One Year in San Francisco

Last week marked one year since Jake and I stepped off our plane at SFO and started to navigate our new city. It's funny to reflect on the last year as I feel like we haven't done anything and I feel like we've done so many things at the same time. 

Here are some of my observations about SF and the last year:

  1. My wholesale business has grown tremendously in the past year. I believe I have many people to thank for that, but it's been great to connect with stores and shop owners in the Bay Area including Giselle from Rare Device, Nicole from Nooworks, Chelsea from ANOMIE, and Annie from Prospect.
  2. I have made some good friends in the Bay Area and that is largely in thanks to Renegade Craft Fair including Leah from Leah Staley Designs, Ana from Truss & Ore, and Lisa from Ginger
  3. Ocean Beach has the cutest and happiest puppies. I love running there in the mornings. This week I got to play fetch with a medium size Anatolian Shepherd dog while doing crunches. 
  4. The Giants take this "rivalry" with the Dodgers too seriously. Also, I had no idea there was a "rivalry" between the Kings and the Sharks (there isn't...).
  5. Yes, it's hard to be an artist and have an art studio in San Francisco. It was nearly impossible for me to find a studio space in the Bay Area and one that is actually affordable for an artist. I've found a lot of studios in San Francisco that prefer "light" artistry, which prefers a painter or book binder over someone who does woodworking, ceramics, or metal work. That doesn't mean that I haven't grown as a business owner or maker or that I wouldn't recommend another maker moving here though. 
  6. I had forgotten how magnificent it is to not live in a place with mosquitoes! One of my favorite things to do is picnic in Golden Gate Park on a sunny day. It's incredible being able to lay out in the sun and not worry about getting bit all the time. 
  7. I didn't realize how cold Mark Twain suggested SF would be when he wrote, "The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco." This summer was especially cold apparently. Luckily, my studio is up north in San Rafael where is it sunny and beautiful all year long!
  8. San Francisco is a weird place to be in when you are a maker. People assume anyone who has recently moved to the Bay Area is in tech. I have been asked what tech company I work for multiple times when first meeting people. And then those same people get mystified that I don't sit in front of a computer all day. 
  9. Many group conversations I have had when meeting new people eventually lead to talking about homelessness in San Francisco. There's a hard dichotomy between the haves and the have nots here, and it is difficult to observe as a middle class resident. Austin felt like there was a large working and middle class, whereas the amount of wealth in the Bay Area can sometimes be suffocating. 
  10. The Exploratorium is an awesome museum and everyone should go there. Same goes for Musée Mécanique.

The past year Jake and I have gone as far north as Mendocino, as far east as Tahoe, and as far south as Los Angeles within California; we've been wine tasting, snowboarding, camping, and hiking; we visited three different countries but only one other state; we've met a ton of new people and developed new friendships.

San Francisco is somewhat of a beast, but I think I have conquered a small bit of it in the past year. 


Gopi Shah

Gopi Shah Ceramics, Austin, TX, 78702, United States

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Gopi Shah began crafting clayworks in high school and continued her studies at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. In 2014, Gopi launched her ceramics business after moving to Austin, Texas. Since founding her practice, Gopi’s repertoire has expanded to incorporate textures, sgraffito, and hand-painting to create a collection inspired by memories and nature. Gopi proudly crafts ceramic wares in her East Austin studio working clay into new forms and objects every day.