Little Paper Planes is just another Valencia gift shop. Or is it?
STREET SEEN Located on a strip of Valencia that lacks not for the twee and handcrafted, the opening of Little Paper Planes might strike city dwellers as a bit of anti-news. Of course there's a new place to shop for necklaces in the Mission. Obviously, the shop floor emphasizes artists who use locally-sourced materials. Oh, its gorgeous inside and former Design*Sponge senior editor Kate Pruitt designed the sweetly geometric shelves and displays? DUH. Next gift shop please.
But wait! What if I told you that Kelly Lynn Jones, who founded LPP back in 2004 (predating Etsy by a year) as an online marketplace for crafters, that she's totally cognizant of the privilege of her new address' attendant walk-in traffic, and is sharing her space with a bookstore curator and a rotating cast of creative community members?
"In a city where art spaces are disappearing, I thought it was important to use this shop as a project space," Jones tells me, in between the million tasks of a new business owner. True to her word, we barely talk about all the things happening in LPP in the half-hour I've snagged Jones' attention.
Customers may first alight upon the window seat near Viniita "Neet" Moran's carefully-curated mini-library Owl Cave Books (www.owlcavebooks.com). Moran started the collection and attendant series of events while living in London with a "mission to explore printed matter as a material for artists, a vehicle for expanding critical discourse, and as a mobile, versatile exhibition space for contemporary art," she writes in an email. Here, Owl Cave can mean a Foucault treatise or out-of-print art history book.
Next, the LPP stock. On the day of my visit, Jones is particularly proud of black-and-white prints by SF's Colpa Press, whose newsstand on Market and Sixth Streets carries titles from LPP's own imprint like the Brian Nuda Rosch exhibition book that lies stacked on a low marble table nearby. Other stand-outs: Ilana Kohn's printed tunics, leather pouch-chain necklaces by Nikki Katz, knit-and-plastic jewelry from Kayla Mattes' "Summer Camp" collection.
A flatscreen that plays video art by a rotating cast of artists (at the moment, Jones' fiancé Collin McKelvey, whose pink-green gradient she reappropriated for LPP's current unofficial logo motif). Notably, the back of the store is gallery space.
Chinatown's newly opened Et al. Gallery has taken over this space as LPP's first artist-in-residence. To date, its offerings have included Aaliyah lyric-analyzing sessions, an analogue Instagram feed from curators Jackie Im and Aaron Harbour's trip to Nada Art Fair, and DJ sets. On Fri/31, the duo host a panel discussion to share mid-realization art projects. Says Im, "We're interested in making these small experiments more visible and sort of demystify and play on the role of 'curator.'"