Tag Archives: workshops

Fire + Fish + Beer Recap

5 Jun


Skill Exchange! One of the best things to come from organizing these events are the new friends and collaborators I’ve gotten to know. I single-mindedly focused on the student-side of things when I first started Skill Exchange, but one of the most rewarding parts has been this growing network of teachers and makers. For every stressful moment, there seems to be a creative counterpart– a good conversation, a shared resource, a new idea. Fishmongers, photographers, makers, printers, chefs– I’ve learned so much and had so many opportunities to grow my practice and work with inspiring and challenging makers. James Tucker, of The Aesthetic Union is one of the those makers. We met through the Skill Exchange network a few years ago and now frequently collaborate on client projects as well as personal ones. James is a pressman that uses just the right combination of humor, know-how and hard work.

During the planning process back in early May, James offered to help out with a special print project to share with students during our May event. He suggested letterpress menus, for our grilled lunch– and within about 48 hours, I sketched some illustrative bits, Edible SF Editor Bruce Cole put together a summery meal of grilled fish and seasonal vegetables. I handed the menu file off to James– no nit-picky color, additional plates or other requirements (I’m good at that part, you can ask James). I told James to go for it, and this is was his contribution to the project. Beautiful splint fountain, and wonderfully textured paper with a raw edge, and some serious printing skill. Its not often that I can comfortably close my eyes and hand off a project to someone else– but working with James is a delight.

Fire + Fish + Beer Skill Exchange
I also worked with the amazingly talented Kimberley Hasselbrink, photographer, author, food blogger and all around San Francisco lady-business powerhouse. Kimberley shared a recipe and tasting at the May event, but she also worked throughout, documenting the day for Skill Exchange. It is a real pleasure to hand off the responsibility of documentation to someone as talented as Kimberley. I am frequently the organizer/host/photographer/micro-manager during all Skill Exchange events — its a task I take on because I for the most part, like all of those things, but its sometimes hard to step outside the roles in the moment to see and experience the events with fresh eyes.

During a workshop, I’m frequently thinking ahead to what needs to be lined up or prepped, or whats missing, or what might go wrong– so I often miss out on small moments. Receiving the event photos from Kimberley was like Christmas, I was seeing so many sweet moments for the very first time. Honestly, look at these faces below! Serious determination to shuck that oyster in the foreground and total delight in the background as one of our students plucks his first oyster out of the shell. This stuff makes me feel almost weepy!

Fire + Fish + Beer Skill ExchangeFire + Fish + Beer Skill ExchangeFire + Fish + Beer Skill ExchangeFire + Fish + Beer Skill ExchangeFire + Fish + Beer Skill Exchange
Who am I kidding here, I DO feel very emotional looking at all these photos. If you’d like to see more photos by Kimberley, the whole set is now available on the newly redesigned Skill Exchange website, SkillExchangeSF.com


Maybe blurry May

27 May

The month of May has been a blur. I’ve been busy with the shop, packaging and fulfilling orders and sanding, always sanding. I also spent a few blurry and busy few weeks prepping for the big summer Skill Exchange event over at StoreFrontLab. It was my dream lineup of teachers and workshops, but it was as always, an intense experience to bring it all together. I somehow seem to forget that putting on events takes a lot out of me, physically and emotionally, even though I do enjoy most of the organizing, planning, and final results. The results, by the way, were wonderful. Joanna wrote a very lovely recap of her experience as a student at Skill Exchange over at Jojotastic.

All of our teachers were passionate and so generous with their time and skills– in the coming weeks I’ll share photos and a full recap of the whole event, captured by photographer Kimberley Hasselbrink of The Year in Food. I am very excited to see these photos! For much of the day I was so busy running around behind the scenes, I know I missed quite a few skills. I put together a short video of a few moments, but I’m already eager to see what else Kimberley captured of our day.  I realize now that I’ve almost completely stopped toting my camera around, and most of the time have become too lazy/forgetful to take photos at home. I’d blame it on being busy, but being busy just seems like a dumb excuse. I forced Intern to take the above photo of me, and it may be the one and only photo of me there, and probably the only one of me looking way less stressed than I actually felt. The other photos were taken during a leisurely late lunch mid-week in mid-May, when Intern and I both snuck away from work to take care of a few errands in Hayes Valley, and have nothing to do with the contents of this blog post. Feels like an appropriate way to sum up the past few weeks– lots of unrelated everything-all-at-once.


3 workshops and a party

14 Jun


Three Skill Exchange workshops and a party are all wrapped up for the season at Makeshift Society. Our final workshop was last night, lead by cocktail masters Jill and Genevieve. This series covered a diverse span of topics, from DIY pickled green strawberries, no-sew upholstery, Italian cheese and wine pairings and cocktails and bitters. Makeshift Society was an excellent host, and the space was very flexible for all the schemes we planned and executed over the last two months. I had a huge amount of help from my dear intern, the staff at Makeshift and a handful of very kind volunteers who were insanely helpful, assisting with everything from tickets, heavy lifting, serving, bar-tending, running errands and a whole host of other things.

This series was different from previous workshops in a number of ways, and I learned a good deal of  lessons. The workshops all had higher price points, but we were able to offer more resources as a result. We’re slowly working towards being able to better support our teachers, while also working on a few plans to offer more low-cost public events in the future. I’m collecting feedback from students, and still processing all of the ideas that have come out of this series. Some mistakes were made, but we also had some surprise successes that I’ll continue to implement in future events.

Skill Exchange is on vacation (ha!) for the summer, but we’ll be back in early fall with a whole new lineup, and some new tricks to share!

Final Spring Workshop

6 Jun


Next Thursday is our final workshop at Makeshift Society, exploring the topic of cocktails. Our two workshop instructors have years of experience in the cocktail world, both drinking and creating them for others to enjoy! Genevieve Brazelton makes her own line of cocktail bitters, and is well-versed in crafting the perfect combination of aromatics, flavor and experience. Jill Fitzgerald is a seasoned bartender, and co-owner of the newly opened Outer Mission/Bernal Flats bar, Virgil’s Sea Room. Together, Jill and Genevieve will lead the workshop through a lesson on the basic building blocks of cocktails, and help us understand a bit of history behind classic cocktails, and make a few for us to enjoy. We’ll also do a tasting of bitters, and dive into understanding the purpose and place for bitters in your cocktail. Tickets are limited and of course, open to 21 + over only. Tickets here.

Last week our Italian cheese and wine workshop at Makeshift Society was a wonderful evening of cheese, history and of course, wine. Thank you to our teachers, Sophie and Deena for making the evening such a fun and informative event!

Schedule update: cheese & wine workshop

28 May


Two events down, two more to go! This week we’ve got another workshop at Makeshift Society, one that I am particularly excited about. The topic is Italian cheese and wine, two things very near and dear to me, every single week. I have to admit, cheese is a bit of a mystery to me, and wine is an area that I enjoy very much, but know very little about. When scheduling this workshop, I wanted to create an experience that would help people like me find a balance between loving, and understanding cheese and wine, without getting too intense or pretentious. For $40, this workshop will offer tastings, conversations, and a great, relatable resource guide to help demystify cheese and wine pairings, without overwhelming the senses.

This workshop is for anyone who loves cheese and wine, but isn’t quite confident in their ability to pair the perfect combination. Our two instructors, a Cheese Monger and Advanced Sommelier will lead a small group of eager cheese and wine lovers through a 2-hour introduction to regional Italian cheese and wine, and will of course, include cheese and wine tastings. By the end of the evening you’ll have tasted at least 4 wines and 8 cheeses, and you’ll leave the class with a resource guide and the confidence to dive deeply into the nearest cheese counter or wine shop. Tickets available here.

Last Thursday was our sold-out workshop with Lara Rempel of Box Pleat Design. Lara lead a great introductory workshop for no-sew DIY upholstery. June 13th will be the final workshop of the series, focusing on cocktails and bitters!

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