In February, I became the Buyer/Store Manager for the Museum of Craft and Folk Art in San Francisco. If you know me at all, you will understand that this is the PERFECT job for me - I get to scope out independent designers all day long and get paid for it. As someone who is always trying to expand the crafting community, having the chance to share the work of independent artists with a broader audience is a dream come true. In many cases artists that I am working with have never sold in a retail space before; I have even had a couple of people create products especially for me to sell. Needless to say, I have sometimes been the store's best customer. I can't help it though - we have such a fabulous array of people represented, including Loreto Remsing, the brains (and nose) behind L'Aromatica perfume, a line of hand-blended perfumes often made with organic flowers and perfume oils. Our entire staff is enamored of the Gardenia, Yellow Rose, and Kulfi scents, though the new shipment of summer scents has made me obsess over the Madcap Violet and Pink Peony. Loreto, a graphic designer by trade, blends her creations in her gorgeous, sun-filled home in Haight-Ashbury, and when she's not making the world smell better, she will also design a mean set of wedding invitations for you (including mine).
Also new to the MOCFA store is Jen Hewett, creator of the extremely popular Michelle Obama Paper Dolls and fishnet silkscreen prints (favorite quote "Before I went on a job interview a few years ago, my mom called me and begged me not to wear fishnets with my suit. Please. As if I'd ever wear a suit"), and Julie Brookman, who looked at a plastic bag marooned on the beach and decided to use it as inspiration for a series of glass vases.
Lately I've become enamored with a couple of fabulous finds from the home-decor and jewelry worlds whose work will brighten up any corner of your casa, or your cuerpo.
One of the most recent jewelery additions to the stable of artists in the store is Florabond of Idaho Falls, ID. Made by the wonderful Nicole, these necklaces are little works of art featuring repurposed vintage buttons and flowers combined with delicously textured fabric foliage, plastic beads, lace, and stainless steel chain. Putting one of these babies on will instantly class up an outfit, and they are sure-fire attention-getters. I sold the Strawberry Lemonade necklace literally within ten minutes of unpacking it from the box (the best part is that I was wearing it when I sold it). Florabond's MOCFA pieces retail between $60-$80 and employ at least twice that in terms of creativity. I love the romantic feel of them - having them on makes me think of drinking lemonade and doing the Charleston on a wet summer lawn at twilight, which since I now live so close to Golden Gate Park, is within the realm of possibility.
Also new on the horizon is Kellie McCool, who translated her beautiful drawings of scales, umbrellas, and antlered people to blank greeting cards for the store. The scales are currently the most popular of the bunch, though I love the "quotation" card, which has a little space on the front for you to add your own greeting. Genius!
If you find yourself in the San Francisco area and need to find a gift or just want to treat yourself, please stop by the store and visit us - most items are under $100 and we feature mostly Bay Area talent, because this city is just bursting with crafty goodness!