Jolie Mae Signorile and Gabriel Fredericks Cohen of Fredericks & Mae
Fredericks & Mae is the brain-child of Gabriel Fredericks Cohen and Jolie Mae Signorile. Having met through a shared admiration of materials, the two started their first studio in 2007 with an intention to design giftable objects rooted in whimsy, curiosity, and love. Based in Brooklyn, they opened their brick-and-mortar storefront in 2018, where you can browse their collection as well as rotating exhibits by local artists.
Fellow supporters of the ritualistic nature of things, we asked Gabriel and Jolie some questions about how they’ve been getting through these strange and uncertain times. Learn more about how the designers are keeping calm during COVID-19 below.
Have you started practicing any new daily rituals that you didn’t have time for or that you didn’t feel the need for previously?
Gabe: Not consciously - though my cooking has gotten more deluxe, but that feels like less of ritual and more of a pleasure and/or anxiety management thing.
Jolie: Nothing new, but when I feel an uptick in my anxiety, I put down all the screens and pick up a book. That really helps.
Did you start reading or watching anything recently that brings you comfort?
G: I've been on an old Hollywood kick! Funny Girl opened that door for me and is utterly sensational.
J: I've been reading Insomniac City by Bill Hayes, on loan from Gabe. As far as TV goes, I've been watching less than usual, but last night revisited the Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast, my favorite Disney movie from childhood and I found it enormously soothing.
Staying home has meant more time to be in the kitchen for us. Have you been cooking? Have you discovered any nourishing recipes that are your favorite right now?
G: I made THIS just recently and it is spectacular.
J: I have been cooking a lot! Just about every meal. I've been leaning into fresh homemade pasta. It's a project which is fun, and it's versatile, it'll glam up the most basic ingredients.
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Any playlists or artists you can share for focusing while working, unwinding in the evening, or releasing pent up energy any time of day?
G: Ive been listening to a lot of Jagged Little Pill this past week—its been a joy.
J: I recommend Tara Brach’s podcast, she gives talks and guided meditations that I always listen to but has been very helpful during this time. I'll be looking for other peoples playlist answers. I'm a music lover, but not much of a curator in that regard.
It can be hard to get exercise when we’re inside most of the day. Have you found fun ways to get physical activity in?
G: Lol no—exercise is among the great struggles of my life—this has been a time of rest :)
J: I have found some ways to maintain physical activity. I have a daily pushup, sit up squat routine with a friend in California that we do on FaceTime. I also love the Nike Training App for in-home workouts that can be done with body weight only. I also took a TikTok dance class this weekend, which is not really my thing, but was a lot of fun!
“Do whatever makes you feel good, and be extremely gentle with yourself. Don't rush to distract yourself, know that you can handle what you are feeling and just feel it. We are all trying to make the best of an extremely unfortunate situation.”
Have you begun any unexpected projects?
G: I'm repainting my house!
J: I am overhauling my espresso machine. I'm also making tiny porcelain vehicles fashioned after some of my favorite vintage trucks, vans, and hatchbacks.
If you’re currently working from home, what helps you balance home life from work life? Do you have any boundaries between the two that keep you productive?
G: F&M started as a work form home situation - and when we got a studio, I discovered the immense joy of boundaries! I made myself a desk at home to arrive at and leave each day. Its a pale reflection of a studio - but it does something similar.
J: It's a challenge! I set up a work from home station, and try to maintain my working hours as normal. It's definitely been harder to leave work at the office.
Any tips for boosting our immune systems and staying healthy?
G: Oranges and plenty of sleep!
J: Ginger, garlic, lemon and honey tea! If thats not strong enough chew some raw garlic or ginger and feel the germs get Knocked the Eff Out.
Do you have any general/overall advice for remaining calm during this period? What has felt restorative for you?
G: The concept of droplets was enormously calming. Also meditation. Also Barbra Streisand.
J: Do whatever makes you feel good, and be extremely gentle with yourself. Don't rush to distract yourself, know that you can handle what you are feeling and just feel it. We are all trying to make the best of an extremely unfortunate situation.
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Interview by Ivy Schneider
Images by Fredericks & Mae