West Portal Arts Fair 2015: Still Open Sunday

west portal fair poster 2015The weather for the West Portal Arts and Crafts Fair today was  sunny and cool, perfect until the wind started gusting around 4 p.m. I stopped by to revisit some of my old favorites and also to see what was new. The Zapotec rug weavers didn’t come this year, but some of the other craftspeople were back.

As usual, it was a delightful mix of wood work, fabric creations, jewelry, fine art, and also some interesting things like scented candles, fur toys, and organic skin care. There were also boxes made of books, handthrown ceramics, and more art than I could possibly really see. The poster said it was 50 artists. They were spread across the first two blocks on the North side of the street, and the middle block of the South side. Of course I didn’t get to them all, but here’s a selection of what I did manage to look at. If you like the look of it – they’re there Sunday until 5 p.m.

These beautiful mirrors are in inlaid wood marquetry frames, and even whole pictures made with special woods. They’ve come in previous years, and I always stop for a look.

wood inlay mirrors and pictures

Another old favorite is Moonlight Shenanigans – hand-carved ladles and spatulas and more. They’re graceful in their designs and lovely to touch. I said as much as I bought yet another piece from David Rully, maple-wood salad servers this time. “I spend a long time sanding each piece so it feels smooth and soft,” he said.

handmade ergonomic and tactile wooden spoonsI also couldn’t resist the wooden toys made with safe dyes. I bought blocks and a train for a little relative. There were also airplanes and trucks, some with animal shapes in them, and fire engines. And some sleek army tanks, which caught the attention of a small group of boys. Who could blame them? The tanks were really elegant and minimalist, and yet rolled perfectly.

handmade and safe wooden toysAcross the road, there were more things for little ones – adorable clothes, mostly for tiny girls. Last year, someone had a stall specializing in cute clothes for boys; looks like they’re alternating years!

One stall had handmade silk scarves and dressy over-shirts in lovely colors. Next to it was a vendor with caps and hats, mostly for women but with a few for men as well.

handmade silks scarves and overshirts - and fun hatsClose by, a stall displayed serene watercolors of landscapes and flowers in a dreamy sort of style.

serene watercolors

I stopped on the corner near the Starbucks, where there’s usually a stall with dramatic jewelry, and sure enough she was back this year. I got her card: Gayle Mayhew of Fun Girls Jewelry and a slogan, “If it’s not fun, what’s the point?” It was beautifully set up, with these strong pieces in pearls and stones and glass. A mirror hung next to it to encourage people to try things on, so I did. And then came a sudden gust of wind, and it blew down the display forms. We all scrambled to catch the necklaces before they fell, and then she rearranged her stall. None of the vertical displays were doing well so she laid them flat. But they all looked wonderful anyway.

unusual chunky jewelry - Fun Girls Jewelry

The Wooly Rascals stall of sheepskin products (shoes and slippers, dusters and stuffies) was on the first block. I bet this looks really inviting on a cold day.

wooly rascals sheepskin stuff at West PortalNext to it was a stall of fragrant candles.

scented candlesThis stall had glowing colored art glass objects, as well as some statement pieces like the pears and aubergines in the picture and some luminous glass plaques. I didn’t catch the vendors’ name, but it looked lovely.

glowing glassware
Across the street, I saw these colorful tie-dye clothes. They’re by Susan Baker, of Rad Rags of California. She has an Etsy store online. The sun-dress in front is one of her best-selling items, probably because of its graceful drape.

brilliant tie-dye clothes from Susan Baker

One unusual item: polymer bracelets in fine designs that wrap round your wrist and are light and waterproof – the FaCuff from Ava Austin. I don’t wear bracelets, or I’d have been very tempted by their delicate intricacy. If they come back with necklaces next year, I’ll pretty certainly get one.

Fa wristbands in beautiful intricate designs
Madd Love Designs is humorous art with a mission to promote awareness of the 5th World Conference on Women. It was mostly pins and magnets of little wire and yarn people and monsters – and artworks of photographs of these little characters by the Golden Gate Bridge. Quite charming.

madd love designs - pins and magnet art with a feminist missionDichroic glass looks so wonderful in the sunshine, and is so difficult to photograph well. You’ll have to take my word for it. The colors here were gorgeous: brilliant turquoises and teals and golds and magentas.

brilliant dichroic glassThis stall had a whole lot of little canvases with landscapes (more seascapes, actually) and still lifes. Just after I took this picture, another gust of wind blew down the display. I hope nothing was damaged.

tiny canvases with still lifes and sceneryJennifer Clifford’s pieces are collages often featuring San Francisco landmarks and a creative use of materials. In the picture with the orange poppies below, the windows of the Transamerica Pyramid are made of a golden lace that perfectly nails it. There’s more on her website.

jennifer clifford's art - collages and moreThese pictures, made from gears and other parts of clocks and watches, had a steam-punk sense to them. The construction was careful and clever. Unsurprisingly, the shop is called Time Craft Designs. The website has close-ups of the designs – and their titles.

time craft designs - pictures from watch partsThis selection of art prints was eye-catching. I especially liked the one with the tall old houses; there’s something about that perspective.

Art prints of san Francisco and more

The final stop for me, just before I had to leave, was a stall of handcrafted organic skincare products. Owner Erica Kriss has her website at ElkaHerbals.com

organic skincare

West Portal Arts and Crafts Fair, 2013

It was a bright blue day in West Portal, and the vendors at the street fair seemed to be getting a response. I got there only an hour or so before it closed, but I was glad I made it.

art

It was as colorful and interesting as usual, and it’s always a pleasure to browse.

dramatic colorful necklaces

There were the usual unusual things: jewelry designed and made by the people at the stalls, artworks I wished had wall-space for, garments, several stalls with hats and caps, rugs, candles, decorative mirrors with marquetry or metal frames, bags, and ceramics.

glass photo holders and art

pendants in bright glass

candles

cloth bags

ceramicsI took my camera, but forgot to charge the battery, which gave up one block down. I have fewer pictures than in other years (like in 2011, HERE or 2010, HERE). If anyone wants to send me some to fk94131 at yahoo dot com, I’ll happily publish them here.

handmade wooden things

At one stall, beautifully finished hand-made wood utensils caught my eye. They looked very tactile. I couldn’t resist; I bought a lovely little coffee scoop of madrone wood, even though I favor instant coffee… and when I got it home, I was delighted by the brand-name: Moonlight Shenanigans.

coffee scoop of madrone wood - made by Moonlight Shenanigans

NOT SO NICE

The fine day and the promise of the street fair seemed to have brought out not just the crowds, which was great, but an unusual number of panhandlers. None of them seemed to be West Portal regulars, to whom I admit I do sometimes give.  Today I just felt disconcerted and didn’t.

two trees to be cut down

And then, to top it off…  removal notices on the two trees on the sidewalk next to the former Squat and Gobble. They survived the fire and the demolition; but now they’ll be demolished anyway, to provide access for cranes. Necessary, but sad. They’re among the few tall trees still left in West Portal. There was a huge and beautiful tree next to the station entrance that was lost in one of the renovations. Gradually, all the tall trees will be gone and the village will have lost something of its character.

tree removal notice

West Portal Arts and Crafts Fair Coming up – April 12-14

west portal sidewalk fine arts and crafts fair 2013I was in West Portal yesterday, and saw this poster for the annual street fair. It’s always worth a visit, if you like arts and crafts, or are looking for a unique gift for someone. I try to go each year. Here are links to my posts from previous years.

Donate old books to the Book Blast! (San Francisco, Inner Sunset)

I got this note from Barbara Oleksiw, who organizes wonderful events in her home at 6th and Irving, just down the hill from Forest Knolls. She’s organizing another “book blast” – she collects and organizes donated books, and then has an event where anyone can pick up free books. (She previously had one in 2010.)

Right now, she’s collecting books from anyone who has books to spare.

We are now collecting for the SECOND Inner Sunset FREE Book Blast to be held Saturday, June 2nd, 10a – 4p at the NW corner of Sixth & Irving.

Have you any hardbacks, paperbacks, travel, fiction, history, psychology, children’s literature or cookbooks, that you’d like to give away? Feel free to drop them off—in boxes or bags, please! — at the entrance of 1297 6th Avenue, or call us for a FREE pick-up.

We will accept all types of books…EXCEPT encyclopedias, text books and magazines, unfortunately. We *will* accept CDs, DVDs, and maps.

Then, mark Saturday, June Second, for the day to refill your shelves!

Barbara Oleksiw 415/2.46.47.48

Urban Bazaar’s Indie Craft Fair, 9th Ave, 5-6 May 2012

It’s the Fair Season!  Here’s another interesting one close by here, at 9th Avenue, particularly for people who like knitting and sewing and artwork…

Urban Bazaar (1371 9th Ave) is hosting a free local artist craft fair, the Vagabond Indie Craft Fair, on May 5th & 6th from 12-7pm. Vagabond will be a fun, interactive experience for hip, socially-conscious shoppers to find unique and beautifully handcrafted gifts, all while supporting talented indie artisans.

The wares that will be up for grabs include a wide range of jewelry, hair accessories, original and print artwork, knitted hats and scarves, and home decor items. There will be a bake sale to benefit Rancho Cotate High School’s art mural program, free button making all weekend, sewing demos & sewing machines for you to use from Nicole Blum, author of Improv Sewing, and more!

We hope to see you there! You can check out our website at http://www.vagabondsf.wordpress.com for links to the participating artists and updates.

West Portal’s Arts & Crafts Fair: April 13-15, 2012

The West Portal Arts fair is this weekend. It’s a lovely place to pick up unique gifts, or buy jewelry or art or craft pieces directly from the people who make them. I love the atmosphere, and the variety.

(CLICK HERE for my report on last year’s fair.

And HERE’s my report from 2010, with a slideshow of pictures.)

I think there are some people who come back year after year. I also heard there’s a rug weaver who takes commissions…

Wishing them good weather this year too!

ETA: I dropped in on the fair this evening, just before it closed. The rug weaver was there, Xenon Hippolito, Master Weaver. The rugs are Zapotec, and they’re beautiful. Some are in neutrals, like beiges and browns; others are in saturated reds and oranges.

Everyone I spoke to said today had been good, and that augurs well for the weekend. Hope the weather holds!

Meeting Report – Inner Sunset Park Neighbors – Summer 2011

I attended a meeting of the Inner Sunset Park Neighbors today. This group represents some 300 households in the Inner Sunset; the meeting was chaired by Andrea Jadwin.  Since this is just below our neighborhood, I’m reporting some updates:

PARKLET ON 9TH AVENUE

The parklet outside Arizmendi Bakery (on 9th Avenue) is probably going ahead. This will be a small area with chairs and tables for anyone to sit.

Opponents have chiefly been concerned about putting people so close to traffic; supporters love the idea of a place to enjoy the neighborhood (and perhaps a delicious snack from Arizmendi!)

INNER SUNSET STREET FAIR IN OCT 2011

This year’s Inner Sunset Street Fair is scheduled for October 16th. This would be the second annual Inner Sunset street fair. They’re looking for donations and volunteers. Their website is here, with information about getting booths, volunteering and donating.

TILING STEPS

The Hidden Garden Steps project is also seeking donations and volunteers. Neighbors want to refurbish an existing staircase with a colorful ceramic tile mosaic — something like the brilliant tiled steps below Turtle Hill. The delightful design starts with a worm and mushroom at the bottom, and rises into a blue sky with flowers and a dragonfly.

PLANS OF THE BICYCLE COALITION

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition‘s Neal Patel made a presentation about their current initiatives. Apparently, 7 out of 10 San Franciscans use bicycles at least occasionally. The Coalition’s focus is on getting people to use bikes more, both for recreation and transport. They’ve added 34 miles of bike trails in 2009, but now want to have bike lanes connecting the city, safe for people from 8 to 80 to use. New bike lanes get people out on their bicycles.  Their vision is of a safe biking trail, ideally with a physical barrier between the bike lane and car traffic, from the beach to the Bay.

The Coalition also offers urban cycling workshops covering rules and safety for kids, adults, and older adults who haven’t been on a bike in years… Questions focused on safety (including cyclists’ respect for pedestrians), specific bike routes, and bike-share systems.

I wanted the Coalition to use its outreach capability (it has 12,000 members) to warn people to wear reflective clothing in the fog. I can’t say how many times I’ve seen cyclists riding almost invisibly on Twin Peaks and areas surrounding our neighborhoods.

ADVOCATING FOR PEDESTRIANS

WalkSF’s Elizabeth Stampe talked about her organization, which focuses on making SF safer and more fun to walk. Since we’re all pedestrians to some degree, this is important for everyone. She pointed out the 800 people were hit by cars each year in SF — and thought this was possibly an understated number.

She mentioned measures to improve safety:

  • School zone speeds will be reduced to 15 mph for most schools in the city, which will make it safer for kids to walk to school;
  • They’re looking for better law enforcement (people don’t stop at Stop signs, for instance, or yield to pedestrians as they legally should do);
  • Looking for ways to redesign streets to slow traffic down and curb speeding.

One person described his efforts to get action on the dangerous intersection at 8th and Lawton, the site of several accidents. He wanted a Stop sign put in there. The SFMTA refused because (a) it’s a bus route, and this would slow the bus; (b) it increases carbon dioxide emissions; (c) enforcement of Stop signs is a problem, they’re widely ignored so why bother to add more?

The subsequent discussion focused on other ways to make a street less speedy; Stampe pointed out that the most dangerous roads are wide, straight and one-way because they encourage speed. Someone suggested more of the pedestrian-activated yellow flashing lights at crossings. The yellow signs in the road median saying State Law required stopping for pedestrians also helps.

Besides advocating for safety, WalkSF has volunteer-led walks all over the city. The next one is 12 miles, “Peak2Peak.” Also, they will host a Mayoral Candidates’ Forum on September 12th. (Details on their website.)

UCSF’s COMMUNITY ACTION GROUP

Craig Dawson spoke about UCSF’s Community Action Group (CAG), of which he is a founder member. They provide input to UCSF about issues concerning the community.  UCSF initiated this group in 1991, when Laurel Heights neighbors were in legal battle with UCSF. They approached, Dawson said, their critics to be in the Group. He and Dennis Antenore have been on it since then. It includes four ISPN members: Craig Dawson; Dennis Antenore; Susan Maerki; and Kevin Hart.

The CAG is expecting to increase its activity as UCSF is currently working on its new Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) expected to be adopted in Feb 2014. Dawson urged neighbors to get more involved as the new LRDP would bring many changes affecting the neighborhood.

One issue is UC Hall, one of the oldest UCSF buildings. It was slated for demolition so UCSF could get within their “space ceiling” — a total amount of space the University can use within the Parnassus campus. (The ceiling was adopted when neighbors became concerned at the University’s rampant growth, but UCSF has exceeded it for many years.) However, it’s a historic Beaux Arts building, and some oppose its destruction. UCSF is now considering other uses for it; one possibility is housing, which would not count toward the space ceiling. The cost of a seismic retrofit may be an issue. Look out for public hearings.

Neighbors wanted to know how to get involved. UCSF’s Damon Lew (who was present) has joined ISPN, and will be posting information. Also, UCSF offered to host an ISPN meeting to discuss UCSF-related issues.

SUTRO STEWARDS

Speaking as Executive Director of Sutro Stewards, Craig Dawson very briefly described activities on the “underutilized” 61 acres of Mount Sutro owned by UCSF: planting the Native Garden, building trails, and preserving native plants under the eucalyptus. There was no mention of UCSF’s proposed plans to cut down thousands of trees.

Health Fair – UCSF at Mt Zion – 18 June 2011

UCSF’s sending around emails about a health fair they’re holding on Post Street at Divisadero.  It sounds like a neat idea, so I’m putting it in here in case anyone’s interested.

From the email  from Damon Lew:

To Our Community,
We invite you, your family, your friends, and your patients to join us at the Mount Zion Community Health Day on Saturday, June 18th.

You will have access to health screenings, educational materials and activities, along with local entertainment and food vendors. Our goal is to celebrate, educate and promote good health! There will be over twenty booths featuring various Medical Center clinics and services, including:
• the Bloodmobile
• Cancer Center
• Division of General Internal Medicine
• Headache Center
• Nutrition Counseling Clinic
• Osher Center for Integrative Medicine
• Radiology
• Sleep Disorders Center
• Tobacco Education Center
• Women’s Health
• and more.

Event Details
Mount Zion Community Health Day
Outdoor Street Fair
Saturday, June 18, 2011
11:00 am–4:00 pm
Post Street between Divisadero and Scott streets

Did You Know?
We are approaching the centennial of the Hellman Building at Mount Zion—the cornerstone of the twentieth century hospital. Mount Zion has played an important role in San Francisco’s rich history by serving the Western Addition neighborhood and the San Francisco community from the end of the nineteenth century through the twentieth and into the twenty-first century. It has been a part of the UCSF Medical Center since 1990.

Celebrating our Community
The leadership at the UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion, led by Associate Dean Jeffrey Pearl, M.D., is hosting this Community Health Day. It is a way to celebrate our local community, and to extend our thanks and appreciation to the neighborhood for its support of the Mount Zion campus.

We invite everyone at UCSF and in the community to join us in making this event a success.  For more information, contact the Fishbon Library at Mount Zion, (415) 885-7378 or visit: http://mzhealthfair.ucsf.edu/mzhealthfair/mz_health_fair.pdf

Please feel free to forward this information on to your colleagues, clients, and community networks!

[ETA – Note: The link above goes to the poster we’ve shown at the top of this post.]

A Brilliant Day at West Portal Arts Fair

It’s wonderful weather for a fair. The sun’s out, the wind died down, and it’s cool. Which is lucky, because West Portal’s annual Arts and Crafts festival is on this weekend. It started today, and I went to have a look.

Many of the wonderful stalls that were there last year are back. It’s a mix of art, jewelry, clothes, and things like handmade wooden toys and elaborate artistic wood-inlay. Prices ranged from maybe $3 (notecards) to $3500 (an elaborate marquetry mirror). A Navajo Zapotec weaver was working on a rug, his loom set up next to an artistic display in bright colors as well as muted ones.

I stopped to talk with some of the artists. That’s always interesting; they’re so into their work, and willing to explain their artistic vision. One jeweler talked about texture and using unusual materials. She had a necklace of baroque pearls that looked like jasmine buds on a string.

A few people were out and browsing. I overheard one young woman discussing the spiritual significance of lapis lazuli with a jewelry artist. A little boy in a stroller spotted the wooden toys. “Stop, I want to look!” he said. Unfortunately, his mom was in a hurry. He gave the toys a regretful glance as they went by.

Here are a selection of photographs:

West Portal Arts Festival, 8-10 April 2011

It’s that time of the year again! West Portal’s having its Arts and Crafts Fair this weekend, starting tomorrow actually. It was a lovely fair last year, and this year promises to be good, too. Sixty-five professional artists. Paintings, photography, sculpture, jewelry and a great deal of other stuff. Browse through last year’s fair report for a sense of what to expect. [ETA:  Here’s a quick report from the first day of this fair.] Here’s the poster.

Feedback on Street Fair?

I received this email from the organizers of the Irving and 10th street fair:

“On behalf of the Inner Sunset Street Fair (SFF) organizing committee, I want to send a heartfelt to all of you who joined us at the first ever Inner Sunset Street Fair, last Saturday May 15th. Opening up Irving Street and 10th Avenue to the neighborhood was everything we dreamed of and more. Circus entertainers, all-day massage, local arts and crafts, a packed music schedule, outdoors yoga and Tai Chi, and neighbors doing the Lindy hop together… all of that, mixed with neighbors coming together, children smiling, and connections being created, made this a unique occasion.

“Underlying the street fair’s design was our collective belief in the importance of public space for community-building, not just for vehicles; in the value of people as citizens, not just consumers; and in the need to celebrate the many wonderful people, projects, and organizations that make the Inner Sunset. We think opening up the streets to all of this was a big success and we hope you will join us to making it happen more often.

“As this was our first street fair, we learned a lot and we expect next year’s street fair (you heard it – there will be another!) to be even better. However, only with your feedback on this year’s event can we make next year’s occasion really shine. Your input is crucial! To that end, we would be grateful if you would fill out this short anonymous survey:  Thank you in advance.

“Lastly, thank you to the wonderful ISSF team – Chris (co-chair), Wendy, Randy, Jason, Tanya, Trina, Walter, Jim, Ellen, Tracy, Jamie, and Blas – for their wonderful work. Without their amazing dedication, this event would not have been possible. Thank you also to the many other supporters and sponsors – from individuals to local businesses and organizations – who also made this possible.

“We will see you next year – and surely long before then. All the best, Adam, Chris, and the ISSF team

“ps. Here’s my (Adam) personal thoughts on the day, encapsulated in this blog.  I also recommend checking out the great photos on the ISSF website.”

***********************************************************

Separately, someone gave us a heads-up about a Census of Farmer’s Markets:

HELP THE USDA COUNT ALL THE FARMERS MARKETS:

DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JUNE 4

Each year the USDA does a census of farmers markets. It yields critical information about where and when farmers markets are operating, as well as what federal nutrition assistance programs are accepted at which farmers markets.

When you see statistics – in the press, quoted by politicians, or used as a way to chart the local food movement and prove its reach — they come from this census.

The results turn around quickly: this year’s numbers will be released in August.

Street Fair, Irving at 10th

This website is a good place to let people know about nearby events and activities that might interest people in Forest Knolls. In that spirit, we bring you another Street Fair announcement. This one’s at Irving and 10th. It’s put on by the Inner Sunset Park Neighbors.

Here’s what the notice says:

“Enjoy the music, art, crafts, dance, and food of our neighbors.  The California Academy of Science, Circus Center, Sunset Academy of Music, San Francisco Massage Collective, Sutro Stewards, UCSF and many more neighborhood groups will be sharing their skills and talents.

“In conjunction with the San Francisco’s Small Business Week, local merchants will be holding sidewalk sales throughout the neighborhood along with 40 booths displaying local artists and services.  Of course the Inner Sunset has over 75 food and beverage establishments to choose a meal from, just a few steps away from the fair.

“Borrowing from Ciclovia of Bogota Colunbia, the fair will start with yoga and tai chi lessons at 10 and 11am. Then at noon the Pearse Connolly Fife Drum Band will kick off an afternoon of live music on the Irving Street stage featuring folk to jazz to blues.  At 6pm, “Lindy in the Park” will teach everyone a few new steps and from 6:30 to 8:30 the Sunset’s own Dianne Nola and the 7 against 8 Swing Band will fill the street with song and dance.”

The co-chairs are Adam Greenfield (415-786-2143) and Chris Duderstadt (415-517-2754)

If you want more details including a detailed program and a list of entertainment; or you want to sign-up, volunteer, or sponsor something – they have a website. (Or click on the picture above.)