I won’t deny feeling a bit self-satisfied whenever I do a good job picking the perfect gift for a loved one – something I can truly tell they’re excited about and can’t wait to read/use/wear/look at in their home. Especially if they’re impossibly hard to shop for because they always just get stuff for themselves before I get the chance. I’ve given my share of duds (mostly, gift certificates and bath salts) and they were usually the result of running out of time and inspiration, but when I do well, I might pull a Liz Lemon and high five myself.
While buying things online certainly is easy and makes global shopping accessible, I still prefer any opportunity to shop in person and locally. San Francisco is a great city for that, especially if you’re looking for something unique, given a number of great craft and gift fairs that take place throughout the year, from Renegade to the monthly antique fair in Alameda. Making their debut on the scene this coming weekend (November 16-17) are West Coast Craft, who will take over Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion with over 150 vendors. Founded by Nick Sarno and Paulina Nassar (co-owners of Press) and local furniture builder and designer Sergio Traverso, the aim of WCC is to find a balance between craft and fine art. When I asked Nick to describe the theme for the fair in three adjectives he chose “innovative,” “bright” and “cool” (but not, he pointed out, “the aloof kind of cool”). Among the vendors assembled, there are clothes makers, perfumers, jewelers, and crafters and builders working with reclaimed wood, clay, leather, glass and hand woven fabrics. A sense of pride in careful craftsmanship, and the use of warm textures and colors seem to be common elements between many of the vendors. The fair is free to attend, and there will also be food by ForageSF’s Batchmade Market and cocktails from The Bon Vivants, the team behind many of the city’s cocktail menus, including Trick Dog's. DJ Andy Cabic (Vetiver) will provide music, and if color and texture overload from all the wares might not be enough, artists like Tahiti Pehrson and Kindah Khalidy are setting up installations to add to the ambiance of the design show.
West Coast Craft takes place at Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion on November 16 and 17th, from 10am to 6pm. Admission is free.