Over the years, Joey Chandler has camped in Marin, hiked the coast near the Golden Gate Bridge, and biked through local parks. It was during one of these excursions that Mr. Chandler was struck by an idea: it would be great if a photographer were here to document the adventure. Hence, the concept of family adventure photography was born. Before these outings, Mr. Chandler talks with families about their routines and what outdoor locations they'd like to explore. The photographer then travels with families to the chosen locale and photographs the day's events, such as a child mischievously peeking around a tree, a mother and son candidly hugging after picking pumpkins, or a family making their way down a serene forest path without the aid of a minivan for the first time. When not out exploring, Mr. Chandler shoots during in-home sessions and at the occasional wedding.
With more than 30 years in the furniture industry, Jonathan Kaye's staff expertly curates the best brand-name furnishings, bedding, and décor for infants and children. Specializing in furniture built from ash, birch, maple, and pine, the shop presents parents with a variety of all-natural sitting, storing, and sleeping fixtures to match with existing décor or the species of tree native to their nurseries. Beyond hard goods, Jonathan Kaye outfits shoppers with blankets and clothing woven from natural sources such as organic cotton and bamboo.
Barbara Kaufman created her first painting in 1980. It was in a process class where she sat in front of a blank sheet of paper and felt “A push. And this fear. And all this possibility and absolutely nothing at the same moment.” So she began scribbling, and something happened. “Something always happens,” she says. “That white paper never remains white.” It was an exhilarating feeling––an infectious feeling she hasn’t lost in more than 30 years as her paintings have accumulated and signposted her life as an artist, a teacher, a mother, and a cofounder of The Painting Studio. Barbara wasn’t born with a brush in her hand––she came to painting later in life––yet she'd carved a path straight toward it without realizing. She had nurtured a teacher's patience as a certified speech therapist, played with ingredients and recipes while running a vegetarian restaurant in Europe, and found the joy of a journey when hitchhiking to San Francisco. These seemingly disparate events form, as she describes, a relationship with creativity—with life—that focuses on the exploration rather than on the product. It’s a relationship that she carries into the studio, where she encourages students to play with their own creative energy rather than work with visual prompts or technical advice. In a talk she gave entitled “Stepping Into the Unknown” at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, she acknowledges that “the process doesn’t listen to me.” But then adds that the key to her unprocessed method is, in fact, “the letting go of control––the kicking and screaming.” Since her first painting kicked and screamed its way onto a blank piece of paper in 1980, Barbara has helped “ignite the creative desires” of students from diverse stations in life. And above all else, her workshops are adventures, though without the typical treasure map and jetpack. Together, she and her students spend time exploring a life that is nothing but their own.
Since 1976, the environmentally conscious staff at The Futon Shop has stocked futons, furniture, and frames built from chemical-free cotton, natural latex, and hybrid soy foam, among other virtuous ingredients. Cushy mattresses, vibrantly shaded futon covers, and platform beds preserve the earth’s bounty as effectively as they accommodate human bodies and under-the-bed monsters. Homeowners can also illuminate domiciles with eco-friendly Eangee lamps, which have a carbon footprint of nearly zero and are manufactured by workers who earn a living wage. Even little ones can enjoy the environmentalist furnishings by napping on an organic crib mattress nestled in a bunny white baby crib.
Books & Bookshelves has much more character than its no-nonsense name implies. For starters, they sell an entire collection of furniture, most of which is custom made. Clients can submit measurements, rough sketches, and even photos of similar pieces they like, which the carpenters use to build one-of-a-kind pieces such as bookcases. Projects can be left unfinished, like Beethoven's 10th chicken wing, or they can be finished with the client's choice of stain or paint.
To fill their newly built bookshelves, customers can shop a library of poetry books written and published by locals. Likewise, a diverse selection of paintings, photography, and even puzzles has all been crafted by area artisans. Shoppers can learn more about the writers and artists at Books & Bookshelves' special events, which have ranged from queer poetry readings to celebrations of W.H. Auden.
The striking, geometric, full-spectrum thunderbird that graces the entrance to Gravel & Gold looks like the combination of retro-future graphics and some Incan trickster god. It’s a good indication of the boutique’s prevailing design: almost everything comes in bold prints. This Mission shop is a repository of pillows, satchels, bags, tank-tops, napkins and bangles, nearly all of them striped or otherwise patterned, and curated from the Bay Area’s vibrant maker culture, as well as their in-house brand. Gravel & Gold stocks home décor and women’s apparel only, but from fountain pens to face mists, it’s a great place for a spree to keep that closet and workspace looking effortlessly stylish. They also offer inventive workshops, where individuals can learn to fashion macramé plant hangers. All in all, few Mission boutiques can boast such attention to craftsmanship.