by Chelsea Lin - 273 Reviews - 109 List
Blame the economy, blame the percentage of creatives in this city, blame our love of all things homemade--whatever the reason, the DIY ethos thrives in San Francisco, as evidenced by the popularity of Indie Mart, Maker Faire and street food carts citywide. To get in on the movement and save a few bucks (or make them), pick up some skills in bookbinding, glassblowing, knitting or cooking at one of these local schools and studios. (Photo of Crucible students: Dave Wright)
Updated: October 12, 2009
This industrial arts center in Oakland is one part high-school shop class to two parts Burning Man prep; classes offered range from important life skills--welding, woodworking, bike maintenance--to the sort of art DIYers use to impress each other at street festivals--fire dancing, jewelry metalsmithing and glassblowing, to name a few.
"Precious" is the only way to describe this jewel box of a store in the Outer Sunset, where locals gather to buy supplies and discuss fiber arts projects. More than just knitting and sewing, the studio leads innovative project-based courses in felted scarves, photo ornaments and other items that make great gifts come holiday season.
Whether you're a seasoned glassblowing pro and looking to take on Chihuly-grade sculpture or an enthusiastic first-timer wanting to try your hand at "water pipe" production, this full-service glass studio in Bayview has you covered. To check out the art without the danger of working at high temps, stop by during their regular "Hot Glass, Cold Beer" event--you'll get a handmade mug and all the beer you can drink.
The photography classes offered at this SoMa studio tend to be longer and a tad more expensive than other crafty courses, but here you're building skills as an artist more than a hobbyist. Do it old school and learn to develop in a darkroom or pull your pics off a computer with digital photography instruction--either way, you'll leave here feeling closer to one of the artists featured in the gallery.
This collection of skilled sewers and crafters offer courses in stitching your own threads--a talent that is as useful now as it was when Mom used to tailor your clothes herself. Join the group in their Potrero Hill studio to learn sewing-machine basics, or amp up your current skills with classes in specific garments like costume-worthy crinolines or everyday hoodies and PJs.
Hobby classes at this South Bay institution are designed to help the weekend chef learn simple culinary skills beyond microwaving Easy Mac. Impress your next dinner party with your newly acquired skills: whip up a flaky pastry dough in a course on breakfast sweets, learn about the flavors needed to create authentic Chinese or listen as a certified sommelier instructor teaches about wine pairing.
Like art class for grown ups, this Mission organization offers adult education courses in decidedly un-adult subjects like caricature drawing, collage and night photography. Budding fashionistas and touring band-members take note: intro and advanced screen-printing classes are available, so you can print (then sell) your own T-shirt designs.