by Ken Katz
Last month, I wrote about a serendipitous event that led to my meeting photographer and cinematographer Rick Wise who, in turn, connected me to his wife, Victoria, whose credentials at Chez Panisse go back to Day One. This past Saturday, I had a similar experience on Lakeshore that led in surprising directions and eventually revealed interpersonal connections that would give Kevin Bacon pause.
When I parked my bike in front of Bay-Made, I spotted a hand-truck heavily laden with farmers market produce from County Line Harvest. Inside, talking to a jeweler who was doing a pop-up, was Anthony Salguero, the head chef at Michel Bistro. When Anthony emerged, I insisted that he pose for a photo – delighted that through a single photo, this enterprising reporter and aspiring publicist could simultaneously plug Michel, County Line, and Bay-Made. It was like hitting the Trifecta at Golden Gate Fields.
While I was talking to Anthony, Donald and Era Farnsworth, my neighbors who own Magnolia Editions, walked up and said, “hello.” Strangely enough, when Rick Wise picked up his light meter at my home the month before, they were walking by at precisely the same time. I’ll spare you the details, but this prompted me to dig into the content of their Magnolia Editions’ website and I ended up spending more than an hour reading “Chasing the Golden Fleece,” Donald’s very technical treatise on his efforts to reproduce Renaissance-era paper. The key, as it turned out, was acquiring a particularly coarse wool felt from a source in Taos, New Mexico who raises Churro sheep that share a gene pool that has remained essentially unchanged for the past five hundred years.
Figuring that my long-time friend Lou Grantham from SF Fiber might be interested, I sent her an email with a link to Don’s article. She responded immediately and was all excited, since, years ago, she had similarly needed coarse wool to repair an antique Navajo blanket she had inherited from her grandmother. Like Donald, Lou eventually found a source of Churro wool in Taos that was just the right color. Lou later asked if it would be OK to share Donald’s article with Sheila O’Hara, a friend who weaves tapestries replicating Edward Curtis photographs. Guess who produced the first of those tapestries? If you guessed Magnolia Editions, you guessed right.