News / ceramics

Mother's Day Gift Guide

We know it's not always easy to find that special something for Mom, so we put together some gift ideas that we think will help you go straight to the top of the list as the "favorite" child (or score major brownie points as a kick ass Husband or Partner)!


Faribault recycled cotton throw blanket and oversized tote bag, perfect for a picnic or summer travels.  Blanket $95 Tote $140

 Beautiful hand screened cotton tea towel, so pretty it could be used for a hand towel, in a bread basket or even as a placemat on a tabletop. $16

These ceramic iPad holders pull double duty- hold your iPad while cooking for easy, no mess viewing of your favorite recipe, while holding all of your best cooking utensils in the back. $72



We made it easy to give Mom something unique with our custom curated gift sets that come wrapped and ready to go. We went with a pampering theme for Moms starting at $16

Walnut Cake stand, with Corian top. Made to be used and enjoyed while maintaining it's beauty. $72

kerri johnson
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Maker Spotlight: Standard Wax

My dream is to travel the country visiting the people who are making the wonderful products sold at M+R, taking pics, talking shop, and really get to know each person. So I was so excited when I recently had a chance to visit the lovely Samantha Thompson and Andrew King the team who make up Standard Wax. From their studio in Arizona, Standard Wax creates fragrant soy candles from scratch along with the re-usable ceramic vessels to hold them.  

Tell us a little about Standard Wax  & what you do.
Standard Wax is on a mission to bring art into the everyday. We focus on designing products that combine form and function. We believe that everything you put in your home should be beautiful and inspired.

When did you get started? When did you make the transition to doing Standard Wax full time?
Standard Wax started in 2011 (nearly as an accident). We rode the ups an downs of running a business on the side for a while, which was good for us as we refined our brand and how we wanted it to grow. Sam quit her day job in 2014 and Andrew followed suit shortly after. It’s amazing how much growth we’ve seen since then. Having the time to dedicate to your business without being distracted by a day job is really an incredible thing. 

Tell us what a normal day is like.
I’m actually happy to say that a “normal day” is becoming something we are able to experience! Waking up and heading to the studio early (we are both morning people) to make sure everything is in order for the day’s production, and then letting our team take over - getting their hands dirty pouring, packaging and shipping candles. It’s nice to have perfected our process to a point where it’s possible to have some help with the production! It leaves a lot of time for us to dream up new products and projects and gather inspiration.

What inspires you?
Ha, I didn’t even see this questions before I wrapped up the previous one. How’s that for a transition? We’re both super inspired by nature, in a number of different ways. It reminds us that the world is so much bigger than the little candle kingdom we live in. We love what we do, and running a business is great - but the inspiration for everything we do comes from travel and adventures. We’re constantly planing our next trip or spontaneous adventure (whether it’s an exotic country across the world or the new mexican restaurant down the street). Being outside never ceases to create a ridiculous sense of wonder about so many things. 

What is your favorite part about being a small business owner? What part gives you shivers to think about?
The best thing, and the thing we are always striving for, is the ability to create our own path. If something isn’t working, or we don’t like it, we just change it. We fix it, we make it better and we move on. I love how quickly things can move and grow, and how fast ideas can be brought to live. There is something so satisfying about being about to create your own happiness. Things that give us shivers: accounting (are we going to get audited? We definitely didn’t do that right.), cubicles, florescent lights, and any other indication that we have become a company that’s forgotten it’s story and inspiration.

Any words of wisdom for budding entrepreneurs?
If you’re serious about what you’re doing and you truly want to make it happen, just make it happen! It sounds cliche, but if you put in the time, things will grow. Also don’t sacrifice your happiness or your values for anything. It’s never worth it in the end.

Who is that adorable dog?
That’s Lu! Andrew’s perfect precious angel. She’s a pug chihuahua mix and is one of many dogs that frequents our studio!

You have such a beautiful Instagram feed, (that I geek out on all the time) @standardwaxWho are your five favorite Instagram accounts right now?

@huckberry, @slowjam98, @heartswellco, @laurenkelp, @polerstuff

Big Thanks to Samantha for letting my niece make her own candle. As a tween candle fanatic, she was in heaven!

 Want a candle? SHOP NOW

Instagram images courtesy of Standard Wax

kerri johnson
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Meet the Maker: Q & A with ceramic artist Whitney Smith

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Mills MFA Fundraiser Event

Mills MFA Fundraiser Event Friday, February 7th 6-9pm...Don't miss the fun!
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Hey, how about we give you some great gift ideas?

 The holidays are here! We have compiled some fun and affordable gift giving ideas perfect for the hard to buy for person or the Secret Santa party.

kerri johnson
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Day Tripping Inspiration from Quail Lane Press

With a long, lazy Labor Day weekend almost upon us, and some new limited edition and hand water colored letterpress pieces in the shop by Quail Lane Press, we're feeling inspired to do some day tripping! We posted up some of the photos below to Instagram with our ideas for some weekend excursions (pretty please, follow us on Instagram if you don't already), and got all kinds of love from folks who can't wait to load up their gear and skip town. We hope these photos make you want to get out and get going on a California adventure.


Weekend excursion #1 – Pt. Reyes. Doesn't that red plaid Faribault blanket make you want to plop down and enjoy a hearty picnic while observing the antlered elk of Point Reyes? We asked folks where they want to take their next day trip and got a bunch of fun answers – Pescadero, Boonville, Napa, Healdsburg, Stinson, Memorial Park, Tilden, Muir Beach, and China Beach. Just don't forget your anchor mugs by Harstone Pottery and mason cocktail shaker.

Weekend excursion #2 - Monterey Bay. 
If you have a hankering for some beach-side clam chowder, perhaps Monterey Bay is calling your name. Be sure to pack your waxed canvas satchel by Peg & Awl, Kinfolk Magazine, infinity scarf by DDCCSF, woolen iPad sleeve by Willow & Company, and mason jar with Cuppow lid.

Weekend excursion #3 – Anywhere on the California Coast. You can't go wrong on a sunny day, as long as you've got your camera on hand to capture the majesty. Leather camera strap by Uniforma and waxed canvas lunch bag by Peg & Awl.


And just look at this next letterpress piece celebrating the San Francisco Bay. *sigh* There's almost no need to day trip when we live in such a beautiful place.

Nicole Grant Kriege
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Reinvent Your Desk or Office Space – Our Back-To-School Stuff is On Sale!


The summer months are coming to a close, and with September right around the corner, it's time to dust off your dreams, get reinspired, and go out and kick some butt. Whether you are headed back to school or jump starting a new project, it's a good time to clear out the old clutter and reinvent your work or study space.

Lucky for you, we're throwing a big sale in August to make way for new Fall merchandise, and all of our desk and office friendly back-to-school stuff is 20% off. The cute things in the photo above are sure to make your shopping list:

Lunch Bags by Peg & Awl
Made of sturdy, wipe-down-able waxed canvas.

America the Beautiful Field Notes
Limited edition and ready for note taking and doodling.

Woolen Laptop and iPad Bags
Technology looks so much better when accessorized.

Handwoven Trash Basket by Peterboro
Made by a family in New Hampshire for 150 years.

JFish Wall Planters
Slipcasted ceramics made at the Berkeley Potters Guild.

Nicole Grant Kriege
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A Studio Visit with JFish Designs


Some of our favorite pottery in the whole dang world is made by Jennifer Fish of JFish Designs (check out her cute stuff in our shop, above!). We were excited to be able to visit her studio yesterday down at the Berkeley Potters Guild! She's busy coming up with tons of new designs for the holidays, and engrossed in slipcasting all sorts of cool ceramic tableware.

Jennifer has a super interesting background, with degrees in Engineering Psychology at Tufts University and Industrial Design at Pratt Institute. She was a product designer for years and years, spending some time at Smart Design where she worked with companies like OXO, Hewlett Packard, and Toyota. She also worked on kitchenware products for brands like KitchenAid and Cuisinart as an industrial designer at Lifetime Brands.

It was awesome to see Jennifer in her environment, and to get a little taste of her creative process. Come on down to the shop to check out her goods live and in person.


Nicole Grant Kriege
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For Your Garden... Ceramic Herb Garden Labels

We love these herb garden labels by Paulova Ceramics! What a good idea to create nice looking, sturdy labels for your herb pots that won't wash away or get buried in dirt. Each stake is handmade with clay, color coded with glaze, and hand printed with its herb name.

We carry a few of Paula Lopez-Otero's ceramics in the shop, and all of her wares are inspired by the simple beauty and functionality of Scandinavian design. She never formally studied art in school, but received an early education at the Waldorf School in Linz, Austria, where art is an integral part of curriculum and is treated as an important subject of study.

After many years of pursuing pottery in her free time, Paula is now making a living as a full time ceramics artist. While she just recently left the Bay Area for Portland, Oregon, we've got a nice selection of her things in the shop. Come see us and we'll show you her latest creations.



Nicole Grant Kriege
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Behind the Scenes with Artist Peter St.Lawrence


These speakeasy-esque flasks are one of our favorite items in the shop, and their creator, Peter St.Lawrence, is sort of a mad genius. Since getting his BFA in sculpture from CCA in 2001, he's been making his mark here in Oakland through designing restaurant interiors, founding FM gallery, and releasing his storied ceramics. We caught up with him to ask him about his artistic vision and to find out what projects he's currently working on.


How did you get into ceramics?
The craft of ceramics is one where the more you learn about it, the more you realize you don't know. Ceramics can be as simple as an ashtray or as advanced as the tiles that allows space shuttles to reenter the atmosphere. Anything is possible with clay if you have the patience to figure it out. I love the challenge and the satisfying nature of the materiality.

Your flasks that we carry in our shop have such a storied past. Can you elaborate? 
I was inspired by a prohibition era whiskey bottle that someone dug up in the Oakland hills under what must have been a speakeasy. I wanted to cast that beautiful bottle back into the world and give that history a second life. Having hand-built flasks for many years, my craft has more recently crossed a threshold with the advent of slip-casting. Using a plaster mold and liquid clay allows me to make the flasks lighter and able to hold more liquid, and therefor more functional.  






What other artistic endeavors are you up to these days?
Actually, I'm really excited about working on a ceramic jewelry line in collaboration with a friend of mine. I'm not ready to get too specific just yet. But I have been obsessed by the quality of the porcelain in the shapes I've been casting.


We heard you had a hand in the restaurant design for Duende in Oakland. Can you tell us about your vision?

"Duende" loosely means having soul, and is an extremely rich concept that guided our visual decisions. It is described as the difference between a technically proficient dance and one that is expressive and emotional. Because there is something inherently genuine about duende, we tried to only use materials that are being shown for what they are: rusted metal and burnt wood with touches of gold. 

In literature, duende is not clearly a force of good or of evil: It's both. Therefor creating intentional areas of darkness and lightness with textured shadow play became a theme. We tried to reference history while staying true to chef Paul Canales' Spanish-inspired innovative cooking and love of contemporary music.







What's it like being an artist in Oakland, and how can local folks support you?

I am fortunate to be the member of an incredible community of artists at FM on 25th street. Our studio has a diverse line-up of talented artists that generate limitless inspiration and cross-pollination. We open our doors to the public every first Friday from 5-9 and EVERY Saturday from 1-5. Visiting FM is a great opportunity to find some hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind items while supporting local artists.


Photos by Marion & Rose, CCA, and 

Nicole Grant Kriege
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