San Francisco

Earthen celebrates 1 year in Lower Haight, launches ceramics classes

Last Friday marked exactly one year since ceramics and homeware shop Earthen opened its doors at 136 Fillmore St. (at Germania). 

Now, owner Julia Lemke is expanding her business to offer ceramics classes, as well as other craft workshops. The classes kick off this Thursday with a clay night (already sold out), in which up to eight participants can use slabs of clay to make a ring dish, a mug, a fruit bowl, or other pieces. 

The classes will be "a social and meditative experience," Lemke explained, allowing participants to work with their hands and create something new. After each class, she'll fire and glaze all the pieces in her studio, and customers can pick them up two weeks down the line. 

Photo: Teresa Hammerl/Hoodline

Lemke got the idea for hosting the classes from her customers, many of whom, like her, live in the neighborhood. "Half of the people that shop here live in a couple of blocks' radius," she said.

Customers have asked her if she'd do custom orders, but since they're time- and cost-inefficient for her business, Lemke came up with the classes as an alternative to "let our customers create their own custom pieces," she said. "We can show them how to do it."

Photo: Earthen

Ceramics won't be the only skills taught at Earthen. On April 6, Lemke's mother Pat will help teach a Ukrainian egg-decorating workshop. Using a technique called pysanka, attendees will make patterns by drawing in beeswax on an egg, then dyeing the eggs to reveal a variety of colors.

Later that month, on April 20, Earthen will host a class in its backyard on using natural pigments (like turmeric, avocado skin and onion) to dye bandanas.

Lemke is also considering other class ideas. "People suggested that we should do tarot readings," Lemke said, noting that anyone is welcome to reach out to her with suggestions for the summer class calendar. 

The bench in the corner comes from the former Delaney Laundromat space, now occupied by Black Sands. | Photo: Teresa Hammerl/Hoodline

In addition to hosting the classes, Lemke recently relaunched her online shop for wholesale clients. "I love working with chefs," she said. Currently, Earthen's serving ware is used by restaurants in Carmel, Napa and San Francisco.

Since the studio in the back of the Lower Haight space is relatively small, a lot of the production for large batches of serving ware happens in Lemke's boyfriend's industrial space in Oakland. There, he also works on his own business, called Luvhaus Ceramics.

Lemke said that her shop's first year has been a good one. She loves working in the neighborhood she's called home for nine years, and "can't imagine going somewhere else."

In a couple of weeks, she plans to host a one-year anniversary party, where she'll launch a new dinnerware line, including plates and bowls. "A lot of people are already on the waiting list for [that collection]," Lemke said.

For more details on the upcoming anniversary party, follow Earthen on Instagram. The shop is also currently  hiring for two part-time retail positions. Anyone interested in applying can email

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