Brooklyn Bambini was born in the chill of a winter's afternoon in February of 1996. In an unheated studio on Flushing Avenue in Williamsburg, my husband Brian Sullivan created the first baby figurine. Brian wanted me to have something to hold onto--a labor talisman--to focus my attention on during delivery. That first figure was a 'bambino' as I was convinced we were having a boy.
Atop a small potbellied stove stoked with wood, the only heat source in the studio, a double-boiler filled with microcystalline wax simmered slowly. After a few soulful hours contemplating the shift his life was about to take Brian was satisfied with the gesture and overall form and dipped the modeled figure into the liquid wax to give the surface a smooth 'skin.' He cast it in sterling silver as a one-off, skipping the mold stage entirely.
From the first moment I held that figurine it brought a feeling of calm. That original baby sculpture still graces my desk.
Of course our first born was a girl, not a boy and so a few weeks later Brian created a female figure and cast it to commemorate her birth. We have lived and worked in Williamsburg and Greenpoint for 28 years; this area is our Home. It is where we've raised our daughters and founded our company--Brooklyn Bambini--a business born out of the love of family.
Brian Sullivan earned his BFA from the School of Visual Arts, where he taught foundry arts upon graduation. He pursued additional study in casting at the Johnson Atelier and earned his MFA from Bard College.
Kelley Shields earned her BFA in apparel design from Parsons School of Design and her MFA from The New School in creative writing.