Noe Valley Voice July-August 1998


By Anne Gates

Storetrek is a regular Noe Valley Voice feature, profiling new shops and businesses in the neighborhood. This month we venture (just slightly) out of Noe Valley to a craft and gift shop, and we revisit Global Exchange, now in its new digs on 24th Street. If you are the owner of a new business in the area, please leave word at the Voice, 821-3324.

Clay Loom

3412 22nd St. (at Guerrero)


When their two daughters became friends, so did Josefina Calzada and Lana Nazzaro. The two moms hit it off so well, in fact, that they decided to start a gift shop together. Clay Loom, which features handmade ceramics and textiles, opened its doors at 22nd and Guerrero on Feb. 28.

Calzada makes ceramics (she's the "clay") and Nazzaro works with textiles and weaving (hence, the "loom"). Indeed, a large loom fills a corner of the small shop, so visitors can check on the progress of the wool tapestry that's about half done.

Calzada and Nazzaro create most of the inventory themselves. Calzada does both low-fire and high-fire finishes, and seeks out unusual matte glazes. Small matte-glaze bowls in soft speckled colors sell for $9 to $14. A large ceramic and wood chess board with ceramic chess pieces shaped like little devils costs $150.

Nazzaro's tapestries and rugs adorn the walls. Some feature cheerful, slightly abstract nature motifs; others are more neutral and geometric. Most of the rugs are priced at $50 to $150. The tapestries cost more. The biggest one -- and also the most expensive, at $2,450 -- took Nazzaro about 400 hours to weave.

Nazzaro also dyes silk scarves, which are "selling really well," says Calzada. The brightly colored scarves run $9 to $29.

Nazzaro does her weaving in the store. But since Calzada couldn't squeeze in her wheel and kiln, she works on quillery between customer visits. Quillery is paper-curling, an old French handicraft started by nuns who wanted to do filigree work but lacked the funds to buy gold or silver.

"I found a book on quillery at the library and just started," says Calzada. "I love it." Now she makes surprisingly sturdy quillery mobiles ($18 to $22) and quillery cards and writing papers ($1.75 to $4.50). "They look delicate, but you can mail them with no problem. They're strong," Calzada promises.

Clay Loom also imports jewelry and pottery from Mexico. "We try to find different, unique things that other stores don't sell," says Calzada.

The jewelry features delicate filigree "dangle" earrings, in silver or gold ($34 and $59). Smaller earrings ($15), pendants, and necklaces are also available.

The pottery includes terracotta wall flower pots in simple designs ($21). The shop also sells more elaborate, one-of-a-kind pieces, such as a vase with intricate hand-painted animal designs ($98), and an ornate Mexican "Tree of Death" candelabra ($125).

Calzada's sister Georgina contributes her artwork to the store, too. She makes silver pillboxes ($14 to $25) and silver-etched glass perfume bottles ($35 to $45).

Calzada, who lives in Glen Park, and Nazzaro, a resident of the "Transmission" -- the area where Noe Valley and the Mission overlap-- say they are happy with their store location on 22nd Street.

"It's quiet and very much a neighborhood," says Calzada. "People come in and introduce themselves. Neighbors wave hello. We really like it here."

Clay Loom's summer hours are Thursday through Sunday, 1 to 7 p.m., or by appointment (call 643-3886).

Global Exchange

4018 24th St. (at Noe)


On June 1, Global Exchange, the "Fair Trade Crafts Center," moved from its tiny shop on 24th near Sanchez to a much bigger storefront up the street, in the spot formerly occupied by B-Tech Aquarium. Gone are the sounds of gurgling fish tanks. Now salsa music plays in the sunny store. There's even enough room to dance, which a few customers have been spotted doing.

Global Exchange's merchandise -- a potpourri of handmade crafts, jewelry, housewares, art objects, and trinkets from around the world -- hasn't changed. There's just more of it. And now there's space to display items such as rugs, more clothes, and larger pieces of pottery.

Here's a sampling of what's for sale: Little soapstone hippos from Kenya ($3); rustic, hand-blown drinking and wine glasses from Mexico ($6 to $13); woven wallets, tote bags, and backpacks from Guatemala ($6 to $39); wool caps from Ireland ($39); a selection of world-music CDs ($17); and yards and yards of beaded necklaces ($3.50 to $5.50).

Henna body-painting kits from Los Angeles go for $27. Handmade kapok-stuffed "eco-toys" from Sri Lanka include mice dressed in pinafores and shoes ($15). A bright ball is $11.95. A big bear clad in a plaid dress costs $95. And a vibrant hand-embroidered Mexican tablecloth on the wall behind the cash register sells for $310.

The Global Exchange Crafts Center was established to promote economic justice and fair trade, and to market traditional crafts from developing countries. The store tries to buy directly from artisans when possible, and sales generate income for many impoverished artists, cooperatives, and communities.

Global Exchange, now on 24th between Noe and Castro, is open daily, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The phone number is 648-8068.