Women Who Make Us Grape: Kathy Urbina
Longtime Fort Greene resident, Kathy Urbina, plays an essential role at the Greene Grape, keeping our streetscape beautiful with her incredible gardening skills. Kathy also designs and handcrafts gorgeous oversized crepe-paper flowers and charming hand-sewn bunnies you see at Provisions under her Bespoke Brooklyn label. Most recently Kathy stitched up masks for our team to help us all stay safe. Kudos to Kathy!
How long have you lived in Fort Greene and what are some highlights of your time in the neighborhood?
We've been in our house on Lafayette Avenue for 36 years and counting. The major highlight of my time here is watching the marathon every year, since it runs right by us. My husband and I also love to take long walks in Fort Greene Park with our dog. It gives me time to admire the gardens and trees (n.b. check out the yellow magnolia just past the tennis courts). The park has really come a long way since the early days!
How did you get involved with the Greene Grape?
I used to shop at the original Provisions location at 753 Fulton (the Annex space). One day I noticed that the plants in the planters outside were about a foot and a half too low and were dying from lack of light. Right then and there, I volunteered to help out with gardening, putting my horticulture degree from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to good use. It grew into a burgeoning business, and I've been planting mini-gardens, container gardens, and tree pits for reaturants in Fort Greene, Bedford Hill, and Greenpoint for several years now. Who knew the Greene Grape would launch a second career for me?
What are your favorite Greene Grape goods?
I'm a huge fan of the house-made guacamole and anything from the cheese counter. My husband is probably the #1 consumer of Graperfruit Mash soda. And Greene Grape has the best pork chops in Brooklyn!
How long have you been sewing and how do you find inspiration for your designs?
Growing up in Nebraska, I learned to sew through 4H and in Home Ec classes at school. We didn't have a lot of money so I learned to sew my own clothes to keep up with the latest fashions. My love of texture and pattern inspires my toy designs. I love to crate cuddly, loveable, handcrafted toys that are durable enough to be passed down through generations. In terms of my crepe-paper flowers, I'm carrying on a Victorian tradition. Women of that time were taught to play instruments and to master the paper arts. My home studio is stuffed with a multitude of fabrics and crepe paper from Germany, France and the U.S. After a career as a Wall Street trader, it's a joy for me to indulge my creative side.
How did you come up with the idea to make masks for the Greene Grape team?
I'm a frequent shopper at the Greene Grape, so the store feels like a family to me. I have so much admiration for everyone's dedication during this difficult time and wanted to do my small part to help. My contribution is using my sewing skills to make colorful masks to keep people safe while they're working.