Inspired as much by the ocean as city life, Aleksandra Zee has picked the perfect muse in San Francisco. We meet the woodwork artist to talk Bay landscapes, lumber yards and why you should "never stop making."
"The modern trail is about owning who you are and making your own way."
Aleksandra's studio style tips
Moving from dusty workshop to downtown wine bar is no easy feat, which makes adaptable clothing an essential for our MarkMaker Aleksandra Zee. Clothes are made to be lived in – not preserved for the perfect occasion – and work and life wardrobes needn't be separate.
“A jacket that looks better with a little sawdust on it is a win-win”
For Aleksandra, staple items are the key to studio style - whether that's comfy canvas shoes or a khaki jacket that can be beaten up by day and dressed up for drinks with a chunky necklace and dark denim. "A jacket that looks better with a little sawdust on it is a win-win," says the artist and woodworker.
An apron or shop coat is another necessity, helping you to shake off debris as the working day winds down and replace with something nicer, like a fresh blazer. In a city as vibrant as San Francisco, it’s always a bonus when you can switch up your style in a flash.
Alexsandra's Oakland workshop is perched on the edge of the Bay, and she says the influence of the surrounding wharf has soaked into both her work and style. "I love blue and natural colors," she says. "Those are the colors of my whole life – from my house to my wardrobe to the artwork I create."
"It all stems from being in front of the ocean or being in the desert; I wear my inspiration," says Aleksandra, even if that includes the sawdust that follows her around San Francisco.
In need of more workshop inspiration?
Try these four favorites from Aleksandra's studio stereo.
Home to stylish studio spaces, street art and niche counterculture, San Francisco is a canvas for its creative residents. The City by the Bay is brimming with idealism and possibility – a place where the craft beer is adventurous, flea markets are thriving and art is made out of anything from timber to recycled trash. Explore the city's best bits with our insider’s guide.
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Long days in the workshop will take their toll on your clothing, which is something Aleksandra Zee knows all too well. We looked around her Oakland studio to uncover the daily essentials that she relies on.
"Denim is like my uniform that I wear every day. I feel strange when I don’t wear it."
"In San Francisco the weather is always changing, so you can’t go anywhere without a jacket."
Tool bag -
"Hammer, nails, chisel, screwdriver, square and wood glue are all tools I use on a daily basis."
Canvas shoes -
"I love being comfortable in flat shoes, whether I’m running around town, in the studio or at the beach."
Leather purse -
"I don't carry much so this small purse is perfect. I like how simple it is – I can wear it with anything."
"Easy layering shirts make life easy, and this one pairs great with denim."
"All of my artwork is signed with this stamp, it prints my logo on the back of each piece."
"I love to collect instant photographs from all my adventures, they remind me of the places that inspire me."