I was featured on the Tara Hurst Design Blog as part of Tara’s Creative Q & A series. I really enjoyed sharing my workspace and thoughts about my business and process. Thanks Tara for including Stitch & Hammer!
See interview here
I am long overdue for a blog update. We’ve been busy renovating our new studio and getting ready for Spring. I can’t believe it’s March already and I am just getting around to processing images from the holidays. We spent the Christmas holiday in Santa Fe with family. I love Santa Fe during this time of year. On Christmas Eve, we always walk the Farolito lined streets surrounding Canyon Road in the late evening, after the crowds have disbursed. It was a beautiful night, not as cold as years passed and just as quaint and picturesque as ever.
After the holiday, we ventured South to Marfa, Texas for New Years. We haven’t been to Marfa in over 7 years and was surprised to see how much it’s changed. No longer the obscure ranching town with the Judd Foundation, but now a destination spot for travelers, AUSTINITES, and big city movers and shakers. When we asked folks that we met if they were here to see Judd they’d look at us quizzically. It appears El Cosmico draws a bigger crowd than the late great Donald Judd! We toured the Chinati Foundation and the studios downtown run by the Judd Foundation out of NYC. I had been to Chinati but, had not yet seen the block studios located near Judd’s Bank building. It’s always a treat to revisit works of art, you bring a new perspective than in times previous. What captivated me this time, was the contrast between Judd’s living quarters and art collections, versus his minimal approach to art. His home was full of antique stoneware, rustic wood floors and cabinetry. As an avid collector of weavings, pottery, and basketry, his residence was filled with antiques and Native American artifacts. On the other hand, his personal work, especially during the latter part of his career, could not be less similar. His sculpture is overwhelmingly minimal, straight, perfect, cold and devoid of human touch. Yet, what struck me so profoundly, was that the two seemed to speak to each other in a way that I would not have anticipated.
While we were in Marfa, we stopped by Cobra Rock Boot Company to meet Logan and Colt, the talented boot making duo. They have an amazing space near the town’s center. Gotta get me a pair of those boots! We hiked in the Davis Mountains one day and grabbed a beer in Alpine. We tried to visit the famous Big Bend Saddlery, but sadly they were closed for New Years.
Next, we headed East for Austin to visit my Sister. I swear I leave a little bit of my heart in Austin every time I visit. It’s the perfect size city, with great food and music. We stayed at the Hotel San Jose and I saw Mary from Downton Abbey! We watched movies at the Alamo Drafthouse, ate BBQ, drank micheladas, had the best Pho of my life at Elizabeth Street Cafe and, walked greenbelt river path every morning. Unfortunately, it was too cold for Barton Springs. We didn’t want to leave so we stayed an extra night.
One of the best parts of our visit to Austin, was meeting Maura from Folk Fibers. I love seeing other makers work spaces and speaking with them about their process. Maura was very generous with her time and spent the morning showing us her dying process and explaining how her quilts are made. She is such an incredible talent and I couldn’t be happier to have connected with her.
On our way home, we stopped in Forth Worth to see the Kimball Art Museum by the late, great Louis Kahn and the Richard Serra sculpture outside of the Modern Art Museum. I want to go back and photograph the historic downtown of Ft. Worth. There is some incredible brick architecture. We would have loved to stay longer, but, we needed to get home and start renovating our new studio!
We recently visited Magpie & Rye, a charming boutique located in the Western Addition neighborhood of San Francisco. Magpie & Rye was created by Annabelle Rey who shares her space with the florists, Studio Choo. Together they form the Prairie Collective. Magpie & Rye offers a curated selection of goods and accessories, both vintage and new, and most of their products are sourced from local or North American designers and makers. Next time you are in the area or in San Francisco, please stop by to say hello and check out the shop!
Where are you from?
I was born at home in Santa Monica/Venice Beach, which makes me a fifth generation Californian. I split my teen years between Colorado and British Columbia and came back to California when I turned 20.
What brought you to SF?
Art and Music
What made you decide to open a shop?
An obsession with beautiful things and good design.
What is your current obsession?
Which one! I guess right now I’m am pretty obsessed with Japanese design and culture in preparation for an upcoming trip. Also the healing and metaphysical properties of minerals for a collaboration in the works.
What is your favorite item in the store?
Native Line’s weavings and Charles Freger’s book Wilder Mann.
What do you like most about the neighborhood where Magpie & Rye is located?
The Western Addition has always been a favorite neighborhood in San Francisco. It’s right in the heart of the city, but has a real neighborhood feel. It’s changed a lot over the past few years which is bittersweet, but the community has welcomed our presence graciously.
What influences you?
Nature and traditions.
What does being a merchant mean to you?
Supporting artists we love and getting well-made products appreciated. Creating narratives through product collections.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Never be afraid to put down roots, but don’t get too comfortable. Always push yourself to try something new.
Describe yourself your store in 3 words
Unfussy, Adventurous, Grateful.
What is your idea of happiness?
Steep mountains and fresh snow. Family.
Too Many! Cy Twombly, James Turrell, Anne Lindberg, Berry Underwood, Matthew Barney, Claire Rojas, Pete Gronquist, Matthew Craven, Matthew Porter, Laura Carlin, Kevin Appel, Hanna Sandin, Stacey Rozich……
Describe your home
Eclectic. A work in progress.
What are you reading currently?
The Big Short and A Hologram for the King.
Magpie & Rye
262 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117
On our last visit to San Francisco, we stopped by to visit with Leah, the owner of Reliquary, an eclectic boutique in the heart of Hayes Valley. Reliquary brings a unique and original slant to the retail landscape in the city. Raised in New York and Santa Fe, Leah’s style combines sophistication and traditional qualities brilliantly. Please take a moment to read the interview below.
Where are you from? I was born in NYC and my family moved to Santa Fe NM when I was 13… I went to high school there and then move back to NY when I was 18.
What brought you to SF? I moved to the Bay Area to get a change of scenery and to take a job at Old Navy.
What made you decide to open a shop? I wanted to work in an environment where I had a direct connection to the results of my work… where I could reap the benefits of my successes and suffer the consequences of my failures.
What is your current obsession? Sashiko.
What is your favorite item in the store? We just started carrying books, and I am really excited about them. They are inspiring and it gives me the opportunity to bring bigger ideas into the feel of the shop; cultural, political, and social. It was fun to pick the titles and I am really happy with the ones we got.
What do you like most about the neighborhood where Reliquary is located? I love that it is small and centralized but really diverse. There’s a little bit of everything here. I feel like the Hayes valley shopper is much harder to stereotype than many other neighborhoods.
What influences you? It is hard to answer this question without sounding cliché… but, I have to say Life. I am lucky to live a life where I can allow myself to be influenced and inspired by everything around me.
What does being a merchant mean to you? An outlet for my addiction to beauty.
What is the best advice you’ve been given? Just do it.
What is your idea of happiness? Dogs.
Favorite artists/designers? Kiki Smith, Sheila Hicks, Charlotte Periand… too many to name.
Describe your home: We live in Oakland in what was a Christian Scientist retreat built in the 1940s. It is small but we can’t see any other houses around us and I get to pretend I live in the country. My husband likes simple and modern and I would hang a garland or drape a textile on everything in sight, so it’s a happy mix of clean and sparse and cookoo eclectic.
Where do you shop? Oh shopping… I love to shop. Unfortunately, I rarely have time to shop in SF…. I do get out every once and a while in Hayes Valley when I run out to get lunch… it’s a bit dangerous out there. I do love to squeeze in some shopping (for myself) when I travel on buying trips though. In LA: I love New High Mart, and RTH. In New York: Love, Adorned and 45 RPM. In Paris: Merci Merci… I could go on and on….
What are you reading currently? Fifth Business by Roberston Davies.
What item can you not live without? My Minetta Designs cashmere poncho from the shop.
537 Octavia Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
We headed to Oklahoma this past Thanksgiving to spend the holiday with my family. I was born in Enid and most of my extended family still lives there. My mother and father moved to New Mexico when I was a young girl and even though I consider Santa Fe my hometown I still have a strong connection to Oklahoma. It was nice to return after a long absence and I enjoyed seeing my grandmother’s shop again. She runs a small interior design studio with an upholstry shop in the back. I was taught to sew at the shop every summer when I would visit. I’m a fifth generation sewer!
Driving home we took the quiet county roads up through Northern Oklahoma into Kansas and stopped mid-way for the night in Dodge City. Ben and I were amazed to see farm after farm left to die, totally abandoned. We listened to the Worst, Hard Time by Timothy Eagan on the radio and it seemed not much had changed since the Dirty Thirties. There is a beauty in the desolate land out there. So much history permeates the ground and with every passing building that stood empty, our hearts would ache. Big Ag dominates the landscape and it is sad to think the iconic American farmer is vanishing. Every small town we drove through as well was only standing on two legs because of the gas station. The shops were boarded up and stood as relics of time past. We marveled at the character of the buildings and their original tin ceilings. We talked of moving there and buying one of the most dreamy two story brick things you ever did see……or making an offer on one of the numerous abandoned barns just for the wood.
It feels as though an entire section of the United States is being left behind. I would love to take a trip and document this part of the country……..We can just add that to the list of “personal projects” I would like to do.
Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.
This past Summer I paid a visit to the studio of Amanda Kanter, the ceramicist responsible for the beautiful vase seen above. Her space is located in an artist compound in West Oakland and is home to a variety of other artists. We had a lovely time shooting Amanda and her work. She even had us hop on the wheel and attempt, rather unsuccessfully might I add, to throw some clay. I always enjoy seeing the workspaces of fellow artists and makers.
Here are some shots from my recent trip to SF. It was so nice to be back in the city I know and love. The week went by in a flash and I must have walked 20 miles a day. I met up with some fellow makers and merchants, such as Shara from Lotfi and, Josh and Lauren from The Podolls. I also met up with and photographed Reliquary and Magpie & Rye, two merchants that I adore in the city. I will post the features soon.
We stayed in an AirBnb rental, which I highly recommend for SF. There are no hotels except for Union Square, so it was nice to stay in a residential neighborhood where we could relax and walk to the best restaurants. I Checked out the new Blue Bottle at Heath SF. They’re carrying Garza, furniture made in Marfa that is to die for. Definitely put one of their chairs on my wish list! Had brunch at Stable Cafe and a lovely meal at Flour + Water, as per usual. The trip was a success and it’s official, SF and I are better off as lovers than full time companions.
One of my favorite things about being a maker is meeting other makers. There is so much amazing talent out there to admire and be inspired by. One of my most recent connections is with Shannon from Caravan Pacific, a small lighting company based in Portland. Shannon’s lamps evoke both the elegance and simplicity of mid-century modern design. The base is made from hand poured and glazed stoneware. The wood components are FSC-certified and the shade is made from high-quality linen. They’re all so dreamy, but I have my eye on the Alberta Lamp in White + Sugar Maple.