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.
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.
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.
Since the shop opened in 1974, Frame-O-Rama's team has mastered all sorts of techniques to preserve family photos, works of art, and other frame-able objects. "We've framed ceremonial objects such as christening gowns and shoes, and African walking sticks. My personal favorite was a signed Willie Mays baseball with a signed and mounted print of him playing stickball back in Brooklyn," Frame-O-Rama manager Matt Miller said in an interview with SFGate.
See below for more details on their various techniques.