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Thank you Rena Tom and redneckmodern

It’s been an exciting 24 hours at the Ranch since our interview with Rena Tom posted and was picked up by one of my favorite Sunday morning haunts redneckmodern.

Since Rena Tom visited our booth at the SF Renegade Craft Fair I have been frequenting her blog Rena Tom retail strategy for creative business. It is an essential read for anyone running a creative small business.In one article she follows Pigeon Toe Ceramics to the New York International Gift Fair, which has inspired The Ranch to do the same – exhibit in the 2013 NYIGF that is.

Thanks everyone for your support!


Getting ready for Renegade "Don't you have some work to do Darren?"


And one more time… thank you Renegade Shoppers!

This year’s Holiday Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco was our best ever, and likewise for the artists we spoke to.

We did well with our small concrete items over the Summer, so we’d planned on bringing  an even stronger concrete offering for the Holiday show. What we hadn’t planned on was the concrete tables being booked up through the Winter, so the ceramics took center stage. I’ll definitely do more with these simple modern hanging planters (pictured above) We broke these out on Sunday for the first time and they went fast.

Also new this year was a wide and varied selection of handmade ceramic piggy banks. We sold quite a few, but I can’t believe no one pulled the trigger on this adorable new javelina.

Thank you Renegade shoppers!

I just wanted to do a quick post and thank all the people who stopped in our booth at the Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco this past July. We met lots of  interesting people, received so much great feedback, and made some good sales too.  I think we’ll expand our concrete selection for the Holiday Renegade show this December (if they’ll have us -it’s juried yah know) Anyway, thanks again everyone for all your support! ~L

The Ranch Design Group at the Renegade Craft Fair this Saturday and Sunday

Come visit us July 9th and 10th 2011 at the Renegade Craft Fair to see all our latest work in person. They’ve got us stuffed all the way in the back on the left so you’ll have to refrain from making any impulse buys as you make your way back.

For those of you who are not familiar or have never been to a Renegade show, it is truly a unique market place that exists nowhere else I can think of. It’s a juried collection of over 200 small independent craftspeople who’s work you can’t get in any of those really cool boutiques or modern shops in San Francisco. Although it would be fitting, there’s not a ton of opportunity for retail markup with handmade work, so the Renegade is a rare opportunity to purchase things directly from the artists who made them and have so much great stuff to choose from all under one roof.

Fort Mason and the Marina in general are kind of a pain in the ass, but the parking is not as bad as you might expect and this show is totally worth it. I recommend eating  a decent meal before you come and you’ll have a great time.

Mention you read my post and get a free Ranch logo magnet! -hope to see you there, otherwise no magnet ~L

July 9th and 10th 2011 at Fort Mason Festival Pavilion in San Francisco, open from 10am – 7pm.



Water Feature: The Hobbet Property

Over the Christmas break, Darren and I completed our most adventurous and creative project yet, a sculptural water feature for the Hobbet property in Walnut Creek.

The clients are Stacy, a published novelist / journalist, and Randall, a geologist.  They allowed the design parameters to be wide open… they just wanted something great, which any creative knows, that’s a dream project that doesn’t come around very often.  Their only request; that the fountain have multiple focal points of interest from varying locations from within their mostly glass home, and no rocks be used. I guess Randall Hobbet looks at those all day at work. Since it was to sit amongst their outdoor sculpture, our  design was inspired by art museum sculpture garden fountains of the late 60’s, the era of the home.. The unique rounded wedge shape of the space and right angles of the home’s architecture directed  the fountain’s geometry.

We created it using three concrete methods, wet cast (pre-cast in our studio), pour in place (on location), and glass fiber reinforced concrete.  The tile is all hand made and fired in our studio. First, Darren dug and prepared the foundation  placing the plumbing and drainage. We wet cast the heavy, segmented walls at our studio which “keyed” together with flange anchors to the foundation. They fit together beautifully thanks to Darren’s creative engineering. We poured wet concrete inside to create the bottom of the basin locking the walls and lighting in place.  The sculptural center-piece is glass fiber reinforced concrete making it light enough for Darren and I to roll in on a large dolly and lift one end at a time to place it in. (another perfect fit) Once the pump was connected to the 4 slotted water outlets (3 in back, 1 in front), the bottom and sides were locked into place with an epoxy adhesive so that the two reservoirs remain water tight, and divided. The last piece to go in was the concrete “beach”, the sculptural corner stone that houses the pump with an access door on the back side. All exposed joints were sealed with silicone, and the fountain was filled.

The fountain has two separate reservoirs, and water flow from multiple points, for visual activity from any angle. The intake for the pump draws from the front reservoir inside the center piece. The back reservoir fills up and flows into the front  through an outlet on the side.  The number of outlets was chosen to balance the amount flow between the two reservoirs.

We are so thrilled with the end result. Check out the finished product below.

The Ranch at the San Francisco Holiday Renegade Craft Fair 2010

I am excited to announce The Ranch Design Group will be exhibiting and selling wares at this year’s Holiday Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco December 18th and 19th st the San Francisco Design Center..

Available for purchase will be brand new ceramic canisters, modern soap dishes, concrete planters, vessel sinks and all things concrete metal and clay.  You’ll also be able to shop our tile boards, see photos of our latest installations, look at color samples and place custom orders. Cash, and Visa/Master Card accepted.

The craft fair will be located in the East Hall of  the Concourse Exhibition Center at 620 7th Street, between Brannan and Townsend in San Francisco.

Hope to see you there!

The Sarcasm Test: design tools for tools.

Here at the Ranch Design Group, Darren and I have this thing we call the Sarcasm Test. It’s not a test where if something’s too sarcastic or cynical, it gets killed. We call that, …well, what DO you call that? The Sarcasm Test, is a filter all our work goes through to ensure it’s not made fun of by our relentless peers of the design community. You know who you are, and I salute you. Unlike a traditional design critique, it’s fun, easy, only takes a minute, and should come naturally to anyone who strives to maintain a shred of critical thought in this fear-based cult-ishly positive world we work in. You start with the basic cost of entry stuff, – Does this look like someone else’s logo? – does it look like something else entirely? -like the opposite of what it’s supposed to be about… Then there’s the hard questions. Does it look like a penis? –a penis and balls? do the initials kind of become the word ‘turd’ when sound them out? -who could that be? When you change one letter or syllable, do you have something else entirely, – something so hilariously terrible that everyone in the whole office can appreciate the joke? If you think I sound paranoid right now, then you’re probably the one who is either designing, or approving the very stuff the Sarcasm Test was invented for.

Having put this blog entry through my own sarcasm test, I already know that you know  I am buttering you up for a series of  random blog entries where I present you great examples other people’s shit (none of my own, of course) that we can’t believe actually sees the light of day, accompanied by mine and Darren’s witty sarcastic comments. My first entries below…

-And yes, after all that, this is really all I have so far.

If this doesn't look like a pink anus, then I I don't now what a logo dipicting a pink anus looks like....

but you haven't even heard the question...

Fat Lava

In my constant pursuit of tile hotness, I have several concepts in development, one of which I call the Fat Lava Tile, (development sample pictured above) It gets it’s name from the key word  I used  to trawl ebay for it’s inspiration. The term Fat Lava is a tag used by German ebay sellers when listing their West German studio pottery pieces produced in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s known for a garish use of color, quirky geometry and beautiful, but definitely not antibacterial textures.

I think what I like best about it is that it’s A) not for everyone, with standalone pieces sometimes getting downright ugly, and therefore, B) mostly pretty cheap; some of the good people of Germany are selling whole collections on ebay for under $300 (plus shipping, of course).

Collecting Fat Lava pottery has gained recent popularity with exhibitions in London and the catalog/book by Mark Hill, titled Fat Lava, – well worth picking up. If you order it from Mark Hill directly, he will even personally sign it upon request.

As for my Fat Lava Tile collection, it’s still in the development phase and should be available for the holidays. Right now, I am just picturing the mentioned ebay find carefully arranged across my white painted fireplace hearth – Das ist sexy!

Edgar Miller

This Summer I discovered for the first time, the work of designer, craftsman, artist, and environmental visionary Edgar Miller. I was thumbing through the Summer installment of  Modernism Magazine when I came upon the most beguiling photographs of interiors and exteriors richly laden with colorful tile, decorative murals, illustrative stained glass, hand carved woodwork, and custom metal work.

Featured in the article, and well worth ever penny, is the book Edgar Miller and the Hand-Made Home  by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams just out this Summer.

Also check out the article by Richard Cahan, and photography by Alexander Vertikoff in Modernism Magazine,

And a great interview with the authors at: