Hello there, dear friends!
Just want to say hello and send out a big huge THANK YOU and lots of love to everyone who has been so supportive of my new shop! It has been a dream of mine for a very long time to have my own shop and having it in Oakland, a city that people keep trying to define by its similarity to or difference from some other place; a city that cannot be defined by anything other than itself; a city that holds my heart and my home, is such an incredible joy and honor I can't even begin to describe it.
I moved to Oakland on my 22nd birthday. It was only the second apartment I ever rented in my life, after a year in Berkeley where I had moved to pursue a mostly bullshit idea that I'd be a photography student at CCAC (back then it still had the third C, which gave my family lots of fodder to make fun of me for studying "crafts" like popsicle stick house building and god's eye weaving, but I digress). Our house hunt the summer of 98 was right in the middle of the first tech bubble and we could not find ANYONE who wanted to rent to a couple of young punk girls who'd dropped out of art school and had a tiny budget. After a long search and an even longer story, we ending up renting a GIGANTIC slanting, run-down, oddball Victorian apartment with about a thousand rooms, a rooftop deck and no residential neighbors, above a bar called Back on Broadway at 3052 Broadway. Our closest neighbor was the guy who lived in his car in the parking lot of the auto upholstery shop next door who sometimes came and borrowed five bucks from one of our roommates (he always paid it back!). The place was dingy and weird and the roof leaked and there were mice and the stove didn't work right and the lights flickered, but my part of the rent was $165, and that was all I needed to know. The adjustment from Berkeley with its tree lined streets and secret pinball museum in the garage of our neighbor's house to a fairly desolate stretch of Broadway with nothing much around but the remnants of the Macarthur-Broadway Center was a bit tough at first. But I stuck it out and started exploring, finding the creek a block or two behind us on Richmond Street and the bars on Piedmont Avenue. I remember as clearly as if it were yesterday, sitting on that rooftop deck one night that autumn, watching the sun set and the fog roll in, the city sky changing from blue to pink to grey to black, thinking how beautiful it all was and how I finally felt like I was home.
So now, 17 years, 4 jobs and 12 apartments later, here I am, carving out my own little piece of what I hope will be a positive and genuine contribution to Oakland, with all my flaws and imperfections just another part of the whole beautiful picture.