In honor of recent Small Business Saturday, here are some great local (San Diego) and online small businesses we recommend you check out! Consider doing some or ALL of your holiday shopping with small businesses. You can start by visiting the new Work of My Hands online store and browsing our inventory of sculptures, lighting, and paintings!
Daedalus Emporium: Buying new and used books? Check out this collection of over 4,500 tomes by our good friend Stephen Silke. I believe he has several copies of our poetry collection, Furniture for sale.
Bottlecraft: For beer lovers, skip BevMo, PLEASE. Check out this boutique beer shop online, or at either of its two locations (Little Italy & North Park)
City Farmers Nursery: Skip Home Depot, go here instead. Centrally located in San Diego, City Farmers nursery is a great place to go for indoor and outdoor plants, garden projects, and city farming – think chickens, koi, hydroponics, beekeeping, canning, composting – you name it! Events and Classes are listed on the website.
The Woody Beckers: Wooden gift tags, gift cards, and planters (including magnetic wood planters), perfect for tabletop succulents.
Citizen Recording: For those of you that are musicians, consider booking a recording session with Patrick Norton at his San Diego recording studio. Gift Certificates are available.
Pigment: Housewares, accessories, gift ideas, and a plant lab – shop online or in the North Park store.
Dolcetti Boutique: Asking for fashion? Go here, you’ll get it. Buy online or in the 5th Avenue store downtown.
Gym Standard: Get your fresh kicks here. Visit the store on El Cajon Blvd to peruse this great shoe collection.
Dark Horse Coffee: Buy some freshly roasted beans from here, and you won’t be sorry.
Coffee & Tea Collective: check out their new Coffee Kit (in black or tan) available to order online in time for Christmas.
For your browsing and searching pleasure, check out the small business owners at www.etsy.com and www.kickstarter.com for everything from home decor to apparel to games to new design products. If you have friends that own small businesses, find a way to support them in the next few months. Spend a couple extra bucks to keep the money with families and friends instead of big boxes and corporations.
Did we leave out any great small businesses that deserve support and recognition? Leave a comment and share with us your great finds!
Sometimes (well, many many times), Shawn Michael and I have ideas. We have ideas about things we want to make, things we wished existed, and musings on how things could be other than they are.
This is one huge reason why we started making sculptural lighting. Regular lamps were boring. We thought to ourselves, “what if we could add light to a room and have the source of that light also be an attractive addition to the decor?” Gee, what a novel idea. We started looking around to see what was out there, and found some less offensive lighting implements. Most of the lamps that didn’t bother us so much were extremely minimalist, modern apple-esque products. I have to hand it to Ikea, they know how to do some fun stuff with lighting, but EVERYONE has one in their apartment. Those from Restoration Hardware looked a little too restored. We can appreciate cool, classy minimalism, but we’re also texture lovers, and there was very little out there to satisfy our love of industrial rust and skeletal leaves.
So we made some of our own. Our focus is not primarily function, but primarily art. We aim that each piece of sculpture be a centerpiece, admirable at day or night, whether lit or unlit. Think of it as art that happens to be charged with electricity. By creating art for our space, we also solved the problem of wanting a light source, without having an ugly floor lamp stuck behind the couch.
I’ve heard it over and over, from Tim Ferris, 37signals, and the guys over at Studio Neat: “scratch your own itch.” If there’s something you’re missing, find it. If it doesn’t exist, make it. It is becoming SO EASY to make things.
Here’s another example. Shawn Michael and I enjoy craft cocktails. Even though we found these great ice-cube trays that make giant square blocks of ice for our improved whiskey cocktails, they were always cloudy. They weren’t beautiful, clear cubes like you find at Tractor Room and Craft & Commerce. We thought to ourselves, “how can we make clear ice at home?” Like many of these questions, it fell between the cracks of working hard and making art and going to school, and we kept on making ice in our square ice-cube trays. Then one day a few weeks ago, we saw this on Kickstarter:
Yep, Studio Neat figured out how to create the tool to make clear ice at home. I also found the documented experiments of Camper English on how to make bulk batches of crystal clear ice. If I ever have enough space in my freezer, the cooler is going to turn into one big ice tray! In the meantime, we backed the Neat Ice Kit on Kickstarter and are looking forward to having that little itch scratched. You can get in on the action too – the project will be fully funded (and closed to new orders) on Friday the 27th at 9PM.
I don’t know if we’ll always make art with an “on/off” switch, but I think we’ll always be making something.
Next on my list is an automatic chicken coop door to let our little urban flock out in the morning. The only thing that should see me that early is my cup of coffee.
We spent a weekend with Pablo Picasso on Wednesday, and it was hilarious, entertaining, sobering and inspiring.
Well, ok, it was really just a couple of hours, and it was really Herbert Siguenza, who wrote and stars in the one-man show at the San Diego Repertory Theatre.
Siguenza originally wrote and performed the play “A Weekend with Pablo Picasso” three years ago in San Diego (it debuted at the REP), and after touring the states, he’s brought the show back to its birthplace. The opening scene of Picasso in a bathtub washing himself with an oven mitt immediately intrigues, and Siguenza is brilliant at giving Picasso a human voice, one that instructs and inspires throughout the performance. The audience is immediately drawn in to become not only intimate observers of the painter and his work, but participants in the play. Playgoers who allow themselves to become the art student and be influenced by the master will leave with more than what they had. We did.
I had the honor of working with Herbert on one of the San Diego Repertory Theatre’s “Surround Events,” which are pre and post show events relating to the show on stage. The REP asked me and the Grey Pony Writers Guild to collaborate with Herbert and actors of Amigos del REP to put on a Surrealist Poetry Reading, which we did on Wednesday night. Did you know that Picasso stopped painting for two years to devote himself to poetry (mostly surrealist automatic writing and Dada nihilism), and wrote two plays? Just one of the little tidbits you’ll learn when you go see the show.
Grey Pony Writers (Stephen Silke, Kristopher Apple and Rachel Eva) steeped ourselves in the surrealist writing movement, crafted new poems, and selected historical works by Paul Eluard, Philippe Soupault, Erik Satie, Kitasono Katue, and Andre Breton. The result is “Cycle 391,” a menagerie of original and curated works, influenced by the dadaist and surrealist movements of the early 20th century. Actors from Amigoes del REP (Richard Trujillo, Elisa Gonzales, Goyo Flores, and Zayra Nicifore) performed the works, instructed to interpret, perform, and lend them their own air. We ended the performance with a beautiful [and to me, somewhat haunting (which I love)] original sound composition by Kristopher Apple on the violin.
After the conclusion of “Cycle 391,” we had the pleasure of viewing the play, “A Weekend with Pablo Picasso.” Please go buy your tickets RIGHT NOW to see the show! I’m going to buy a second pair to see it again before it ends on October 6th– it was that good. Tickets start at $18 for students, $20 for military, and $36 for us regular adults. One special feature of this show is that there are 3 performances (October 5th & 6th) performed completely in Spanish! Herbert especially wants the show to be seen by young people, teenagers, “youths,” and those who are still young in the soul. He is extremely encouraging, inspiring, and challenging, and through Picasso, tasks us with evaluating our dreams, passions, actions, and intentions.
“A Weekend with Pablo Picasso” came at a particularly good time for Shawn Michael and I. As creatives and dreamers, we often need all the encouragement and inspiration we can get to keep on investing in our art, our craft, and the work of our hands.
Shawn Michael and I feel privileged to have one of our pieces included in the 22nd Annual Juried Exhibition at the La Jolla Athenaeum Music and Arts Library! At the opening reception, we met many talented local artists, and enjoyed time with Erika, Maura, and Penny, a few of the Library’s fantastic staff.
If you’ve never visited the Athenaeum, please do. It is an incredible institution, one of only 16 private libraries in the United States. And this one is devoted exclusively to music and art! It is not only full of a million books I lament not having the time in my lifetime to read, but it is breathtakingly gorgeous. And it is free, and open to the public.
I felt a bit like Murakami’s Kafka discovering the Nomura Memorial Library in Kafka on the Shore. After arriving at the private library near the sea, he meets the librarian, Oshima, who gives him the run-down of the library rules. As Oshima finishes, he looks quizzically at Kafka, wondering why a high-school kid has shown up at an out-of-the-way library that specializes in old books by Tanka and Haiku poets:
‘Most of the people who ride the train all the way out here are doing research in those fields. No one comes here to read the latest Stephen King Novel … So, are you researching Haiku or Tanka then?’
‘No,’ I answer
‘That’s what I thought.’
‘Is it still ok for me to use the library?’ I asked timidly, trying to keep my voice from cracking.
‘Of course.’ He smiles and places both hands on the desk. ‘This is a library, and anyone who wants to read is welcome.’
So back to our own gem of a library – The work for the 22nd Annual Juried Exhibition will be on display until August 31st. Forty-Six San Diego artists were selected for the show by Ariel Plotek and Amy Galpin, Assistant and Associate Curators for the San Diego Museum of Art. And for those of you who really like a good time, join us this Thursday, August 29th for the A-List Member’s Choice Event, which includes art, food trucks, cocktails and dueling pianos! If you come to the event, you get to choose your favorite work of art out of the 51 on display, and vote for who will win the Member’s Choice Award!
A-List Members Choice Event
Thursday, August 29, 2013, 7:00 PM
1008 Wall Street, La Jolla, CA 92037
A List members: Free
From the Athenaeum Website:
Choose a cocktail and a song as the Athenaeum A List presents Member’s Choice: Pick Your Poison. Forty-six San Diego artists will mingle in the 22nd Annual Juried Exhibition at the Athenaeum Library as their 51 diverse pieces coalesce from a muddled collection to a smooth cocktail of art. Guests and members vote for their favorite piece. The competition will continue in the Music Room as dueling pianists battle on our pair of grand pianos. Rhythmic dissonance will melt into melodic harmony as they enliven their music with a battle of the keys. The choices carry on as we host a pair of gourmet food trucks and a create-your-own vodka cocktail bar. Come vote with other young art and music lovers and unify your distinct voice to a lover’s cry for art and music.
A recent dalliance with Korean architecture combined with remembered designs and aesthetics inspired this new work, “Seoul Shanty.” I explored more deeply the concept of layering, using Work of My Hand’s “Bot” platform, and pushing the boundaries of dimension. “Seoul Shanty” is a glimpse through a latticed window into what might have been, built from my interpretation of what a Korean inventor and tradesman might dream up.
The work evokes a high-fidelity time when only top-notch quality products were available: heavy, sturdy, long lasting materials are harnessed and assembled with the utmost care and detail. Practical design and delicate beauty are combined in a functional device, at a cultural time when every element used had significance and a purpose. At this time, a simple item like a chair or a water pitcher would have been created with extreme intention.
In this case, what would have served as a working-class man’s work lamp, sturdy yet mobile, has a dignity, a regality even, that surpasses the transitory nature of its modern relatives. Materials include cement, zebrawood, mahogany, steel, leather, artisan paper, cloth wrapped cord, industrial casters.
To look ahead at 2013, let’s take a glance back at this 2012 issue of Mix Magazine, which featured Work of My Hands in the Technology Trends section for the new year! This section, according to writer Richard Prime, focuses on “interesting concepts and developments across design and architecture with a focus on technically adept solutions and design.”
Not only did our Kickstarter project in March of last year help us successfully raise the funds (through pre-sales and commissions) to launch the collection of artwork, but it gave us a larger, global audience to speak to about our work!
Work of My Hands received the following nod from the publication:
“Work of My Hands was formed by Rachel Eva and Shawn Michael and stands behind Electricity in Art: Sculptural Lighting, a project blending art, sculpture and design together with engagingly steampunk style results. Launched as part of the biggest art walk in San Diego in April, the one off pieces are striking in their blends of materials and ways of displaying and directing their light sources which look like they might sit perfectly happily in Captain Nemo’s Nautilus (and are therefore at the peak of desirability). Continuing our current era of Victoriana nautical influences, it’s a vibrant take on the form.”
Being based in San Diego, it’s no surprise that nautical elements influence our work. We’re not so drawn to watersports and whale watching as our visiting public; it’s mostly the ocean side rail yards, the shipbuilding industry, and the old piers and wharfs in some of the older beach communities that draw us to the sea. And the long, sweeping sand of North Island (Rachel’s favorite).
So take note: Nautical themes are here to stay for 2013.
Mix Magazine is a design publication by Global Color Research, based out of London, UK, which offers color research services, design trend forecasting, and sneak-peaks at new design products and concepts that are on the up-and-up. This section was published in Issue 28, which forecasts design for Spring & Summer of 2013.
I say that’s a great start to the new year!
Shawn Michael and I enjoyed a brief inspiration trip to the mountains this past month, and had an interesting conversation about what “Work of My Hands” is all about. We’ve been focusing fiercely on our sculptural lighting collection, exploring the theme “electricity in art” for the last year and a half. But we’re also painters, illustrators, photographers and printmakers. We garden and build things and cut hair. How aptly we named ourselves! Here’s a look at some of the other art forms we engage in:
During our stay in the mountains, I had fun with a little printmaking: a simple oak leaf found on the front steps of the cabin where we stayed. Those of you who supported our Kickstarter project also received a Thank-You Print for your support. Both of these projects used Shina plywood, a fine-grained wood from Hokkaido, the northern-most island of Japan. Printmakers can order this resource from McClain’s Printmaking Supplies.
Before we started building 3-dimensionally, Shawn Michael and I painted. We still do, and will continue to do so, but with all this electricity business I’d almost forgotten about our paintings until a friend called up and wanted to buy one for his apartment! We’ll be shipping “The Last Stair” to New York in the spring, and for the holidays, “Whitney” is on display at the Women’s Museum of California, in San Diego, at a show entitled “Capturing the Wonder of Women.”
Both of us enjoy making pictures, Shawn with his photography gear and both of us with instagram and iphone photo apps. You can follow us on instagram as @shawnmichaelm and @racheleva. I also have an instagram account just for exploring my love of textures, @texturestudy. Here are a few shots from our trip to the cabin last weekend
Stick around for a special post coming soon about how I think that Shawn Michael’s hairdressing business is also just an extension of “Work of My Hands.” He’s a crafty one!