A quick Q&A with Bay Area glass artist Jess Wainer and designer Rachel T. Robertson...
We are excited that some of our vendors are nominees for the Martha Stewart American Made award!
As you know, Marion and Rose's Workshop is committed to the American Made movement and shares in the thought that change happens on the street level with small businesses supporting one other and sharing their message to customers. We feel that planting the seed and helping it grow is our job and it is our commitment.
As proponents of the movement it makes us happy to see a large company embracing these small makers. It's these steps that will help rebuild the Main Streets of small towns and Cities, restoring pride in these communities. When you can say "I helped make that" or "this is my neighbors company", it gives you a renewed desire to support your neighbor and your community. Quality, craftsmanship and knowing the maker are all important aspects of how we curate the shop, and we are so happy to be able to relay their stories to our customers.
Our friends at Modestics put together a great reference list to make it super easy to vote. Included on the list are a few of our vendors Blue Chair Fruit, Cuppow, Native State, Peg and Awl. and Peterboro Baskets (these guys have been around since the 1800's!) We've also added a few links below to more of our friends and neighbors.
Outlaw Soaps (soon to be a vendor at the shop!)
Poppy Von Frohlich - amazing jackets made in SF. Want them all.
Kate Ellen Metals- our awesome neighbor and amazing jewelry designer
Please vote for your favorites, you can vote up to 6 times within a 24 hours period.
Thank you for your support of the American Made movement and of our little shop!! We are cannot express how happy we are to be here.
Remember "We are all in this together".
-M & R
With all of the amazing press and accolades that Blue Chair has gotten recently, it's sometimes hard to believe that their kitchen is right here in Oakland. Rachel Saunders, their head jammer, is a visionary with a penchant for creating seasonally inspired artisan marmalades and jams in tiny batches in traditional French copper jam kettles.
She loves to share her know-how with the local community, and you'll often spot her or another one the of Blue Chair staff out at farmers markets peddling preserves, as well as The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook. With figs, tomatoes, apples, grapes, stone fruits coming into season in September and October, you can bet she's going to have a busy Fall. Here's a Q&A with Rachel:
We hear you studied jam-making for 10 years before you launched Blue Chair. What was the research process like?
It was an extremely arduous process of trial and error. I spent all my free time pursuing jam and fruit, and had many days of despair and torment. Mastering the art of jam making is not for the faint of heart!! When people taste my jams today, they cannot imagine what it took to get where I am; I make it look easy now. I am a true believer in the 10,000-hours theory of mastery. And 10,000 hours is just the beginning!!
Do you really still make all of the jams by hand? What are some of your most exciting creations? Yes; all of our jams are completely handmade. Every flavor is exciting! We just cooked a nectoplum jam – a rare hybrid fruit of white nectarine and plum. We also just did a tomato and Adriatic fig jam.
It's pretty cool that you host jam-making classes. What's coming up in the schedule? I absolutely love to teach, because I love people and I love the chance to share some of what I know. My next classes are a Jam 101 class at Ramekins in Sonoma on September 6 and a Flavor Construction class at our kitchen in Oakland on September 8. Information about both is on our website. In mid-September, I go to Seattle to teach for several days at the Pantry at Delancey.
It seems like you guys are always out at the local farmer's markets. Where can we catch you here in the East Bay? Grand Lake on Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. and Temescal on Sundays from 9 a.m. -1 p.m.
How can locals support you and stay in touch? The best way to follow us is on Facebook or Twitter; our name is bluechairfruit. You can also join our mailing list on our website for news about classes and new flavors!
Of course, you can always find a selection of Rachel's latest creations for Blue Chair at Marion and Rose's Worksop!
I love the Renegade Craft Fair! I try to go every time they come to town to scout for new merch for the shop. The fair plays host to so many talented vendors, and it's fun to experience so much cool, handcrafted stuff all in one place. As a shop owner though, I'm not just your average, lazy craft fair shopper. This is a serious operation, and I'm on a mission to find as much cool stuff as possible to carry at Marion & Rose. Therefor, when I go to the RCF, I am super prepared. Here's my checklist:
1. A Scarf. Visiting the Renegade Craft Fair is like going from summer to winter! Brrrrr... The show is at Fort Mason, which means it's safely 10 degrees colder and 10 miles-an-hour windier than in Downtown Oakland.
2. Reusable Shopping Bag. For carrying all of my purchases and my business cards, which I like to hand out to vendors. This time I used my super cute "thank you" bag by The Workshop Residence.
3. A Map. I went through and marked off all of the must-see vendors on my list. Once I hit all of them, I allow myself to stroll around and shop like a civilian.
A pro tip – be sure to scout the bathroom when you first get there. After sitting in Sunday San Francisco traffic, the first thing I think about when I get there is beelining to the WC (Ladies, you all know what I mean).
And lastly – know your coffee options. Because you're going to need a pick-me-up (or two) to keep you going for the day. This time there was a tent serving Four Barrel at the front entrance. Score!
The fair was grand, and I was really excited to see and meet some of the vendors I've worked with over the past year, who hail from all over the U.S.
My first stop was at the booth of the fabulous Sharon Z Jewelry. Sharon's positive attitude is infectious, so I was happy to kick off the Renegade voyage at her booth. When I stopped by, she was playing an impromptu game of Renegade bingo that one of her booth neighbors had just created. The jist of which was... "take a picture of the nine things on the list and win a prize." One box said "bike helmet," and another said "garlic fries." Fun!
From there, I moved on to meet a couple of my out-of-town vendors, including the lovely couple who are Peg and Awl. They were so sweet, though very tired from two weeks of traveling from Pennsylvania and first hitting the Renegade show in Los Angeles.
I also tracked down half of Bison Letterpress husband and wife team from Washington State. I was excited to finally meet them in person!
My next stop was to see the Shapes & Colors booth and the smiling face of Samantha Cisneros. It was a beautiful booth, and as always, she was surrounded by lots of fun colors!
I then on to see The Heated, which is the creation of the adorable Cristina Espinosa. I have worked with Cristina for a long time and she always has something fun going on. I can't wait to get some of her new designs for the holidays.
Along the way, I ran into the two amazing Oakland designers behind Bird vs. Bird and PollyannaCowgirl, who happened to be sharing a booth space. I couldn't resist snapping their pic and purchasing a super fun ring from PollyannaCowgirl!
My visit was short, but jam packed with smiles, laughter, and fun. Stay tuned for some great new designs from our current shop vendors, and introductions to some new future vendors whose designs will arrive in the shop in this Fall!
Happy 4th of July! Hope you're celebrating in style, with fireworks and homemade potato salad and all the good stuff. We're closed today, but will be back in action selling American-made goods on Friday, July 5th. We'll see you in the shop real soon. Have a happy and safe Independence Day.
Photo credit: Underwood Archives