We’ve Moved!

We’ve moved it all—new shop location, new blog location, lots of new and exciting developments all around. From now on, please read up on the blog from here: www.gravelandgold.com/blog You’ll find that all the old content is there, along with new posts down the line.


And please definitely come stop by our new location, 3266 21st Street at Lexington Street.

G&G New Location

(I can’t believe the stop sign, in addition to having all our relevant information, even points right at the shop. Very happy-making for me.)

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Grandest Canyon Concert

I’m starting to get nervous that I’m not going to be able to go camping this summer. Wondering about the sad state of affairs in which, as time goes on, I’m likely to be lured toward the camping way only when there’s a concert or a delightful piece of art I must camp to see. I attribute this condition to the most kind, most awfully talented David Wilson.

Long Day at the Office, David Wilson

It’s just that these days, I’m feeling so rushy busy, that I think only a show of the grandest scale could lure a practical wooly sweater to my back and boots to by feet. Well, that or my similar slim white suit with a spread collar shirt.

Marden Abadi

On September 18, 1979, after 20 years of imaging, Marden Abadi organized a team of forty people to help carry his one and a half ton rosewood grand piano to the rim of the Grand Canyon so that he could play selections from Debussy, Gershwin, Chopin, and of course Grofe’s “Grand Piano Suite” before several hundred people. And in that suit.

Grand Canyon Concert

Marden now teaches piano lessons in La Jolla. Playing the Grand Canyon, for him, was like playing the greatest hall in the land. I know I would have lent a hand and camped out to see him. (Though I recognize why Cold Splinters doesn’t see it as I do.)

And I love the point that for proper Beethoven, a bathroom would do. But he would not abide playing Beethoven honky tonk (whatever that is, and which sounds kind of great to me) whatever the venue.

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John Bull’s Reggae Kitchen

Any time is a really, really good time for a gigantic batch of Jamaican Jerk Chicken, especially chilly summers in San Francisco. Here, your rude lesson.

Remember to go heavy on the gold of Jamaica.
Serve by taking a f’**k and try and be tender with them.

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Paul Wackers

My roommates are here now:

Paul Wackers bill

I am running late and so sad.

Collectors Cabinet, Paul Wackers

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Stained Glass Jubilee

Nile is amazing.

Stained Glass

For example, we’ve been talking about this stained glass window that she was to make for me for years and years, as it simmered and stewed in the backs of our minds, and just when the lady is full tilt ahead with nursing duties and shop duties and music projects and on and on, she goes and whips this business out in her free evening time over at Cradle of the Sun. It is so bright and juicy in real life, I can’t begin to show it off here. Plus the diamond center of the diamond center throws rainbows all over the room. R.I.P. Michael, girl. Y E S. It is.


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Can’t Stop Progress

Thanks so, so much to everyone who’s lent their hands, backs, and words of support to the new shop space. We’ve had such a great turn out each Saturday, in addition to nights, lunch breaks, and times between, which really makes all the difference.


Dave + Nile

It is such a thrill to be able to build a place with all our friends. I think we’re finally reaching the stage where the daily work is no longer so yucky and tedious, and is more significant and awesome. We’re getting there….



Thanks + Love!

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The Power Mix

Lavendar Windfarms

I can totally see this drum circle in my mind now, and Wowsa, if ever there was a good reason for a perpetual drum circle in my mind, it would have to be lesbians in formation around fancy purple turbines, doing their part to preserve the well-being of flying creatures whilst infusing their special energy into the power grid.

Thank you, thank you Wendo. And thank you Salem who found this first. Now where is this farm, exactly?

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Red Legacy


Amutopia 8Erin Elder is a super rad friend of mine who does archivist and activist work with commune building, land use, and art practice. She also gave me the best kitchen sink haircut I’ve ever received, which I’ve since lamentably butchered. Indeed my new tiny, tiny bangs that have been kind of bringing me down these past few days. That is, until Erin shared with me her excellent new blog project called Red Legacy. What a trove of information! And it’s only beginning….I’d like to offer up the new Gravel & Gold as the site of ALLOY 2009. Maybe the conference will serve as reason enough to bring her back to us after she’s through schooling Colorado.

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Rock On, Art Carpenter!

Espenet RockerThe Perfect Rocker, crafted by Espenet aka Arthur Carpenter. Walnut, 1970. Oh Yeah.

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Happy Birthday to my gorgeous mama Lee. She’s top right, looking satisfied, squirrelly, and sporty-on-the-go, surrounded by her parents, sister, and brothers in what looks to be my aunt’s kitchen sometime in the mid-eighties. I hope you have just such a day today, Mama.

The “Families” logotype was designed by Herb Lubalin, via Hi + Low, and it clearly served as some sort of stylistic inspiration for this Christmas card set up.

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I’ve been researching tile lately, which generally leads me to Heath. I took a tour of their factory over in Sausalito recently—photos and terrific anecdotes to come.

But today I was led to Jan Vormann‘s brilliant lego integration called Dispatchwork.

Jan Vormann

Would it be wrong to lay actual legos as tile? Rather like the old superglue a penny to the sidewalk, watch the greedy fellows try to pry it off gag.

Vormann legos

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Augustin Lesage

Just what I’ve been trying to explain lately: Slightly wrong Egyptian, bombastic, rainbow, mama lion, geometry, Deco/Marimekko, chalice, rudimentary however complex, eyeball, imprudent, unjustifiable enthusiasm. All accomplished already by Augustin Lesage, long long ago.

The Egyptian HarvestThe Egyptian Harvest, 1928


Lesage 1923A Symbolic Composition of the Spiritual World, 1923

Augustin Lesage

And I cannot believe their size! Why O why only the French Wikipedia? My near-constant Goog-411ing seems to be doing zilch toward improving automatic translation capabilities….

Images courtesy shawna-bo-bonna, and my tip-off came from 2 or 3 Things. For the record, I was not experienced and indeed blown away.


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Sam Maloof 1916-2009

Sam Maloof

Maloof Latch

Ronald Reagan and Sam MaloofSam Maloof has passed.

He was a rare specimen, admired by Ronald Reagan, Rene Russo & very much by me.

From the LA Times: “His business card always said ‘woodworker.’

‘I like the word,’ he once said, his eyes brightening behind large, owl-eyed glass frames. ‘It’s an honest word.’


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Out with the Old Party

Dearest Friends and Friendly Supporters of the shop,

We are very, very pleased to let you all know that Gravel & Gold has found a new home in the Mission. At the end of this month, we will be shutting our doors on Treat Street and dismantling our teeny-tiny space so that we can start moving to our new location on 21st Street @ Lexington.

G&G Treat Street

We’ve taken over the storefront you may have visited in the guise of Minnie Wilde—it is much larger, light-filled, and just a half a block down from Valencia Street, right next door to Serrano’s Pizza (have mercy). We are so excited to have the opportunity to expand the goods in the shop, show more art, lounge more comfortably, try on vintage dresses in an actual trying on room, readily supply tea + snacks, and offer more workshops, more music, and community building exercises (aka parties), which are the best. But before we go, we’d like to wring one last, very excellent party out of the old spot. Therefore, come

Party with us.


May 28th

Seven O’clock

We will be offering lots of items at a great discount, from furniture to fixtures, though you can rest assured that many of your favorite standbys will still be available in the next location. However this may be your one chance to find discontinued stripey shirts on sale.

All hail stripes, and The Weekend Starts Here, via RECTO + VERSO.

Thank you all so much for your support of the store this past year. It has been a terrific adventure. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible this Thursday and on down the line at the new spot.

Dark Store

Big Love to all,
Nile, Lisa & Cass

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Keeps You Warm, Keeps You Sharp

Quilts, of course, are composed of tiny parts that make a spectacular whole. And when you think about it, so are mathematical theorems. But it took Elaine Krajenke Ellison to figure out that tiny quilted parts could express rainbow-colored mathematical expressions while also being just plain awesome. Shown here are but a few of her Mathematical Quilts, and I’ve included her explanations beneath each one.

clifford torus quiltClifford Torus – This work stems from work in the late 1800’s. The image of the torus results from projecting a sphere into the fourth dimension. Pioneering work on this topic was done by Thomas Banchoff at Brown University. His work, Beyond The Third Dimension was an inspiration to me, so I quilted his discovery!

mascheroni cardioid quiltMascheroni’s Cardioid – Mascheroni constructions are compass only constructions. In 1797, Lorenzo Mascheroni proved that all constructions can be done with a moveable compass alone. (One must imagine that two points determine a straight line). Napoleon was so fascinated with Mascheroni’s work, that he had the mathematician teach his French mathematicians and generals.

sierpinskis_trianglesSierpinkskis Triangle – Waclaw Sierpinski, 1882-1969, was a Polish mathematician that was very interested in patterns, including Pythagorean triples. This triangle, a fractal, was found on the floor of a church in Anagni, Italy. This oldest fractal dates to 1104. It is said that this fractal, named after Sierpinski, is the first fractal in the fractal alphabet. The quilt is owned by the London Science Museum.

the_wheel_of_theodorus_c5paThe Wheel of Theodorus* – Theodorus of Cyrene participated in the Cyrenaic school of moral philosophy. He tutored Plato and was a Pythagorean. His lifetime spans 465 to 398 B.C. During this time period the Greeks just started using written numerals. Further, the concept of the irrational number developed around this time. This quilt starts with an isosceles right triangle with sides 1, 1, and the square root of 2.

*Also note that the quilter/author appears to be wearing a sweatshirt quilted with her Sierpinkskis Triangle design.

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27 sounds manufactured in a kitchen

John Cage.
For Wendy.

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Gothic Dolphins

Gothic Dolphins

Update w/ Ira Glass (grumpy).

Ira Glass

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Choose Yellow

Meet Judy. We met today at Discount Builders Supply, both of us after shelving.


Judy has eight one-color outfits in her wardrobe: pink, green, sage, blue, orchid, periwinkle, white, and this, the yellow. I do not know how the green differs from the sage, but I go with it, accepting the clarification that orchid is a form of orange,  however the orange lipstick does not go with the orchid ensemble. Obviously.

Judy in Full Yellow

Each morning, Judy wakes up and decides which color to go with, and then wears that one color head to toe, jewelry, socks, and all. What’s really amazing about her whole approach, visuals aside, is the emphasis on streamlining. When I first spied Judy, I right away assumed that she had an enormous clothing collection, that this incredible outfit was the result of a vast amassment, a tantalizing glimpse. But no. She explained that the eight monochromatic outfits were all the clothing she owned and that she rotated them one at a time. The reasoning being that, “Monochrome makes life simpler.” I admire this reasoning, so often found only among goths and icy city-folk of the black persuasion, and I’m so pleased that the day we met was a yellow one.


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What We Can Live With

Double, Sara Bright

oil on panel

Berkeley MFA 2009

Stoke out. Sara’s final MFA show is tomorrow night at the Berkeley Art Museum. The opening reception will run from 5:30 to 8:30pm, with Kater Murch on bass, and the show will be up through June 21st.

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Sweet Pair

pair on chair

I’m into the high-top moc these days.


On the right, the black one is from Quoddy, an incredible handmade moccasin outfit out of Maine. While not exactly custom—that is, they make them in standard sizes—each pair is made upon order. I chose the black Ring Boot with a crepe sole for urban adventuring and mine took about 6 weeks to reach my PO Box. You can check out a factory tour of their premises over at All Plaidout.

To the left, the tan one is from the Rose Bowl. It has a single bottom construction, but it’s made of stiff, hardy leather, made to last. I really love the tooling detail along the edges. I imagine choosing this pair for casual rural shuffling.



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