Sabrina Andrus, owner of maker. in Kelseyville, reaches far above her head and pulls hard on the window shades, swinging the blinds high up the large windows of what at one time was Kelseyville’s Farmers’ Savings Bank. Winter light shines through them, illuminating the hand-crafted products of maker.
“We wanted to make this place different than A+H General Store,” she says, flicking the cord from the shades to the side. That’s part of the reason why we chose neutral colors. A+H is bright, with lots going on. This store has more of a luxe feel. We wanted to create a more mellow atmosphere.”
A long, old-growth redwood table stretches down the middle of the room. On it sit succulents in clay pots, botanical sachets, and wine stoppers turned from local woods. In a large, oxidized copper bowl filled with rock salt, hand-crafted earrings rest. Soaps stack in heavy wooden bowls. Necklaces wrap around large glass decanters. A cow skull from Sabrina’s parent’s ranch in Kelseyville hangs beneath an old American Flag. The browns and tans of the fixtures, along with the rough-cut wood and clay pots, give the place a southwestern feel, as though stepping into a store in Sedona or Santa Fe.
Cutting boards made from oak and walnut in Lake County by a local artisan, angle along the table’s edge. “Do you know Disney Boat Rentals in Lakeport?” Sabrina asks, running her hand along the smooth wood. “Well, one of the owners makes these.”
Tags pop up near each product, labeling who made them and a short description of their maker’s philosophy. The entire store is dedicated to the local and handmade. “I’m hoping to show everyone that these are quality products,” Sabrina explains, holding up a pair of earrings. “They aren’t cheap. They aren’t things you’ll find at Wal-Mart. They’ve been made with intention.”
It’s clear that everything is high-quality and made with care and passion. maker. exudes the professionalism of craftsmen and craftswomen who take pride in the quality and consistency of their work. “About fifty percent of the products in maker. are Lake County made,” Sabrina continues. “The other fifty percent are still handmade, but not local.”
She pauses for a second. “The best part of my job is when people come to me, and they’re like, ‘Hey, I make stuff. Would you be interested in putting it in your store?” She turns to another rack of dangling necklaces and gently touches them. “I mean, who isn’t a sucker for pretty hanging things?
“This store is part of what we wanted to do with A+H, but it’s more focused,” Sabrina explains. “A+H is designed to highlight local makers, local food, etc., but this store is uniquely dedicated to makers. Here, take a look at this,” she says, eagerly grabbing a bag of loofah sponges. “An old friend of mine makes these—we grew up together. Angie Winchester lives up in Cobb and runs Heartwood Ranch.” Sabrina shows us the sponges, twisting the bag around to draw attention to the details. “Did you know that loofahs are really a type of gourd?” She asks. “They grow big, then you let them dry and pull off the outside. The loofah is inside.”
Sabrina continues, “Take a look at this absolutely stunning beaded jewelry by Jessica Brown, a Pomo woman who lives in the Elem Indian Colony not too far from here.” She touches the delicately beaded earrings.
Back in the old bank vault, a gold and brown tiger-striped rug covers the floor. Inside, it feels like a hidden refuge. Along the walls, rough-cut wood shelves hang, filled with essential oils, soaps, and candles. It’s a place to spend some time and look at the differences between each distinct, unique item.
One thing is certain; you’ll only find one-of-a-kind items in maker. “People in Lake County really want to support locals,” Sabrina says with passion in her voice. “That’s what maker. is about.”
Instagram – @we.are.maker
Hours: 11-5 Wednesday – Sunday
3915 Main Street, Kelseyville, California 95451