Saturday, January 11, 2014

Jack of All Trades Market at Jack London Square

     Jack London Square is a beautiful area that resembles a ghost town many days of the week, but great fairs and markets are starting to bring the foot traffic it deserves. Besides Patchwork and the Sunday farmer's market, Jack London also hosts the Jack of All Trades Market on the second Saturday of every month. This market is from the same folks who do Treasure Island Flea. My sister and I visited January's market, and we were impressed by the variety of vendors and pleased to see some of our favorites like OodleBaDoodle and hrvst/3D.
     Jack of All Trades is really one of the best markets in the Bay Area to find craftspeople from, you guessed it, all trades, and judging by foot traffic and shopper enthusiasm, I think this market will only keep expanding. There are vendors who work with metal, wood, fabric, plastic, and repurposed items. They sell antiques, art, vintage clothing, jewelry, furniture, food, craft beer, pet toys, olive oil, perfumes, soaps, and more.
     January's market was held indoors, but craftswoman Lisa Inez DeFehr told us that the market is sometimes held outside and stretches all the way down the waterfront. Lisa's shop was one of our favorites. She handcrafts unique pieces of jewelry: necklaces with bottle charms containing tiny bird feathers, dandelion seeds, paper roses, or flash mobs. She also had a necklace with three little pig charms and a wolf. She said many of her pieces have an element of fairytale in them, and one walks away from her booth feeling a bit of the enchantment.
     One of the best parts of Bay Area art and craft festivals is that you get to meet the designer, creator, or artist and talk with them about their creative process. Artist Sean Murphy ushered me to his booth with the Force. Actually, it was his Star Wars-themed art, specifically a picture of the Millenium Falcon flying over the Golden Gate with the Death Star posing as the moon in the background. He also had a picture of storm troopers sitting in a vintage Batmobile and a Darth Vader Buddha. Besides Star Wars, Murphy had pictures of Smurfs engaged in a little illegal gardening, if you know what I mean, and alien ships flying over the Golden Gate.
     All of Murphy's art is funky, surprising, and humorous. He signed the print I purchased and told me about how each is made, what the materials he uses are, and the effort it takes to produce just one. I plan to make my living room wall a tad cooler with the Millenium Falcon print I couldn't pass up.
     I was pleased to see hrvst/3D at the market and to check out the new Bay Bridge charm I hadn't seen before. Hrvst/3D makes earrings, necklace charms, and tiny figurines of beloved Bay Area landmarks and features like shipping cranes, the Transamerica Building, Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, Sutro Tower, and the oak tree (for Oakland). Most of their charms are made of 3D printed nylon, but they also have sterling silver and gold charms. Their pieces are so local and so unique!
     We were able to find items that friends and family will love, such as Giants wine glass bottle cap charms and finger puppets/pen toppers. There were multiple vendors selling a large variety of scarves in beautiful and unexpected shapes and sizes. There was a vendor selling rubber ducky soaps, another selling recycled steel drum sculptures, and still another selling repurposed wood tables of all shapes and sizes. And many of the Bay Area food trucks that have become a favorite at Off the Grid were gathered outside the market to satisfy hungry shoppers.
     One of the best things about this market is that it's dog friendly. Many people usually ignore the posted "No Pets" signs that are common at Bay Area festivals, but the atmosphere is not welcoming. At Jack of All Trades, pets were warmly acknowledged. I was happy to see the many dogs at the market and to do my shopping beside them.
     Overall, this market has one of the friendliest atmospheres of the Bay Area fairs, markets, and festivals. The latest Patchwork Show at Jack London required visitors to sign in at a table and walk down a sort of chute into the show, which made the atmosphere a little less inviting and a tad more chaotic. At Jack of All Trades, there were security guards but the atmosphere was relaxed and welcoming. If you're in the Bay Area, you can't miss this market. Not only will you find items that will surprise and delight you, but you'll be supporting many local and independent craftspeople. And that just feels good.

Giants Wine Glass Bottle Cap Charms

Hand Knit Finger Puppets and Pen Toppers

Bottle Charm Necklace with Dandelion Seed by Lisa Inez DeFehr
Visit her on Facebook at

Shipping Crane Earrings by hrvst/3D
Visit their website:

Dog Friendly!

Trendy Furniture Pieces

Handcrafted Tables

Food Trucks!

Golden Gate Bridge Pillow by OodleBaDoodle

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