Gabriel Fredericks Cohen and Jolie Mae Signorile, the design team of Fredericks and Mae, met while studying art at Oberlin. Initially, the two didn't know each other. They had different schedules. But each noticed and was intrigued by the other’s studio scraps. Jolie was using old Vogues, neon paint and thousands of plastic soldiers and Gabe was working with thread, gold leaf and little nails. “It was fun! We had a materials crush on each other,” Jolie says.
After graduation their first collaboration in New York was inspired by a pair of vintage milliner wings Gabe found in a West Village shop. "Wings are so emotional - they are amazing real instruments (birds) and have huge symbolic power (angels)." The pair began sourcing feathers, reconstructing wings and selling to individual shops. Then they moved on to handmade archery arrows. "We had the components," Gabe says simply.
Much of what Jolie and Gabe make is driven by their shared materials vocabulary and what elements they already have around the studio. But they also have an informed respect and concern for the historical, political and cultural context of objects. There is a brief, fun-to-read history of each item on their site, some of which may surprise you. Darts are one example. "Darts were historically used in warfare in ancient history; skirmishers used darts of varying sizes, similar to javelins." Hmmmm, it's a thought, but think I'll stick with the modern, recreational usage.