American Made Mother's Day Gifts: 6 special somethings to make Mom smile
Mother's Day Gifts: 6 special somethings to make Mom smile
There's a slight breeze blowing through Old Oakland today, and while it's still warm and sunny out, there are some leaves on the ground and Fall is in the air. And you know what the coming of Fall means... new goodies in the shop! Some new merch is already starting to roll in, and we want you to be the first to hear about them. Here are a few of the things that have come in that we're especially excited about:
Earrings from Amano Studio! We first spied these charming adornments at a hip little boutique in Silver Lake, and had to have them for our shop. Turns out they're made right nearby in Sonoma. Our faves are the cast metal crystals.
Beautiful new bear prints from Michael McConnell. Michael really put his BFA in printmaking to good use with these prints, and drew on his love of watercolors as well.
Cards, wall art, and calendars from printmaker and illustrator Rigel Stuhmiller. Don't let your desk be calendar-less in 2014.
Letterpress maps by the hubby and wife team at Quail Lane Press. These beauties are pressed and watercolored by hand in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
So many lovely things! Come and see us at the shop and we'll show you around.
Mark Poulin's new line of jewelry is arriving in the shop this week, and we can't wait to get the goods! Mark is an Oakland jewelry designer and one of our all-time favorite people on the planet. In addition to being really talented, he's an inspirational character with an amazing attitude and a super giving personality.
We love that his jewelry appeals to us as grown women, as well has our inner child. He has a beautifully designed, modern line that is perfect for when you want to feel like a sophisticated adult, and fun cartoonish jewelry for when you want to be a kid. And of course, everything he makes is well designed.
Here's a Q&A with Mark so you can get to know him better.
Your pieces are so fun and playful. Where do you get your inspiration?
I am inspired by offbeat design, cartoon trends, and pop culture. I interpret each of them in my own twisted way. I have modern taste with a touch of rustic and a dash of fun. I love fashion, and I'm always on the lookout for a unique outfit accessorized with items that don't have a department store look to give me inspiration for my jewelry designs.
How and where are they made?
My workshop in West Oakland is my maker center. It's a cozy little place with lots of tools and materials. We are set up with kilns for glass and a furnace for enameling. It's a great place to work and I love being here. Most pieces start with a sketch, get carved into a wax, then cast into metal that is cleaned up for mold making. Once I have the parts cast in sterling I can start the enameling process. Each piece has many trips into the furnace fusing the enamel onto the metal. For the final firing I use custom screen prints made from my drawings.
What are you currently selling at Marion and Rose? You have a new line, too?
I sell lots of my Oakland and San Francisco pins from my kids line. I guess you are never too old to feel the local love. I also have some fun sloth and animal charm necklaces. There is a nice selection of my modern color blocking enamel line too. Later this week, I'm dropping off my newest line of reversible enamel geometric necklaces. This new work has lots of subtle color and is very wearable and actually inspired by Kerri's (M and R owner) love for "mountains and triangles." The line is getting a great response. I'm excited for Marion and Rose to carry it.
We keep Sharon Zimmerman's beautiful jewelry right by the register, and it's a rare occurrence that someone checks out without oooohing and aaaaahing over her pieces. Her earrings, necklaces, and bracelets are simple and modern and supremely covetable, so it's no wonder she's living the real life version of the Portlandia skit "She's Making Jewelry Now." Since Sharon's a local gal, we thought we'd do a Q&A with her so y'all can get to know her better.
Your jewelry is swoon-worthy. What's the inspiration behind your designs?
I draw my inspiration from so many places – architecture, nature, travel – almost anything can become fodder for my work. I often take natural and organic forms and simplify them, removing details and adding others until I end up with a piece that is abstract and modern, but retains an organic flow.
How did you get started making jewelry?
A little over 10 years ago, I was bopping from job to job without much direction or satisfaction. I had been making and assembling jewelry for years as a hobby, but had never really seen it as a way to create a business. I stumbled upon a metalsmithing class at a Midwestern Technical College, and it was love, glorious love, at first torch, saw, and hammer. I've been at it ever since.
How is your work informed by the materials you use?
Gold and silver are such delightful materials to work with – ductile, forgiving, and malleable. Their precious qualities lead me into experimentation all the time. I don't fear making a mistake because whatever I make can always be melted down and made into something else.
We hear you're eco-conscious. How does that factor into your work?
Sustainability and transparency are core values behind what I do. That means that I work with 100% recycled metals from Virginia-based Hoover and Strong. And when it comes to stones, I take it a step further. Once a stone is mined, it becomes almost impossible to tell where exactly it was sourced from, making the phrase "conflict-free" meaningless. I decided that lab-grown stones were the best way to go. Lab-grown stones are grown from a seed of the same material that creates the stone in nature, and produce fully grown crystals that are identical to their mined counterparts in color, weight, and hardness.
What other local jewelers are you inspired by right now?
Yikes! Within my circle of jewelry and metalsmithing friends there is an embarrassment of riches, so it's hard to choose just one. So here are a few:
Amanda Bassolino of Voce Keen – She works unusual materials into beautiful pieces imbued with meaning. I own a pair of her arrowhead post earrings, and I love the detail of the brass circle hanging off the ear back.
Derek of DMD Metals – I was lucky enough to attend the Revere Academy with this talented dude almost 8 years ago. I have long been a not-so-secret admirer of his creative talent and mega-skillz.
Liz Oppenheim – Amongst other jewelry and metalsmithing talents, she is the Mistress of Mitsuro and one of my go-to people whenever I have technical jewelry questions.
Sarah of Sarah Swell Jewelry – Like Derek, Sarah and I met at the Revere Academy 8 years ago. I have always loved her creative vision and talent and it has been exciting to see her work blossom.
Last one, I swear (I could go on for hours!)Kate of Kate Ellen Metals – Super creative, a go-getter, and a woman of great strength and perseverance. I love her work and her ethos and I am so glad to count her amongst my friends.
And then, there's Rebecca Overmann, Lauren Wolf, Kendra Renee, Lemonade Handmade, and Corey Egan… Lord, I need to cut myself off.
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Sharon's in the shop every Wednesday, and is able to take custom orders. Stop on by and say hello! Don't live nearby? Check out these post earrings available in our online shop.
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