If you attend local craft fairs, can’t resist fun hand-printed clothing, or you like to try your hand at make-it-yourself workshops, then you might already be familiar with local artist Jenny Lemons. With a sunny demeanor and an eagerness to share her knowledge about arts & crafts galore, she is easy to remember. She is also easier than ever to find nowadays, as she just opened a retail store which will double as a DIY workshop space.
The colorful Jenny Lemons 24th Street store will sell curated art supplies and each item in the store will be handmade with locally sourced materials. Within this community setting of the store, artists will also have an opportunity to sell their wares, teach a workshop of their own—and newbie artists will have a space to freely explore their own creative potential.
As more people try their hand at the DIY workshops Lennick is confident that their love and appreciation for handmade work will only grow. “I believe people take our DIY workshops because they desire to work with their hands and get away from computer screens. Plus, once they try to do a craft, be it weaving or block printing, they gain a greater understanding of the work artists put into the pieces they put forth.”
And while this focus on craft and quality lends to a higher price point, shop owner Jennie Lennick keeps the focus on finding items that are “unique, timeless, and super high quality.” As she puts it, “Most of my customers are not rich—they chose to spend their hard-earned money on products that are really special.”
We took a moment to catch up with Jennie Lennick, to chat about the store, before cracking open some bubbly at the grand opening party, happening on Thursday, February 1st.
What was the inspiration for the Jenny Lemons’ store and its location?
My goal was to create a space that is bright and welcoming to the community. I love 24th Street because it is so vibrant! The murals, fruit stands, and community spaces like Precita Eyes and Galería de la Raza are integral to this neighborhood and I wanted to contribute to the arts culture here.
Plus, I’ve been running my clothing line, Jenny Lemons, for the past three years and we needed a space we could grow into. Having a storefront makes the business bigger than just hand printed clothing. We’re also able to sell the work of other local artists and give them the opportunity to teach workshops in their area of expertise.
You attended SF Art Institute (SFAI), which is a long way from your home state, Minnesota, did your fine art/painting goals change when you got here? Or were you always craft-focused?
I moved to SF when I was 23, right after I graduated from art school in Minnesota, back in 2009. It was in the midst of the financial crisis and I knew I would have a hard time finding a job in the arts at that time, so I decided to go to graduate school. I went on a huge road trip around the US to figure out where I wanted to live, and San Francisco was the best place I visited.
I was excited to be accepted to SFAI, and came into the painting program there as a multi-media artist with a background in community and worker-owned businesses. Back in Minnesota, I loved making work to sell alongside my friends and gathering people together to have art shows and events. At SFAI, my work changed a lot—I did several immersive installation pieces, performance art about cooking and food, and lots of teaching. I became a bit more focused and honed my painting skills. However, my work has always been craft focused—I love the tradition of craft and sharing it with others.
How do you pick the local artisans you support? Can artists submit work to you?
I’m lucky to be included in the artist and maker community in the Bay Area. Right now, every artist I support is a friend whose talent I believe in—but I don’t know everyone! If an artist feels like they would be a good fit to teach workshops, show art in our galleries, or sell their products in our shop, please reach out to me! I’m excited to do my part to take care of artists in San Francisco.
Happy New Years everyone! 2017 was a whirlwind and despite a troubling political climate, was personally and professionally the best year of my life. One year ago today I quit my job and began working on Jenny Lemons full time. And we’ve grown so much! I have three amazing people helping me out (@sam_robertson, @bluekaza, and @sasicrafts I love you all!) and together we’ve expanded our production: Jenny Lemons products are in over 20 shops across the US! In 2017 I taught hundreds of people to make things themselves. Now we have our own workshop space. Our retail shop is opening this week and we’re just so excited to share all our hard work with everyone! THANK YOU ALL for the support! If it wasn’t for you, I would still just be a girl sewing things alone in a little room.
Visit the retail store in-person, sign up for a workshop, or browse online at JennyLemons. The shop and gallery are open Thursday- Sunday from 12-7pm! Everyone who takes a workshop gets to keep all the supplies they use, plus 20% off in the shop, snacks, and wine.
Grand Opening: Thursday, February 1st, 6pm-9pm
Jenny Lemons, 3043-24th Street, SF