A revoir, adios, shalom, ciao…. We're sad to say goodbye to Lisa Espenmiller's artwork. It's been wonderful having her colorful canvases warming up our walls. (Check out our Q&A with her if you're not familiar with her zen meditation-inspired work.) Please join us on Saturday from 1 - 4 p.m. for a little closing reception. Lisa will be here in person for one last hurrah and there will be snacks and bubbly on hand to celebrate her departure. Plus, you'll be able to check out the Wallter Designs pop-up shop if you haven't seen it already. Hope to see you there!
Photo by Kerri Johnson
The Wallter Design week-long pop-in is officially here in the shop! Our windows are looking downright festive, don't you think? Last night we celebrated their arrival at an opening reception that drew lots of folks who wanted to check out the merch and meet the husband and wife who designed them.
UPDATE: Wallter will be here through the end of June! But you'd better act fast if you want to get the goods, their items are going quickly!
Max and Linda Geiser are such a sweet couple – some of you may have already seen the Q&A we did with them right here on the blog, which covered the inspiration behind their Eames-esque housewares. They were wonderful hosts, chit chatting with local fans and people passing through the shop on the way to dinner downtown. It didn't hurt that the white wine and French lemonade were flowing, the macarons were fresh from Miette, and the ginger cake was homemade!
Here are a few snaps that capture some of what's in the pop-up. Mobiles and planters and pillows, oh my. We can't get enough.
The pop-up will be going on through June 16th. Please be our guests and come check out the goods!
Mike Kabler of Oaktown Blooms with Marion and Rose store owner Kerri Johnson
Photos by Nicole Grant Kriege
We're excited to have a new guest curator in the shop… Nicole Grant Kriege! Some of you might remember we hosted The Bold Italic's pop-up shop inside our walls over the holidays, and Nicole was the visionary behind that endeavor. She's since left The Bold, moved over to the East Bay, done some marketing and PR consulting for small businesses, and joined up as a guest curator at our shop. Here's a little Q&A with Nicole so you can get to know her better.
What inspired you to join up with Marion & Rose?
I loved hosting The Bold Italic's pop-up shop at Marion and Rose, and Kerri (the store owner) and I hit it off. I was really inspired by her excitement around revitalizing downtown Oakland through commerce that supports small batch artisans. There's a magic surrounding certain retail shops, and Marion and Rose has it. I like meeting all of the neighbors, vendors, and local characters who come to interact with the store – it's definitely a community hub.
What are you bringing to the shop?
A little of this, and a little of that. There are so many designers that inspire me aesthetically, it's a constant challenge to stick to my buying budget. Kerri and I have committed ourselves to only carrying USA-made product, and often times the items we find are made right here in Oakland. The shop has an awesome ethos of spotlighting American craft traditions, and supporting independent artists and local economies in the process. Designers I've brought into the shop include:
W+P Design - Inventors of The Mason Shaker! A cocktail shaker fashioned from a mason jar.
Rifle Paper Co. - A husband and wife company selling adorable cards and notebooks.
Little Otsu - A Portland outfit and inventor of the Film Diary.
What else are you up to these days?
I'm firing up my consulting business. There's so much change going on in Oakland right now, and I'm excited to be a part of it. I've been helping out both Marion and Rose and Popuphood (the small business incubator with the vacant storefronts initiative in downtown Oakland), and I'm looking forward to working with other small businesses who want to expand their marketing and PR efforts. I'm also making our new home in Berkeley purty, and spending some time in my garden.
Nicole's in the shop on Thursday afternoons – come on by and say hello!
The happy hour bike party with the East Bay Bicycle Coalition last Thursday was tons o' fun! Everyone came out to Old Oakland in droves, and we were excited to be a part of the action. Thanks to those of you who were able to stop by our artist reception with Lisa Espenmiller and say hi. Here are some of our favorite pics from the evening:
Photo by citymaus on Flickr
Photo by nereocystis on Flickr
Speaking of bikes, our good friends at Manifesto Bikes are throwing their 5 year anniversary party on Sunday from 12-7 p.m. You probably remember that Manifesto was one of the first shops to go into popuphood, and they've since moved on and remodeled their original 40th Street location.
We can't wait to celebrate with them! They'll be hosting Bike Church (one of their lively community gatherings) from 12-4 p.m. with Wade's Sodas and pizza from Hot Italian. Artist Ken Davis will be on hand to custom letter your bikes and helmets.
At 4 p.m. we'll all take a group ride over to the Night Light for an early evening after party with DJ Treat-U-Nice. There will also be a raffle benefitting Spokeland, and our shop donated one of the prizes, along with other local favorites like Oaklandish and ISSUES Magazine shop. The grand prize is an Oaklandish x Manifesto bike.
All of the fun event details are on Facebook. Hope to see you there!
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.
Here's a little Q&A with Lisa about her art-making here in Oakland.
Your paintings have such lovely use of color. What are they inspired by?
Typically what happens is that a color starts to nudge me, appearing at random times in my mind's eye competing for my attention. At times the inspiration for a color is clear – a yellow leaps out at me from our native garden, or from a pale, oceanic blue scarf wrapped around a woman's neck as she walks by, or orange just seems to be filling me up and wants to pour out onto the canvas or paper. Other times I have little inkling as to why a particular green calls me, or why I'm suddenly attracted to a particular soft, warm grey.
Can you tell us a little bit about your meditation practice?
I sit zazen, a form of Zen meditation, twice a day with my husband. The first thing we do each day upon waking is to sit for 30 minutes. The last thing we do before going to bed is to sit for 15 minutes. In zazen, one sits on a meditation cushion facing a blank wall with eyes open. You stare at the wall with "soft" eyes and breathe, letting thoughts arise and fall away, trying not to get caught in them; when your attention inevitably gets snagged and you realize that it has, you let the thoughts go, and return to breathing and focusing on a spot on the wall. We've been doing this every day since December, 2008.
I've lived in Oakland for 16 years. It's exciting to be a part of the emerging art scene as it grows and matures. I feel like there's an openness, a willingness to experiment, a fresh excitement about art and artists, a friendliness within the developing art communities. As far as supporting my work, showing it here at Marion & Rose is a great form of support. Part of being an artist is getting one's work in front of folks with whom it resonates. The more opportunities I have to show my work, the better chance I have of finding those people.
What else are you up to these days?
I recently acquired 4 different translations of The Tao Te Ching, bringing my total to 7. Having 7 different versions of one book appeals mightily to the nerd in me. All of my paintings and works on paper (except the groundless ground series) get their names from The Tao through a process in which I enter into a dialogue between the piece and the book. My study of The Tao underlies the lines and washes in my artwork. I can't wait to find time in the coming weeks to sift through the 7 translations of this ancient text on how to live to see what I learn and discover and how this study will shape new work to come.
We can't wait to hang Lisa's pieces! Everything shown at the shop will available for sale, and the show will be up through June 23rd. She'll also be joining us here at the shop in person for First Fridays in June.
Artwork courtesy of Chandra Cerrito Contemporary
This week we took a little field trip up to the Plaza to welcome HUB Oakland to uptown! The Hub is an inspired co-working space for changemakers, and our friends Sarah and Alfonso at Popuphood have launched them into a really nice pop-up space on the ground floor of a historical building on Broadway while they wait for their permanent offices to be finished nearby.
And we gotta say, we love our new neighbors! Not only do they know how to party (farm fresh margaritas were flowing), but they seem like great people with a real drive to do good in the world. Popuphood will be sharing office space with The Hub, so we'll be sure to visit often. In the meantime, we're going to donate to HUB Oakland's kickstarter campaign to help them open their permanent digs in October of this year.
Faribault Woolen Mill Company is an American legend. This historic mill is nestled along the Cannon River in Minnesota. The only fully integrated domestic woolen operation still in existence - making blankets, throws and accessories, using techniques and machinery virtually unchanged over time. Each day, they weave fibers and American pride into goods with a simple beauty and durability of purpose - destined to become family heirlooms for generations to come. Founded in 1856, the 147-year-old story continues.
I love Faribault's business philosophy on their website.. And while our products are current and forward thinking, the techniques and machinery used to make them are virtually unchanged - now in the hands of a fifth generation of craftspeople who, each day, weave luxurious fibers and American pride together into something very special.
Perhaps it’s this history that gives Faribault Woolen Mill its long-view perspective about how a company should be run and how products should be made to perform. Perhaps it’s also what inspired a new generation of family owners to revive the tradition and machines that had recently lain dormant for two years - revitalizing a community and creating a new sense of purpose - reestablishing our heritage and combining it with an optimistic focus on the future.
"We Are All in This Together"
That is a statement we feel strongly about. At M and R we are proud to work with vendors and companies who give back to their communities and/or use sustainable manufacturing practices. We will continue our commitment to community and environment by searching for recycled alternatives in packaging, working with US union shops for manufacturing, and making a conscious effort to work with designers and artists who also hold the same standards and practices as important.
L.A. based Sugarcube Press who make all of their cards from 100% cotton rag paper (the cotton is reclaimed from the garment industry), use non-toxic inks, and compostable clear protective sleeves made from corn.
Oakland based Modify'D make all of their products from upcycled cashmere and fabrics purchsed from the garment industry. They rescue sample sweaters and manufacturing mis-steps that were destined for the landfill and turn them into super snuggly stuffies, arm warmers, dog beds, hats and more...PLUS they give 5% of their profits to different animal causes!
Bay Area based Juniper Ridge are all about sustainability. They physically go out and sustainably harvest wild plants along the West Coast, distillign them down to make natural room sprays, soap, incense and tea. They use eco friendly packaging that is made from recycled materials and often times compostable! Giving 10% of thier profits to defending Western Wilderness.
MA based Two Trick Pony create eco-friendly paper goods using non-toxicwater based inks and 100% post consumer recycled papers. They also create special products for their "charity" line. Giving proceeds to animal sanctuaries, Sandy Relief and Freedom to Marry.