Far more than an emporium of colorful textile patterns, Urban Burp holds over 5 tons of vintage fabric dating back to the early 20th century, collecting original vintage threads that weave memory and nostalgia into their very fabric. The studio takes its unusual name from the intense experience of recognition that seeing and touching a piece of familiar pattern can bring. "All that emotion has been shoved down into the lower chakras and all of a sudden it takes one piece of fabric to bring you back to that place," owner Electra Skilandat told The San Francisco Chronicle. She continues to elicit that response with bolts of cloth decorated with the floral designs and abstract art of the 1920s, or the bold color mixtures and fractal patterns that were popular in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
Skilandat traces her love affair with textile design back to her childhood in Boston, where her mother lovingly hand-crafted all of her clothes for school and play. Over the years, Electra amassed a collection of over 1,000 bolts of fabric and experience in interior decor. After the death of her only son, she rediscovered her creative instincts, opening the fabric shop with upholstery and drapery services that would precede Urban Burp's stunning display of warp and weft. As guests peruse the studio's ample supply of original vintage pictorial and patterned designs, sewing patterns, and notions, Skilandat unfurls her decades of wisdom during interior decor consultations.
For more than 29 years, the shelves and displays of AFTOSA have brimmed with both popular and hard-to-find art supplies. Specializing in ceramics, AFTOSA's staffers decorate the venue with clay-based works of art from various artists, and offer a variety of products, including ceramic, polymer, and resin, as well as books on ceramic design and tools such as pottery sealants and turntables.
Along with ceramic gear, AFTOSA equips customers with premade wood and metal tile products, glazes, and display products.
Moe's Books tempts readers with a massive selection of more than 200,000 used, new, and rare books . Named for the firebrand founder Moe Moskowitz, the four-story space sits blocks from the Berkeley campus, a location that's played a significant role in shaping the store's vibe. The shop has sheltered anti-war protestors, hosted readings, and put on events such as midnight Pynchon releases with Pynchon-themed snacks, drinks, and anti-interview shrouds. Today, the spot continues to attract book lovers, who remain free to peruse the ever-changing stock or sell back their own books in order to even out collections or wobbling tables.
The dedicated framers at Artistic Expert Picture Framing protect artwork, personal photographs, and mementos with a vast array of shapes and moldings that prepare them for display. The framers walk customers through the creative, and often confusing, process, consulting with clients before custom-sizing the frame or shadow box to fit paintings or war medals of any size. Conservation grade materials, such as acid-free archival paper and UV-protecting glass, ensure timeless treasures keep guarded against fading and bleeding.
Housed in a historical turn-of-the-century storefront, Home 101’s airy shop is brimming with carefully curated vintage items and eclectic gifts. In the penthouse portion of a weathered wooden cabinet, a flock of Stonehouse olive oils and vinegars ($14–$24) preens in preparation for its yearly migration to local kitchens, and a bevy of June Taylor preserves and syrups ($12–$18) sits patiently on the floor below. At the same time on a nearby table, a menagerie of Soap and Paper Factory hand creams, candles, perfume solids and soaps ($8–$28) struts brightly patterned packaging plumage in a futile attempt to impress the stony faces of David Dexter’s pastel-colored wood-panel portraits ($16–$24).
Housing the glass-based mastery of more than 50 Bay Area artists, Stained Glass Garden introduces students to the world of glass art through workshops, all-day classes, private parties, and a bustling store chock full of materials. Daytime workshoppers can choose a class from the hefty list of group classes, mingling with no more than seven other students while learning to dabble in this colorful and novel art. The stained-glass light-catcher class offers a five-hour crash course in cutting glass, soldering copper foil, and chasing the sun with giant, fragile nets ($85). Jewelry crafting and the birth of functional table art are two of the world’s seven mysteries solved via an introduction to fused glass class ($95). Under the careful gaze of melted-sand-spinning instructors, classes adhere to a varied schedule to accommodate any unforeseen Cinderella-slipper incidents. Private lessons are also available for groups of up to six companions.