Posted January 09, 2013
Now that the holidays are officially over it's time to pay attention to those friends and loved ones with January birthdays.
January’s birthstone is Garnet, a gemstone that has been used in jewelry since the Bronze Age. Although garnets come in a variety of colors, fiery red is the most popular and is linked with love and devotion. Our jewelry collection features a wide variety of garnet jewelry to fit many styles.
You can also provide a nod to their birthstone with something other than jewelry with these red leather accessories from Scabby Robot.
Visit our entire collection for more great gift ideas!
Does having a January birthday leave you with the winter blues? Or maybe you think January babies are the luckiest ones. Either way, leave us a comment or send us an email to let us know what you think.
Posted October 02, 2012
From San Francisco ceramic artist Hope Johnson we have two new plate series ready to be put into action this month to hold candy or to serve as a spooky backdrop for a Halloween-themed dinner party. The Burnt Orange Poppy plate series features a hand-drawn poppy motif and a burnt orange matte glaze, and the Blue Beetle series is finished with an ocean blue gloss glaze. Both series include a 5-inch plate, a 6-inch plate and a dipping dish. Each piece is sold individually.
Another San Francisco-based artist has a pair of products perfect for the friend with an October birthday. If you've studied our guide to birthstones you'll know that Tourmaline is this month's stone. From jewelry designer Nell Herbert, the Pink Quartz Teardrop Necklace is accented with two pink tourmaline rondelles. Its sleek and striking style is perfect for your sophisticated friend.
Also from Nell Herbert are the Gemstone Cluster Earrings, which features quartz briolettes accented by clusters of prehnite and tourmaline rondelles. This handmade piece offers a dramatic finish to any outfit.
Stay tuned for more new product updates. We'll be adding new lines to the Fog + Foundry storefront throughout the fall and into the holidays.
Posted September 21, 2012
Forbes.com partnered with local-oriented (and San Francisco-based) social network Nextdoor.com to compile a list that they've titled, "America's Hippest Hipster Neighborhoods." The criteria includes data points such as coffee shop density, food truck prevalence (and Zagat scores) plus the percentage of residents engaged in artistic pursuits. Because there's no way to quantify authenticity over posturing, some will find this a list of "Neighborhoods to Avoid at all Cost."
Because of our interest in locally owned businesses and independent craftsmen, we thought it was worth cataloging the neighborhoods that fall within Fog + Foundry's footprint, and highlighting a couple of our favorite outposts within those neighborhoods.
1. Silver Lake (Los Angeles)
2. Mission District (San Francisco)
Photo credit: Flickr user Thomas Hawk
The hipster roots run so deep in places like Kilowatt and the Elbo Room that it's surprising the Mission isn't at the top of this list. A sustained mix of racial and economic demographics and a pervasive funkiness should keep the Mission in hipster Mecca contention for another decade.
F+F recommends: Hogs & Rocks, Mission Bowling Club, Ritual Roasters and Paxton Gate.
3. Williamsburg (Brooklyn)
4. Wicker Park (Chicago)
5. Pearl District (Portland)
Photo credit: Flickr user Thomas Ngo
Includes the second highest concentration of coffee shops on the list but luxury condo development is outpacing cheaper rental options for the creative class.
F+F recommends: Teardrop Lounge, Andina, and the excellent Filson Flagship and Powell's Books will help sustain your denial about how much it rains in Portland.
6. H Street Corridor (Washington D.C.)
7. East Austin
8. Capital Hill (Seattle)
Photo credit: Flickr user Jbhthescots
As with San Francisco's Mission, this neighborhood long ago cemented its hipster bona fides. Dense housing, more coffee per square block than any other entry on this list and enough students to keep the counter-culture fuel burning.
F+F recommends: Quinn's Pub, Porchlight Coffee, Elliott Bay Book Company and of course, Taylor Shellfish Farms at Melrose Market.
9. The Uptown (Oakland)
Photo credit: Flickr user Russell Mondy
The newest addition to the hipster discussion, Uptown's growth has been fueled by the restoration of the Fox Theater and the greening of nearby Lake Merritt. Much of its hipster credibility comes from its large farmer's market and the Starbucks-level density of marijuana dispensaries.
F+F recommends: Flora, Plum, Aroma Bakery & Cafe and the eclectic Cafe Van Kleef.
10. Warehouse District (New Orleans)
Posted September 18, 2012
As the Eastern span replacement of the Bay Bridge chugs along, ten years into the process, artist Leo Villareal wants us to turn our attention to the Western span where he would like to stage a massive light sculpture. Inspired by the Eiffel Tower's 100th anniversary lighting, Villareal plans to drape the bridge with more than 25,000 LED lights for a flickering light show to celebrate the Bay Bridge's 75th year of service.
Visit The Bay Lights web site for additional artist renderings and to offer your support (or voice your opposition) to this large scale art installation. Below, watch as Villareal describes his vision for the bridge.
Posted July 24, 2012
Nell Herbert is a jewelry artist from San Francisco.
Drawing on her background as a painter, Nell crafts intricate pieces that fuse deliberate construction with the elements of nature to create simple, elegant designs. After earning a degree in painting from UC Davis Nell began selling her handcrafted jewelry in 2011. Her experience and passion are evident in her evolving craft, and by producing her jewelry to order that evolution continues with each piece.
Born and raised in Santa Cruz, her work reflects her sense of place. The color and texture of her pieces are reminiscent of the ocean, shoreline and hills that surround her hometown. Her use of gemstones in both combinations and individually allows her to find the best representation of the natural materials, and pair them with the setting that showcases their beauty.
Discover Nell's complete collection in her designer collection at Fog + Foundry.
Posted July 17, 2012
Photo credit: Harry Francel
This week The Cupola is focused on our home city of San Francisco, California. There’s always a lot going on around here, so we wanted to call out a few of our highlights for this summer:
1) Support local design and spend some time at the 5th Annual Renegade Craft Fair San Francisco, which returns to the Fort Mason Center July 21 & 22. The fair features over 250 artists and is free to attend.
2) While you may have heard that the Golden Gate Bridge turned 75 this year, another venerable SF institution, The Stern Grove Festival, also celebrates its Diamond Jubilee this summer. A few highlights include performances by the SF Ballet on July 29th and OK Go on August 26th.
3) SOMA StrEat Food Park opened in early June and has already changed the culinary landscape. Along with a rotation of up to 10 food trucks each day, there’s covered seating, free WiFi, bike parking, and a (soon to be opened) beer garden. Follow along on Twitter to see who’s coming for dinner (or lunch).
4) Widely viewed as one of the most influential artists working today, Cindy Sherman has been creating self-reflexive photographs for the past 30 years. SFMOMA opened the first major San Francisco exhibition of her work this past week. The installation runs through October 8th.
5)There are many inspiring artisans working in the Bay Area. Learn the stories behind some of our favorite designers, and view their assortments by visiting the San Francisco Bay Area collection at Fog + Foundry.
That’s a wrap for this edition of The Cupola. Leave a comment or send us an email to let us know if you know of anything special happening in San Francisco this summer.
Posted June 28, 2012
Building on the success of Unique LA, the independent design show is making its San Francisco debut this weekend, June 30th and July 1st, from 11am to 6pm. Held at The Concourse at the corner of 8th and Brannan streets, Unique SF brings together a curated selection of 250 independent designers and artists, many of them from the Bay Area. For $10 visitors receive unlimited access to the show all weekend, with $1 from each entry donated to local children's literacy non-profit 826 Valencia.
Design shows can be a great shopping excursion but can also get overwhelming quickly, especially for newbies. After hitting up Unique LA earlier this year and with more than a decade's worth of experience working trade shows as retail buyers, we thought we'd offer our Bay Area readers a guide to maximizing your experience at this weekend's inaugural Unique SF show.
- Have a game plan: it's easy to get overwhelmed by the volume of merchandise when you first arrive, particularly if you show up during a show's peak hours. If there's a specific item you're looking for - say, jewelry - take a look through the list of participants beforehand to get a sense for what will be available.
- Stretch your legs: if you're not laser-focused on obtaining a specific product, take the first 20 minutes to walk around the show. Make mental (or paper or digital) notes of what's available then divvy up your time to circle back to hit those booths.
- Check your watch: peak hours are typically 12pm to 2pm. If there's a specific item that interests you, consider arriving for the show's opening. If you're interested in learning more about a vendor's work, they're more likely to have time to chat you up later in the day.
- Be friendly: ask questions about products that interest you. These aren't bored, teenage store clerks manning the booths. The designers are passionate about their work and ready to share the products' stories with you.
- Know when to haggle: this isn't a swap meet. The participants are small businesses and independent craftsmen. They price their products as affordably as possible but they have costs to cover. And really, the theme of the event is supporting designers and artists in your community. Having said that, if you fall in love with someone's work and want to snatch up their entire inventory, there can be room to negotiate.
- Choose paper and plastic: nearly every vendor takes credit cards, most through the liberating magic of the Square reader. Fast, easy, secure. Accepting plastic comes with processing fees for the vendor, though, so offer to pay with cash if you have exact change.
- No pressure: don't feel pressured to buy something. Your attendance alone is valuable. Building an audience is the toughest task for a small business, so raising their profile helps them in the long run, particularly when you tell friends about a brand, blog about it or check in when you're ready to do some serious Christmas shopping.
- Rinse and repeat: your $10 admission gives you unlimited re-entry over both days of the show. If you get burnt out, take a break for a few hours. Stroll down to Thee Parkside for a pint or walk over to the new Soma StrEat Food Park. Or if you need to sleep on a decision, just come back on Sunday.
- Fuel up: speaking of sustenance, the organizers have curated local food and drink options, too. You'll find plenty of free drinks in both the alcoholic and non- varieties, plus a well-stocked cafe area.
- Keep in touch: every vendor will have a website and a social media presence. Pick your favorite platform and stay in touch with that designer.
The Unique SF show is particularly well suited to our interests here at Fog + Foundry. We believe that buying American made products from independent craftsmen is the best way to support the local economy. Tune out the political campaigns arguing over the definitions of "outsourcing" versus "off-shoring" and realize how much control we as individuals have over our economy. And have fun. It's basically a big party, after all.
Posted June 25, 2012
The things we carry reveal something about us. A laptop, a camera, a makeup kit, a dog-eared book. Encompassing the personality hidden among those items is the very container in which we transport them. The cotton dufflebag given to the attendees of a bond trading conference. The oversized suede hobo handbag. The ubiquitous urban messenger bag.
If these elements don't constitute our identity they at least express our passions. Matching our own passions with a commitment to producing a great product is San Francisco based Rickshaw Bags
. Founded in 2007 by former Timbuk2 CEO, Mark Dwight, Rickshaw advocates a new notion of Good Design
that combines form, function and footprint.
Rickshaw offers two main bag collections. The Zero Messenger is an open flap shoulder bag available in three sizes. Its rounded cover flap and contours differentiate it from the more common angular messenger bags on the market and allow it to fit to your body as you weave through traffic on two wheels or navigate a crowded BART platform. The Commuter 2.0 line is offered in both shoulder bag and backpack forms. With multiple pockets and dividers, its heavyweight interior provides for serious lugging without sacrificing style.
Unique to Rickshaw's business is that each bag is built to order. Customers choose from a palette of 50+ fabric options to design a bag's interior, exterior and binding. Each Zero Messenger bag is built entirely from scratch in their San Francisco factory. The Commuter 2.0 utilizes a stock "chassis" comprising its organizational pockets that is made in China. The chassis is paired with its component parts and assembled in San Francisco.
By manufacturing locally and using just-in-time production methods Rickshaw is able to control the size of their environmental footprint. Featuring an almost exclusively customized product line allows Rickshaw to pivot more easily, to avoid filling landfills with products and materials that don't sell or fall out of fashion. And by involving the customer in a product's design they're more likely to produce a bag that the user will cherish for years, rather than replace after a season of use.
Founder Mark Dwight is a such a fan of local manufacturing that he founded SF Made
, a non-profit focused on assisting San Francisco businesses grow their manufacturing efforts in the city. Through SF Made countless entrepreneurs and small businesses have gained access to resources, connections and education that allow them to grow their operations and create jobs in San Francisco.
Show your support for American manufacturing by visiting the Rickshaw Bags website
to design your bag or to pick up one of their coordinating accessories. Over the bag's lifetime you'll never lose sight of its unique origin as into each bag is sewn a tag bearing their "PCQ Tattoo
," to remind you of the labor and love that went into its construction.
Posted June 14, 2012
If he’s a New Dad or a Dad-To-Be, becoming a Father is quite an adjustment. Make the transition easier with our guide to the best American-crafted gear for New Dads:
1) No self-respecting guy wants everyone to know that he’s carrying a diaper bag. That’s what makes this bag from Dad Gear of Denver, Colorado, so great. It’s an undercover diaper bag styled like a messenger bag, but with everything you need for a day out with baby.
2) This frame from Green House Framing of Portland, Oregon, is a handsome way to display a family picture. It’s made of wood salvaged from the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, Kentucky, for a distinctly masculine feel.
3) Every new Dad wants to make sure he documents as many "firsts" as possible. This camera strap from Tanner Goods of Portland, Oregon, ensures that his camera is always at hand. Made from Horween Chromexcel leather and sailing cord, it attaches without metal hardware in order to protect your camera.
4) These cufflinks are a unique way for Dad to take his little one wherever he goes. Artist Jackie Kaufman of Rock My World Inc. from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, uses lost wax casting of fingerprint impressions to create a custom, one-of-a-kind pair from sterling silver.
5) It goes without saying that Dad will have many late night sessions with baby. This simple, yet clever stand by Tinkering Monkey of Oakland, California, means that Dad can free his arms for steady rocking and still catch up on the game (or more likely, watch Sprout).
For more gift ideas for his first Father’s Day, visit our New Dad Pinterest board.
Posted June 04, 2012
Back in High School, I took two quarters of ceramics classes, and all I have to show for it is the ugliest five-pound coffee cup ever made. While I try and disavow any knowledge of this failure, my parents still use it as a pen holder/emergency burglar basher. This continuing reminder of my creative deficit in pottery probably explains my fascination with anyone who can actually wrangle clay into forms that people who aren’t directly related to them want to use.
Fortunately for me, one of the last remaining American potteries is located just across the Golden Gate Bridge. Since 1948, Heath Ceramics has been making simple, good products, beautiful both in form and function, out of a bit of earth and water. All of their tableware and tile is still made in small runs in the original factory in Sausalito, California.
And while ownership has changed, the passion behind the company has grown stronger over time. It’s a belief that goes beyond just making something that is pretty. While many companies have a “Mission Statement,” Heath has a mission that they live each day. They’re not just making a thing, they’re adding value to the world by building a community, creating jobs, and making something that serves a purpose.
For an overview of how solid and vibrant American manufacturing can be, and more insight into the people, process, and philosophy behind Heath, we recommend their factory tour, which occurs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. If you’re unable to make the actual tour, or if you would just like to whet your appetite, Heath also offers a virtual tour on their website.