Today I want to introduce you to a crafter that lives and works in San Francisco: Susan of Made in the Haight.
Susan is a fellow SFEtsy team member that I wanted to profile for my friends with children and grandchildren.
Well her business name certainly tells you where she lives and works and I like that. If you know San Francisco a certain vibe comes to mind and her work does reflect that Bohemian hippy flair of Haight's height in the 60's to what's happening now. Her work just makes me smile with its playful youthfulness!
To get to know her and her work more I asked her some questions. I thought I'd share her responses interspersed with some photos of her work.
Are you self-taught or educated more formally in the arts?
When I was younger, I was extremely fortunate to receive nearly a full-ride scholarship to Barnard College of Columbia University in New York City, where I created my own double major, Women’s Studies & Visual Arts. I also minored in Political Science. Studying Visual Arts in New York City is an incredible experience, like having the world at your feet: while we would be studying the work of a particular artist or learning about a specific artistic style, my professor would often say things like, “... and you can currently see so-and-so’s work on display at such-and-such gallery....” My favorite art classes included metal sculpture and lithography – my teacher, Robert Blackburn, was an incredible printmaker who also pulled prints for Jasper Johns! While I was at Barnard, my work was displayed at over a dozen on-campus art exhibition, including one solo week-long show that served as part of my thesis requirement.
Two weeks after graduating from Barnard, I packed up what I could and moved myself to San Francisco, where I attended Golden Gate University School of Law. I received my JD with specializations in Public Interest law and Litigation. I spent many exciting years as a trial attorney before my children were born. Now that I’m a parent, I’m taking on much less trial work because I want to spend as much time as I can with my kids. So I’m a stay-at-home parent by day and a law professor in the evening, which is also when I try to find time to craft.
What is living in the Haight/SF like? Have you ever lived anywhere else? Wish you were anywhere else?
Although I’m originally from New York, San Francisco has been my home for most all of the last 20+ years. I now live in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, a place that feels more like home to me than any other place I know. In 2010, after my daughter was born, I founded Made In the Haight to pay homage to the vibrant, historic San Francisco neighborhood where I work, play and live with my family. I named my work “Made In the Haight” in homage to the incredibly fun, funky, creative experience I’ve had raising a family here in the Haight.
Do you have another career or is handcrafting your focus (other than motherhood!)?
I am a crafter, a lawyer, a law professor, a wife and a mother.
What materials do you like to work with most? Techniques.
I individually hand-craft and design each piece of jewelry I make using an eclectic mix of components, including ribbons I’ve collected from all over the world, Thai mulberry paper, Austrian-made crystals, Ammonite fossils, vintage buttons, glass beads, feathers and other
found objects. Each of my designs has a personality all its own, never to be repeated. I carefully assemble each piece by hand, paying attention to every detail such as adding velvet linings for a non-slip grip.
Who is your target audience? What is your price range?
My designs are colorful and fun for a flower child, sophisticated and unique for a bohemian mama, and consciously and sustainably hand-made for everyone. My most popular designs are my unique velvet-lined double-pronged, alligator-style clippies, which are both fun and versatile -- kids and adults can use them to wrap a package, decorate a hat, bag or scarf, and adorn their hair! While each of my pieces are handmade and unique, they are each affordable, most costing between $5-20. Custom designs are available for weddings, performances and other fun, funky functions.
I see that you got a Green award. That's great! Is all of your work green?
Made In the Haight is a Certified San Francisco Green Business. The process of becoming a certified San Francisco Green Business was challenging and time-consuming, but ultimately well worth it! I'm so proud that my children will know their mother placed a priority on their future. Many of my supplies are green, including Thai-made mulberry paper. I use recycled and re-purposed packaging, including laboratory slide cases and other unique containers that would have otherwise ended up as landfill. I also use fine stationery - including gorgeous portrait cards by a German company called Rossler Papier – to
package my work so gift-givers can just write out the card: no gift-wrapping necessary! I purchase most supplies locally and I shop sustainably for ethically-produced supplies.
What are some social links you'd like to share?