this is my kinda giveaway! i’ve long been a fan of beklina’s beautiful home collections. Beklina is a tightly curated edit of strong thinkers and artists in the fashion and art community, and they’ve just celebrated their 10 year anniversary! their colorful rugs, baskets, pillows are gorgeous, and the clothing and accessories are top notch, too. to celebrate their love of beautiful things to surround yourself with, we’re giving away a $500 gift card towards any Beklina merchandise of your choice!
to enter to win a $500 gift code towards merchandise of your choice from beklina, simply:
• follow beklina on Instagram.
• comment below, letting us know you’ve followed beklina on Instagram.
• please comment by monday september 5th, 12pm PST.
• as always, be sure to leave a way to reach you via twitter, facebook, email or your website.
• yay! this giveaway for the $500 gift card available worldwide!
• we’ll announce a winner selected by random number generator on my twitter account the week of september 12th, so be sure and follow along.
i’ve been a longtime fan and follower of local ceramic artists Melissa Tolar and Jonathan Ballak, the creative husband and wife duo behind a question of eagles, and finally got the chance to meet them in person. walk into their downtown L.A. studio and you’ll be greeted by the smell of the earth, beautiful natural light and a sweet little doggie named clyde. each one of a kind clay piece is made, assembled and carved by hand — usually passing through both sets of hands before it’s complete, making a question of eagles a true partnership. i love the way their glaze palette, forms and surface designs all seem to fit this hot desert of los angeles so well. enjoy their creative advice below and check out their final products in their online shop or follow a question of eagles on instagram for a peek at their process.
were you working elsewhere before leaving to start your business?
We both have MFA degrees in different art disciplines and had been working for artists and galleries since we landed in L.A. almost 10 years ago. We always knew that we would eventually want to start our own creative business, and the timing was right around 4 years ago. We each continued to work jobs in that field throughout the start of our business, and that allowed us to grow slowly and at a pace that was comfortable. We could really take our time then honing in on the designs, textures, and colors that have since become a signature style for us. We didn’t want the pressure of having to create an instant hit, or to satisfy the current trend, and as a result, our collections have more of a timeless quality.
was your new path motivated by a particular creative need or personal goal?
Both really! We’re makers at heart, and although there is a ton of administration that goes along with running your own business, at the end of the day the time we spend in the studio together makes up for all that. We both have an intense work ethic, and being able to apply that to our own creative ideas was definitely a personal goal we wanted to achieve.
did you receive any particular advice that stood out when starting your own business?
Be patient. It seems simple, but things really don’t happen overnight. At least for us they didn’t, and that was OK! A good friend who started her successful business almost 7 years ago, said year 5 was when she really felt things shift in a really big way. We’re in our 4th year now and are feeling that shift. Just be true to your vision, work hard, and always present the professional business that you want. Eventually it will all come together!
where do you gain fuel that inspires your creative endeavors?
so many places – museums visits, books, hiking, the California landscape. We always have our eyes open!
what was the most unexpected aspect of putting together your business?
We knew that it was going to be hard work, but really, it’s really hard work! There are so many other parts of the business besides making — line sheets, social media, packing and shipping, emails, so many emails! Scheduling uninterrupted time in the studio away from the computer/phone has become critical, and we didn’t really expect to have to do that so much.
what kind of vibe did you have in mind while designing your studio space.
Since we spent the early years working out of our apartment (which was functional, but a little cramped!), we wanted our studio to be bright and open without too much clutter. It’s a working studio though, so we don’t get too uptight about it. We basically just want to be inspired by the space when we walk in the door, and in that way we succeed everyday! One note about renting a studio – we waited until we absolutely needed to get one before taking the plunge, and waiting was really hard especially when you see so many beautiful spaces on social media. Not having that overhead though at the beginning really took the stress off while we were building our business, and allowed us to actually move into a bigger space when we were eventually ready.
what are some of your work tools that you can’t live without?
This might seem pretty elemental but our hands! Our process is so tactile, that between the two of us, each piece is touched and worked on several times throughout its creation. That close connection between us and the pieces we make is really important to us.
What are the top three things someone should consider before changing careers or starting their own business?
1. Be able to be flexible financially. If you’re already freelancing this won’t be new to you, but if you’re moving from a more traditional 9-5, not being paid every two weeks can seem stressful. We both continued to work part-time while we started out, and that really worked for us.
2. Working for yourself can be consuming and it’s easy to work every day. Make sure you still plan for vacations and time off otherwise, you’ll start to feel pretty burnt out.
3. Don’t take everything personally. Just because you weren’t accepted into that fair, or a certain shop doesn’t want to carry your work, doesn’t mean it’s a personal slight or failure. Often as makers it’s hard to separate your emotions from your business, but a little distance can really help you make more informed business decisions.
what do you currently have playing on the studio’s turntable?
We typically have a mix of KCRW (love finding new music there), podcasts (Invisibilia is a new favorite) and Netflix streaming (Just finished Stranger Things!) going on, but honestly sometimes the quiet of the studio with just the sounds of making is perfect. We’re plugged in so much with other aspects of our business, that a little meditative working feels pretty good.
• photography by lily glass for sfgirlbybay.
this week i’ve gone a little mad for marble. but not just any old marble — these friday finds are all about colorful, kinda crazy, swirling pretty marble patterns that i see showing up all over the internet. from pretty paperweights to the insanely beautiful parquet wood floors designed by Copenhagen’s snedker studios — insanely creative, right? i’m just loving this lovely look. happy friday, one and all. i hope your weekend is full of unexpected beauty!
- snedker studios’ amazing marbleized parquet wood floors are inspired by the refraction of light through a prism, a graduating colour scale from one colour to the next. so special!
- the marble prints from the designers at snedker studios’ are really unique, too.
- i think i need Studio Arhoj’s Pink Marble Prism Paperweight for my desk — from couverture and the garbstore.
- oh happy day!’s shop is chock full of marble party accessories like napkins, cups, plates balloons and even wrapping paper!
- this is such a clever Marble-Blocked Shelf from anthropologie.
- Rebecca Atwood’s new collection includes Marbled Stripe Pillows available at anthropologie.
moody interiors make for moody outfit choices. good food makes for happy bellies. you get the point. gwen is the new sweetheart of hollywood where one can sip a cocktail among art deco surroundings — only without any of the snobbery. it’s a butcher shop after all. its ambiance can be attributed to oliver and evan haslegrave, an interior design duo from Brooklyn, and its fine meats to top chef master curtis stone. swivel into one of the chinchilla topped bar stools, coat tossed over bare shoulders, and await patiently, yet stylishly, your duck confit!
~ michaela d’Artois, vérité published.
wear this there: modern citizen milla strapless dress; india love goa Vintage Embroidered & Tribal Coin Leather Clutch; zara lapel collar coat;nars velvet red lip pencil from nordstrom; janessa leone calla hat from prism; nastygal break the ice earcuff; and jojo khaki velvet perspex heel ankle boots from ego.
Hello – Leslie from Spotted SF here. Allow me to introduce you to the newest dining spot in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood: Barzotto. Brought to you by Marko Sotto, veteran restaurant operator, and Michelle Minori, former executive sous chef of Thomas McNaughton’s Ne Timeas restaurant group (Flour + Water, Salumeria, Aatxe), Barzotto introduces fresh and affordable housemade pasta dishes, California and Italian wines and seasonal soft-serve gelatos.
The daily menu at Barzotto will feature five hearty bowls of pasta all made within view of guests. Expect two classics and three other varieties incorporating fresh and local ingredients available each season. A good ol’ classic to try is the Cacio e Pepe with pecorino, parmesan and black pepper — then add a farm egg. Wines are $10 by the glass and $40 by the bottle. And soft serve gelato will have seasonal toppings, like strawberries & biscotti, salted caramel & dark chocolate, as well as a nitro coffee affogato with mint.
Be sure to scope out the beautiful interior and tiling when you’re there. The bathroom even. Also dried and fresh pasta, sauces and gelato are available for purchase at the front counter. Barzotto is currently open Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM and will soon be open seven days a week. Walk-ins only so get there quick!
• all photography by leslie santarina.