Electric Blanket is a brand new shop in san francisco’s mission district run by artist jillian west, who’s lived in the neighborhood since 2009. i’m going to just go ahead and apologize right here for my lack of editing abilities, but the photos cindy loughridge took of the space were just too good to narrow down — hopefully you won’t mind a bit! Electric Blanket is an art gallery that doesn’t believe in pretentious name dropping or unnecessary fanciness, just beautiful work that you might want to see every day, or see once and absorb and move on from. Electric Blanket is also a vintage clothing shop. jillian says “Sometimes a piece of clothing speaks as art, as a rare beauty that shouts ‘admire my fine threads, woven together once upon a time with love and design before mass production’. Focusing on the essentials: dresses, men’s shirts, and unisex sweaters, you just might find some art to envelope yourself in”.
Jillian’s had office jobs for her entire career before opening Electric Blanket, but she’s always been an artist (her artwork is currently on show in the gallery) and has spent the last seven years moonlighting as a wedding photographer — Little Bat Photography. and so after a lifetime of working several jobs to support her art life, she “felt like it was time to simplify, marry the risk associated with following creative dreams, and articulate the visions that have been growing in my imagination: the exact place I’d want to be, the clothes I’d want to buy, the books I’d want to read, the art I’d want on my walls, the table I’d want to gather around with friends to share and learn, the coffee I’d want to drink while thinking and making. It’s everything I could ever want.”
I asked jillian how the name ‘Electric Blanket’ came about for the shop, and the story is a lovely one: “In May last year I went to visit my little brother (he’s 20) in Portland and he read me a beautiful poem he had written called Will You Be My Electric Blanket. I thought it was so special for so many reasons and couldn’t get it out of my head. After he read a few other poems we decided to put a zine together with his poems and my art and photography and called it Will You Be My Electric Blanket. Within a few days of putting it together, I decided it was time for me to open the gallery and shop I had been dreaming about for years, to fill it with my art and my love for vintage, with coffee and a table. I felt like it had to be the place that was the answer to the poem, to the question: It would be the Electric Blanket, a sort of sanctuary that would be both warm and electric, colorful and inviting. I wanted to keep a literary component to the shop to get people thinking and writing and making, so story is encouraged in several places (the chalk board, the exchange of a story for coffee, notecards to leave your Electric Blanket stories for the installation) — and I intend to hold creative events and workshops to bring people together to keep the creative element flowing.” lovely, right?
Electric Blanket is also a creative space. you can check out their calendar for upcoming events which mainly include nights of readings (poetry, essays, journals, stories etc), live music, films, theater, and creative workshops, and If you’d like to participate, please write to them. oh, and did i mention there’s coffee too? the first and only place to find Handsome Coffee in San Francisco. Yes, that Handsome Coffee and they serve it up for free — well, in exchange for a story. There’s also a beautiful table and a bar for you to sit and drink while reading an old book from our colorful shelves. so next time you’re in the neighborhood, pop in to ‘Electric Blanket’, tell jillian a story and linger with a cup of coffee. it will be well worth your while.
• all photos by cindy loughridge.