Barcan, Jonathan


There were hot dogs with kimchee and a sea of well-dressed beauties.

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Photography by Britt Goh

Alameda Antique Fair: Tips for Amatuers


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The monthly Alameda Antique Faire, sometimes called the Alameda Flea market, is held every first Sunday of the month at the Naval Base in Alameda.  My beau and I went this month, breaking all the rules of a true Alameda antiquing expert.  Here are the top tips for shopping the market, and how amateurs like us prefer to do it:

1. Arrive Early for the best items.  Yeah, we totally showed up at 12:30 and paid the reduced entrance fee, there was still a ton to see even as some vendors start packing up early.

2. Bring Cash.  We brought just enough cash to eat lunch.  Not having cash in our pockets was probably a good thing, most likely spared us from some unfortunate impulse buys.

3. Go with a Plan, Mark up the Map.  Ya, no plan, no map, just a lot of wandering around and getting lost, calling each other on the cell phone and reuniting.  It was aimless yes, but also totally relaxing.

4. Start at the Back, Work Your Way Forward.  Um, does weaving back and forth in indecipherable circles count?  We were looking for a guy who sold me some cool boots once, or a leather purse, or a cool hat–all of which we would have looked at and not bought (see #2).

5. Really, More Tips and Rules?  Ah, fan it.  We had fun doing it our own way.  Here are some of our favorites photos from our date:

photo 5 (5) photo 2 (17)  photo 4 (11)  photo 1 (17) photo 2 (15) photo 3 (12) photo 4 (9) photo 1 (18) photo 2 (16) photo 3 (13) photo 5 (4) photo 4 (10) photo 1 (19)

Oakland: Shop Local Love

Since I opened my little jewelry store last winter, I’ve seen so much transform and change in Oakland.  Our humble little city was mentioned as in the NY Times Top 5 Places to Visit, and it seems like the roll-call of cool new spots to see are growing monthly.  Every time I cruise down Broadway I feel like I’m seeing some brand new something sparkling with the eagerness.  

That being said, I know a lot about a small swath of what’s going on.  I’m in Popuphood (checkout this great article by The Bold Italic to get to know our shops), but I am usually working during the same hours as many of the new retailers in the area, so I haven’t been in to see many.  

All that changed on Saturday when I took the Shop Downtown Oakland map that Oaklandish/Plaid Friday printed in the East Bay Express, and did my best to hit everyone I could on the map.  Here is a little photo journal of what I saw. 


Hawthorn isn’t in the Downtown district, its up in Rockridge, but I’ve been aching to get there so I used it as my first stop.  I have met the wonderful and friendly Laura Akita a few times in my shop—she always looked so familiar to me…turns out she modeled for one of my favorite jewelers, Voce Keen, who I carry at Crown Nine.  She is the manager at the beautiful shop owned by Laurie Lion, and the face of all the goods on their recently launched online shop (so much better than amazing).  I pretty much want everything in this store.  Period.  Boyfriend: take hint.  


Next stop, I drove and parked near Luka’s Taproom (Saturday parking is free in designated areas until the new year, thanks to the City and Mayor Quan).  I crossed the street, and right near the Farley’s Parklet is this little gem.  Pull on my heartstrings, right when you walk in you see this glorious image of Jimi Hendrix, my hero.  Really nice collection of clogs (obsessed), some vintage finds prices really fairly, a few local designers, and a great selection of dude stuff.  I saw an incredible knee length camel toned leather jacket that I just might have to go back for.


Tucked away on one of Oakland’s randomly idyllic and quaint streets is this little gallery/ retail space.  Their current show featured multiple artists, like Dani Blue, interpreting Dia De Los Muertos.  They have a small selection of handmade goods from local artists.  Nicely priced little bags, wood boxes, and textiles were the highlight.  And Ivan, one of the owners, was incredibly friendly and answered all my questions—we have a lot in common, being shops located a little off the beaten path.  


Shoe Groupie is located near the cathedral building where Telegram meets Broadway, the store actually has doors on both streets.  The shop is beautifully designed, really minimalist and comfortably clean.  Great selection of women’s boots, and I especially liked some of the kicks for boys.  They are thinking of building out a space for events and parties, all I can say is: send me an invite!  They sometimes offer late night hours, which is great—nothing beats shoe shopping after having a Vampiro Taco at Xolo.


This shoe spot is right across from Feelmore and the Fox.  It boasts a huge floor plan, that feels a bit empty until you realize that everything moves out of the way for big, epic parties and art openings.  Really cool selection of men’s and women’s boots and shoes, and it’s great because none of the brands overlap between them and Shoe Groupie—so you are sure to find exactly what you’re looking for by hitting them both up.  


This is an incredible little adult gallery.  Unlike other sex positive grown up spots, Feelmore is really meant to cater to more than just women—it’s a great place for everyone.  Neena is the owner, and they stay open until 1am each night.  I asked if this was because she is a night-owl or if business is just better at night, and she said it’s a bit of both.  A lot of people come in while out enjoying the late night activities in the Uptown, there are a bunch of great bars like Make Westing, Cafe Van Kleef (the BEST Salty Dog you’ll ever sip), and my personal favorite, Dogwood.  Go have a drink, and then cross the street for some adult type fun— you can pretend you’re there to see all the great art (which it is).


At this point in my journey I was totally sidetracked—my Uncle from up north called me and asked me to show him something cool in Oakland, so I took him to Peralta Junction.  Glad I did too because I think it’s closing this week.  It was such a great little world they built, cool little booths with homespun art, accessories, apothecary, and carnival games.  We had a bag of popcorn, walked around looking at all the oddities (including a life size version of Mousetrap!) and I just reveled in how creative a city we live in.  Hats off to all the people that made this little wonder happen.


One of my favorite spots in Oakland, located in City Center, is run by the incomparable Aaliyah and Nicole.  I love this spot— not only do they have a great collection of clothing by ecologically sound brands, but they also host all kinds of fun parties, are totally into building community, and they really spread the love (many people have come into my store on their referral).  I got a cute pair of Tom’s black suede wedge desert booties that I can’t take off.    


This narrow little shop is right next to Disco Volante, and houses meticulously curated men’s and women’s finds—all with a sophisticated but relaxed California vibe.  They have a killer selection of magazines, surfboards, sunglasses, hats and bags.  Plus, the shop owners just had a baby so you’re bound to get some yummy baby time when you go in.  Upstairs is the gallery space, currently housing the work of a few artists.  Again, must go to a party here.


Directly next to Awaken Cafe and across from Oaklandish is Nneka and Betti Ono Gallery.  The shop carries designs by the owner, Penelope, which are can be described as street wear with a classic influence.  Her beautiful work is alongside a few local and conscious brands that are about style and fostering cultural understanding.  The gallery is connected through a small arch and was being used as a hang out and meeting space when I was there.  A really warm vibe—gallery founder Anyka Barber was positively lovely.  


These guys seriously rock.  Oaklandish began as a farmer’s market staple and has become a well established brand in the Bay, but they also have really become civic leaders.  They coordinated all the Plaid Friday efforts which really organized the City around retail in a way I hadn’t ever seen.  I cannot appreciate their efforts enough! As for the shop, they carry all kinds of clever and interesting t-shirts, apparel, accessories, and local finds that really honor Oakland as the complicated and unique place it is.  


Last stop happened completely by accident.  My beau and I went to the Grand Lake Theatre to see Lincoln, but it was sold out.  I hadn’t had a chance to get to Oak Common before and I saw they still had their lights on, so we crossed the street to check it out.  First, the store looks impeccable.  Second, they have two shop dogs, one of which was a black teacup Chihuahua named Lola that I pretty need to steal. And the clothing, both men’s and women’s were super cute and very reasonably priced.  They had Cheap Monday jeans, MinkPink, BB Dakota and Life After Denim—some southwestern prints, demin button ups, some apothecary and candles, and plenty of warm jackets.  So glad I made it.


Boot and Shoe Service for a cocktail and a slice of Margerita di Bufelo.  I had such a great time meeting all the store owners, seeing all the creative things people in our City are doing.  And I also think it’s important to point out that everything is so condensed that I was able to walk almost all of it (or for those that want to rest, the Free B Shuttle runs all the time and is free!).  

And, moreover, it’s totally possible to shop local, to put your money where your heart is, and NOT break the bank.  It really is a myth that you can’t shop local without spending a fortune.  Well done Oakland, well done.

L O V E + M E T A L
Kate Ellen 

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@sarahswelljewelry Sample Sale in effect! Plus these two plaid print donning gals just got a free pair of studs! #plaidfriday #blackfriday #oakland #oaklandish #oldoakland #oaklandgrown #oaklandloveit #jewelry #shopping #shopindie #shoplocal #samplesale (at Crown Nine)

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Mayor Jean Quan talking about shopping local in The Town this holiday! #oaklandloveit #thisisoakland #shoplocal #plaidfriday #oaklandgrown #shopping #holidays #mayorjeanquan (at Key Route Square)

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This Thursday night you can cop a peep at my newest collection and enjoy all the shops in @popuphood for late night shopping #kateellenmetals #crownnine #jewelry #bigsky #oakland #oaklandloveit #thisisoakland #jewelrymaking #new #newarrivals #shopping #fashion #style #events (at Crown Nine)

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Our first big ad buy! Check your product out @stendhal_jewelry @elhustle @popuphood #oldoakland #holidays #shopping #oaklandloveit #thisisoakland (at East Bay Express)

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Awesome feature/interview/photos/video of yours truly up at… Includes a chance to win my popular Birch earrings and a code for 25% off my entire online store. #crownnine #thegirlwhoknows #giveaway #win #prize #free #video #interview #jeweler #jewlz #jewelry #metalsmith #earrings … Continue reading


Ortolan is a design studio founded by Kim Ngo and Jasper Kirsch, a couple based in San Francisco. 

Kim and Jasper both collaborate together on the design and fabrication of each work by bringing their own perspectives to the studio. Kim’s background in Architecture is seen in Ortolan’s subtle yet provocative forms and textures. Jasper’s experience and studies in Industrial Design push the Ortolan aesthetic into innovative directions with his love for technical experimentation.

Ortolan Designs are available online and at Crown Nine | 461 A 9th St | Oakland.  $40-$250.


When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Jasper: I wanted to be a formula one race car driver.
Kim: I wanted to be scientist, then musician, then graphic designer…all over the place.
What are you currently obsessed with?
Jasper: vintage Japanese motorcycles
Kim: Lately, I’ve been re-obsessed with watercolor paintings. It started with us trying to incorporate watercolor artwork into our wedding invitations. Now I’m hunting for watercolor paintings on etsy to fill up our walls.
What was/is your most unexpected source of inspiration?
Jasper: Although our work may appear rigid, many of our inspirations come from organic patterns…insect wings, water reflections…
Kim: we try to find a balance between simple forms and intricate details.    
What is your favorite tool or process?
Getting creative with unorthodox tools…finding tools around the house to shape and texture metal.
How do you get through a creative rut or block?  What do you do to get creatively re-charged? 
We step away and take a road trip or even a trip to the nursery helps.
What creative or business related dream do you wish would come true?
It would be a dream to create work that inspires other artists.
Finish this statement:  If we weren’t jewelers, we would be:
Bored with our day jobs. Ortolan gives us a creative outlet as well as business experience which in turn inspires our regular office work.


This week our dear friend Sarah Swell is doing big things, so we thought it appropriate to feature her in our blog—we want to send her off with a whole lotta love to her first appearance at one of the nation’s best trade shows, New York Gift!  Sarah was accepted into a very difficult section of the show that many serious jewelers aspire to, so we are incredibly proud of her and just know she’s gonna knock ‘em dead!  Take a minute to wish her luck at NY Gift by posting something on her wall!  

Sarah creates hand-hewn treasures in precious metals that exemplify casual luxury in her studio in Oakland.  Hailing from coastal New England, Sarah’s childhood was steeped in history, nature, and salt from the sea. An artist from a young age, she was always collecting, imagining and creating. While attending the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Sarah took a metalsmithing class on a whim. It was love at first flame. From that point on, she immersed herself in the jewelry industry, earning her degree at the Revere Academy Of Jewelry Arts and dreaming of one day creating her own line. That day came in 2008 with the launch of Sarah Swell jewelry.

We love Sarah’s work because of her nature driven influences, her cohesive vision, and her meticulous craftsmanship.  Sarah makes each piece a sacred little treasure, a truth that all of her clients can feel when wearing one of her unique designs.  If you aren’t yet a collector of her work, now is certainly a great time to get to know her, as we are sure that she will become an even more coveted line in the next few years.

Sarah is especially beloved to us because she has been in on the ground level as a creative partner at Crown Nine.  She has been there since inception and has freely dedicated her very skilled eye and experience to the growth of our shop.  You can find a selection of her work from various collections at Crown Nine $40-$390, as well as her Petite Bridal Collection $160- $500.  

Good luck miss, we know you’re going to kill it!   L O V E + M E T A L

Photo Credit: Sarah Swell, Amy Tremper of Maker/Merchant

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I’ve always known I wanted to make things and have my own business, but it wasn’t until I was 18 or so that I discovered that the “thing” was jewelry.

What are you currently obsessed with?

At this very moment, I have a very unhealthy obession with finding a wedding dress that doesn’t look like a wedding dress. It’s seemingly impossible.  And, making popsicles from scratch with fresh fruit.

What was/is your most unexpected source of inspiration?

The city I live in.  Oakland is so gritty and I love it.  Living here inspires me to take my jewelry, which is very natural and organic, to a darker place. 

What is your favorite tool or process?

I LOVE hammers.  When I find one at a flea market or garage sale with an interesting texture, I snatch it up!
How do you get through a creative rut or block?  What do you do to get creatively re-charged?

My goodness, this is a tough one.  I usually just have to wait it out and then inspiration strikes suddenly and intensely.  Nature is deifnitely how I recharge.  A long hike in the woods does wonders for the mind.

What creative or business related dream do you wish would come true?

I would love to branch out from jewelry eventually and create something else under my brand.  Perhaps leather goods, textiles or clothing.

Finish this statement:  If I wasn’t a jeweler, I would be:  An antique dealer