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.
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.
Lauded by numerous media outlets such as The Dr. Oz Show and O magazine, Essentia's memory-foam beds offer an all-natural and organic alternative to synthetic sleep aids. Crafted from a blend of organic tree sap, essential oils, and plant extracts, the cushiony foam coddles craniums and bodies by shifting its shape to fit each snoozer's form. Pillows cradle heads in a cool embrace, as the highly breathable foam allows body heat to dissipate, unlike conventional pillows or throw pillows made of old waffle irons. Seven mattresses ($1,489–$6,489) offer up the plush foam formula in varying levels of firmness, supporting backs of all shapes.
After spending years as a salesman for top mattress lines, Steve Shore needed a new mattress himself. Rather than opt for a steep employee discount on one of the mattresses he sold, the enterprising Mr. Shore collected various natural materials and had them assembled into a mattress that met his exacting specifications: a comfy sleep cushion made with no potentially toxic components. The result was such an improvement over the big-name mattresses he sold that Mr. Shore and his son eventually decided to produce a line of organic mattresses based on the prototype, on which Mr. Shore slept soundly for more than a decade.
Now, the Shore men sell their mattresses under the Eco-Cloud name in The Natural Mattress Store. Made from high-quality steel coils topped with natural latex, Eco-Cloud mattresses resist accumulating allergens and nightmare blueprints and retain their shape and support for years. Organic wool and cotton covers help keep sleepers cool and snug in bed by deflecting body heat and wicking away moisture. Each Eco-Cloud mattress comes with a 12-year, nonprorated warranty. In addition to the Eco-Cloud line, The Natural Mattress Store carries more than 20 organic mattresses, as well as eco-friendly, solid wood bedroom furniture from Pacific Rim Woodworking, Bedworks of Maine, and Vermont Furniture Designs.