It’s devastating to see how fragile my small business is. This thing I have carefully breathed air into for the past four years has deflated over night.
Artists and makers are hard hit by this pandemic, as countless art fairs and wholesale orders are cancelled. My business has come to a near standstill, ever since my retail partners - jewelry galleries and stores - have been labeled “nonessential” and are forced to shutter. We were not ready for this. None of us were.
My anxiety rises in proportion to the amount of news on the novel coronavirus, a virus so new it has crippled our economy, shut down society, and pushed those in precarious circumstances further into poverty. The president says everything is a-ok, and I begin having nightmares.
For two weeks, I watch as the livelihoods of my artist and maker friends crumble. A fog settles over my mind, and it’s difficult to think straight. Productivity is as rare and as coveted as hand sanitizer. I wash my hands, over and over again.
I feel guilty about my inability to wrestle anxiety to the ground, when I have shelter, food, and savings, and others don’t. My therapist gently reminds me to be kind to myself, his voice barely audible above the phone static.
“We’ll get through this together.”
The pandemic has forced me to slow down. When it gets hard to breathe, I go on walks. I research small business loans, then take a break. I make sure to keep breathing as I do bookkeeping and think of ways to stay afloat during shelter-in-place. The more social-media savvy of us have already pivoted - they stay in touch with customers through DM’s and offer shelter-in-place sales to encourage social distancing.
In the middle of all this, I’ve picked up a funny habit of microwaving potatoes in four minute intervals, carefully flipping the potatoes onto their backs between each session. Microwave. Add butter. Eat.
I find comfort in reading an article by Scott Berinato about our collective grief around this pandemic. Because that is what we’re doing, grieving. We’re grieving lost lives, jobs, human touch, a sense of normalcy. We’re also anticipating grief to come. Things will never go back to normal.
With grief, comes a cluster of emotions. Denial, anger, sadness, and acceptance. Some days I wake up in the middle of a nightmare, scared breathless. Some days I feel myself softening and easing into a new routine. On the extra hard days, I work on being kind to myself. I hope you are, too.
David Kessler, a writer on grief, adds a final stage to grief: meaning. I recently brought groceries to an elderly neighbor. You can support local businesses by shopping online or buying gift cards. Help your favorite restaurants weather the lean times by ordering takeout. Keep in touch with family and friends.
I’ll see you on the other side.
Have you recovered from the holiday hustle and bustle yet? My brain is already up and running in this brand new decade, and I thought I would start the new year off with the Murmur Collection in a new satiny silver! Paired with 14k yellow gold ear wires, this pair of Murmur Pebble Earrings (L) are a showstopper at any Sunday brunch or family gathering.
Looking for a new way to express your personal style in the new year? Layer up on necklaces with the Murmur Pebble Necklaces (S) and Murmur Pebble Necklace (M)!
If you a take a closer look, you'll see that the edges of these Murmur Hoop Studs have been burnished to a shiny finish. This highlights the curve of the hoop, giving it that extra oomph. In my Oakland studio, we take pride in our meticulous handmade processes and attention to minute details.
Last but not least, we have the Murmur Oval Ring in the satiny silver. This statement ring is a miniature piece of sculpture for the hand and is a favorite of jewelry gallerists!
Can't wait to start holiday shopping? Join me at my alma mater's Holiday Fair this Saturday in Oakland!
In tandem with the annual Holiday Fair, we’re hosting a day of festivities celebrating our history, unique culture, and most importantly, our community. Enjoy food, music, open studios, and a 'drawing' zoo in addition to shopping handmade goods from alumni, student, faculty, and staff vendors.
And while we might not have a football team, we will have a lawn bowling tournament! Open to the public for free.
November 23rd, 11am - 3pm
California College of the Arts
Oakland, California 94618
(entrances located on Broadway and Clifton St.)
IDEO’s Wunderfaire is back for its 11th year! Join us at IDEO for a night on the pier celebrating local crafters, artists, and designers. Enjoy 50+ independent vendors, food trucks and live jazz piano from DJ Lebowitz.
Ticket registration via Eventbrite is REQUIRED for entry. Free tickets to the public are limited and first come, first serve.
December 5th, 4:30pm - 8pm
IDEO San Francisco
Pier 28 Annex, The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94105
Celebrate independent contemporary craft and design and complete your holiday shopping at Style '19! Shop the highest quality of contemporary fashion, jewelry and home accessories all in one place.
Admission is free. Complimentary valet parking!
December 7th, 11am - 5pm
December 8th, 12pm - 5pm
Museum of Craft and Design
2569 3rd St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
The Murmur Collection is finally here! Made from hand-milled 24k gold foil and oxidized silver, the Murmur Collection draws inspiration from a night swim in the summer ocean.
The core of my practice is translating emotion into jewelry. The inspiration behind my jewelry collections come from singular moments I connect deeply with.
The Murmur Collection is centered on the narrative of a woman swimming solo in the ocean. The water is cold but not chilling on this summer’s night, and the waves cradle her. With each stroke, the swimmer can feel her muscles pumping - strength she has carefully built in her arms, her legs, her core. She is alone but fearless, and she has the confidence that men often take for granted and women are told they can’t have.
The Murmur Collection reflects the textures of the dark waves, with flecks of moonlight reflected in 24k gold highlights. The curved forms of the jewelry finds inspiration in the form of the swimmer, buoyed up by ocean waves.
This Sunday, join me at the Presidio for a Mother's Day Marketplace at 100 Montgomery Street. Pop into this gorgeous gallery to browse locally made gifts and the current exhibition, then walk outdoors to enjoy the weekly Presidio Picnic, complete with food trucks and music!
In recognition of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, all 25 vendors at the Mother's Day Marketplace will be local AAPI creatives. Try on gorgeous clothing Jamie Lau Designs, smell the soy candles from Lighten Up Shoppe, and nibble on some chocolate from Jade Chocolates. And of course, I'll be showcasing my jewelry there, too!
If you can't make it, no worries! Shop our Ready to Ship section for the perfect Mother's Day gift.
Date: May 5, 2019
Time: 12 - 3 pm
Location: 100 Montgomery St. in the Presidio, San Francisco, CA 94129
*Please note that this Montgomery Street is in the Presidio
This summer, I was awarded a "Get Ready" Grant from CERF+, which is a nonprofit that supports studio artists, making sure that the artists are as well-protected as the artwork they create. Their grants can be used to buy business insurance, storage for artwork, studio safety equipment, and more. I wrote a proposal in which I apply the grant toward two projects: a safety storage cabinet and a box that would envelop my belt sander.
Safety storage cabinets are lovely things for artists to have, but they're often low priority on the "to-do list." CERF+'s grant allowed me to purchase a storage cabinet for flammable liquids that meets OSHA Standard 1910.106 and NFPA Code 30 for safe storage and handling of flammable liquids.
What's the difference between this cabinet and any old cabinet? This double-walled, 18-gauge galvanized steel cabinet is powder coated a bright yellow, which means it's protected from rusting and it's easy to spot. Yellow is the color code for flammable liquids.
Over time, internal vapors from the flammable liquids may build up, but this cabinet will allow those vapors to escape, decreasing the likelihood of liquids inside from igniting. In the event of fire, the cabinet also protects its contents. Aerosols such as Krylon's Matte Finish or other flammable liquids need to be stored properly to protect everyone who uses the studio.
The cabinet comes with a small shelf, which is perfect for increasing storage surface area. I can't tell you how exciting it is to have a safe place to put my aerosols! I also have a nifty key to secure the chemicals if anyone with children visits.
The second project I tackled, with the help of the CERF+ grant, was building a box for my belt sander. As you probably know, I work with reclaimed or locally sourced acrylic end cuts and scrap, and this means plastic dust and fumes when I use the belt sander. For the past couple of years, I've been wearing a heavy duty respirator, an ear muff, and a face shield whenever I work with the belt sander.
You can imagine how heavy all that headgear gets after an hour or two! Before long, all the straps of the three pieces of headgear feel like they're cutting into my head, and the facepiece of the respirator isn't a perfect fit for my face. All the extra weight and distractions prevent me from working for long periods of time at the belt sander. I've also been using a dust and fume collector to filter out the plastic fumes, but since the belt sander isn't enveloped, the fumes aren't captured fully.
This is where the box comes in! There were multiple versions, sketches, and numerous calculations, and this was one of my final sketches of the box:
I ran into a few obstacles and missteps when building the box, so it's not 100% complete yet, but I'm so close! Here's a sneak peek of what it looks like so far.
All that's left is making the holes in the box for my arms, a hole for the hose of the dust and fume collector, and a hole for the belt sander's cord to go through. My plan is to drill many small holes in the outline of a circle, carefully remove the circle, then sand the edges of the hole smooth. Drilling through acrylic, especially at 1/4" thickness, can be tricky, but I'm eager to tackle this next challenge!
Thank you CERF+!
The holidays are traditionally a time of cheer and an exercise in the magnanimity of human spirit, but they can also be one long season of stress. But gift giving doesn't have to turn you into one big ball of resentment. Not sure what to get that one designer friend or artist family member? Looking for well crafted, thoughtful gifts? That's what this gift guide is for!
And to add that cherry on top, all items are handcrafted by local artists and makers who reside in the Bay Area!
Cup by Carole Neilson $34
With its smoky and earthen tones, this 16 oz cup is perfect for morning coffee on cold, winter mornings. Each porcelain cup is unique in form and color, with a matte texture that is soft to the touch. Carole Neilson studied ceramics at the Academy of Art in Mol in Belgium, allowing her to skillfully throw each cup on the potter's wheel and sculpt light but durable forms. Currently based in San Francisco, Carole originally hails from Alsace of Northern France, a region traditionally known for its rural pottery.
Vase by Melanie Abrantes Designs $110
Turned on a lathe and hand finished with mineral oil and beeswax, this buttery walnut vase takes modern craft to the next level. Simply put a sprig of leaves into the glass vial inside the vase to spruce up any room. Founder Melanie Abrantes strives to create eco-friendly and sustainable home goods that are equally beautiful and functional. This vase was turned from a solid piece of walnut hardwood, which means it's a handcrafted, heirloom object you'll want to hold onto!
Necklace by Olivia Shih $225
This black and gold necklace from the Raw Collection finds inspiration in concrete sidewalks and urban textures. Designed for the modern woman who speaks her mind and knows what she wants, this necklace speaks volumes, whether you're presenting a report at an all-hands meeting or wearing a slinky dress for night out with friends. Not sure if the necklace length is the right fit? Contact me at email@example.com to order a custom length chain!
Wallet by ODSY workshop $60
This cleverly constructed wallet is inspired by San Francisco's Lombard Street, famous for its sharp turns on a steep hill. Made with English bridle leather from Pennsylvania, each wallet is hand stitched with waxed thread and contains three card slots and one pocket in the center. ODSY workshop, which takes its name from the word odyssey, was founded by husband and wife team, Soojin and Yina. The couple not only create unique leatherwork, but also repair shoes in their Outer Sunset workshop!
Ring by Olivia Shih $95
A favorite among all genders, this Raw Ring was first carved in wax then cast with molten metal. If small, shiny jewelry just isn't doing it for you, this ring definitely packs more oomph! Each ring is finished and polished in my studio, which means that every ring will look slightly different. This ring is also available in sterling silver and oxidized silver and can be custom made in vermeil or gold.
Mini bowl by Zena Segre $35
Still looking for the perfect ring dish? Keep your stacking rings safe in this white and periwinkle bowl, made by hand and with great care. Each bowl is made with porcelain, which is a strong and durable material. Since this bowl is food safe and dishwasher/microwave safe, you can also use it to brighten your meals with a dash of color! Artist Zena Segre studied at the California College of the Arts in Oakland, where she honed her eye for color and dedication to craftsmanship.
Dessert bowl by MMCLAY $38
This lovely cream colored dessert bowl is overflowing with wabi sabi qualities. The nuanced variations in the glaze will complement any dessert, from ice cream topped with strawberries to a fresh green salad! Made by artist and designer Mary Mar Keenan, this bowl has a textured bottom that's delightful to hold. If you think this bowl looks familiar, it's probably because many popular restaurants in California use MMCLAY tableware!
Clogs by Bryr $268
Bryr clogs are a dream come true for shorties like me! Made-to-order in the Dogpatch district, each clog is made with supple leathers sourced from US tanneries and European solid wood. Bryr believes in slow fashion and making things that last, so a pair of clogs will take at least a week to make. Isobel Schofield, founder of Bryr, worked 10 years in the fashion industry but quit her job as a design director to embark on a "creative walk-about."
Bookends by Hannah Beatrice Quinn $52
Made from scrap steel and architectural beams, these bookends are a design nerd's dream! Angle iron, square tubing, rectangular tubing, and I-beams are powder coated and lined with cork pads to prevent slippage. Reminiscent of grade-school letter practices or building blocks, these bookends also work as doorstops or mini sculptures. Hannah Beatrice Quinn, also an alum of the California College of the Arts, incorporates the idea of "play" into all of her work, transforming everyday objects into playful but functional art.
Now that we're at the end of the gift guide, have you decided on a gift yet? If you're having a hard time deciding, give yourself a few days to mull it over. Just don't forget, if you have your eye on a piece of jewelry by Olivia Shih, place an order by December 10th, so that your gift will arrive on time!
Having spent a good portion of my childhood on a subtropical island, I found winters in New York unbearably cold when I went to college. Frozen fingers and slipping on icy sidewalks were never really my thing! But if there's one thing I always look forward to in the winter, it's the opportunity to lavish gifts on my loved ones.
Now that I run my own jewelry business, I'm busier than ever during the holidays, and this means I end up finding the best gifts at the shows I'm a part of! So come join me in the Bay Area and see the marvelous gifts you can find for your friends and families.
11/28 Tis the Season Tuesday @ Intel (In-House Event)
November 28th, 2017
10 am - 3pm
2200 Mission College Blvd.
Santa Clara, CA 95054
11/30 Wunderfaire at IDEO
"Wunderfaire is back for its 9th year! Join IDEO for a night on the pier celebrating local crafters, artists, and designers. Enjoy 60+ independent vendors, food trucks, and live music from solo pianist, DJ Leibowitz.
SHOP – 60+ independent vendors selling crafts, designs, and delectables for men, women, kids, homes, and pets.
EAT – Enjoy food from participating food trucks, Tres Truck and Little Green Cyclo. Sweet treats by Civil Pops and Shades of Sugar Bakeshop.
DO GOOD – A portion of this year’s proceeds will be donated to La Cocina. La Cocina is a non-profit culinary incubator based in the Mission, dedicated to helping low-income food entrepreneurs—primarily women from immigrant communities—grow informal restaurants into legal sustainable businesses.
*Admission is FREE and open to the public, however, registration on Eventbrite is REQUIRED and tickets are limited."
November 30th, 2017
4:30pm - 8pm
Pier 28 Annex
San Francisco, CA 94105
12/3 California College of the Arts Holiday Fair
"CCA’s idyllic Oakland campus turns into a bustling arts bazaar for a day. The public is invited to shop for one-of-a-kind, handmade, affordable gifts created by the CCA community: paintings, drawings, prints, cards, jewelry, ceramics, hand-blown glass, clothing, photography, textiles, ornaments, and more. Discover unique gifts while enjoying live jazz music and holiday treats.
Admission is free."
December 2nd, 2017
11am - 3pm
California College of the Arts
Oakland, CA 94618
12/4 Holiday Artis Festival at the Richmond Art Center
"The Holiday Arts Festival is an annual tradition at the Richmond Art Center. For 55 years, artists and craftspeople have shared their best work with our community.Purchase handmade art, gifts, and food! Meet our Community Partners, who bring so much to the Richmond community and beyond! Celebrate the holiday season with us!
11am — 5pm
Special members' preview hour:
10 — 11am
Richmond Art Center
Main, South, West, and Community Galleries
2540 Barrett Avenue
Richmond, California 94804
12/8 Holiday Artisan Market at The Battery (Members Only)
"Join us as we deck the halls with holiday cheer at our fourth annual No Office Holiday Party and Market.
It’s like a boring office party, but not boring and not at your office.
Merrymaking with -
An artisan market featuring ver 30 vendors selling gorgeous gifts for everyone on your list
Live music by Nova Jazz in the Musto Bar
Make your own flower bouquets with Matilda's Magnolias,
Bearded Drag Queen Santa
Mistletoe! drinks! holiday treats and more...."
6pm - 10 pm
717 Battery St
San Francisco, CA 94111
This summer was truly a summer of firsts! I launched the Tuning Collection online, ushering in my first everyday, minimal collection. I also participated in not one, but TWO new shows. The Renegade Craft Fair was bursting with color and joyful noise and provided decent dog-watching opportunities, too. I also got the chance to showcase my new and improved displays.
I was also thrilled to be selected as an emerging artist for the Hip Pop mini-booths at the American Craft Council Show. The American Craft Council has been around for more than 75 years, publishing magazines, offering public lectures, and hosting high-end craft shows in four different cities. The best thing about ACC? Not only do they cultivate a culture of making, they are also committed to inclusion and equity.
ACC designed lightweight, easy-to-assemble cardboard shelves for the Hip Pop booths. It took a few more hours than expected to figure out how to work with cardboard, but I got everything set up right before the show. I also revealed this one-of-a-kind pendant at the show.
Last but not least, I'll be adding these oxidized beauties to my shop soon, so stay tuned!
The traditional diamond ring might simply not be you, and that's ok. Diamonds come with baggage, from conflicted sources to rampant overpricing, and even as a jewelry designer, I'm terrified of carrying around something so small and expensive. The good news is, showing your commitment to a loved one doesn't need to be weighted down by these worries.
Lily of Leela Threads recently renewed her marriage vows with her husband on her 10th wedding anniversary, and the lovely couple decided to mark the occasion with a gorgeous photoshoot!
The photoshoot was an incredible collaborative project, with photography by Ashley, haircut and color by Zhanna Koryaka, lush blooms by Blooming Mira Designs, lashes by Natalie, and original wedding dress modified by David's Bridal. Lily even modified her original wedding dress for this rocking bridal shoot with an attitude!
Instead of wearing diamond bridal jewelry like most brides, why not go with lightweight acrylic jewelry? The truth is, you can choose to not worry about losing overpriced diamond jewelry or getting irritated earlobes from wearing heavy earrings for a whole day. If you're looking to make a statement with bold, eco-friendly jewelry, the Black Gold Collection is for you.
And here is the happy couple photographed against the backdrop of Sacramento Midtown before sunset. Happy anniversary, Lily and Nick!