559 Sixth Street,
(415) 982-0680. M-F
7-5, Sat 8:30-4. Cash/Check. Parking: street/lot.
has just about everything for craft-oriented people. It stocks an extensive
selection of dried and silk flowers (exotic specimens you see beautifully
arranged in fancy stores), plus all the makings to put them together:
tapes, wires, ribbons, foam, etc. My favorite is florist ribbon in rolls
for gift wrapping at one-third the cost of the Hallmark kind. Its aisle
of ribbons is unsurpassed. Come here for holiday decorations and ideas.
It also has baskets, plastic flowers and fruits, dollhouses, ceramics,
garden statuary, and many accessory items. Prices to the general public
are usually 10-30% lower than stores closer to home, except for paper
party supplies, which are competitive with all the other party discount
stores. Nice wedding department, and 10% off on wedding and party invitations
from several books.
77 Geary Boulevard,
Second Floor, San Francisco. (415) 956-5750. E-mail- Artxchng1@aol.com.
T-Sat 11:30-5:30. Cash/Check. Parking: street.
The Art Exchange
is a wonderful resource for those who have art that no longer fits their
lifestyles. Perhaps they've moved, gone through a divorce, inherited art
that doesn't suit their decor or taste, or redecorated. The gallery resells
artwork, including paintings, sculpture, prints, and other objets d'art.
The only requirement is that it be original: no reproductions like posters
or photographs. The emphasis is on contemporary art. There are water-colors,
monoprints, woodcuts, sculptures, carvings, etchings, oils, and more,
at prices ranging from $300 to $30,000 and including the works of famous
artists like Henrietta Berk, Gary Bukovnik, Richard Diebenkorn, David
Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Miro, and Robert Motherwell alongside
those of lesser-known talents. Before you bring your art in, call the
owner to discuss what you'd like to place on consignment and its price.
When the work is sold, the gallery gets one-third of the selling price.
Documentation about the artist or the work is especially desirable.
CRAFT SUPPLIES OUTLET
41 14th Street, San
(415) 431-7122. M-F
9-4. MC, VISA. Parking: street.
(Other store: Annex,
50 13th Street, San Francisco. Sat only 10-5.)
Arts & Craft
Supplies is an outlet for an importer and distributor of many of the categories
of merchandise you find in major arts and crafts supply stores: painting
supplies, acrylic paints, pens, glues, lace, transfer type, paper goods,
beads (lots and lots!), macrame, inks, brushes, basketry, doll parts and
accessories, craft patterns and magazines, jewelry findings, jute, oil
paints, floral supplies, wedding and shower favors, and more. Organization
may not be the outlet's strong suit, but keeping such a convoluted inventory
in order would defy all but the pathologically organized. Most folks like
the mess—it seems more in keeping with one's expectation of an outlet.
Pick up a shopping basket—1 guarantee you'll find goodies you didn't
know you wanted as you stroll along the long wall, with its merchandise
dangling offpegboards and stashed on shelves. Discontinued or surplus
merchandise is usually at least 50% off original retail. (Expect some
surprises—the company picks up
some very interesting inventory, buying up entire booths at trade shows.)
Small craft manufacturers or anyone else interested in volume purchases
may have access to additional discounts. Inquire! Shop on Saturdays at
the company's annex, located a block away.
1501 Powell Street,
Suite A, Emeryville.
(510) 547-8469. wwvw.shendls.com.
W only Noon-5:30 (or by appointment). MC, VISA, DIS. Parking: street.
Make sure it's Wednesday
(or call for an appoint-ment) before setting out to replenish your candle
stock. This outlet sells two lines of candles: one specifically for Jewish
holidays—shendl's candls— the other perfect for any time lovely
candles are appropriate. All candles are made of pure bees-wax: in honeycomb,
smooth finish, or solid. Most candles are sold in boxes or in pairs and
priced 30-50% below retail as seconds or overruns. A 12-inch pair of dinner
candles at retail runs about $10; for overruns you'll pay about $6. Pillars,
fluted tapers, chime, and birthday candles in gorgeous colors add beauty
to entertaining and special
holiday occasions. The Shabbat, Chanukah, and Havdalah candles are dripless,
virtually smokeless, and emit a fresh honey scent. Make your own candles
after buying sheets of honeycomb beeswax and the candlemaking kits that
are sold here. Beeswax candles in all shapes and sizes work especially
well with rustic accessories and decorations that are popular now-the
new natural look sweeping the home accessories industry. An unusual selection
ofcandleholders are priced at $2.50 to $150. Add your name to the mailing
list for invitations to special sales prior to Chanukah and Christmas.
Note: The outlet is located under the Powell Street overpass with its
entrance on Landregan, next to the accommo-dating Amtrak parking lot.
THE CANDLE FACTORY
60 Galli Drive (Bel
Marin Keys business park), Novato. (415) 883-7220. M-F 9-5, Sat 11-5.
MC, VISA. Parking: lot.
Increase your stash
of candles by stopping by the Candle Factory, where you'll find your senses
overpowered by the combined fragrances used in candlemaking here. Because
the candles are made on the premises, you can buy at reduced prices (sometimes
just very minimal savings). These dripless and smokeless candles are made
of organic domestic ingredients, and it's claimed they outburn imported
ones. Occasionally you'll find specials when a wheel runs off color or
a tint proves unpopular. Seeking wellness? Then you'll appreciate the
line of holistic healing candles.
1223 Donnelly Avenue,
(650) 343-0804. T-Sat
10-7. Sun 11-6. MC, VISA, DIS. Parking: city lots.
At this fragrant
and charming outlet tucked inside a vintage cottage behind the big Pottery
Barn on Burlingame Avenue, discontinued candles, seconds, and occasional
surplus candles are reduced in price at least 50% off original retails.
The manufacturer keeps some very high profile company: it supplies gift
candles and other candle accessories to trendsetting lifestyle stores,
major department stores, and upscale gift stores and provides candles
under private labels for famous collections. All the candles are scented
with fragrances made exclusively in France (vanilla, cedar, bergamot,
ylang-ylang, exotic woods, melon/cucumber,etc.). Aromatherapy candles
with 100% essential oils are in the collection. The candles are distinctive—rounds
in several sizes have inset designs around the sides of the candles, including
flowers, herbs, leaves, starfish, cinnamon sticks, hot red peppers, stars,
and even dress-maker buttons (in silver or gold). The patterns are illuminated
as the candles burn down through the center (no drips over the sides).
Plain candle rounds come in a crayon-box range of colors. Assume anything
wrapped in cellophane is first quality; other "bare" candles
are usually seconds.
The candle beauties
are pricey at retail—a 3-by-3-inch round $12 to $14 at retail is
at least half off as discontinued, up to 80% off as a second. Ditto for
first-quality 4-by-6-inch rounds at $28 to
$34 at retail. Discontinued and seconds ofthree-to five-wick candles range
from $20 to $30; plain (but fragrant) 3-by-9-inch columns hover around
$8; and square-shaped aromatherapy candles are $5 or less. Lots of little
candle accessories are left over-flat bases (tiles, recycled glass, slate)
to protect furniture, plus vases, soaps, and other gift items
recently part of the company's line. Locals stop in frequently to scout
for bimonthly special promotions. Expanded hours between Thanks-giving
FRAME FACTORY OUTLET
4249 Geary Boulevard,
(415) 221-4720. M-Sat
10-6, W-Th until 8, Sun Noon-5. MC, VISA, DIS. Parking: street.
(Other stores: 11
East Fourth Avenue, San Mateo; Montecito Plaza, San Rafael; 1666 Locust
Street, Walnut Creek.)
If you have travel
posters, prints, and family photos languishing in your closets and drawers
because the cost of framing far exceeds the price of the picture, Cheap
Pete's comes to the rescue with more than 10,000 ready-made frames in
sizes ranging from 3-by-5-inch to 30-by-40-inch, including hard-to-find
4-by-6 and 5-by-5. The frames, available in metal, Plexiglas, and wood
(styles for all decors), are wonderfully discounted. Also tabletop, collage,
and frames for gift giving. You'll achieve maximum savings (20-60% off)
if you select a ready-made frame; on custom framing expect savings of
20-40% off pricey frame shops. Labor costs and overhead are kept down
by doing custom work on a production-line basis. Also, volume purchasing
of frames and using leftover materials result in the discount prices.
CORNER ART GALLERY
2441 San Ramon Valley
Boulevard #4, Diablo Plaza, San Ramon.
(925) 829-3428. M-Sat
10-6, Sun Noon-5. MC, VISA. Parking: lot.
sells original art—numbered and limited editions—at nicely
discounted prices. Its inventory is quite eclectic, ranging from very
modest prints to more expensive (investment) pieces priced in the hundreds
and even thousands. By far the largest part of the selection is in the
middle range of framed pieces selling for
$195 to $350. Markdowns on designated pieces can reach 30-40% off comparable
prices at other galleries. Those able to spend big bucks (thou-sands)
might be able to order a piece of art that they have seen in another fine
art gallery and save 20-40% on the framed piece. The selection will appeal
to the sophisticated connoisseur as well as those who simply want an affordable
lithograph. Written certification on everything guarantees authenticity.
Artists in the collection include Thomas Pradzynski, Eidenberger, Viktor
Shvaiko, Buckles, Thomas Kinkade, Mark King, Barbara Wood, S. Sam Parks,
Sabzi, Royo, G. Gordon, Don Hatfield, Kati Roberts, Ming Feng, Jim Buckles,
Fairchild, and many others. Framing prices are about 20-30% below typical
1604 Fourth Street
(corner of F Street), San Rafael.
(415) 456-1211. www.dharmatrading.com.
M-Sat 10-6. MC, VISA, DIS. Parking: lot.
If the textile artist
in you needs an avenue for expression, Dharma Trading can provide the
essentials for you to paint your wardrobe. It carries dyes and coloring
agents for fabric painting, silk-screening, batiking, etc. The company
provides excellent information and how-to advice. It also offers a wide
range of cotton and silk fabrics ready for dyeing. Even better, each piece
in its extensive inventory of ready-made clothing for babies, children,
and adults in "naked white" cotton and silk needs only a dip
in the dye or a brush stroke before it's transformed into an original
Apparel includes baby sets, basic T-shirts, body-wear,
dresses, jumpers, scarf blanks, rompers, and other styles. The store's
yarn brings in many women, who carefully check for special markdowns on
this out-of-the-ordinary selection. Dharma satisfies the needs of "cottage
industry" apparel manufacturers as well as just plain folks. To get
the full picture, write or call for a catalog: P.O. Box 150916, San Rafael,
CA 94915, or (800) 542-5227.
FRAMES (MAIL ORDER)
1547Jayken Way #B,
Chula Vista, CA, 91911.
(800) 854-6606. M-F
7-3:30. MC, VISA.
This mail-order company
specializes in preassembled frames and wood sectionals for assembling
your own frames at home. Many preassembled frames come complete with linen
liners (some with gold or wood lips) in many different finishes: antique
white, Renaissance gold, walnut, drift-wood, cherry, oak, pewter, etc.
Prices are good: a 12-by-16-inch frame ranges from $12.50 to $29.50. Custom
wood sectionals are sold by the pair. The framing finishes available offer
lots of design choices—traditional, ornate, contemporary, or natural,
in widths ranging from 3/4 to 2 1/2 inches. Order two pairs for a frame
and you'll receive four
miter clips for easy joining. No special tools are needed, although wood
glue is recommended for more secure joining. (Glue and hangers are not
included.) To finish the project you may have to go to a local resource
for mats and glass. Nielsen metal sectionals, linen liners, Fredrix stretched
canvas, and oval stretched canvas are also available. The catalog features
color pictures of its frames, but if you're still not certain about a
particular framing finish, you can order samples for a small charge (to
cover shipping). Call for a catalog and join all the corporations, schools,
and galleries that have discovered this money-saving option for framing.
156 Russ Street, San
Francisco. (415) 621-4226. M-F 9-5:30, Sat 9-2. MC, VISA. Parking: limited
street (two spaces marked Tenant Only).
This business is
not paying a high-priced rent in a commercial district, and it passes
the savings on to its customers through lower prices. It's a do-it-yourself
frame shop only if you buy all the materials and assemble them at home,
an option for artists who find that the $6.39 to $13.50 assembly charge
adds up when they're framing many pictures for exhibit or sale. Aluminum
framing and custom wood frames are available. You can select budget-priced
materials to frame an inexpensive picture or print, or go first class
with museum-quality materials for conservation mounting of fine art-works.
Prices on aluminum frames are often lower than at do-it-yourself frame
shops, even when all the work is done for you. Prices on basic conservation
matting are also lower, but on the more elaborate fabric and French detail
mats, Framers is competitive.
637 Minna Street,
(415) 621-8187. T-Sat
10-5, Th until 7, Sun 1-4. VISA, MC, DIS. Parking: street.
The General Bead store
in San Francisco is a serious bead wholesaler and the largest bead retailer
in Northern California. Anyone willing to meet wholesale minimums (which
vary from item to item) can buy at wholesale. However, those without resale
numbers will have to pay appropriate taxes. Those interested in buying
in smaller quantities will be charged retail prices. The store's strength
is its high-fashion beads for the style-conscious client. Its main focus
is on glass beads and on Austrian crystal pieces. The beads, in all varieties
(ethnic, glass, bone, shell, pearl, antique, sterling, crystal, ceramic,
brass, etc.) from around the world, are not readily available anyplace
else. With two floors and 25,000 items in inventory, General Bead also
offers artists metal studs, sequins, and rhinestones, plus such "tools
and fixin's" as jewelry findings and much more. Be warned: The staff
is geared toward working with professionals, and there's no time for counter
seminars for novices about the esoterics of making jewelry.
LTD. (MAIL ORDER)
2103 Brentwood Street,
High Point, NC 27263.
Catalog requests and
orders (800) 221-0262. www.graphikdimensions.com. Daily 24 hours. MC,
Ltd. is a mail-order company that publishes a catalog for consumers and
volume frame users, including smaller frame shops. Its prices are the
result of volume buying of framing materials. Most small frame shops pay
a premium price to keep a wide variety of wood molding and aluminum framing
on hand. Graphik offers preassembled frames in 5-by-7 to 14-by-18 inches
(some to 24-by-30 inches), with prices ranging from $9.95 to $43.95. Several
styles have linen liners. Sectional metal/aluminum or lacquer-finished
frames are easy to assemble, with the hardware, hangers, and spring clips
provided. Custom-made frames are just that—assembled at the factory
and shipped to you. Frames larger than 50 inches are shipped in sections
with an easy assembly kit. Turn page after page in the catalog and you'll
see that almost every style of frame molding is available, whether you
want an ornate gold-finished carved frame, a faux stone finish, burled
wood, hand-lacquered, contemporary wood, touches of silver or gold, or
a frame with a linen liner or antique brass corners. You don't have to
buy blind. You can order a free sample of the metal or custom-made wood
moldings. Precut acid-free mats, glass, and nonglare plastic in standard
sizes are also available. Service is another point of pride for the company.
Most orders are shipped within forty-eight hours. Shipping costs in many
cases are offset by the fact that no sales tax is charged.
565 Sutter Street,
(415) 434-4264. www.hangart.com.
M-Sat 10-6, Sun Noon-5. MC, VISA, AE, DIS. Parking: pay lots.
If you're ready to
upgrade from college era posters to real adult art, but not yet ready
to spend the big bucks on fine art displayed by most of the galleries
in the heart of San Francisco, there's hope to be found at Hang. Its mission
is to provide high-quality art at affordable prices; its motto is "emerging
artists for emerging collectors." The 4,000 square feet of Hang features
the works of approximately 40 emerging artists at any one time who are
working to gain exposure and build a collector base. The majority of work
in a wide variety of contemporary styles and media sells for under $2,000.
Hang's approach is to make neophytes comfortable (no snooty here), with
artist biographies posted by the work so visitors can get some immediate
insight into a particular artist's background, motivation, and process.
As an alternative to purchasing, Hang offers a rental program that allows
customers to either evaluate a piece before purchasing or simply refresh
their surroundings by rotating their art
New San Francisco
(415) 703-0086. www.leesen.com.
Hours pending. MC, VISA. Parking: lot.
Leesen will be at
a new location by January 2000. It must leave its SOMA location so the
building can be converted to a high-tech facility. Its Web site is probably
the best way to keep in touch if you're looking for a dramatic gold-finished
frame for a picture or mirror. Leesen frames are made out of a hardwood
from China called "cham," which is used in construction, being
especially good for lintels and other load-bearing applications. Most
Leesen frames have handcrafted comer ornaments that are made from a chip-resistant
resin compound. (This compound is different from the easily chipped plaster
that some framers use.) Unlike most machine-made soft wood molding frames
with exposed seams, Leesen's corner ornaments are made to discreetly cover
the seams of the joints. The detailed designs give the frames an elegant
(sometimes ornate) look without being overpowering or overdone, making
them suitable accents for many rooms. The frames are hand-finished with
gold leaf that will not dull or tarnish over
time. Leesen is not a custom frame shop; the frames are fully assembled
in popular sizes from 8-by-10 inches to 30-by-40 inches. Those who have
shopped around will find that the frame prices are substantially lower
than the prices on comparable frames—even on many look-alike frames
made from softer woods like pine (often imported from Mexico). Taking
the savings even further, the company's prices on plain or beveled mirrors
are lower, and there's no charge for mirror assembly. Any way you look
at it, these frames and framed mirrors offer a good value/quality/price
Factory Stores at
(707) 446-6448. Daily.
MC, VISA. Parking: lot.
Beeswax candles are
virtually drip-free, burn smoke-free, and last longer than petroleum-based
candles. Mitchell's Beeswax Candles are expensive—some would say
extravagant—and are sold in gift stores around the globe. A pair
of 10-inch silhouette tapers may be priced $20 to $25 at these stores;
but at the factory store you'll pay about $17. The store offers a complete
range of pillars and tapers in a setting that's hard to resist.
MUSEUM OF MODERN ART RENTAL GALLERY
Building A, Fort
Mason Center (at Buchanan and Marina), San Francisco.
(415) 441-4777. T-Sat
11:30-5:30; closed August. MC, VISA. Parking: lot.
This gallery's goal
is to give new artists exposure; you get an excellent chance to take part
in the beginning of an artist's career at a very low cost. You can rent
a painting, sculpture, or photograph for a two-month period, with the
option of renting for another two months. If you decide to buy, half the
rental fee applies toward the purchase price. Rental fees vary: an artwork
with a purchase price of $300 to $399 rents for $44 for two months, while
an $800 to $900 work would rent for $72. Many corporate offices, restaurants,
and film companies come here for fine art to display. A suggestion: When
selling your home, rent a dramatic piece of art to increase the buyer
appeal. Regulars anticipate the gallery's major museum fund-raiser held
each June. The fund-raiser consists of a special sale at which artists
donate their works to be sold at 50% off regular prices. All proceeds
go to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
WOMEN ARTISTS GALLERY
370 Hayes Street,
(415) 552-7392. T-Sat
11-6, Th until 8. MC, VISA. Parking: street.
This group has been
around since women wore long skirts and wide-brimmed hats as they did
their plein-air sketching in the fields near San Francisco—in other
words, more than 100 years. The gallery is staffed by its members and
volunteers (many past members have acquired fame and fortune). Members'
exhibits change every month and the expressions are diverse—abstractionists,
realists, expressionists, landscapists; painters, etchers, sculptors,
etc. There is a rental gallery allowing art lovers to acquire an original
piece on a payment plan, to take it home for a trial period before making
a permanent buying decision, or just to borrow one for a limited period
to brighten up a room for a particular occasion. In the gallery stands,
many smaller works of art are available at reasonable prices, a good starting
place for beginning collectors.
12147 Alcosta Boulevard,
(925) 833-8764. M-F
11-5:30, Th 10-9, Sat 9:30-5:30, Sun Noon-5. MC, VISA. Parking: lot.
If you think a little
savings is better than none at all, you'll be satisfied with the 20% discounts
reflected on the marked prices on stamps and papers from 300 companies.
This modest operation shows just how popular stamping and creating scrapbooks
has become. Customers are stamping papers (invitations, giftwrap, stationery,
etc.), fabrics, lamp shades, and sundry other items. The costs on the
paraphernalia can add up for the enthusiastic stamp/book crafter—stamps,
stamp pads, inks, glitter, papers, stickers, and more. The warehouse offers
more than 1,000 stamp images displayed along two walls of the outlet.
Check the center tables for extra-special closeouts. The faithful look
forward to special paper sales in March and October, and clearance sales
in August and December. Directions: From Highway 680, take the Bollinger
Canyon exit east. Turn right on Alcosta. Located in the Country Faire
3006 San Pablo Avenue
(corner of Ashby), Berkeley.
548-5247. T-F Noon-5:30, Sat 10-5:30. MC, VISA. Parking: street.
If your pleasure
comes from knitting or crocheting a fine-quality treasure, you'll want
to use a natural fiber commensurate with the time you're going to spend
making it. Straw Into Gold's customers approach this store as if making
a pilgrimage to a religious shrine. Its attraction? One of the most impressive
selections of fibers on the West Coast. This company serves a clientele
of weavers, machine knitters, stores, and the public. The bar-gains are
in the center aisle's baskets of closeout yams and in the "cone"
selection. It's much cheaper to buy off the cone, priced by the pound.
You can save about 30% if you buy a whole cone (unused portions can be
returned within six months for a refund). You'll also find notions, supplies,
wonderful buttons, and more. Inquire about receiving a catalog and price
list for mail orders.
3400-D De La Cruz
Boulevard, Santa Clara
(408) 727-1995. M-F
9-4:30, Sat by appointment only. MC, VISA. Parking: lot.
Catering to artists,
galleries, and interior designers, Up Against the Wall primarily uses
aluminum frames, as well as lovely wood framing materials, at prices about
15% below standard frame shops (higher discounts on quantity orders).
If you have works to frame, you have two options: You can have the work
done here from start to finish, or you can do it yourself at home, after
purchasing the materials. This is a time-saver of special value to artists
who may be framing a number of pieces at once for a show or fair. Many
rely on this outfit to locate poster art that's not readily available
in the mall stores. Call for directions.
1661 Botelho Drive,
Suite 110, Walnut Creek.
(925) 935-4311. T-Sat
11-5. MC, VISA. Parking: lot.
Valley Art exhibits,
sells, and rents the work of established and emerging artists. Artists
submit work to a jury of professionals for inclusion in its sales and
rental program. There's a nice selection of original canvases priced $150
to $3,000. More than 200 artists are represented. The gallery also sells
fine crafts, jewelry, and sculpture by talented local artisans. Rental
periods extend for three months starting at $10/month.