Who are you? What do you do?
Erin: I’m Erin Przekop. I am an artist, turned fashion designer, turned huntress for local creatives. Tom and I started Fiercely Curious earlier this year, a site showcasing original artwork by Brooklyn based artists. We host pop up art shows too! And now we’ve just launched the sister site: Fiercely Made. You can find beautiful work by furniture makers, surfboard shapers, bike makers, knife makers, clay throwers and weavers. It’s great!
Tom: My name’s Tom Critchlow. I’m a British transplant - I’ve been living in NYC for just over 3 years. I work during the day at Google. Nights and weekends I build things for the web - most recently Erin and I are building Fiercely Curious and Fiercely Made as a way to celebrate local makers and artists in Brooklyn. I’m obsessed with this idea of creating experiences that are local and intimate, so we build stories online and offer studio visits and the ability to meet the artists and makers behind the things you buy. We hope this adds something missing from the globally-connected web experience we’re used to, and feels a little different.
Erin: I start my day with a rough and tumble session with my cats. Ideally, you want to pin them down and sleep longer. That’s the goal...but it never works. So alas, I must get up, feed them (the lady cat likes breakfast on the balcony) and then I get my favorite meal of the day started. After that, it’s a trip to my local coffee shop, Van Leeuwen on Bergen St. for some cold brew.
Off to my first appointment of the day- hurry...late! Always by bike, and usually to Williamsburg or Bushwick. Nice and sweaty, I arrive with my camera and a light heart. I get excited before I meet every artist or artisan (It’s much like online dating to begin, as I’ve already vetted them through internet and word of mouth). I feel like I’ve got to win them over, and they have to win me over. We fall in love. Every time. Then I’m giddy and off to meet my next love interest. I’ll have up to three studio visits per day and they are always amazing. It’s a day spent with incredible people who sacrifice a lot (cash and comfort) to pursue what they truly believe in. It’s only a win there.
Back home I frantically catch up on emails, phone calls, endure some soft cat abuse for having abandoned them for the day and then off to volleyball, friend’s BBQs, concerts in the park, whatever...but ALWAYS something.
Tom: I’m allergic to mornings so I try and avoid them. Mostly they start about 8.30 when my alarm goes off and I stumble out of bed in a haze and feed the cats (two - one plump and in your face, the other skinny and scared of everything). I get into the office around 10am most days - I have a late start since I often work with folks on the west coast. Plus I’m allergic to mornings. Did I mention that?
Then, most of my day is spent in a blur of video conferences, desk work and meetings. You know - the kind of “knowledge worker” routine that involves bad posture, typing, being frustrated with computers and way too much email.
I try and punctuate it with a lunchtime workout session - I joined the BRICK crossfit gym last year since it’s so close to the Google office. I try and go every day - by which I mean I probably go twice a week.
Weeknights is one or more of the following: beach volleyball, indoor volleyball, basketball, rock climbing, tech meetups, working on the Fiercelys, cooking, drinking with friends.
Day Off? Lie in.
Erin: If we’ve got a day off we try our best to lie in. But in reality - get yelled at by the cats. Meteora is a rockstar rescued from a dumpster in Florence. As a kitten, she was able to ricochet from one hallway wall to the other with all four paws on each wall before landing. Feisty, just like her mom.
Rafiki is two years younger and also Italian. He comes from the countryside. He’s named after the first character that I debuted as in the time that I was a character at Disney. I probably didn’t mention that. Kiki is quiet, chill, loves couch time and sleeping. Just like his dad. He’s a ladies man.
Tom: 6am, 8am, 9am. The battle of wills with the feisty cat Mete begins. She will scream at me that it’s breakfast time. I respond with some kind of motions and coo-ing sounds that persuade her it’s better to jump up and come cuddle in bed. This doesn’t involve me getting up or even really waking up. But if the cats hadn’t warmed up to me I know I never would have been allowed to move in.
Coffee out, breakfast in.
Tom: After the cats relax, iced coffee from Van Leeuwen. Best coffee in the neighborhood and we know everyone there. Then breakfast at home. Someone should really reign in my breakfast habit. During the week, since I’m basically a zombie in the morning I pour a massive bowl of oatmeal, pour boiling water on top, mix and eat (for surprises I sometimes add berries, nuts and goats milk yogurt). I always make far too much. I should buy smaller bowls. That would fix my problem.
Erin: Always out to get coffee. I'm telling you, Van Leeuwen do it best! I'm there every day either working or just enjoying. Lots of sunlight which I'm a fan of, and did I mention I love ice cream? The baristas are great and they have amazing cold brew. They play an amazing array of vinyl....mostly contributed by Alice the shop manager. Today Dan and I agreed to swap books, so tomorrow, I'll be bringing him Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and he'll be bringing me Dave Eggers You Shall Know Our Velocity. And I'm lucky enough to be running my own schedule right now (I wish everyone could..it's amazing!). I spend a lot of time out and on my bike, so when I've got to get online to email and design, I need to crank it. There's nothing better than disappearing from my own environment for a few hours to dive into someone else's playlist. I chase good vibes and the places where I work are filled with such interestingly diverse people. And since I've always got to rock on back to the homestead to feed the two hungry rug rats, it's perfect that its just around the corner.
After, always home for breakfast. It’s my favorite meal of the day! (Brunch is a crime against breakfast AND lunch lovers- have both, never sacrifice one!). And Tom does it best! He’s refined the art of poached eggs and my contribution is all green. I pluck all the basil I can harvest from the balcony, blend it with Frankie’s olive oil, celtic sea salt, pepper and lemon juice while he goes to town on the eggs and toast. We’ll throw down some smoked salmon and avocado if we’re feeling feisty and off to the balcony with all those things intricately stacked on top of one another.
Erin: I love biking. It’s liberating, fast and makes me feel as close as I could to flying. I’ve been biking since before I can remember, but I got into road biking here in Brooklyn as my friends were doing it, so I started riding on their bikes...a lot. I have very generous friends.
Now, we ride 100 miles up north or in Long Island. My favorite ride of all time is the Montauk Century. I get a beer at 8am from Blue Point Brewery and a Briermere Farms pie at the mile marker 90. I mean a WHOLE pie. I really think everyone should ride. There are so many things that we skip when we go from point A to Z (work, home, bar, gym). We basically miss everything in between! I feel like I wish my brain had a storage app for all of the things I’ve spotted and tried to remember while riding. I find myself circling back to locate a place I was interested in, some graffitied mural or a poster, anything.
Tom: Most weekends we’ll get out and about on our bikes - the usual route is doing laps of Prospect Park. Such a lovely route. Erin is what got me riding bikes in New York. When we first met it wasn’t bike riding weather, but by the time spring rolled around we were practically living together and she said “If you want to see me over the summer you need to get a bike.” Meanwhile, I still had scars on my arm from the last time I’d tried to ride a bike. Consider it a weakness of mine. But love is a powerful force! So I hopped on a bike, wobbled around, ended up buying one and within a few months we’d signed up for a 100 mile ride to Montauk. I’m still a nervous biker. I like to pat my helmet before I get on to make sure it’s still there and solid.
Reading, watching, listening
Erin: We always have music on. Langhorne Slim, Alabama Shakes, The Black Keys and Jack White. I listen to jazz too- Miles, Chet, Bill Evans too, but mostly just rocking out. Never news if I can help it. I’ve been working my way through Michael Chabon’s latest novel Telegraph Avenue waiting for the genius of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay to emerge. Might as well tackle some French homework- saved that for the last minute, surprise surprise!
Tom: Weekends are usually lighter on consumption since we’re pretty active, out and about exercising, socializing or working on side projects. When I do get to read it’ll be a real book (I recently gave up my kindle for old school textures) - I love to read sci fi, literature, science non-fiction and anything in between. But I read a LOT generally. Like pretty much all the time. I use Twitter mainly as my filter bubble to find links to things that look interesting and everything goes through Pocket so I can read it on my phone while I’m offline (i.e. commuting). On the commute: headphone music, often jazz, but right now I’m digging this track Tokyo by a band called Controller. You might have heard of them? [editor's note: this is Tom shamelessly flattering the Sunday Routine house band.]
Ideally, how does your weekend end?
Erin: The weekend always ends the same and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Our closest friends here are Alaskan and they live their Brooklyn lives very much as you would imagine Alaskans to. Kayaks out back, multiple bikes parked out front, rock climbers (the Gunks), cross country skiers (we do this in Prospect Park or right out on the Brooklyn waterfront) home brewed beer, hops growing out back and of course bbq- steaks, fresh salmon, veggies, garden herbs. All fabulous. In the winter time this routine turns into a fire pit and we burrow foil wrapped bananas which have been stuffed with chocolate deep into the hot coals and sip scotch while they cook and huddle over the fire. Anyone want to join us??
Tom: Ideally we’ll wind down early on Sunday eve with a “couch night” - home cooked food and watching a movie. We usually get enticed out so this doesn’t happen so often but hey you asked for the ideal! I want to show Erin one of my favorite films - The Beat That My Heart Skipped - but it’s not available for streaming so I ordered the DVD. That might be a good one for this Sunday….
Join Tom & Erin and Brooklyn based artists and makers on Friday, September 19 from 6:00-10:00pm, in Gowanus for the Fiercely Made launch party.
You can find out more about the artists at Fiercely Curious and the makers at Fiercely Made on the sites, and find events on Facebook. Follow Erin on Instagram @FiercelyCurious. You can find Tom on Twitter @TomCritchlow.