The recent rise in demand for domestically-made goods has led to a veritable artisan renaissance in the United States. At Bespoke, we often marvel at the range and quality of products made here at home.
California boasts an incredible number of entrepreneurs at the forefront of the handmade movement, with makers hard at work across this big state of ours-- not just the big cities. Truckee's just one example of a small California community bursting with big talent.
Here's a look at some of the diverse bioregions of the Golden State, and the artists inspired by them.
Big Sur vistas and windows. The rough beauty of the John Muir trail. Pine and oak. Sequoia and juniper. A springy duff mattress at the trail's end.
From its inception, Juniper Ridge has been drawing in people who normally eschew fragrance felt with their potent nature-inspired blends. This wild fragrance company distills scents from foraged materials found on hikes all over California. Their soap and body washes reflect the flora of distinct bioregions. Made from real plants, the fragrances vary from year to year and harvest to harvest.
A respect for the natural environment informs Kristina Sullivan of Eko Kreations, whose cloth napkins in hemp and organic cotton make it easy (and pretty) to walk softly on the earth. We love her California and Lake Tahoe table runners.
Wild and seaweed strewn in the north. Cigarette-and-sunscreen scented in the south. Mighty blue Pacific. Lullaby of coastal kids, calling them back if landlocked too long.
Bay Area artist Linda Fahey lives near the Pacific. She combs the beaches for unique pieces of driftwood to combine with ceramic for her charming spoons. Her work is spare and imperfect, seeming to draw from an oceanic quality of changeability mixed with constancy.
Mojave cacti. Fields of California poppy. Yucca and Joshua Tree. Milkweed, creosote, sagebrush.
From Heyday Books, Califlora collects the best writing on the relationship between humans and plants, with literary work from poets, essayists, novelists, and botanists alike. A great summer read. Tuck it in your backpack for a day hike, or read between dips in the lake or ocean.
That dusty drive down I-5 in the summer. Fields in their summer gold. Lupine and poppy. Valley oaks. Food basket of the state and even the country.
Other Brother grows, harvests, and cold presses Tuscan olives from California groves similar in climate and soil to the Mediterranean. Some of the trees in their Carmel Valley and San Luis Obispo groves are over twenty years old.
Humming with industry, people, life. Sprawling L.A. suburbs and packed San Francisco hills. Neighborhood gardens spilling over. Farmer's markets and outdoor concerts.
In the thick of the crisis with honeybees, some good news is emerging. Studies show that urban hives are much more likely to thrive, owing to a greater diversity of forage and dwindling percentage of pesticide use as residential awareness grows.
You can taste this diversity in the complexity of Luna's Gold honey. Beekeeper Gerry Ehrmann tends hives on four different properties in the Bay Area: in Sebastopol, Pescadero, and San Francisco. His bees have access to neighborhood fruit trees and eucalyptus in one plot; bottle brush and blackberry in another. A retired schoolteacher, Ehrmann has been tending to and learning from honeybees since 1990.