Special Event: Sharon Zimmerman Trunk Show

Join us for a special trunk show with Sharon Zimmerman during Sausalito Art Walk, Wednesday August 9th, 5-8 pm.

When it comes to jewelry designers that we admire, it's hard to surpass Sharon Zimmerman. We've watched as Sharon built a thriving jewelry business in a flooded market, finding her voice and staying true to her values as an ethical metalsmith all the while. Sharon will be sharing her full collection of edgy yet classic silver and gold jewelry during her trunk show - don't miss it!

We recently visited Sharon in her bright plant-filled studio in San Francisco. Read below to learn more about Sharon's work and how she decided to pursue a career in jewelry.

Can you tell us a bit about your work?

I design and craft fine jewelry to make any woman feel like a badass. Major bonus - everything is made from recycled gold and silver, recycled diamonds and lab-created sapphires for maximum sustainability. Perfect for any woman - from the professional to the punk.

How did you come to fall in love with jewelry?  

I can't remember a time when I didn't love jewelry: pawing through my mom's collection of 60s clip-on earrings, ooing over the gems at the Museum of Natural History, picking out that perfect accessory for a dance or event. I've always loved jewelry.

The materials that you use play a very large role in your work. Can you let us know how you made the decision to commit to using 100% recycled metals and either lab grown or repurposed stones? 

For me there was no other option. As a teenager, I convinced my family to start recycling after reading about the environmental damage that plastic and paper waste were causing. And I started using 100% recycled paper back when it was much harder to find. When it came to jewelry, seeking out the most environmentally responsible materials just seemed like the right thing to do. As for the gemstones, finding responsibly-sourced stones has always been difficult. there isn't a lot of transparency in the supply chain, so I started using lab created stones because at least I could tell you where they come from. Same with re-purposed stones.

We very much believe that jewelry designers are artists. It's very difficult to start any business, nevermind an arts-based business. Did you have any hesitation, or jump right in? 

No hesitation, and frankly not a ton of planning. In hindsight maybe that was for the best. Because I didn't fully know what I was doing, I tried just about everything. When I found something that worked - a way of approaching galleries, a design that clicked with people - I would stick with it and develop strategies and designs around those discoveries.

Any advice for designers just getting started? 

Have your own creative voice. I really can't stress this enough: there is a lot of jewelry out there. Your expression will be what sets you apart from others. Oh, and take a business math class or basic accounting class because it is empowering to understand your business from the ground up.

You've called San Francisco home for some time. What was it that brought you here and what has kept you here? 

I came here for jewelry school at the Revere Academy. I stayed for the weather (no, seriously. I hate both extreme heat and extreme cold. SF is just right for me), I stayed for the people and the open-mindedness, I stayed for the food, I stayed for the access to the outdoors, I stayed because it quickly felt like home. 

Current favorite podcast(s) and/or tunes for the studio? 

Really been digging Jain for some get $#!t done music, and for podcasts I love Pod Save the PeopleCriminal and, um (NSFW!!!) My Dad Wrote a Porno - so hilarious and all the information you need is in that title.:)

Thank you, Sharon! 

Make sure you join us this week for jewels and champagne!

Inspire Me: Kim Michelle Coakley

Art Walk is just one week away and we're lucky to have not one, but two featured artists this month! Kim Michelle Coakley's artwork will grace our walls, and Sharon Zimmerman will be in store with her full collection of jewelry for a special trunk show.

A lifelong artist, Kim's work has been featured in New American Paintings and she has done installations for Urban Outfitters, among others. She currently lives in the jungle of Costa Rica, raising her daughter and creating art. We're so happy to show her work here in California!

Join us Wednesday, August 9th 4-8 pm for Sausalito Art Walk. Enjoy 15% off collection jewelry, plus we'll have champagne and treats!

Can you let us know a bit about the process/inspiration behind creating these pieces?

Simplification is a good practice. I started making these paper cutouts with prints (silkscreen, monotypes, etchings, lithos, etc.) of shapes and big abstract blocks of color, brilliant colors! But not too many, maybe 5 or 6 different colors. I then would start cutting and the "shapes" started to emerge. The shapes (cutouts) were big at first and I just kept recycling the material all the way down to the smallest pieces. I used almost all the material since I hate to make waste. I wanted to set limits for myself in some ways so that I could focus and not be overwhelmed by endless possibilities. Naturally, I am very interested in the creation process and I tend to veer off course easily when there are no boundaries set from the beginning, so this helped my process very much. I was able to view my own limits and make choices to stick with the normal patterns or to break out and make something new. I learned a lot, and this was over the course of 10 years and its still going. I always have different things going on but I keep coming back to this process of cutting out and putting back together into forms that suit my eyes, mood, or intuition.

Color seems to play such a large role in your work. Do you/have you gone through periods of time where different colors speak stronger to you than others?

I can't get away from color, I mean every single color the eye can see is very interesting to me. Colors speak to me and they are my feelings. I start painting when I know what color to use. I want to learn so much more about mixing and matching and color theory but right now it is still very simple and intuitive, except that I have to be careful to keep a balance within the work. Too many colors becomes very complicated and confusing to work with. I do have to say that I am very influenced by the environment that I'm in. It's really interesting to be attracted to one color in one place and to be repulsed by it in another. In that way my color palette has changed over time. I've lived in a lot of different places so my work is in constant transformation, which is good. It keeps things fresh.

You're currently living in Costa Rica. Can you tell us about your day-to-day life and how it has affected your creativity?

I live in the jungle. Its beautiful and deep and rich with endless life. You see new bugs and animals everyday that you've never seen before and each one seems very unique and important in its own way. Everything has so much power in a place that is virtually untouched by the modern world. It's incredible to see but its also a reminder to hold your own power and find your own voice. So thats what I guess I've been doing down here. One day I find so much light and one day I fall in a hole and the dark forces take ahold. Everything's a reflection. Its made me very strong to live here. Daily life is not taken for granted. The basic nessecities are hard to come by. You can't just go to the store and get what you need and go home and fix what you need to fix, there are always huge obstacles in the way. Nothing is convenient. You constantly have to let go and trust. Everyday there are lessons and things to watch out for and keep your eyes open and make sure you're not going to get bit by a deadly snake. Its also a place of manifestation where you can make whatever happen that you want to, which sounds contradictory to what I just said, but it is like that. The jungle may teach you a few things first, or after, but whatever you want is definitely coming. It is a very dynamic place. What I also love about it is the freedom that I have to go by my own rhythm, not anyone else's. Its very free, and I've been able to let go of some conditioning since I've lived here. I am most grateful for that freedom. However I change, the work is reflective of that. It's a very clear mirror. 

You (somewhat) recently became a mother. Have you noticed shifts in your work since becoming a mama? Do you hope that your daughter chooses a creative path in life as well? 

I've just began to start working again, and only an hour here and there, after a year plus since Clara graced us with her beautiful presence. It was waaaaaay harder than I thought it would be to have a baby. You have to completely let go of everything you were before. So that process is never easy, but its very humbling and totally worth it in the long run. My work now is coming faster and I am able to be more efficient. There is a lot less messing around and a lot more productivity which is great. As for the content, I now have more of a purpose in life than before, so it feels much better to be working for the sake of my sanity and to contribute to beautifying the world. It's all about beauty and harmony to say it plainly, but it can run much deeper than that. I appreciate Clara so much for carving into my idea of life so much that I can now try to express the process of that. She is already very, very smart and creative. She loves to dance and move and is always carrying around my paintbrushes and markers so I have no worries about her not being a creative person. I'm so excited to see how that turns out.

What is your absolute favorite place on this planet?

I don't know! There are so many amazing places! And so many I've yet to see and explore. I really do want to travel back to India, I love soooo many places there; and Pavones is just a gem; and the Cape (Cod) is of course where my heart is (in the summer and fall, haha!). I'm a seasonal person, I float around to where I feel comfortable, and I really hate to be cold. I don't like to be in one place for too long but having a baby changes that for me. So, we shall see where we end up. I'm just so grateful for the sun, the light, the stars and the beauty of nature. 

We're so grateful for the sun, the light, the stars and the beauty of nature too. Very well said. Thank you, Kim! 

Inspire Me: Lauren Massie

We're excited to hold the second Sausalito Art Walk of the Summer! Meet Bay Area photographer and native, Lauren Massie. She's a storyteller at heart, and whether working on lifestyle, fashion or wedding projects or her own personal projects, her art school background takes center stage.

Visit us on June 14th, 4-8 pm for artist's reception. Meet Lauren, view her work, peruse jewels and join us for some bubbly and treats! We will also be offering 15% off all jewels during Art Walk.

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"My background in fine art influences the way that I work on all of my projects. I am always telling a story (mine or the subjects) even if it is a still life shoot or an inanimate object I am photographing. Diversity in my work is what keeps me energized and motivated. I love that every day and every shoot I do holds a new opportunity to deepen my technical craft, and engage with and explore new people or places. Traveling with my camera has always been a way for me to explore in a meaningful way. Capturing the people, events and landscapes of a new city is something that will never get old to me. I come back from each trip with renewed sense of purpose and passion for life."

 

Can you tell us a bit about the show you're hanging?

This particular show features work I shot while taking a two month solo road trip last August-October thought the southwest and deep south (primarily Louisiana and Mississippi).
Taking an extended road trip by myself is something I had been wanting to do for years. Particularly, the American South has held a lot of novelty and fascination to me and has always been a place I had wanted to explore. I really had no pre-conceived notions when I set out on this journey as to what specifically I would want to photograph. Part of the appeal of this trip for me was the freedom of returning back to an old style of documentary or street style shooting. Just capturing what I was seeing on a daily basis. The narrative became apparent to me once I was back in Louisiana and Mississippi. I spent a significant amount of time photographing in and around New Orleans, and then up the Mississippi Delta. I was blown away by the juxtaposition between the rich and vibrant cultural communities and the devastatingly depressing socioeconomic situation of many of the areas I was in. New Orleans is a city unlike any other…..it dances all night and embraces new people like no place I've been before. But within that are sad stories of continued race relations surrounding old archetypes of southern/white pride and a new integrated society. For example, while I was there, there were a group of protestors who made every effort to pull down the Andrew Jackson statue. Though they were ultimately thwarted by the police, the message they sent was clear: to take old heroes of the south off of their pedestals and and stop memorializing symbols of hate and racism
Another example….for all of New Orleans new cosmopolitan growth (there is a brand new Ace Hotel downtown in the up and coming warehouse district) the 9th ward continues to be left in demise. It has NOT been rebuilt. The majority of the folks that’d to evacuate and go live with family members in other parts of the state or country have still not been able t afford to come back and rebuild. The city is imposing fines on these peoples homes. For instance, if grass grows taller than a than 18", steep fines of $400-$600 per day are imposed. After these fines go unpaid for a length of time, the city can reclaim these peoples homes. Leaving them homeless and not able to return.
The contrast of this kind of systemic racism and the absolute joy and vibrancy of the people that live here, the music and food they make and share, is what I tried to capture during my time there.

What's your favorite camera to shoot with?

I love shooting with old film cameras, especially the 4x5. The larger than life detail in the negative/prints it is able to render are insanely beautiful to me. Having said that, it is definitely not a camera for everyday use, and thus, my appreciation for digital photography has grown over the years. Its easy with digital photography to shoot an absurd amount of frames. I tend to think of this as digital waste, and try to lend an intentionality to each click of my shutter. Integrating the mentality of shooting with film (intentionality due to limited film/resources) with the freedom of digital (mistakes are easily fixed) is something I’ve come to embrace and appreciate.

After High School you began studying Sociology in Colorado, but ended up Art School. What's your take? Art School...valuable or skip it?

I transferred back to the bay area (where I had grown up) to California College of Arts and Crafts. I was able to major and receive my BFA in photography. This experience was absolutely life changing for me. To be able to fully drop into an an arts education like that is something I think every artist yearns for. It was a time where my only job in life was to make art, take photos, discuss and critique with my peers and amazing professors (who were all active and established photographers in their own lives). CCAC gave me an unparalleled conceptual fine art education, and I was able to learn how to do more than just documentary or lifestyle photography. It gave me the tools to conceptualize project ideas and then manifest them. I still approach my work with this mentality. Telling a story is very important to me. 

What's your absolute favorite place in the Bay Area to shoot?

I am endlessly inspired by shooting in the bay Area. You really can have it all here…..from the vibrant streets and neighborhoods of SF, the architectural gems of the Bay (The Frank Lloyd Wright City Hall building in San Rafael is a an absolute dream location shoot) to the epic beauty of doing landscape work in West Marin. I feel blessed to live in a place that will truly never get old and always inspires me.

Album currently on repeat?

When I am able to hit pause from a 24 hr stream of Fleetwood Mac, I have been loving Kristin Diable’s new album “Create your own Mythology’. I was introduced to her by some dear friends while I was In New Orleans and fell in deep love with her sultry soulful voice. It transports me back to that time and place. 
 

Lauren wanted to give a little shout out to the people in her life who embraced this project and opened doors and opportunities for her while shooting in New Orleans and Mississippi:

Mike and Denise Zolg-my angles and keys to the city
The Fabulous ladies of Saint Claude Society
Sakura Kone
Dave Schwartz and the Shack Up Inn
 

Thank you for sharing, Lauren! We hope you can make it out to the opening On Wednesday June 14th!

Inspire Me: Tracey Kessler

We're very excited to kick off Summer in our little home of Sausalito with the return of the monthly Sausalito Art Walk. Our May featured artist is local talent Tracey Kessler. We asked Tracey a few questions to delve into her work, her story and what inspires her.

Visit us on May 10th, 4-8 pm for artist's reception. Meet Tracey, view her work, peruse jewels and join us for some bubbly and treats! We will also be offering 10% off all jewels during Art Walk.

 

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"In my work, layered abstractions are born and transformed by nature's elements of wind, rain, sunlight and time. I explore the circumstances of life through a diversity of media, textures and gestures, which imbue my compositions with vitality and a sense of motion. My work mediates between turbulence and joy. As layers of material are melded and molded by hand and time, the beauty of our daily path is revealed."

 

1. Can you tell us a little bit about your background in design? Without having that background, do you think you would've found painting? Or was one necessary to lead to the next?  

My background is in architecture, interior design and conservation.  My first job in the field was with Gwathmey Siegel in New York, one of the New York Five Architects.  This started to develop my eye for modern design and looking at art collections.  I painted all through college at FIT including working on and restoring 17th century paintings in Spain.  I started to show in the early '90s in New York but then my design career took precedence.  It wasn't until 2010 that I started painting full time again after returning to the Bay Area and living in Marin.  I don't think a design or art background is necessary if you are a talented or a gifted painter.  I've seen plenty of people who have advanced greatly after practice, practice, practice and there are others who are just naturally gifted.  I'm somewhere in between there.  My work is often mixed-media abstract but on occasion some series are more realistic or conceptual.

2. What is it about the Bay Area that lured you in? How do you find that it guides your creative work?   

My sister had moved here after college in 1997 and I came for a visit.   I had already been in Manhattan for about 10 years and was craving something new, different and a calmer pace.  Though I had always visited the Los Angeles area, I didn't know what the Bay Area was about or that San Francisco was such a great city.  I took the leap after being in Philadelphia for a few years and it completely changed my life.  Then after living in San Francisco for 10 years and having an Interior Design firm, I accidentally found myself in Marin (with the exception of a return to New York for two years) and the various natural elements seeped into my work.  I can see the elements of the fog, mountains, pacific ocean and open spaces working into my paintings through textures, colors, lines and palettes.

3. We used your studio space for a photo shoot last year and found it to be a very beautiful and interesting space! How important do you think it is for an artist or designer to have a creative space that is visually inspiring?  

Extremely important for the creative space to be your quiet sanctuary, think tank and private world.   Mine is fairly orderly and  I'm usually working on two or three paintings at a time.  I'm in a compound on Gate 5 Road that has a ceramic co-op, three other painters, a woodshop and a jewelry designer.  We also have about 5 dogs at any given time running about.  We are just like the young tech companies but in an outdoor environment with beautiful gardens and vistas around us.

4. I've noticed a shift of color palette in your most recent work. Is this something that evolves naturally over time or do you make a conscious decision to alter how you are approaching your fine art? 

I think my palettes shift slightly over time very subtley.  It's mostly earthy palettes and tones with a pop of color here and there.  I've noticed pink and light blue so much in my work since moving to Sausalito and think it's due to the sunsets.  The dusk scenes with the marina or Mt. Tam in the background are postcard worthy for sure.  It sounds so cliche but this area really does seep into the subconscious mind.

5. If you could travel anywhere in the world, leaving tomorrow, where would you go?  

Probably Positano, Italy as I love the Almalfi coast so much so that would be my first choice but second would probably be Greece as I still have not been there.  It is interesting living in a vacation spot for so many as it becomes  your daily routine but I'll never take this little seaside town for granted.  It beats the 6 train in New York any day.  (though I do miss the pulse and art scene of New York)

6. We love the quirky little town of Sausalito that both you and I call home. Do you have a favorite beach/activity/restaurant/etc that curious visitors should add to their list of things to do while visiting?  

I take the dog out to Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands which has incredible views and a great hike.  Tennessee Valley trail is another wonderful hike.  I enjoy the mussels at Le Garage a lot and since I designed the light fixtures at F3 during my interior design days, I tend to stop in there for a wine and the cheese plate.  Their brunch is tasty as well.  The eggs benedict with a fried green tomato is to die for!  The lobster bisque at Seafood Peddler is another favorite and having a prosecco on the back terrace of the Barrel House is pretty spectacular for views.  I've also starting working with a San Francisco company called If only, which offers extraordinary experiences to do alone or in a group.  I so looking forward to meeting more travelers coming to the Bay Area.  

7. Can you tell us about the work you'll be showing for the art walk.

These are mixed-media and oil paintings that I've worked on since moving to Sausalito in 2015.  You can see the various shapes that I believe are Mt. Tam, tides, rocks, various elements in and around the houseboats and my softer color palate. I tend to built up the canvas by adding and subtracting layers of paint over a period of time until the painting starts to visualize and I can see the composition come through.  This is the surprising dance while painting abstractly.  It can be not-working and going horribly wrong and then with the next layer of paint-- an incredible surprise of its "just right" seems to happen!  It's deciding when to stop and not take a painting too far that is the challenge.

Thank you, Tracey! If you're unable to make it to the show opening on May 10th, Tracey's work will be on display until June 13th.

Gift Guide: Mother's Day

Somehow it's already April, and that means Mother's Day is just around the corner. 

Fortunately, we happen to have some gift suggestions for a special mum in your life.


If she's bold...

 

...or daring

 

If she's a dreamer...

 

...or an adventurer

 

If she likes a bit of sparkle...

 

...but still appreciates the little things

 

If she's unique...

 

...one of a kind

 

And whether she prefers the ocean...

 

...or the mountains


Happy Mother's Day!

School Me: How to Put on a Cuff Bracelet

Cuff bracelets are one of our favorite accessories. These stylish pieces are easy to wear: there's no need to worry about a clasp, closure or ordering the wrong size.

Diamond Rustic Cuff Bracelets

While cuff bracelets are meant to be lightly adjusted, repeatedly stretched and compressed metal can wear over time, not to mention diamonds can pop out! To avoid weakening your treasure, we've come up with an easy guide to adjusting and loving your cuff.



Before putting these bracelets on for the first time, take a look at the side of your wrist. Find the narrowest part on the thumb-side: this is where your cuff will slide on.

Very, very gently stretch the two ends apart, just wide enough to fit over the most delicate part of your wrist.

Turn the cuff sideways, and slide it on, turning your arm into the bracelet until it's correctly positioned.

Rustic Cuff Bracelets

To make it tighter, put your whole hand over the bracelet (so that you don't weaken one spot), and squeeze just enough so that it won't slide off. Be sure you can still slip it back off the side of your wrist, reversing the process.

You shouldn't need to adjust your cuff again, which will give it a much longer life. 

 

Betsey & Iya have a great video showing this technique. Sometimes a picture (or moving pictures) are worth a thousand words!

 

 

Currently Coveting: Geode Home Accessories

Geodes look like plain, weathered rocks on the outside, but hiding underneath are shimmering crystals.

They often begin their lives as bubbles in volcanic rock. Over time, minerals form on the inside of the hollow shell, growing toward the center.

Geodes can be found throughout the world, including in California, the American Southwest and several Midwestern states.

These irresistible treasures have been popping up in home decor-form more and more.

From coasters to planters and art to coffee tables, geodes and geode slices are a versatile way to incorporate natural elements into your home.

Cacti + geodes make for the perfect earthy vibe. 

We suggest Rab Labs if you have a generous budget. We also got some good results searching terms like "geode" or "agate" on home decor sites such as wayfair. If you're a sucker for a little DIY project, purchase some geodes and simple home decor items, grab a glue gun and have some fun. Oh, and Ebay! Don't forget Ebay.

Happy decorating!

School Me: Why Are Montana Sapphires So Special?

We usually associate sapphires with a deep, clear blue. Surprisingly they can be found in a rainbow of hues, including pink, orange, green, yellow and even multi-color. 

These gems are mined everywhere from Australia to Colombia and Madagascar to Nepal. However, the state of Montana is home to more varieties of sapphire than any other location in the world. Strict guidelines for mining in the states means that Montana sapphires have much less of an impact on the Earth than stones from nearly anywhere else.

Mostly found in the western half of the state, these gorgeous gems are famous for their rich and unusual colors. Yogo sapphires (found specifically in the Yogo gulch area) are generally cornflower blue in color, while others from different regions of Montana trend towards interesting blue-greens, violet-grays and even bicolor or with color shifts (these are our favorites)!

Montana sapphires were originally found by mid-19th century gold prospectors who headed out west in search of a fortune. Initially they were so focused on the gold that they often threw aside the sapphires. 

In fact, the prospectors even complained about the gems plugging up their pans are they sifted in search of gold.  

Most of the sapphire mining done in Montana is very small scale compared to other locations, making it difficult to find consistent sizes and colors of rough from which to cut a stone. The great part about this for consumers? Choosing a Montana sapphire makes your stone that much more unique and rare. Who knew that some of the most exotic treasures in the world were right in our own backyard.

We love sourcing these gorgeous specimens for clients to use in projects-just ask!