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Workspace: Natalie Bowen Designs

Natalie Bowen Design Workspace

Since I branched out on my own, one of my favorite things to do is visit the studios of fellow creatives.  They are a constant source of inspiration to my own work and keep me inspired to continue to reach and stretch my own potential.


Without a doubt, one person who has been a beacon of influence for me has been Natalie of Natalie Bowen Designs.  In all truth, she has been much more than that – she is a dear friend who I know will always help me to become a better person as I continue down this road of creativity. I met Natalie when she did the flowers for our wedding nearly six years ago. Since then, we have created a multitude of memories together.  Whenever I visit her workspace, I am both inspired and in awe. Natalie has a way of making even the simplest detail important.  Wallpaper in the smallest of bathrooms, a plate of goodies no matter when you visit, and a garden you want to endlessly linger in. Having the privilege to feature Natalie’s workspace has been something I am thrilled to share with you!

Natalie Bowen Design Workspace Natalie Bowen Design Workspace

Floral design is something that runs in your family. Did you always know it was what you wanted to pursue?

When I was a child I imagined that I would work in a high-rise building with an elevator and wear power suits to work. It was the 80’s after all. However, sometime in college I started to day-dream about working in a flower shop and how much fun I thought it would be. As soon as I graduated I got a job in a flower shop and soon realized that my dream of working with flowers was totally inaccurate but also where my heart was going to lead me.

How is your floral design approach influenced by your educational background in industrial design? What do these two fields have in common?

My education in industrial design was brief and limited to an undergraduate degree and when I was in school I had the expectation that I would go to graduate school. I often feel as if starting a business has been my version of continuing my educational process. I feel as if I love seeing the way one design relates to the space around it which I think is influenced from my background. My husband is an architect, and we spend a lot of time talking about the way things are built in relationship to their surroundings. After being together for eight years I often joke that I could have a degree in architecture by now.

Natalie Bowen Design Workspace Natalie Bowen Design Workspace

How has your floral styled evolved over the years?

When I started my work was much more tight and I used fewer varieties of flowers. I have developed my style to be much more naturally designed playing with the instinctual movement of a particular stem or branch. When I look at my work from the past, I do see that I have consistently designed with purpose and a little structure. Like my personal style, I’m always developing the details while staying dedicated to my true nature.

I’m constantly in awe of your work and how you have this particular style that is stunning and timeless. What do you do to stay inspired?

Oh Caitlin, that means so much coming from you. I have a dedication to staying fresh and try and pull my inspiration from non-floral sources. I don’t want to be overly influenced by what others are doing, so I try and nurture my creative side by indulging in fashion, art and architecture and then letting my expression truly come from within. If I spend too much time looking at what others are doing, I feel the opposite of inspired.

Natalie Bowen Design Workspace
From an outsider’s perspective, working in the floral industry seems like it would be a job that’s quite literally filled with flowers, sunshine and cheer–like something straight out of a Meg Ryan RomCom. But it certainly can’t be THAT perfect ALL of the time. What are some of the challenges to the job that we don’t see or realize from the outside?

The reality of working with flowers is that it is often not a pretty job. I spend more time behind a computer than doing anything else and as a team we all spend time dumping compost, cleaning candles, cleaning dirty thorny flowers and shlepping. There is so much sherpa shlepping and car driving I cannot even tell you. Oh, and the hours are insane. When you work with flowers you get up int he wee hours of the morning and that doesn’t mean you end your day any earlier than the next person. Make sure you can think and be creative at 4am before you get into this business. I also work most weekends which isn’t terribly hard for me since I am so used to it, but I do know my husband would prefer to have me around more. I had the Meg Ryan version of this job in my head when I started but I soon realized the reality of what it takes to do what I do well. Yet, I still love it so much.

Natalie Bowen Design Workspace Natalie Bowen Design Workspace

What’s the most valuable piece of career advice you’ve been given?

1. Do good work and put it out there.
2. Concentrate on developing your strengths not getting better at your weaknesses.
3. Get enough sleep.

If you had the chance to design the florals for ANYONE (famous or normal) and ANY event, who/what would it be?

I would love to design flowers for a personal party for Martha Stewart and then have her LOVE them. I’ve always loved her.

Natalie Bowen Design Workspace

Ok, now give us the insider’s scoop… Talk to us about an up-and-coming “trend” you’re forecasting or starting to see in floral design.

After several seasons of all blush everything, I have been happy to see richer and deeper colors coming back in to trend. I love color, so this makes me happy. I also foresee more ikebana styled designs that highlight negative space also becoming popular.

A huge thank you to Natalie for giving us a glimpse into her stunning studio. Our November Blooms in Season post will be live in early November that will definitely have you thinking about your Thanksgiving flowers.

Photos by Emily Scott for Sacramento Street

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Workspace: Heather Day

Heather Day Art | Sacramento Street 1

It’s quite hard to write about someone you admire and truly adore. I first met Heather Day when she applied for an internship here at Sacramento Street. Let’s just say, I don’t know what I’d do without her help. But what many of you might not know is Heather’s has an incredible artistic side. Heather is a talented artist that I think all of you need to know about.


When I first saw one of Heather’s paintings I was in awe of the way she layered the paint. Her paintings are fresh and calming, but at the same time they are loaded with depth and emotion. Read on to get an inside glimpse into her stunning studio and where she finds her inspiration.

Heather Day Art | Sacramento Street 2

We love your Oakland Studio. Can you tell us more about it?

I’m so lucky to have found this gem in the bay area. It used to be a custom tool shop for manufactured specialty automotive parts and license plates. A few years ago it was converted into a studio building and today there are over 25 artists involved in the community. It really is my dream space. After moving to San Francisco from Baltimore, I never thought I would be able to find a large enough work space without sacrificing good lighting, design and a budget.


What’s your average week like?

I’m typically in the studio Monday through Friday. Lately, I have made an effort to take weekends off, but I sometimes find myself back in the studio painting on a Sunday afternoon. By the time I get to the studio, I have usually checked email and created a to-do list for the day. The first couple hours are spent updating the website, social media and responding to clients, vendors or galleries. When I’m not in the studio, I’ll spend my time scheduling meetings with clients or working at Cafe’s in San Francisco. I’m not a coffee drinker but I can tell you the best places to grab a hot chocolate in the Mission District!

Heather Day Art | Sacramento Street 3 Heather Day Art | Sacramento Street 4

When did you decide to become an artist and practice art full time? 

This is a loaded question. I’ve been painting for a while now. I like to think that I got a jumpstart on my career when I lived in Chicago and attended an arts high school before going to an arts college in Baltimore. After moving to San Francisco, I worked full time in the design center and spent evenings in the studio. I did this for almost two years while networking with clients and galleries before making the big jump as a full time artist.


Can you tell us a little bit about your paintings and the process?     

I typically have about 5-10 paintings in progress at any given time. I begin drawing a quick gesture on paper or stitching an organic line across the canvas. This allows me to address the blank space and begin reacting to the simple moments I have already created. I continue building on this history by pouring and manipulating layers of paint. The result is a product of an experience, leaving behind documentation of how the event transpired. My paintings are never planned. Every mark creates a series of expectations similar to a conversation. When a question is asked, an answer is anticipated. The compositions often act as pages requiring several in a series to tell a story.

Heather Day Art | Sacramento Street 5 Heather Day Art | Sacramento Street 6

Where do you see your work going next?       

I’m currently working on a project where I’m recycling older paintings on paper into an installation. I am exploring ways to break the average rectangular composition of a painting. Why not let the painting become its own shape? I figured since my work tends to be rather organic, I shouldn’t let the framework of the paintings be so confined in a solid shape. With this concept in mind, I’m also building larger paintings where it feels like the edge of the painting doesn’t really matter. Jackson Pollack explored this idea in his work a lot. He rarely touched the edges of the paintings because it was more about the fluidity of his body. If he was standing in the middle of the painting then the paint only went as far as his arms could reach.


Speaking of Jackson Pollack, where else do you find inspiration?

My favorite artists are Cy Twombly, Willem de Kooning, Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler. Aside from painters, I really enjoy the film by directors Paul Thomas Anderson, Mike Nichols, Spike Jonz and Wes Anderson. I wouldn’t normally pair painting with film but I can’t help but notice similarities when it comes to color and composition. Aside from art and design, a lot of my inspiration comes from traveling and interacting with new people.

Heather Day Art | Sacramento Street 7 Heather Day Art | Sacramento Street 8

A huge thank you to Heather for giving us a glimpse into her beautiful studio. To see more of Heather’s stunning work pop over to her site – she just updated it with a brand new collection of work!

Photos by Caitlin Flemming

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Workspace: Emma Robertson

Emma Robertson

Graphic designer, knitter, and blogger extraordinaire Emma Robertson gives us a glimpse into her creative workspace in Oakland, CA. I’ve been following Emma’s design career for quite some time and when she decided to make the move up to the Bay Area a few mutual friends thought we should meet – let me tell you, this is one talented gal. Her graphic design aesthetic is uncanny, she is sweet as pie and lastly, she’s written an amazing book on knitting (a new hobby I’ve taken up). Today I’m bringing you her light-filled workspace that everyone is going want to move into – the windows are dreamy! Read on for my full interview with Emma.

Emma Robertson | Sacramento Street

Can you tell us more about what inspired you to start the blog?

I started Emmadime, the blog, in 2010 while attending college in Stillwater, Oklahoma. As an inspired 18 year old, I felt the need to do something more proactive with the visuals I was ​coming across! A blog seemed to be the perfect way to share and organize it all. It has continued to serve that same purpose while offering up new unexpected opportunities and friendships. It has become an official extension of me and my creative career – an extension that I plan to keep around for as long as I possibly can!

At what point did you know you were ready to make the big jump into full time designing and blogging?

​If i’m going to be completely honest, I became a freelancer out of desperation. I had just moved to ​the Bay Area with my boyfriend ​and my portfolio was​ ​ solely student​ work from college.​ I applied ​to as many jobs as ​humanly possible without a single ​positive ​response​! I was devastated. ​F​rom there, ​I simply told people I was looking for clients and made it work. Sometimes being forced down an unfamiliar path can be the best thing for us – I had no choice but to hustle and claw my way up to where I currently am. Now that I have put so much love and energy into the job, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I do believe that being an active blogger has increased my exposure to potential clients – I am constantly being presented with creative opportunities through that specific outlet.

Emma Robertson | Sacramento Street

Emma Robertson | Sacramento Street

How does your workspace reflect your style in fashion?

Color-free, clean lines, and inspired by the simple details.

What’s your favorite part about your space?

Oh man, can I say all of it?? If I had to pick I think it would have to be the huge windows that bring in all that natural light. They create this feeling of openness and peace that leaves me focused and not feeling all… cooped up. It keeps me awake, happy, and feeling connected to what’s going on outside.

Emma Robertson | Sacramento StreetEmma Robertson | Sacramento Street

What was your main priority when you began designing your own workspace ​?

My main goal was to leave it as open and spacious as possible – I wanted to have room to create, make a mess, stage photo-shoots, run around…!! But at the same time, I wanted to make sure it was welcoming and comfortable for meetings and design days at my desk.

How has this space influenced your work as a blogger and designer?

Having all of that space has definitely allowed me to think bigger!! Since moving in I have thrown creative get-togethers, hosted design workshops, and improved the quality of my photography for both my blog and my design portfolio.

Emma Robertson | Sacramento StreetEmma Robertson | Sacramento Street

Do you have any personal favorite websites, magazines, books etc?

I am currently ( and slowly ) reading A Story Lately Told by Anjelica Huston. She is one of my favorites so I couldn’t help but dive into her life! It’s all about her enchanted childhood in Ireland, her teen years in London, and her coming-of-age as a model and nascent actress in New York. Sounds magical right? I also got ‘It’ by Alexa Chung – I couldn’t resist the light pink cover and the insane layout of the interior of the book. One flip through and I knew I needed to spend more time with it. It has turned out to be more visual than contextually rich, but it’s still awesome.

Websites are hard to narrow down… I’m not even going to try! I just got two magazines that I’m really into now – Mood and One – both are really great eye candy.

Where do you see Emma​d​ime going next?

Graphic Design and running my own business is my passion so I plan to continue freelancing. Although, I have had my heart set on putting together a design studio and managing a team for a while now. I’m enjoying my current situation but there are definitely plans in place to promote growth. Stay tuned!

A huge thank you to Emma for opening up for beautiful workspace to us!

Profile Photo by Eva Kolenko | Studio Photos by Caitlin Flemming

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Workspace: Heath Ceramics

Heath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento Street Heath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento Street

Since moving to San Francisco almost 10 years ago I dreamed about having Heath Ceramics in my first home. I loved the classic lines, the aesthetic and most importantly, the fact that every single piece they create is made right here in the Bay Area. When I reached out to the Heath team about featuring their creative studio I was on pins and needles waiting to hear back. When I heard that Cathy Bailey – the owner of Heath was excited to meet, I was ecstatic. As I walked into the studio you could feel the creative energy. There were new designs being worked on, items that never went into production and shelves filled with pieces that dated back to when Heath was first born in 1948 by Edith Heath. I was in complete and total awe of my surroundings.

Today, I’m thrilled to bring you a tour of the Heath Ceramics studio where I had the pleasure of sitting down with Cathy Bailey to discuss the design process, how they look at trends and much more. Read on to get more of an inside look into their space.


Heath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento StreetHeath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento Street

1.) As a company that has been around for several years, do you find it difficult to keep up with the trends while also staying true to the company’s aesthetics that began over 60 years ago?

Since Robin and I bought the company in 2003, we’ve edited and expanded the Heath product line and brought it where it is today, but that’s been an organic process. It’s “on-trend” only in the sense that people today drink more coffee than they used to in 1947, so we designed a larger coffee mug while making sure that it still felt appropriate with the other shapes. What’s most important to us is that we honor the company’s roots and that we don’t change just for the sake of change. For example, in our core dinnerware line, I choose colors I believe will last for at least 10 years. That said, we also love exploring glaze colors and are excited to come out with some new colors that feel appropriate for the season twice a year. It’s a balance of using colors are feeling appropriate for the moment and keeping the core of what we do classic, not moving with short term trends.

Heath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento Street Heath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento Street

2.) Speaking of aesthetics, you are considered to be among the most enduring examples of mid century design. As your company grows, do you find it difficult to maintain the high level of quality while keeping costs low and continuing to work within the US?

We try to be really smart and efficient about how we do things without compromising the end product, and ultimately it costs what it costs. We do strive to be as transparent as possible so customers can see the time and labor that goes into making something seemingly simple, like a plate. There’s a lot of hand work/ labor in everything we make, it’s expensive to have factories in Sf and Sausalito, and we feel strongly that we pay a fair wage and provide health care for our employees. These factors dictate the price, we don’t compromise and we feel fortunate that our customers want to support what we are trying to do.

Heath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento Street Heath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento Street

3.) Can you tell us a little bit about the process of a ceramic piece from start to finish?

All our new ideas usually come out of our clay studio here in San Francisco. Tung Chiang, our studio director, constantly experiments with creating objects that embody the Heath sensibility, that push us forward while staying true to our history. Our candle holders that we launched last year were a result of those experiments. He starts with sketches, makes prototypes, puts them into CAD, and from there we create molds and we go through the making process— we form the clay with molds, we trim and finish the shapes by hand, glaze the pieces by hand, wipe the edges and feet, and then fire them for 9 hours in our kilns. The result goes through another sanding process and then to QC to determine if the piece is first quality and can be sold at any of our shops, or if it is a 2nd quality piece (most of our 2nds are sold at our Sausalito shop).

Heath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento StreetHeath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento Street

4.) After the ceramics are complete and ready to go, what’s the next step? How do you get the word out about new collections? (assuming the have some recent collections right aside from their old ones?)

We’re lucky in the sense that a lot of people who “get” Heath really love it, and we reach out directly to them through our newsletter and our social media. That’s really our favorite way of going about it, since it’s nice to feel connected to people buying our products. We also host factory tours so people can see how we make everything, and once people understand what goes on behind the scenes, it’s a great story for them to share. A lot of our bigger product launches are paired with some fun events, which we post on our website, and that’s been a great way for our products to come to life.

Heath Ceramics Creative Workspace | shot by Sacramento Street

5.) What would you recommend to a small business owner starting out?

Think about what you want your job to be. If you like throwing pots and you’re starting a ceramics business that you intend to grow, you’re probably not going to end up throwing pots because most of your time will need to be spent on things like human resources, marketing, accounting…and the list goes on. There is nothing worse than having to deal with accounts payable when your passion and skills lie in design. So make sure that you go into business doing what it is you enjoy doing, and partner with the right people to handle the other responsibilities (ideally the ones they want to focus on).

A huge thank you to the Heath Ceramics team for welcoming us into the creative workspace. It was incredibly inspiring!

Photos by Claire Giffen

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Workspace: Ashley Morgan Designs

Ashley Morgan Design Workspace | Sacramento Street 1


When you see a piece of Ashley Morgan’s jewelry your heart might skip a beat. I first had this experience when I was working at Erica Tanov in college. We got a handful of her pieces into the shop and like any shopgirl I was in awe of the beauty and details that went into her pieces. They are handcrafted here in San Francisco. When I reached out to Ashley about showcasing her beautiful work here on Sacramento Street she was excited to give us a glimpse into her jewelry box. Let me just say, I walked out of this shoot with a wish list of pieces that I want to add to my very own jewelry collection. Ashley’s creative eye for creating unique pieces for her clients is what sets her apart from other designers. Read on for a peek into Ashley Morgans stunning workspace.
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 1. What sparked you to begin Ashley Morgan Designs?

From a very young age, creating jewelry was a passion and something I knew I always wanted to pursue. However, I’d say that the catalyst and inspiration behind creating AMD, honestly started on the playground making personalized friendship bracelets for friends and family as a child. Jewelry has allowed me the path and forum to live out my dreams and explore through the creation of jewelry- it’s truly intertwined with who I am.

2. We love your passion for design and can see it shine through in your collections. What keeps you inspired?


Embracing the beauty of Nature and all of her magical moments is a strong source of inspiration; capturing a flower in all its glory as the sun casts a warm embrace, or the whimsical patterns neatly tucked inside an intricate spider’s web. My passion is to seek out the beauty found in the everyday; mindfully accepting the stunning images that dance before our eyes. It’s for this reason, my designs hold such honesty and vibrance. I chose each stone specifically because of the emotional response that I have seeing their raw nature and beauty. They are amulets that constantly reflect the beauty found in truth and the humbleness of strength. 


Ashley Morgan Design Workspace | Sacramento Street 4 Ashley Morgan Design Workspace | Sacramento Street 5


3. You have two adorable girls! How do you seem to balance your work and personal life?


On the days that I think I finally have it figured out, something happens that bring me back to the drawing board to try again. My priorities at this stage are very concrete: Family, Friends and Work. I am not one that strives to do it all [all the time], but the singular things that I do get involved in, I dedicate my entire self to. Being a mom is the most exciting gift. And while it’s true that my little ones might not have their hair perfectly brushed at every moment or in an outfit void of paint from an afternoon of drawing, they are happy. They are experiencing an innocence and sweetness of childhood that I consider most important and that makes me happy as a mom. Work is my time to experience what it is that excites and inspires me, and in turn, it’s what I’m teaching my children and channeling in our home!
4. For your custom pieces, does the inspiration for their jewelry come from the client or do you find unique stones and bring ideas to the client? (Or maybe it’s a mix of both!)


Its a mixture of both. By the time a project comes to fruition, it typically reflects a strong, personalized aesthetic of the individual client, highlighting those specific components that they conveyed were important to them in the design. Fine jewelry has an heirloom-like quality about them, so it is important that each client have a design that reflects their own story.


Ashley Morgan Design Workspace | Sacramento Street 6


 5. What is your all-time favorite stone to work with?

Hands down: TOURMALINE… I love the varietial flavoring of colors, textures, and imagery that’s distinct to each piece. Tourmalines are harder to control and therefore require that you come to know the stone inside and out before knowing what context they can be a part of.


6. When you’re not at work or at home with the kids, where can we find you?


I like staying active and taking advantage of all that the area has to offer. To relax the mind and body, you can typically find me engaging in any one of the amazing yoga classes from my favorite, inspiring instructors, or hiking the vast mountainous trails nearby. A family favorite also involves a trip to Chinatown or a fun day at any one of the incredible museums San Francisco so graciously offers up!


Ashley Morgan Design Workspace | Sacramento Street 7

A huge thank you to Ashley for letting us into her beautiful workspace – I’ll be dreaming of jewels tonight!
Photos by Caitlin Flemming
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