Growing up in the Bronx, Lynsey Ayala, like many little girls, enjoyed playing with Barbie dolls, dressing them up in different outfits. Lynsey’s Barbies, however, were outfitted with handmade garments, put together with bits of fabric she cut from her mother’s scarves and her own clothing. “My mom would be so pissed,” she remembered with a laugh.
Music also captured Lynsey’s attention as she grew older. She was surrounded by hip-hop—both at home and in her neighborhood—and developed a particular interest in the Notorious BIG. Lyrics from his track ‘Gimme the Loot’ inspired Lynsey’s company name, BreadxButta.
After studying painting and Art History in school, Lynsey worked as an assistant to a master marbler on the west coast, laying fabric and making specific colors for him.
She took to the marbling process quickly. “I had always been fascinated by marbling and, as an Art History major, it felt to me like I was tapping into an antiquated world of art making,” she explains.
Seeing her passion and skill, her mentor gave her some studio time to make her own pieces. “Then I knew what I wanted to do,” she said, “fuse my love of painting, sewing, and history.”
Lynsey returned to New York and currently lives and works in Biggie’s borough of Brooklyn making clothing and jewelry.
BreadxButter was launched in September 2015 at the Living Gallery in Bushwick, and both Lynsey and her husband Adam currently work out of Bushwick Print Lab, while also creating at their home in Flatbush.
“Bushwick has been a huge inspiration to me and always shows support,” she said.
At home, Adam, owner and operator of Peace Love Harmony Printing, lends his silkscreening skills to BreadxButter, assisting Lynsey with the special marbling and shibori dyeing processes she uses to make her clothing by way of a 7×5 ft vat the couple built.
Road trips together double as a way to source the healing crystals she uses for her jewelry pieces. “I feel pretty lucky to have my job and my work hand in hand and share it with my partner,” she said.
Although she shares much of her business with her husband, Lynsey also takes time to center herself, meditate, listen to music, and set an intention before getting to work on a big marbling project, while maintaining a deep appreciation for how the marbling process somewhat takes on a life of its own.
“It’s very organic,” she explained. “The paint does its own thing. . . It really is a form of alchemy, watching organic colors float, manipulating synthetic colors to float, the conversation that the water and gel have with the paints, the fabric textures, how weather influences the way the pieces are made and mono print finish of seeing this giant vat of water and paint transfer immediately to the fabric. . . I’m really in awe of the magic every time.”
Keeping to the traditional marbling process learned from her mentor, using many natural products such as carrageenan (a product derived from seaweed), Lynsey fuses a rich ancient artform with upcycled fabrics to create unique modern pieces.
“My concept is to create a vibration and energy that is expressed through painting, and it’s a painting that you can wear; a wearable piece of art that only you have.”
Featured images: Behold BreadxButta’s winter lookbook. All photos courtesy of BreadxButta.