Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ruth Asawa

If you are in San Francisco, you must go see the Ruth Asawa retrospective that opens this weekend at the deYoung. I am so in love with this woman's work. I hope I get back to see the show before it closes! The accompanying catalog is definitely on my wish list.

Also, kudos to Brandon Stosuy, who I started reading 10 or 15 years ago when he had his zine and his indie label, for his book Up is Up, But So is Down, which chronicles the NY downtown literary scene, post-punk and pre-Internet, and landed in the Times Review of Books this weekend, yay!

Just a note to say that next week's schedule is - closed Mon/Tues as usual, open Wednesday, closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving, and back open on Friday at noon as always. We don't expect to see many of you as people tend to head to the big shops in the city on Black Friday but if you do come by we will be happy to see you...and no neverending Christmas music we promise!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bird and Bud Vases

Just in are a few new Joanna Mendicino vases - see an assortment of them below. If you are interested in any, email or give us a ring, there are only 1 or 2 of each style at the shop!

Coming soon - a great new design from Crystalyn Kae, this one is called the monarch hobo and we'll be trying burgundy and navy blue first. Crystalyn's bags are made of a durable and soft glazed fabric...the bag is not too big, not too small and has an adjustable shoulder strap so you can go from under the arm to cross-body in a flash.

Elsewhere this weekend - if you are in the SF Bay Area, do not miss this holiday trunk show in Alameda on Sunday - my sweet friend Andrea will be selling her gorgeous jewelry and there will be 5 other designers' wares as well. Give her a big hello from me!

That's it for this update - I just want to reiterate that if you are interested in a product that I mention or take a picture of here - HURRY. I only get a few pieces in (you know, that "rare" part) and they tend to move fast. Also, if you are stuck for gift ideas, email or call and we can give you suggestions from the shop. We just need to know who it's for and a budget and we will work with you.

Letterpress Wall Print

We are very excited that the red bird letterpress wall print by Old School Stationers is in the Real Simple holiday gift guide! This style and 7 others are available here.

We are also pleased to be in good company with other independent designers and businesses such as Cherry Tee, Blend Creations, My Perennial for Mahar Dry Goods, Tiny Showcase and more. Kudos to the magazine for doing their homework!

We are also in a fairly new magazine called Imbibe, run out of Portland, OR and all about drinks - liquor, beer, wine, coffee and tea. It's a fun read! They featured our keyaki wood teacups in their holiday guide.

Fun reminders for NYC folk: don't miss The Gift on Grand on December 16 in Williamsburg, there will be a ton of great designers bringing their wares straight to you in a gorgeous old building on Grand St. I am particularly enamored of Purldrop knit and crochetwear, Lena Corwin textile treats, Mociun clothing, Jane D'Arensbourg's pyrex jewelry, anything by Deadly Squire, M. Carter tees, Plunket & Pivet handbags and many more. I'll be here at the shop (sniff!) so go shop for me!

Also - just so you know what is going on behind the scenes...we are finally getting with the times and working on a new version of our website. We are adding features to make your life easier, like wishlists, order history and customer registration, more shipping options and hopefully an all-around better shopping experience. Thanks for supporting us!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


There is a fun, bright, crazy Brazilian shoe company called Melissa, and they often work with well-known designers and artists to make shoes and accessories out of their trademark plastic. I promise you are going to see the shoes in a big way come spring, but what I am getting for the shop is a very, very limited-edition digital watch. It's superwide and chunky and it is embossed with this wavy texture and it's so retro, it's cool. It also happens to be designed by Karim Rashid, and it's one of the nicest things I have seen from him. Anyway, here are a few photos of the watch in black, we'll have only a few pieces in each color, and so far we are the only ones who will be carrying it in North America, so if you are a watch collector or a Rashid collector or you just like spacey, chunky watches, this one is for you. Drop by the shop to see the sample if you like.

New at the shop: cute as pie art print/key hooks from Fluffy Co. in San Francisco. They have silkscreened and painted panels of wood and then attached cup hooks so you can hang up your keys, your dog leash, whatever. Simple and clever!

Also new - a few publications from Napa Books of Helsinki. A little illustration/comics, a little photography, really good stuff.

We are restocked on a bit of the Japanese wood product, and a few of the Coffee for One sets. They are turning out to be the hot gift this year! They are actually neck and neck with the Year of White Pages in terms of hotness.

Finally - we might have a great new product soon for you, it will satisfy many needs at once as it is both decorative and functional and for your wall, which seems to be quite the combo this year. More soon I hope.

Finally finally - design*sponge let the cat out of the bag about the "business lady nights" we've been holding informally this year. I can't have y'all over to my house as we just don't have enough seats, but any interested parties should read that post and contact Grace about joining...and I'll see you next time!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Some photos taken around my home...I think things look different than what I carry at the shop, so you may be surprised, but maybe I'm wrong. Also, a photo of my new Etsy wallet from jennalou06. We will resume regular programming tomorrow!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Possum and Chestnut

We have a little batch of the very clever Possum and Chestnut cards in stock - they are "interactive" holiday cards in that they turn into something else - the Christmas one turns into an ornament, and the Hannukah one into a menorah. They are at the shop and also online in the webshop.

On the way are more Nikki McClure calendars, and a brand-new baby journal... 128 pages of her paper-cut art in book form. It will make you want to have kids! Also coming are a few more Melie Bianco bags, perhaps a bit of lovely handmade glass jewelry from Daa Glass, and the new Re-Surface lamps.

It's supposed to be a very grey week. It reminds of of a Northern California winter, really - grey and rainy. To combat this, I am going to take some pictures around my home as I am a BIG fan of color, it really keeps me going. The apartment is extremely messy but some judicious photoshop cropping might help me out. My friend Judith is documenting her art collection on Flickr right now and I will sort of do the same thing. A little insight into this shopkeeper, I think.

Holiday shipping update: I looked at the calendar and we are going to set December 10 as the cutoff day for guaranteed order arrivals by the 23rd. Any orders after that will need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis and we cannot gurantee an early arrival, partly due to inventory and such, but partly due to the US Postal Service, who will be quite swamped at that time. Please keep December 10 in mind! We do a lot of overseas ordering and things take a while to get here, the Australians go on holiday, bad timing etc etc so order as early as you can. Yes, this month is a good time - preorder now as things run out very fast. They are Rare Picks after all!

Things I am fond of:

1. My new wallet which I got from Etsy. It's perfect!
2. Lamb gyro from the cart in front of the Barnes and Noble on Court St in Downtown Brooklyn
3. Pink CZ briolettes that I am turning into very sparkly pendants for the holidays
4. The scarf I am finally finishing - it's in a diagonal rib and when I finish, I get to start something else
5. Blue-green suede braided belt I scored at the A.P.C. sample sale
6. Aeolidia, who is working on a major website update for me, the most organized folks I have worked with
7. My Moo minicards
8. Laura, who is functioning nicely as the brains of this operation
9. Getting confirmation that the Year of White Pages really are going to be back in stock on the 20th (whew!)
10. A good night's sleep

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Radical Craft

Yes, this is what I think about on my days off, besides wondering how much Fra'mani Salumetto I can eat and not feel like a little piggy myself...anyway, the new Surface* mentions Tord Boontje and Target and how he is at the front of the radical craft movement. There was a conference entitled Radical Craft in the spring that I did not get to go to, there is an interesting summary of it here, and while it is very cool, it is not exactly what I thought it would be. It was about big name designers, industrial designers, and experiments with craft, craft as a way to generate new ideas. The products are great but some are theoretical and most are outside of the scope of what I can offer at Rare Device.

Now, there is something else called Craft Congress which is going to happen the last week of March in 2007, and it also sounds great but not quite what I was thinking of. This meeting is for indie craft organizers to get together and share resources and ideas. For some reason, the name led me to believe it would be a real conference about craft today, in the newest, Etsy-influenced, contemporary art trend-making sort of way...but it's not.

Where is the conference that has both practical seminars and showcases of extreme craftsmanship? Is it possible? Are people interested in craft as art, craft as commerce, craft as hobby, craft as community? I think so - I hope so. I am! I love the high-school kid in the Midwest learning to be a businesswoman, learning about the internet, plus learning how to make things, and I love those who would document this as a movement, analyze it and talk about the importance of it, how it influences traditional media and is influenced by it. I love hearing about new materials, and using old ones in new ways (and vice versa). Ah, I am rambling and it's almost 3am so I am going to stop. Weeks ago I thought that as my next big project, I would organize such a conference...and then I scoffed at doing such a big thing! And now I am hoping someone else will do it's the right time.