Magpie & Rye | *Sigh*
A while back, we discovered a little shop in the Pierpont area that had us all face-pressed-against-the-window, swooning from the outside. Magpie & Rye is a (relatively) new addition to one of SLC’s most swell downtown areas, and it’s a right magical spot for a splurge. The trinkets and treasures in M&R are just the kind we love: hand made, one off, and bound to be the wee, finishing touches that complete that new coffee table/hallway shelving/bedside set-up you’ve been fretting over so excitedly.
Magpie & Rye was started in San Francisco and moved to SLC just a couple of years ago, and owner, Annabelle, is a lady after our own COLLECTIVE hearts. Says she, “I think the objects you surround yourself with should bring you joy and either invigorate or create peace in your home.” Hear, hear. With that absolute genius in mind, Annabelle curates her collection of goods from creators strewn all throughout the states…independent artistry reigns supreme here. “I am a collector of objects, and my own home is filled with little souvenirs from hunting quiet neighborhoods of far away cities. A lot of our makers are people we have met over the years and are proud to call friends. It’s been really amazing searching our new community for artists to showcase. There is a lot of talent here in Salt Lake City.” #sosotrue
At the risk of sounding like we’re being paid off (we’re not), we feel confident in demanding that you all get your local-loving booties to Pierpont to support those who put a touch of blood and sweat into every last piece. We had a wee chat with Annabelle to talk about what brought her to our salty state and what inspires her, both at home and in the shop. Read on…
Magpie & Rye | 337 W Pierpont Ave | 415.701.8701
Let’s start with the adorably-curious name. Where did Magpie + Rye come from? Six years ago when the idea of a jewelry and art object store was just forming, my husband and I were on a road trip on a familiar stretch of highway in the West and couldn’t help but notice the Magpies everywhere. They seem like such an overlooked icon of the West. Sure they are grouchy, but they are striking too, and with their attraction to shiny things mirroring my own, it seemed like a good fit. Rye is an acronym for my last name and seemed a good pairing for a shop of American-made, hand-crafted design.
You migrated here from San Francisco, which we happen to think was probably your best idea ever. But why’d ya do it? Ha! We get asked that all the time! It’s funny how little people outside of Utah know of Salt Lake City. We came for the mountains. It’s a common story around here. What we didn’t expect was such a vibrant, warm and creative community, and we couldn’t be happier.
How do you describe your personal design style? Or, say, your home? That’s tough! I think I gravitate towards unique shapes and raw materials, put together with a sense of strength. I like things that are special without being too fancy or overworked. Our home is a traditional brick bungalow like so many here in Salt Lake City, and we didn’t want to make it into something that it isn’t. We kept the traditional elements and created a neutral palette as a backdrop for our modern-rustic aesthetic. I think the shop has a lot of that as well; natural, raw materials mixed with modern sensibilities and presented in a way that is unconventional without being intimidating.
Tell us your thoughts on our salty little slice of the USA since moving here: It’s one of the warmest communities we have had the pleasure of experiencing. It only took a couple of weeks to feel like we had settled in. It’s comfortable and easy in a way that the Bay Area just can’t be anymore. And then there are the mountains: they are everything.
Let’s talk your stuff–what in the shop is Annabelle’s work? And did that come first, or did the small, lovely works of others inspire you to start creating your own? I opened Magpie and Rye 6 years ago (in San Francisco for the first 4 years) with the intent to create a line of jewelry and art pieces to accompany the shop, but shopkeep responsibilities took over at first. My own line of jewelry, Rye Collection, is coming up on 2 years old and has been such a journey. Each collection is like a little odyssey; totally consuming and harrowing, but in the end it feels like you have created a little world to share with others.
Who or what inspires you (and your work)? I always aim to find the juxtaposition between strength and fragility, masculine and feminine, in my work. I like to think of my line as warrior pieces for modern life; pieces that will make you feel strong and confident. I’m inspired by makers all over the spectrum of art. I have a lot of florist friends and am so inspired by their work ethic and stamina, it’s not an easy job! Favorite artists that I can always turn to for inspiration are: Brancusi, Twombly, Rothko, Emma Kunz. And then there is the inspiration found in these mountains…strong, quiet and humbling.
Favorite spot in Salt Lake City or Utah (thus far): Pierpont is a pretty special little block with so much history, and I love the Rose Establishment right at the corner for treats. I feel lucky to have found this little corner of Salt Lake City. On a bigger scale, I really love the variety of landscape surrounding this city, and the access to nature. All the canyons and trails provide so much beauty and distraction, it’s a great compliment to city life. However, being at home with my husband and our dog…that is really my favorite place.
How (if at all) does your space on Pierpont mirror the way you do business? It has it’s moments of organized beauty but there is always some chaos lurking behind the wall that mirrors my wandering mind. It’s such a great space, and I am sure it will keep evolving and growing as I hope my work also does.