From Our Hands to Yours on Valentine’s Day

As Valentines Day quickly approaches we all scramble to find just the right gift to give. We sometimes agonize over it wondering if we should or should not give a gift or flowers or a card. I always try to find something that is special and I always buy local so with that in mind I have put together a few suggestion of some amazing local artisans. The nice thing is you can get all of this at the Pike Place Market along with some beautiful flowers.  This is just a small sample of some of the most amazing gifts you can find from over 250 local artisans at the Pike Place Market .  You can also find suggestion on the Pike Place Market Pinterest page  .  The Pike Place Market has everything you need so come shop local.

From Our Hands to Yours



by: Kristeena Sabando ~ Sabando Design

Pike Place Producers


Summer Where The Sidewalk Ends

And there I sit under a sunflower light

I sell our art at Pike Place Market all year long. For six months of the year I set my business up outside of the north arcade building. So far at the end that I usually have one foot on the sidewalk and the other on the red cobblestones of Pike Place.  I have a yellow sunflower umbrella. I sit. Watch. Interact with visitors. This year’s winning question – “where is the wall of gum?”. The Gum Wall?  You are at the north end of the market, I say.  Continue on through the market until you see Rachel the Pig. Look for the sign that says “Market Theater” and walk down the stairs. It’s gross. You’ll love it. Giggles from the visitors.

I also interact with the greater market family. People who walk back and forth through the market each day to pass the time. The homeless, the semi-homeless, the out of work, the seniors, the people who love being a part of the life and breath of the market or simply have nothing else better to do.  The market gives them a sense of community.

Isaac comes down on the bus from Everett once a week and sometimes brings me almonds.  He assures me that he also brings me good luck for sales.  An aged Hindu man passes by as he laps the market and attempts to teach me Hindi.  So far Namaste, How are you, I’m fine – are as far as we’ve gotten in 5 years.  One of the motorcycle regulars works at Etta’s and spends Tuesdays volunteering at the Food Bank in the market.  Nice girl.  Always takes the time to chat.  My business is set up right in front of the only two motorcycle parking spaces in the market so I’ve learned some “Harley” etiquette over the years.  Most of the riders now give me a heads up before starting their engines.

And then there is Momma Sue. 10 years ago Sue picked up the wooden chair I had forgotten as I packed up for the day.  Homeless at the time, she lugged that chair around with her for days until she caught up with me to give it back.  She has never asked me for anything. We have shared time and conversation with each other over the years.  She moved into an apartment of her own and I asked her what she really wanted to help make it feel like home. A toaster. I got her a red one to match the color she always wears.

There’s the woman who sits on the bench and asks everyone “Can I borrow two dollars for a drink?”. Security – please make her stop. I must say that her dollar amount is spot on but does she really plan on paying it back?

The busker who in the summer rarely wears a shirt or shoes. Long flowing hair to his waist, waves as he breezes by with a guitar over his shoulder.

And then the people in the park across the way. Never ending entertainment for me.

Don’t mess with a native woman.

And when I tire of people watching I kidnap poetry
and make it my own. My apologies to Shel Silverstein. It just fit.

Summer Where the Sidewalk Ends
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins.
And there the sun is warm and bright
And there I dream of what only children might
And there I sit under a sunflower light
To cool in the misty wind.

Let us leave the place where streets are black
And the huddled mass of ordinary bends.
Past the park where the native flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is carefree and slow
And watch where the red cobblestones go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

We shall walk with a walk that is carefree and slow
And watch where the red cobblestones go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Poem adapted from Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends”

Post by Kat Allen – Symbols in Art
Handcrafted art tiles reflecting World Religion and Culture

A guy’s view on shopping at the Market

As a market vendor I have 7 years in experience observing the way men shop in the market. Being a guy my own approach to buying parallels that of many other men.  In my own business we cultivate repeat business. If a gift works well for a guy, he will likely return to the store for further purchases. My wife and I make one of a kind pieces, so the retention of repeat customers is high.

Men generally shop with the swiftness of assassins. Of course, you will find indecisive specimen among us, but most of the time shopping keeps us from other activities, so it must happen quickly. We generally know what we are specifically looking for,  so it is mostly seek and buy. Shopping as a recreation is not really a guy thing.  Sometimes men are uncomfortable shopping in department stores or boutiques. Those types of stores are not necessarily environs where we feel at ease. The market is a uniquely laid back place where you can find a wide range of things in one place. It also allows people to meet the craftsperson or artist and make informed buys.

Growing up with an older sister, I have spent countless hours being dragged along while my mother and sister shopped endlessly from store to store. The market provides many stalls and fixed businesses that appeal to the average guy. We have several vendors that produce excellent woodwork. Their work ranges from hand wrought stools, cutting boards, boxes, long boards to cribbage boards. My friend Joseph of Swanfield Horn & Stone Craft makes obsidian knives with hand carved handles. If you’re in the market for more modern blades we also have Seattle Cutlery in the market.  They sell specialty blades from kitchen to tactical knives.

Joseph of Swanfield Horn & Stone Craft
obsidian knives with hand carved handles

Guys will always gravitate towards food offerings in the Pike Place Market.  For years Don & Joe’s Meats have been my preferred butchers. They also have great frozen bones for your dogs, just ask. Tourists are always fascinated by the goings on at Pike Place Fish. We also have three more fishmongers in the market. As a former commercial fisherman, I prefer my fish not going airborne. Beecher’s Cheese is a great place to eat, but it is also fun to watch their cheese production in action. There are also several wine shops in the market. The deli Pear has a great selection of domestic craft beers and imports. They also carry wine and great foods to accompany those beverages. Countless specialty foods can be found throughout the market.

For the shopping weary guy the market provides many choices in bars and restaurants for a beer or cocktail.  On warm days you can even find an outside spot to rest and have a drink.  Several pubs and restaurants provide al fresco seating for patrons. I have directed many husbands to various watering holes in the market, while their wives continue their shopping.

For many men traveling on business, the market provides a great place to purchase anything from a tourist t-shirt to fine art. We are walking distance from many downtown hotels. We are often the last place for businessmen to shop before heading for the airport. Our location and diversity make it very guy friendly. They are in and out like trained assassins.

Pear Delicatessen
Local and Import Beer

 Ron Sabando, Sabando Design

Happy birthday to Pike Place Producers

You’ve laughed, cried, been surprised and stimulated, amazed, interested and even provoked. Above all we hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog over the last year.

As we approach the anniversary of our launch we can take a look back with pleasure and pride at the amazing and eclectic posts that have provided a unique insight into the life and times of the crafts community at Pike Place Market.

The blog was born out of some friendly meetings at the studio I share with Lynn Rosskamp of PingiHats where, fuelled by good snacks and beverages, our creative brains turned to how we can make more people aware of who we are and what we do.

We knew there was a wealth of great stories to tell about our businesses and lives as artists and crafts people, and about our place in one of Seattle’s oldest institutions and major tourist attractions.

And admittedly there was a measure of frustration driving us. Daily we encounter at our booths so many people who are completely unaware that the Market has a vibrant crafts community, that we all make what we sell, that we are professionals.

Over the course of those meetings we agreed it made sense to collaborate to get the word out, and to utilize the interest we shared in online and social media to make that happen. We set up a Facebook page, a Twitter feed and this blog, and Kat Allen of Symbols in Art wrote the first post of June 13, 2011.

Since then we’ve included artist profiles, pieces about our inspiration and work processes, and lots of information about how crafts community at the Market works. We’ve addressed etiquette and some pet peeves. There have been lots of photographs, some super cartoons, even a song playlist. I encourage you to browse the archives to check out all the posts.

In the last year our blog has received over 10,000 views. Our busiest day was September 14, 2011 when my post about the thorny issue of pricing was widely shared. Also very popular was Kat’s post about Market lunch spots on March 8 this year, and the Where Are You From post by Laura Killoran of Croshay Design. And the recent tearjerker about How the Market Brings People Together by Kristeena and Ron Sabando of Sabando Design was widely read and shared.

We do a new post weekly and there is much, much more to say, so stick around, follow us on Twitter, like our Facebook page. Thanks!

Emma Roscoe, Red Delicious Bags

How the Market Brings People Together

Alyssa and her mom Karla

Every day we get the opportunity to set up and sell in the Pike Place Market. The market is such a unique place, where we get access to so many people coming and going. Some of our customers live in Seattle and others are just passing through.  People come to Seattle for  business, family, medical treatment and some just on a whim. One thing most have in common is that they have to come to the worlds famous Pike Place Market.

We have sold jewelry for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and we have met some amazing people over the years.  But I never thought that making and selling our jewelry could have overwhelming impact on anyone’s life but I was wrong.

What is in a ring? A pretty gem stone some shiny silver put together in a way we think is unique.  But one day a beautiful lady walked up to our table and picked up a ring and tried it on. We had a pleasant conversation and she walked off with her daughter.  A little while later her husband came back and bought the ring for his wife telling us that she never buys any jewelry for herself and fell in love with the ring. He had thanked us for being nice to his wife because she was in town for cancer treatment . She looked frail but had such a light about her as she went about browsing.

The next day we got an email from her husband thanking us again for the beautiful ring and our interaction with his wife and family. We were touched by the email and thankful that we could make someone happy.  A few months passed and we received another email early in the AM from her daughter, letting us know that her mother had passed away. Before she died she gave the ring to her daughter to wear as a memento.  She thanked us again for the ring and our conversation.  Every time I think about this family I cry and think about the profound impact a ring and a simple kind conversation can have on people.

We are fortunate to meet so many people with happy and sad stories. They all have an impact on our life as we have an impact on there’s.

We think about that day all the time and I had asked Alyssa if I could tell you this story. She told me that today is the one year anniversary of her mom Karla’s funeral and she would like me to share our story with you. This is a beautiful family and we are fortunate to call them friends now!

By Kristeena and Ron Sabando: Sabando Design

Three more days!

It’s 4am on December 22nd and the day begins for us at Sabando Design. We are a true mom and pop operation. My wife Kristeena and I design, fabricate and sell the jewelry we’ve been offering at the market for the past six years.

We generally follow a Monday through Friday schedule at the Market, but sell every day from Black Friday to Christmas Eve. I will give you a little insight on what it takes for us to keep a full selection of products at our booth on a continuous basis.

Our early rise enables us both to fabricate rings, pendants, bracelets and earrings in silver and gemstones daily before heading into the Market. Many of the products you find in the Market require a multiple-day process before they are able to be sold.

We are set up to make things from conception to finish in a continuous sequence. Many jewelers use various tumblers to get a finish on their shiny creations. We are set up to tumble chains in crushed walnut shell tumblers for a bright finish, but we usually use a sequence of motor buffers and compounds to get that alluring shine.

Throughout the year we purchase finished faceted stones and gemstone roughs for our designs. In the final weeks before Christmas we have no time to actually cut and polish the various cabochon gemstones used in our designs, so this generally happens when the weather is warmer, because grinding stones involves lots of water on diamond impregnated wheels and belts, and our hands get cold from the constant spraying while polishing. We try to ensure that we have enough raw materials to get us through the holiday season.

Throughout the year we offer custom design work for our customers and friends. This is great for people who plan a more personalized gift for their loved ones. We often set stones with sentimental meanings or etch specific designs into metal for our customers. Every year we stop taking custom orders by the 15th of December so we can just focus on balancing our product mix for the remaining days.

These final days before Christmas simply revolve around the two of us fabricating and selling. Our morning ritual is to caffeinate first, and crank the heater and tunes in our downstairs studio. We each make our own individual pieces, but agree on what we need to give a balanced color and size display at the Market. By 6:30am we usually try to have our polishing complete so we have enough time to shower and walk our dogs before we head downtown.

Around 8:20am we arrive in the Market and pull our cart from its locker location. At 9am the bell rings for roll call. We choose our selling locations by seniority.  Every vendor is assigned a number when they are accepted in the Market. We are number 153 out of a total of around 260. Once we have have picked our spot we need about an hour until we are properly displayed and ready to sell.

By 10 :15am you should find Kristeena and I ready to assist you. “Three more days!” is our mantra today. We hope to welcome you down to the Market among our friends and fellow crafters and artists.

by Ron Sabando, Sabando Design