Getting Hooked On Ceramics: An Interview With Jonas Davidson

Jonas Davidson Permanent Vaclaytion Ceramics

Jonas Davidson (AKA Permanent Vaclaytion) is the newest addition to our lineup of local makers at Stripe. His mugs, plates, and pour over coffee sets are simply designed and beautifully crafted. Read our interview with Jonas, where he shares how he got hooked on making ceramics. 

How’d you get started as a ceramicist?

I've always admired almost anything ceramic related, whether it was kitchenware, decorative items, or planters. I collected antique pottery for years and whenever visiting festivals where artists sell their work I've always been drawn to check out the pottery. One day my wife suggested that I take some classes and try it myself, so I signed up for a monthly membership at a studio here in Santa Cruz.

After a few lessons I was totally hooked. I wanted to go to the studio all the time to either practice throwing or work on something I had started during a previous session. I'd spend a lot of time thinking about doing pottery, imagining and even physically practicing the motions I had been taught for throwing. I found a lot of satisfaction in it, especially while sitting at the potter’s wheel mesmerized by the piece of clay rotating in front of me. There was something about it that provided me a sense of relief, simultaneously allowing and requiring me to tune out from all the everyday stresses and worries that bog down our everyday experiences.

 Jonas Davidson Permanent Vaclaytion Ceramic Cups

Where do you find inspiration for the pieces you create?

My biggest, and most obvious, inspiration is the work of other ceramicists. As mentioned earlier, that was what originally sparked my interest. Any time there's a festival in town where other potters are selling their work I try to make it to go see what they are doing and possibly gather bits of inspiration. I follow anything and everything pottery related on social media as well to see what others around the world are doing, saving images of work that I feel inspired by.

I also like to look to pottery from the past, browsing antique stores and thrift stores to gather inspiration from the many styles created over time.

Another area where I've found inspiration for pottery is in architecture. I suppose I see similarities between the two, both involving three-dimensional forms with unique texture patterns and color designs. I could easily spend my weekends driving around looking at buildings and houses gathering inspiration for new work. 

Jonas Davidson Permanent Vaclaytion ceramic mug and plates

What goes into designing something like a coffee mug?

The process of designing something like a mug can be different each time for me. But in most cases it is one part intentional and the other accidental. I usually start out with an idea of how I want the mug to look by asking myself some questions. What sort of shape, size and details will the body of this mug have? How should the handle look to compliment that body? Since this is supposed to be a functional item, will it be easy to hold and drink from with this form and not just something that I think looks cool? Is this something I can consistently recreate?

As I go about making the mug I might notice certain unintentional features in it that turned out by accident and yet I really like and want to keep. This is the accidental part of the process I try to stay open to. I guess for this reason it's hard to say there's ever a final design.

Bottom of mug by Jonas Davidson Permanent Vaclaytion

What’s next for Permanent Vaclaytion? Awesome name, by the way.

Thank you!

I've had a few things in mind that I'd like to accomplish as I come up with the time. The biggest one is that I'd like to make my items available outside of the Santa Cruz area, so I'll be launching an e-commerce website in the near future where people can purchase online and have items shipped to their doorstep.

I'm also interested in starting to explore glaze chemistry so to someday create my own glaze recipes. Up to now I've been using commercial glazes, which are super reliable for the most part and offer a nice variety, but I'd really like to develop an understanding of the chemistry of glaze and start producing my own.

Other than that I'd like to get more shelving in my studio, spend time experimenting with my new clay extruder and continue enjoying making pottery.


Join us for a Pop-Up with Jonas!

Saturday, November 11th


Stripe 107 Walnut Ave

Follow Jonas's work on his Instagram

Enrique Lopez for First Friday Santa Cruz at Stripe Men

Enrique Lopez artwork Stripe Men

Enrique Lopez Artist Statement

Enrique Lopez is a Printmaker/Creator born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He studied Art while attending the University of California Santa Cruz and spent three years working as a Course Assistant in the Art Department. Currently, he is a monitor in the Print Department which allows him to use the University facilities to continue honing his craft and sharpening his skills. Enrique finds inspiration in the urban landscapes in which he grew up and in his cultural background. From birds and flowers, to cityscapes and graffiti, he is inspired by anything and everything he sees. He primarily employs three types of printmaking techniques: woodcuts, stenciling, and lithography.

“Zoología” is a series on the study of animals, spirit animals in particular. Each spirit animal corresponds to a specific person or persons whom I care about and who has influenced my life. “Zoología” is a small homage to those I hold near and dear.  As with much of my other work, I utilize three methods of printmaking: lithography, relief, and stenciling. One of the main goals behind “Zoología” was to keep things minimal and allow the simplicity to create elegance. I attempted to incorporate elements from my previous works and utilize them together for this series. I’m constantly adding and expanding to this body of work. What’s your spirit animal?


Join us in welcoming Enrique Lopez as our November artist at Stripe Men! 

Artist Reception 

November 3rd


Erika Perloff for First Friday Santa Cruz at Stripe

Erika Perloff artwork at Stripe

Erika Perloff Artist Statement

All my life I have been drawn to the edges of things: the edge of the continent or the wilderness, the edge of town, the places where habitats meet, or where the sky meets the land. Exciting things happen along edges. Light strikes in interesting ways, birds flock, earthquakes rattle, and waves crash. In a painting I want edges to appear and disappear, to let you see where you are in space. Edges are the last thing I adjust before a painting is finished, and what makes the painting come together.


Join us in welcoming Erika Perloff as our November artist at Stripe! 

Artists Reception 

November 3rd


Stripe Instagram Giveaway


Stripe Instagram Giveaway Details and Rules

Win a $100 Gift Certificate to Stripe and Stripe Men!

We get a lot of comments and compliments on our key collection, so we thought it'd be fun to make it part of the giveaway contest. Can you guess the number of keys on our wall that create our Stripe sign? The person with the closest guess wins the $100 Gift Certificate!

To enter, all you have to do is:

    1. Follow @stripe_santa_cruz on Instagram.
    2. In a comment on the contest post, tell us your guess for the number of keys on our wall and tag 3 friends.
    3. You must enter before November 1st to be eligible.

 We'll announce the winner on Instagram on November 1st. Good luck!

**Giveaway contest open to U.S. citizens age 18 and up**

**If multiple participants guess the same number, only the first entry submitted is valid.**

Meet the Designer — Bianca Branaman of Sugar Candy Mountain

Bianca Branaman, owner/designer of Sugar Candy Mountain

In the interview below, we get to talk to Bianca about her background and how she came to start one of our favorite brands in the shop — Sugar Candy Mountain.


What was it like when you first began Sugar Candy Mountain?

Well, to be honest I had been working in an entirely different field, as a counselor for people suffering from PTSD and trauma. After a while, I needed a creative outlet that was therapeutic for myself!

In the beginning, it was an outlet to process and let go of all that I was taking on as a counselor. Creativity and art have always been part of who I am — I come from an arts-oriented background, (to say the least: I started painting with my Dad, who is an artist, in his studio, when I was five), and it’s just such a part of who I am. You could say that it started as a hobby and over the last three years has grown into a business. The reward and challenge after that is to always remember why I started in the first place: for an outlet, yes, but also for art and for fun.

I knew that when I started that I needed to produce the line in alignment with my ethics and values: I was raised to believe that human beings and nature are one and that they, (people and the environment), are more important things to respect than money or fame. Now that I have reconciled and combined all of these things, my work has become a way of life that I can’t imagine living without.

Sugar Candy Mountain Julia Coat and Emma Dress

When you go to design a piece, what’s your process like? And where do you find inspiration?

I don’t read fashion magazines. My inspiration comes from the streets, my community, and what I want for myself — what I want to wear and can’t find anywhere else. Form and function are hugely important, so the designs need to suit my lifestyle as well as the lifestyles of my community. The days of silk and satin are over for me! But then again, I make sure to invite sweats and sequins alike into my world. I say: Come as you are!

I do find a lot of inspiration through vintage. I find a vintage piece that I like and modernize it through the process of sketching. Next, I’ll make a first pattern, make adjustments on the fit, and sometimes it will be three or four samples before I have a final pattern. I make changes as I go, it’s a lot like a puzzle that involves a lot of experimentation — you’re putting these geometric shapes together until they look balanced. There is so much that I put into it that goes beyond ‘fast fashion’ — like French seams and natural fabrics for example. My goal is always to create things that are designed but are still casual.

Why did you decide to become a clothing designer?

I’ve always loved clothing. It makes me feel good, and when I feel good, I’m confident. In the world of fast fashion, I want to make things that I will have for a long time, while helping other women feel beautiful. I want to give back to my community and not hurt the environment. Essentially, I want to create timeless, beautiful clothing that aligns with my core values of ecology and human rights. Knowing that someone feels beautiful in something I made that isn’t hurting the environment is the greatest compliment.

Sugar Candy Mountain really started because I saw a gap in the market. When I’d shop I’d see things that were either over-designed or under-designed. I wanted something that could be worn from the beach to dinner but also has some class and elegance. I want a loose sack that’s designed! (Laughs) I design for women and try to make my pieces more form-fitted in the areas that are flattering to women.

Sugar Candy Mountain Colette Dress

Our customers love your fabrics — What makes them so amazing?

They’re all naturally-derived, and after the garments are sewn, everything is laundered in organic soap and then dried. Linen is a natural fiber that softens over time and is more durable than cotton. It’s really hard to find environmentally-friendly fabrics — the research takes a lot of time and never ends!

I’m really excited about introducing cotton at a new, lower price point, and maybe some washed silk for Spring 2018, both of which will also be laundered, though I know I said ‘the days of silk and satin are over’! When looking at fabric, I’m particularly drawn to the hand and drape — linen and silk are both known for their drape. In the near future and as the company grows, I’d really like to do some one-of-a-kind dead stock collaborations with my favorite stores, like Stripe!

Lastly, what advice do you have for people who are considering starting their own business?

Just start with where you are with what you have — I started with my own money. Be patient. Don’t give up hope if problems arise and don’t take ‘No’ for an answer — just find the people who will say yes. There’s always room for good!



Come by the shop to check out our selection of Sugar Candy Mountain and make sure to follow their Instagram.


VSSEL Pop-Up October 14

VSSEL Pop-Up poster

Join us for a Pop-Up with VSSEL

October 14


Laura Aitken at Stripe Men First Friday Santa Cruz

Laura Aitken Screen Print Stripe Men First Friday Santa Cruz


Laura Aitken

Artist Statement

Laura is a Santa Cruz based artist working with experimental screen printing processes. She has been focusing on the application of CMYK with screen printing to explore the relationship between the digital  preparation of art and the physical act of printing, as well as digital media and the real world. Laura takes inspiration from artists such as Andy Warhol, who pioneered screen printing as fine art and helped introduce digital images into silkscreen. She hopes to continue experimenting with CMYK screen printing using natural landscapes, people, and current events as her inspiration.

First Friday Artist Reception
October 6th
Cocktails will be served. Please join us!

Sarah Sanford at Stripe First Friday Santa Cruz

Sarah Sanford Photo Screen Print First Friday Santa Cruz Stripe


Sarah Sanford

Artist Statement

Santa Cruz artist Sarah Sanford combines photography, printmaking, drawing and installation to create hidden worlds of biological landscapes and scientific abstractions. Using the contrast between darkness and light, her work transitions between macro- and micro-cosmic worlds.

Sanford’s practice focuses on exploring the physical nature of light. She is interested in its’ ephemeral aspects as a means for marking time. Refracting light through various surfaces, she capture its’ transient forms using digital photography. These ethereal images are used in combination with photo-silkscreen, digital techniques and drawing to create water-based screenprints.

Her most recent body of work explores the passage of time as an annotated linear experience, as well as a series of memories. Layered images of prints on paper and film give the illusion of a portal into mysterious landscapes. In contrast, her use of delicate paper surfaces in combination with metallic inks captures the elusive nature of light; highlighting single moments of time spent and gone.

First Friday Artist Reception
October 6th
Cocktails will be served. Please join us!

Anna Fletcher at Stripe Men First Friday Santa Cruz

Anna Fletcher First Friday Santa Cruz at Stripe Men


Anna Fletcher

Artist Statement

At four years old, I determined that the illustrated yellow sun with lines stretching outwards wasn’t the way the real sun looked. To figure this out, I attempted to stare at the sun and draw what I saw. After that, all my drawings of suns that I created in preschool had blue spots in the center. My teachers asked me what the dots were, so I told them, “When I look at the sun, this is what I see.” From that moment on I was thrown into art classes.

In 2010 I graduated from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo with a Bachelors of Fine Arts. In school I focused primarily on oil, watercolor, portraits, and illustration. In 2012 I began my first artistic job as an intern for a stationery designer in San Francisco. There I developed my skills for stationery and watercolor. I loved the contradiction of working with a medium that required control, yet wants to move freely. In 2016 I started working for Stripe. During my time at Stripe, my co-worker asked if I could paint gardenias for the background of a product being posted onto our Instagram. I was pleasantly surprised with how the gardenias turned out and began painting more botanical images and landscapes. What started as a small side project, turned into the colorful gallery images you see today.

Currently, I keep myself busy with creating wedding stationery and working events for my friends and my wedding planning business, Smith & Murphy Events and Design House. On top of that I am back in school at Monterey Peninsula College, working on my Associates as a Registered Dental Assistant and brainstorming ideas to write and illustrate my own children’s books. While I would never try to stare at the sun now, I am still trying to look at the world from an artistically different point of view.

First Friday Artist Reception
September 1st
Cocktails will be served.

Jason Cowan at Stripe First Friday Santa Cruz

Jason Cowan First Friday Santa Cruz at Stripe

Jason Cowan

Artist Statement

The work selected for this show was made between 2010 and 2017.  Most of the pieces, (the panel series), were made between Winter 2015 and Summer 2017.

The physicality of the work stems from the first integral steps of the creative process.  The selecting of material (wood, canvas), and construction (cutting, nailing, sewing, gluing, refining) of the platform on which the paint is eventually laid is the primary, and often times the only tangible, physical action that occurs before the first mark is made.

To my dismay, throughout this body of work I have been loathe to make any preparatory sketches or drawings. The work is created as a physical response to my emotional state. The painting happens in a linear fashion, each mark is a reaction to the mark just made, which precedes the mark that is to follow. Though I often try to convince myself that I am pursuing deep universal truths about space and form, while linking individual narratives with collective experience and the boundaries of visual communication, blah, blah, blah, the simple truth is, I just want paint a pretty picture, validate my own existence and not screw any of it up too badly in the process.

First Friday Artist Reception
September 1st
Cocktails will be served.