As the trend for quality, local craftsmanship continues to grow in The City, the local nonprofit SFMade celebrates the burgeoning “maker” scene with SFMade Week.
“Bringing new and improved quality products into the marketplace is part of the cultural vibrancy of The City. This is a city where people are interested in local, well-made products. There are conscientious consumers here,” says Janet Lees, senior director for SFMade, which promotes more than 400 San Francisco-based manufacturers and crafters varying in scope from guitar makers to cycle companies and beer brewers.
Beginning Monday and running through May 12, SFMade Week features events, demonstrations, panel discussions, open studios, factory tours, walking tours and tastings at local manufacturers. Big-name participants include Bi-Rite, DODOcase, Heath Ceramics, Mission Bicycle, Rickshaw Bags, TCHO Chocolate, TechShop and Timbuk2.
“When people go to the SFMade website and look at the company directory, many of them realize that they didn’t know many of these companies were based in San Francisco,” Lees says.
Every day for a week, at least one local company will open its doors to the public for scheduled factory tours, allowing a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of bag makers, urban vintners, garden designers and more.
SFMade also spotlights various areas in its “Neighborhood Placemaking Tours.” A tour on Tuesday focuses on Pier 70, a former bustling shipyard at the edge of the Dogpatch where development plans involve many budding independent businesses. Guided walks in the northeast Mission and Dogpatch areas, which have seen a sharp rise in boutique artisans, also are offered.
“We’ll talk about the buildings, the neighborhoods, some history, and also how local manufacturing is revitalizing neighborhoods,” Lees says. “There are five wineries alone in the same space with Cellars 33 in Dogpatch. They’re creating their own cooperative space. It’s very neat. Urban wineries are a new trend.”
The week’s big party is the “Ramp it Up” fundraiser Wednesday, when makers, and food and drink artisans will give demonstrations in Heath Ceramics’ new northeast Mission facility. The nearly 20,000-square-foot space houses tile manufacturing, retail and a cafe. SFMade helped Heath find the space, and the Sausalito company’s expansion has already created about 45 new jobs in the community with the potential for more.
More SFMade Week events include panel discussions at TechShop, a membership-based workshop packed with tools and equipment. “The Intersection of Design, Craft and Technology” is at 6 p.m. Monday (910 Howard St., S.F.) and “Making it in SF: Understanding and Leveraging Local Resources and Networks,” is at 6 p.m. Tuesday (926 Howard St., S.F.).