I feel like I know a lot of people who make incredibly beautiful things in San Jose. It's not all computer chips and apps here. We also create things by hand with care and expertise. This list focuses on makers who specifically live in the city of San Jose, CA. The next time you think about buying furniture, textiles, plush toys, ceramics or soaps, consider making a purchase from one of these artists rather than a big box store.
This is a personal selection of designers I know in San Jose. I hope to do more of these in the future. The group here spends a lot of time on their craft and makes with their very own hands. You can find links to their websites, online shops and contact info throughout this post.
- textile artist extraordinaire -
I love following Jerome Sevilla. He takes you back in time to the days of weaving and hand sewing. He shoots gorgeous in progress shots and unravels and recycles textiles. His work is to say the least, exquisite. The care and detail of his work is evident in the images he shares around the web.
In his words:
I'm a small guy with small hands and nearsightedness. Some may think of these as shortcomings, but such traits serve me well as a knitter, weaver, and all-around fiberist. My work has been described as concise, detail oriented and process driven. And that makes sense. The world is a blur. I'm designed to focus intently on what's in front of me.
Find more of his work here:
- plush veggies and fruit -
Amy Brown, the owner of Jumbo Jibbles, is crazy creative. She is best known for her plush vegetables and fruit that have grown (ha!) to be featured on Buzzfeed and you can see her kiwi and lemon above residing on the couch at oh, you know, just Nickelodeon. I have watched her creative business grow and thrive with her highly demanded creations.
In her words:
I love fruits and vegetables SO MUCH... well, see for yourself. I have created giant produce pillows for kids and adults that encourage a closer relationship with your food. My toy company Jumbo Jibbles is inspired by San Jose's agricultural past and future, and my funky larger-than-life veggies confer an honorary farmer status on this apartment-dwelling artist.
Find her here
Le Animale/Laura Johnston
- animal totems and jewelry -
I have followed le animalé since she her early days on Etsy. Laura makes the cutest collectible animal totems that are super unique in their style. These eyeless critters are perfect for you or as gifts. I want them all! I am happy that Laura moved to San Jose in the last year and we now work on creative projects together.
In her words:
I'm Laura, the owner and artist of le animalé. I opened my shop in 2011 creating fun, small, collectible animal totems in polymer clay and pewter. I LOVE creating little animals and have made thousands over the past few years. Working with my hands, honing a skill, and giving life to my imagination has always been a part of me, and I can't imagine not doing it, Every Wednesday I release new totems in my shop, so come by from time to time to see what's new!
Laura is also a visual artist and creates beautiful paintings. You can see more of her amazing work here:
- reclaimed artisan wood furniture -
Chris Patton is a good friend that seemed to just magically be able to make beautiful furniture after conquering the art of photography . Well, he did come from an extensive construction background working with his dad, but still, these gorgeous pieces seem to come from a craftsman who has been making furniture for decades. Chris has done a lot of client work for companies including Cukui, Brand Vessel and San Pedro Square Market, as well as unique pieces for personal work and commissions.
In his words:
Patton Design is focused on quality craftsmanship and finding beauty in raw materials, clean designs with a rustic modern approach.
You can find his work at @chrispatton on Instagram. You can also contact him with inquiries at c.pattondesign(AT)gmail.com.
- beautifully crafted ceramics -
Rossella Manzini makes breathtaking ceramics that are difficult to choose from. Clouds, hearts, waves, triangles and more adorn her handmade wares. Born and raised in Italy, she now resides in San Jose making these perfect pieces. I am currently deciding which plate color I want to purchase:)
In her words:
"There is a story behind every piece that I make: it begins with me, the designing process and the making, and it ends with my customers and how they choose to use my creations. This is the beauty of being a potter: I make things that are beautiful to look at, yet functional and made to be lived with.”
Find the lovely Rossella here:
- natural bath and beauty -
I have purchased Sylvie James products and I really like the cleansers and candles. If you don't end up keeping everything for yourself, they make perfect gifts. It's been really great to watch her put herself into this line of all natural products. I am excited to see what she comes up with next.
Here's what Anna has to say about her goods:
Sylvie James is all natural skin and bath products. It started with my kids really. Sylvie, being my daughters middle name and James is my son's middle name. I started becoming more aware of what I was putting in and on their bodies. I wanted to simplify and put my family on a path to a healthy and all natural lifestyle. The more I learned about making all natural products by hand the more my passion grew.
Sylvie James is more than skin care, it's the idea of taking time out to relax and focusing on ones self. All my products are based around essential oils and cleansing clays. I create everything by hand in small batches. From Herbal Bath Tea, Activated Charcoal Cleansing bars, Eye cream, Bath Bombs, French Clay cleansing Bars, Lip Balm and more. You can follow along at www.sylviejames.com for recipes, family adventures, product updates and more.
FInd her at: