Instagram Stories: Patch NYC

The duo behind the Boston-based curiosities shop talk about art, inspiration, and why Beantown is their happy place.

Don Carney and John Ross in their Boston studio. 
Don Carney and John Ross in their Boston studio. 

Patch NYC wears many hats. On the one hand it's a shop and art gallery, which began life in Manhattan but has since become the cornerstone of a burgeoning creative community in Boston. It's also a design studio—the brainchild of artists Don Carney and John Ross—a champion of independent producers, and now, an endlessly inspiring Instagram feed filled with moody floral still lifes, covetable ceramic wares, and psychedelic design moments. “I think Instagram is a great tool to help sharpen one's eye for beauty,” says designer John Ross. “When I go through my feed and an image makes me pause I always ask myself, Why? What about this photo made me stop and really look? I try to put that essence into my photos.” Here, a glimpse at how he and Carney do just that.

Instagram Stories: Patch NYC
Instagram Stories: Patch NYC

THE FEED

“I really like to photograph fruits and flowers. I have a soft spot for early Dutch still life paintings and I try to capture some of that richness and romanticism in my still life photos. I also really enjoy shooting interiors when I find an inspiring room because I like translating a dimensional space into a photo. I'm happy when a photo looks well-composed and beautifully lit, with nice surfaces or colors or both. I've had people ask if some of my photos are actually paintings. Those are the images where I think I must have gotten something right.”

THE INSPIRATION

“Don and I find inspiration everywhere: usually something vintage like a tattered quilt with amazing details or an old oil painting of flowers. We are always looking in books, magazines, museums, galleries. That's one of the reasons we are such fans of Instagram, because it's all visual. We've designed whole collections around one vintage print of flowers. Sometimes it's a color or a shape or a mood that we want to capture and incorporate into our design. The challenge is to keep the design original and uniquely Patch NYC.”

Instagram Stories: Patch NYC

THE LOCATION

“After running our business in New York for 10 years, Don and I were feeling really burnt out. We traveled this triangle between our apartment in Chelsea, the shop in the West Village, and our design studio in the Flat Iron district and rarely did anything else. For the holidays we would visit Don's family in the Boston area, and I started to really appreciate the scale and pace of the city. We moved from a studio to a three-bedroom apartment. All of our belongings barely filled half the living room. It wasn't until we moved to a proper-sized space that we started to explore home decor. We needed pillows and art, so we started making things. The move to Boston completely changed the direction of Patch NYC.”

Instagram Stories: Patch NYC

THE PROCESS

“The starting point is usually the theme Don and I have for our own collection of accessories and home decor. We then try to find merchandise that complements our collection. We are always on the look out for interesting, well-crafted, unique things, and they're really not easy to find. When we do find something, and we get it into the shop, and people respond favorably, that's a great feeling. There's a real satisfaction in supporting another designer by introducing their work to a new audience.”

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I'm the former Deputy Editor at Lonny.
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