Institute of Mosaic Art — A Berkeley Spin on an Ancient Art

A lavendar mosaic bundt cake on a table alongside a plate of cookies at the Institute of Mosaic Art, Berkeley, CA.  Photo by BF Newhall

The bundt cake is inedible — it’s a mosaic. The cookies, on the other hand, seem to be the real thing. At the Institute of Mosaic Art, Berkeley. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

The Institute of Mosaic Art left its creative mark on facades all over Oakland’s Jingletown neighborhood before moving last year to Berkeley, where its owners hope the studio and its artists will get more public exposure. [Read more...]

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Amazing Places: A Walk Around Oakland’s Jingletown

First panel of the murals along Rue de Merde in Jingletown, an Oakland, CA, neighborhood is by Bill Silveira. It shows the words "Oakland Riviera." Photo by BF Newhall

Bill Silveira’s mural is the first of many along Peterson Street, nicknamed Rue de Merde in honor of its role as a popular dog walk . Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Is Oakland the next Brooklyn? Lots of people are saying so. [Read more...]

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Oakland’s Jingletown: Arts, Crafts, Cool Kitsch — And Cookies

The facade of Jingletown Art Studios in Oakland, CA, is decorated with colorful mosaics of fanciful castles and towers. Photo by BF Newhall

Jingletown Art Studios in Oakland, CA, is decorated with mosaics inspired by Laurel True, founder of the Institute of Mosaic Art. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

It was a lovely afternoon for wandering in and out of artists’ studios in Oakland, California’s Jingletown neighborhood, where a vibrant, up-and-coming arts community mingles with a robust Latino population. [Read more...]

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To the Himalayas and Back — In a Day and Duty Free

An array of wood carvings of gods and goddesses including buddha and ganesh on display table at Himalayan Fair Berkeley, May 2014. Photo by BF Newhall

An array of wood carvings of gods and goddesses, including contemplative Buddhas, a laughing Buddha and a Ganesh, were for sale at the 2014 Himalayan Fair. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Bay Area residents — it’s not too late to catch this year’s Himalayan Fair at Live Oak Park in Berkeley. Today’s the second and last day of the annual celebration of the cultures of Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and North India — and a terrific shopping opportunity. [Read more...]

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Shanghai Chic – Where a Woman’s Style Starts With Her Shoes

Chinese tourists and residents of Shanghai crowd the Yu Gardens Bazaar on a Sunday afternoon in September, 2013. Photo by BF Newhall

Chinese shoppers and sightseers crowd the Yu Gardens Bazaar on a Sunday afternoon in Old Town Shanghai. Photos by BF Newhall

Seen on the streets of Shanghai -- woman wearing lavendar suede high platform sandals. Photo by BF Newhall

Platform shoes today . . .

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I thought I was traveling to China to explore the mysteries of China’s storied past: The big dynasties with their poetic one-syllable names – the Qin, the Han, the Tang, the Song. The Ming and the Qing.

I thought maybe I’d be spending my two weeks in China ogling porcelain vases and Shang bronzes. [Read more...]

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