Astrid Reichenbach
Jewelry Designer at An Astrid Endeavor, Studio and Apartment, San Francisco

Hello Astrid, please tell us where do you come from. 
I was born in Germany, raised in Washington State. I've lived in San Francisco for so long (over 10 years), that I can officially call myself a San Franciscan! 

You had the chance to live in different districts of San Francisco, and now you live in the Presidio only two steps from Baker Beach! How is life near the beach and in a Natural State Park??
I love living near the ocean. Recently I went up north to the Redwood forest, and when I was sleeping, it was almost TOO quiet! I am so used to hearing the waves, the wind and the foghorns. The Presidio is one of very few National Parks in the United States that allow residents to live within in it. I feel so lucky and it's made me appreciate the National Parks departments and all the work they do to preserve this land while honoring it's natural landscape and history. 

What brought you to create jewelry? When and how did you start?
I've had  an appreciation for jewelry ever since I can remember. When I was four or five I wanted nothing more that to be a "gyspy" for Halloween and only because I knew I would be allowed to wear an arm-full of my mother's bangles and these gold hoop earrings that I coveted, but was never allowed to wear because they were too big! So, I got smart at Halloween and found a costume that guaranteed that I would be able to wear massive amounts of jewelry! 
Making jewelry came naturally because I was always allowed and exposed to so many art mediums. One of my very first official jobs was as an artist apprentice! 
Making jewelry and clothes was a necessity as a teenager when I was experimenting with my own style and individuality on a very limited budget. I had the kind of mom that would say, "we don't need to buy this, we can make it!" Annoying as that sometimes was for a teenager to hear all the time, it instilled in me a "can do" attitude and helped to strengthen and encourage my creativity. 
Consequently, I've worked with many mediums- textiles, ceramics, metal-smithing, glass- you name it.

You started this new colorful embroidery line around 2 years ago. Tell us more about that. 
Embroidery became the perfect way for me to continue making jewelry as I had to adapt to my busy lifestyle with new family and full time job. My only free time was at night after my little one went to sleep. I had to find something that was quiet, safe (no big equipment or chemicals!) and something that was easy and light to transport. 

Could you explain quickly the steps of the process to make a necklace?
If I have an idea for a necklace, I like to sketch out my ideas on paper- get a sense of proportion and how it will lay on the body. I then draw it out onto muslin, select the color palette, and much like any embroidery project it goes into the embroidery hoop and I get to stitching!! Most of the time, I have a sense of the necklace and all it's components- but a few times I need to think about things a bit longer and come back to it over and over to figure out the best way to finish it.

What's your first memory with jewelry? 
The love of those gold hoop earrings of my mother's that I mentioned before as well as the excitement when something had a hole in it and could become a bead. 

What inspire you most? 
I have a varied background. I've studied medical and cultural Anthropology as well as Art and Counseling Psychology. Throughout the years, it's been my interest in people that I am most inspired by. The way people think, the intricacies of the lives they lead and how they make meaning of their existence- as well as creativity and how they adorn themselves. I am also inspired by the natural world as well- colors, shapes, textures... Everything is so amazing. I often still feel very much like a kid; in wonder of it all. 

Is there any artists or people you met in life that helped you in anyway to create your own jewelry?
My Grandma, mom, and aunties are all very creative people who inspired me from an early age. My mom took me to adult sewing and weaving classes even before I entered Elementary school! Summers were spent learning to embroider and work with ceramics. I loved it. 
I was very fortunate to have an amazing, talented and well respected jeweler in high school named Ron Ho. He was a protoge of Ramona Solberg and the two of them are both considered very important Pacific Northwest jewelers. 
Currently, I have my copy of "Africa Adorned" by Angela Fisher front and center in my studio for regular inspiration as well as Pinterest- which can be quite addicting!! 

In your studio there is a little space reserved for your daughter. Did you ask her for advice sometimes? 
She's at an age right now where she's acutely aware of what I'm doing at every moment, yet appears completely uninterested unless it directly affects her! It's hilarious. Right now, in the studio, she either wants to do her embroidery on her little hoop (just like Mama), make me pretend play "dentist" which is really quite a process!, or get me to make her "pom pom banners" to decorate the house with.

Describe SF in 3 words
Surreal, Stubborn, Sublime

What are your favorite spots in town when you take a day off?
My daughter and I go to the Academy of Sciences in the Golden Gate park A LOT! We have a membership and go at least once a week. It's really a magnificent place for kids and adults alike. I learn right alongside with my daughter. 
Naturally, we spend a lot of time at the beach- for obvious reasons! 

What is your favorite place to eat in San Francisco?
I've spent a million dollars at the Academy of Sciences cafeteria- it's delicious. Their jicama and cabbage salad with grapefruit is so good and goes great with the mound of french fries my daughter eats! We also love Delphina on Fillmore, Cafe Bunn Mi on Clement, Cha Cha Cha's on Haight, and Cafe Ethiopia on Valencia.

I know you like to camp, give us your best plans!
My camping plans this summer aren't very organized, but I have the van always packed for adventure and the bags ready so at any time- we gather up our swimsuits, simple food like a baguette, cured meats, fruit and cheese- crafts and off we go! We are going to do that this weekend- escape the city and head towards sunshine and swimming!

Please take 3 instant pictures of whatever you want! 

Thank you so much for your time and your little car ride in the Presidio. It was so nice!
Astrid as a wonderful shop on Etsy called An Astrid Endeavor. :)
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