Industrial style is hot, hot, hot! I love that it is, but the market’s become oversaturated with inexpensive industrial reproductions. I’ve been doing authentic vintage industrial design in the Cedros Design District for over fourteen years now, longer than any of the chain stores who’ve since jumped on the bandwagon. But, in reviewing the past year, I, too, found myself sucked in to the abundance and affordability of “made in _______” knock-offs. Since true vintage and antique industrial pieces have become so scarce and thus expensive, these mass-produced options were tempting. But, I feel as I surrendered to the temptation, I lost my true intention.
It’s time to get back to my roots. While I’ll continue to source affordable well-made accessories and gifts, I’m searching farther afield for the good stuff. I’m digging deeper. I’m tapping into my well of artists and craftsmen to collaborate on more one-of-a-kind pieces. I’d rather spend my buying budget with these creative souls … it’s a win-win. I much prefer selling one fabulous vintage $2000 table or original artwork than ten or twenty cheap, poorly made pieces of ….
Imagine the time I’ll save not having to peel off millions of “made in Chindia” stickers! More time to blog!
Are you with me?
Note: One of my goals this year is to be more prolific with my blogposts. When I started the blog last Spring, I was planning to post weekly. But, life got in the way and weekly became bi-monthly became monthly became occasional! If I can at least accomplish a monthly post, I’ll be happy. So, by the skin of my teeth, I just made January!
//Photos: Jennifer Price
It’s amazing how bits and pieces scavenged from the garage can be transformed in the hands of true artists.
My sister Joy and I both have garage studios brimming with junk we’ve been collecting for years, knowing that at some point we’ll find the perfect use for it. I mean literally “junk” and I mean literally “for years”! Broken fragments, leftovers from projects, weird parts of discarded items that rightfully should have been relegated to the trashbin were detoured to boxes in the garage. Lots of boxes, with lots of junk. But cool junk. Don’t you wish you could shop our garages? Well, we did.
Joy and I have collaborated on a collection of art pieces that utilize lots of those collected bits and pieces. Little boxes (some handmade with discarded wood and old hardware, some vintage) become canvases for assemblages of “junk” … an old sewing machine drawer now showcases an 1893 sprinkler head, a rusty metal horse comb makes a strong graphic statement in a handmade box, layers of discarded materials are artfully arranged to become clockfaces. One box is an abstract collage made entirely of unaltered scraps of wood, broken chopsticks and used paint stirrers. Tiny glass vials are strung on an old glass slide viewing box and rewired to create a one-of-a-kind light. Antique tripods are deconstructed to construct new architectural lamps. We’re having fun! And feeling a bit less like hoarders in the process.
We’re lucky to have Joy here from Florida this week and we’ll be debuting our collection at the ArtOberfest walkabout in South Park, San Diego this Saturday evening. Graffiti Beach, a great shop dedicated to promoting independent artists, has graciously offered to feature our work in their space. This is a really fun event in a super cool neighborhood and we’re excited to be a part of it. Accenting our creations will be some of our late father’s vintage photographs. Please come by and say hi! After Saturday, the collection will move to my shop at SoLo.
//Photos: Jennifer Price & Joy Price
It’s time for “What Was It?”, where you try to guess what it was before it became what it is! We’re famous for reimagining found objects into functional pieces, particularly lamps.
What do you think this was before we turned it into a hanging light? Answer here.
// Photo: Jennifer Price
My favorite color has been grey as long as I can remember. Thirty plus years ago, I took my bright blue Karmann Ghia to Earl Scheib to have it painted dove grey (sacrilege, I’m sure, to classic VW enthusiasts, but I thought it looked really classy!).
Lately, I’ve been trying hard to introduce color into my wardrobe and home décor … a bit of a challenge for me. But this huge vintage classroom map of California, looming over my shoulder here in my office, serves as an inspiration to bring a little vibrance into my life. I love the retro palette! I’m sure that time and exposure have softened the map’s original hues, and that’s fine with me. I can never imagine using all these colors in one space, but a little bit here and there couldn’t hurt. Right?
I’m thrilled to be carrying these unique vintage coin and leather bracelets made by my friend and quintessential Texan, Michael Malone.
A master hatmaker and leather craftsman from the Texas hill country, Michael’s hats have been featured in movies such as Quigley Down Under, Lonesome Dove, Tombstone, and The Good Ol’ Boys. While his guitar straps are used by such talents as Little Feat, Bonnie Raitt, Lyle Lovett, Jerry Jeff Walker, Emmylou Harris and The Rolling Stones.
These cool unisex bracelets are created from domed vintage world coins, skirting leather handstamped with old saddle stamps and rubbed antique finishes. Fashionable on their own, they also stack beautifully with other bracelets.
A little bit country, a little bit rock & roll!
// photo individual bracelet: Molly Johnson
// photo bracelet collection: Jennifer Price
On a visit to a flea market in Buenos Aires 15 years ago, one of my vendors came across a family selling a collection of beautiful vintage seltzer bottles from the 1930’s. He bought all that he could carry, bonded with the family and promised to stay in touch. Back in the states, he showed them to designers and sold out of them immediately. Realizing the demand for these cool pieces, he contacted the family about getting more. On his next visit to Argentina, he decided to set the family up with their own business, collecting and restoring the bottles. He helped them learn to use the Internet, open a bank account, take orders by fax or email, etc., thus developing their own local enterprise. He then buys the finished products from the family and resells them to customers in the U.S. Since then, he’s worked with many families all over Argentina, fostering small business development and recycling classic pieces from the past.
For years, I’ve lusted over these amazing seltzer pendant lights and finally got to use them in a design project. Made from original metal-clad Argentine bottles, the nozzles removed, bottoms sheared off and fitted with UL approved electrical components, these lights create an industrial statement with a warm authenticity. Installed over the bar at Zel’s Del Mar, my favorite local café, I get to enjoy them regularly and love sharing the story behind them.
I currently have limited stock of the pendant lights available at my shop.
// Photo Zel’s Del Mar: Ed Chan
The Vista Press was the northern San Diego city’s newspaper for 69 years, beginning in 1926. I found this old newsboy’s canvas vest at an antiques shop in Vista. Designed to be worn over the carrier’s neck, it held papers in front & back pockets. I shipped it off to my infinitely talented sister to reimagine it as something new …
After giving the vest a good cleaning, she salvaged every part of it to create two fab totebags. She inserted small magnets where the original d-rings were as closures. The handles were made from leftover dark brown carpet binding, which she bleached to match the color of the logo. All lovingly created on Mom’s 1960′s sewing machine (on which she made our baby clothes!).
A classic workhorse being put back into service!
This is a case of RE-recycling.
Many years ago, a creative soul had the vision to recycle antique bobbins, giving them new purpose as hourglass frames. When I came across a box of them at a local antique shop, the hourglasses had long been broken. But I immediately re-imagined them as lamps.
My sister Joy, handywoman extraordinaire, took the task on, cleaning them up, configuring the electrical components incorporating new cloth covered cord & adding feet for stabilization. The shape is modern, but the materials rustic … a nice juxtaposition.
For sale here.