—he makes about 300 a year—are sold online at awscopes.com and in close to 80 shops nationwide. Carried locally at the Glass Onion in Pleasantville, they range in price from $140 to $2,600; custom orders available. For more information: (914) 476-1011.

Bobby Michailides Custom wooden jewelry box ($1,500)


Contemporary Furniture & Cabinetry
Bobby Michailides (Bird’s Eye Woodworking), New Rochelle

Bobby Michailides creates modern, free-form contemporary pieces often made from exotic woods. The New Rochelle resident produces meticulously crafted interior and exterior doors, fireplace mantles, and furniture—including entertainment centers, jewelry cases, cabinets, and buffet, side, coffee, and dining tables—as well as built-in cabinetry for kitchens and libraries. Prices range from $1,200 for a pair of white oak interior doors to $80,000 for kitchen cabinetry. Custom commissions welcome. For more information: (914) 469-8088; birdseyeww.com.


Minimalist Scandinavian-Inspired Chairs
Matko Peckay, Ossining

A former mechanical technician in his native Slovenia, Matko Peckay of Ossining “always had the wish—but never the guts” to devote himself full-time to his passion for woodworking. But to support his studies at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco when he came to this country in 1983, he turned to carpentry work and cabinet-making.

Today, Peckay devotes himself exclusively to his one-time hobby, crafting fine furniture in such handsome hard woods as black walnut, beech, and maple—often with inlays of Swiss pear—in hues ranging from the lightest amber to the darkest browns. Informed by the clean, spare lines of the Scandinavian school of design and the works of Sam Maloof, the revered California woodworker. Peckay produces elegant, clean-lined chairs—side arms, rockers, and love seats—in addition to sleek desks and dining tables, all polished to a warm golden sheen.

Peckay’s small pieces, e.g., bowls, start at around $600; his most expensive piece, a love seat, is $10,000-plus. Custom sizing is available on many styles and commissions are welcome. For more information: (914) 945-0706; matkopeckay.com; touchedbydesign.org.


Brilliantly Colored Bowls
Soli Pierce (Sherwood Forest Design), Cortlandt Manor

About 16 years ago, fine artist and former NYU photography teacher Soli Pierce realized she could use her talents to make money and stay home with her then young son.

Today, she hand-paints maple-wood salad bowls, serving pieces, and trays in an array of colorful designs. She uses only nontoxic water-based paints, and each product is treated with four layers of a food-safe acrylic sealer. Bowls start at $100 and salad tossers at $25 and are for sale at sherwoodforestdesign.com and in about 300 boutiques nationwide, including Wendy Gee! in Larchmont. For more information: (914) 737-0192; sherwoodforestdesign.com.





Photo by George Bianco

Shirley Bianco Merino wool scarf ($120)


Born & Bred in Bedford
Shirley Bianco (Maple Grove Farm), Bedford

On her Bedford farm, Shirley Bianco raises the adorable owners of the wool she then turns into gorgeous skeins of organic dyed and non-dyed yarn. She dyes the yarn in small kettle batches using natural pigments; non-dyed yarn comes in an amazing spectrum of off-whites and creams, beiges, soft grays and tans, and rich browns and charcoals. WoolWorks, the farm’s darling little cottage shop, is open from 9 am to noon, Monday through Saturday ($18).
Not the knit one, purl two type? Bianco also hand weaves lovely woolen creations like sublime scarves, wraps, arm and leg spats, sweaters, and little knit caps. Costs: from $40 to $260. Available for sale locally at James and Co. in Bedford Hills and Hickory and Tweed in Armonk. For more information: (914) 234-9550; sustainablewool.com.

Lynn Milstein Floral pillow ($65)


Posh Pillows & Table Runners
Lynn Milstein (Lynn Milstein Design), Ossining

Lynn Milstein designs and handcrafts beautifully detailed, elegant textile home accessories in her Ossining home’s sewing room. Standouts are her signature decorative pillows and table runners in sumptuous silks, rich-looking brocades, and crisp linens and cottons. Pillows range from $50 to $150 and are sold at Beehive Co-op in Mt. Kisco and Brandon Furniture in Ossining. Custom orders available. For more information: (914) 588-6167; lynnmilsteindesign@gmail.com.


Susan Obrant Tolstoy crocheted handbag ($500)

Crocheted Yarn Creations
Susan Obrant, Cortlandt Manor

In a 30-year career as a Parsons School of Design-trained fine artist and illustrator, Susan Obrant has worked in pastels, pencil, and oil paint. A few years ago, she added something new to that mix: crocheted yarn. The Cortlandt Manor resident had first learned how to crochet from her grandmother when she was just eight years old but she hadn’t used the skill professionally until about five years ago—when a woman asked her where she could buy the crocheted hobo-style handbag Obrant was wearing. The answer? Nowhere. Obrant had made it for herself using yarns from around the globe and such adornments as unusual buttons, vintage beads, and even curtain tassels, Obrant crafts “sophisticated, edgy, abstract art that you can wear,”—e.g., elaborate tunics, vests, coats, and sweaters, plus handbags, hats, and wrist cuffs known as gauntlets. Obrant’s creations start at $100 for hats and gauntlets and can go to $4,000 for a shimmering metallic tunic. They can be purchased online at susanobrant.com. Custom orders available at a small premium. For further information: (914) 734-7490.

Sophia Morton reversible wool wrap skirt ($88);


Stylish Wrap Skirts
Sophia Morton (Lark), Bedford Hills

Native New Yorker Sophia Morton was appalled by what her new neighbors were wearing when she first moved to the county—“gym outfits.” So she went on to design and sew a line of wrap skirts, made of cotton, corduroy, denim, ultra suede, and wool. Morton’s designs are available at Beehive Co-Op in Mount Kisco. Women’s wrap skirts are priced between $70 and $150, and children’s styles run from $35 to $70. Custom orders welcome. For more information: (917) 716-8819.




Bath & Body

Lisa Agona
Lemongrass lime facial bar ($6)

Organic Potions & Lotions
Lisa Agona (The Botanical Collection), South Salem

When Lisa Agona learned her sister was expecting her first child, the thought of her sister using baby powder containing talc, a suspected toxin, so disturbed her that she made her own, using essential oils and some of the herbs and flowers she grew at Growing Green Farm, her certified naturally grown, four acre-farm in South Salem. When she was then diagnosed with a brain tumor, Agona became even more committed to her all-natural mission and her business.

Fully recovered—her tumor was successfully removed last year—Agona has developed about 20 products, including mint-scented lip balm and coconut citrus body scrub. All are free of artificial preservatives, fragrances, and other additives and contain all natural and/or certified organic ingredients. Many come from her farm, where lavender, chamomile, calendula flowers, lemon balm, and lemongrass are grown. And while the company’s needs now far exceed the farm’s production capabilities, Agona still makes all the oils, balms, and powders in her farmhouse’s basement lab.

Products can be purchased at the Beehive Co-Op in Mount Kisco or online at thebotanicalcollection.net. Prices start at $2 for bath-salt packs, $10 for talc-free baby powder, and $15 for tea tree foot scrub. Custom orders welcomed. For more information: (914) 533-7201.


Sublime Soaps & Skincare
Gili Zilca (Luisa New York) Briarcliff Manor

Wanting to do something “creative and artistic” with her master’s degree in applied chemistry after a 20-year career as a chemical engineer in her native Israel, Gili Zilca decided to experiment with homemade soap formulations in her kitchen. Those little experiments eventually led to a line of luscious, all-natural, olive-oil soaps—as well as such skincare products as shea butter body scrub and cocoa butter lip balm.
“Everything is all natural,” she says, “and from start to finish, I do it myself.”

Zilca’s goodies are available at Luisa New York, her own teeny Pleasantville boutique (42 Memorial Plz; 914-741-2144) or online at luisanewyork.com. Soap is sold for $1.50 per ounce unwrapped and $6.75 wrapped. Custom designs available.



Hallmark’s Competition

Roseann DiBona (Right) Butterfly greeting card ($4)

Roseann DiBona. Yonkers

When a tweet, text, or e-mail just won’t do, consider sending a work of paper-based art handcrafted by Yonkers mom and former graphic designer Roseann DiBona.
DiBona’s beautifully crafted collection of 60-plus greeting, invitation, and note cards showcases thick textured paper, hand-tied ribbons, and elaborate three-dimensional embellishments. She adorns her cards with buttons, gossamer fabric butterflies, felt and sequin leaves, and actual seashells. “I always keep my eyes open for things to put on my cards. Available at Reading, Writing, and Wrapping in Scarsdale or online at uniquecardshoppe.com, the cards sell for $3.50-plus each. Custom designs available. For more information: (914) 588-0422.


Oak Atkinson (Above) Birthday cards ($5.95 each)

Greetings Whimsical & Wise
Oak Atkinson (Tumbalina), Bedford

There were no stationery or gift shops in Masaka, Uganda, the tiny town in which Oak Atkinson grew up, so the creative little girl fashioned her own collage cards as presents for loved ones.
Today, she designs a delightful array of whimsical stationery products including gift cards, magnets, and note blocks, but the stars are its decidedly un-Hallmark (sappy not spoken here) greeting cards. Offered in a myriad of styles for all occasions, they combine glitter, rhinestones, faux fur fabric, beads, mini-pearls, and other embellishments with smart copy.
Sold in 1,500 stationery stores nationwide, the line is available locally at Fine Lines in Katonah, Beehive Co-Op in Mount Kisco, and Whole Foods in White Plains. Handmade cards cost between $5.95 and $7.95 each. For further information: (914) 282-5050; tumbalina.com.



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