OAKLAND -- Cottage industries are alive and well in the Glenview neighborhood.
Artisans and craftspeople have turned garages and rooms in their homes into studios to build furniture and to create stained glass, jewelry, photography, paper arts, fine arts and other crafts into more than hobbies. They're using their skills to fashion businesses that support them financially and add to the charm of the Glenview area.
Five Glenview neighbors have decided that the time has come for people to recognize and support these artisans and their contributions to Oakland's economic base. To put out the word, Judi Garland, Kyra Quon, Jon Anderson, Jan Wall and Alton Jelks have organized the first Glenview Cottage Industry Show on Saturday, and hope that this show will be the first of many to put Glenview and its craftspeople on the map.
The idea for the show originated with Jelks, who has a background in working with small businesses, when he realized that his neighborhood held a lot of people working from their homes.
"I thought we needed to showcase this and make people aware of this aspect of our economy," he said. "It would be interesting and it might help stimulate buying and moving goods and services."
Showcasing cottage industries would generate income for residents of Oakland and, at the same time, put the spotlight on the artisan aspect that attracts visitors.
Four of the five committee members will be part of the 25 exhibitors at the show: Wall a local painter; Quon displaying jewelry; and Jelks and Garland showing furniture. Garland creates her Mission and Arts-and-Crafts style furniture and cabinets out of her garage and believes that the present economy has forced people to reinvent themselves in order to survive.
A former civil engineer who was laid off, Garland began with furniture building classes at Laney College and came to visualize a new career.
"After I took a full-time summer class, I thought that I could make this work for me and decided to try it for a couple of years," she said.
While she enjoys being her own boss, making her own schedule and crafting her furniture, Garland realizes that marketing and sales are equally important, but not something she relishes doing.
"People see me working in my garage and stop and talk to me and I promote myself that way," Garland said. "Pretty much I'm existing by word-of-mouth."
Since the cost of advertising and commercial display space is beyond many cottage industry exhibitors' budgets they're hoping that the Saturday show will expand their market and build an awareness of their existence. The city of Oakland as a whole can also reap rewards from this show and others like it.
"I think it really speaks well for Oakland to be known as the place where this type of industry exists, where artisans do their work," Jelks said. "This is a centuries old occupation and it shouldn't get lost in urban America."
The committee sees this first show as the launch of an effort to acknowledge artisans throughout Oakland and the next steps are already in the planning, including creating a directory of show exhibitors, finding area restaurants and businesses to display work, expanding the idea to other neighborhoods and even establishing a citywide, open studio-type format.
"Glenview is considered an area that has artists living here and we should showcase what we have and weave it into other neighborhoods," Jelks said. "There's so much focus now on buying and shopping local that maybe people will think twice about buying from a craftsperson who could give them an heirloom," Garland added.
Glenview Cottage Industry Show: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Park Boulevard Presbyterian Church, 4101 Park Blvd.