The Bay Area is a unique and special place where values of social responsibility, environmental sustainability, and community are deeply embedded in the culture – and this is especially true for creative makers. The dominant ethos is “we’re all in this together” rather than “everyone for themselves”. One way this manifests itself is in their willingness to collaborate with each other. Here are some examples of fantastic products from Bay Area makers that have been born from this collaborative spirit.
Kate Koeppel of San Francisco’s Koeppel Design creates wood accessories for vinyl record organization, storage and display. Mindful of sustainability, Kate was keen to develop a product that utilized the small pieces of scrap wood she was accumulating. She came up with the idea to create a record tote bag with a wood bottom that would be much stronger than the typical tote and would protect and support vinyl records on the go. So she turned to Geana Sieburger of Oakland’s GDS Cloth Goods, whom she has known and worked with for years, to design and fabricate the tote. An expert in ethical and sustainable textiles with a line of stylish aprons, smocks and jumpsuits, Geana created a record tote that has evolved to incorporate customer feedback and new colors, and is now in it’s fourth edition.
Soap maven Alana Rivera of Etta + Billie was inspired by her love of food and the “Farm to Table” movement in creating her soaps, lotions, balms and scents, that are produced “Farm to Bottle” using natural ingredients with no artificial colors or scents. So teaming up with fellow San Francisco brand Ritual Coffee to create the Cold Brew Mint Coffee Soap and Mint Coffee Scrub was a no-brainer.
Yvonne Mouser and Tiersa Nureyev met over a decade ago during a textile class while students at California College of the Arts. Artist, designer and builder Yvonne went on to create furniture, objects and sculpture under her namesake brand, and Tiersa co-founded with Erik Hilburn the fashion accessory, jewelry, and textile brand Stella Fluorescent. Years later they reconnected with the intention of a creative exchange, which has since evolved into a collection of necklaces, earrings, bracelets and hair sticks under the moniker YMSF.
Heath Ceramics have been very supportive of their fellow makers, whether through collaborations, hosting special events, or selling their products in their San Francisco, Sausalito, and Los Angeles stores. Indeed, when Shujan Bertrand of San Francisco’s Aplat was starting out, Heath was the first retailer to place an order. Since then their relationship has developed and flourished. Last October Heath hosted the Aplat Zero Waste Kitchen take-over in their San Francisco Store, introducing the new Couvre-Plat and Poche-Pochette lines. Above are limited edition Summer and Winter Seasonal Plat Culinary Totes in color combinations that coordinate with Heath’s seasonal ceramic color palettes.
Oakland’s Ebb Filter makes environmentally friendly, reusable organic cotton coffee filters in #2, #4, Chemex and V60 sizes. A fan of the V60, but not so much the plastic attachment that keeps it propped on a cup, owner Geana Sieburger reached out to San Francisco artist, designer and maker Hannah Beatrice Quinn to collaborate on a better solution. Hannah designed and produced a pour over base for the V60 made of walnut. It’s gorgeous and a perfect fit, with no wobbling – and better for the environment!
Oakland maker of bags, totes, dopps, and aprons, Morgan Abbott of MoMurray has the perfect canvas for collaborating, so to speak. So she teamed up with Marin illustrator and printmaker Melissa Holden, who printed her minimalist yet playful designs onto waxed canvas that Morgan handcrafted into the Zip Tote and The Basic tote.
Erin Owes of Oakland’s Construction Lines designs are inspired by her love of Islamic geometry and pattern, which she prints onto fabric and sews into beautiful quilts and pillows. Here is one of her signature patterns block printed with natural dyes onto waxed canvas that Morgan Abbot of MoMurray has handcrafted into the stylishly functional The Houseboat Tote and The Zip Tote.
Fellow East Bay brands Mr. Dewie’s Cashew Creamery and OCHO Candy have a lot in common, but they had never met. Both are innovating and setting new standards in the confectionary industry: Mr. Dewie’s with their cashew-based organic ice cream that’s free of dairy, gluten, and soy; and OCHO with their organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free candy bars. So when we introduced them it was a match made in heaven. Since then they have collaborated in several ways, including Mr. Dewie’s Coco Choco flavor – their Coconut Ice Cream mixed with chunks of OCHO’s vegan Coconut Candy Bars.