I'm deep into Christmas Elf mode today but I couldn't wait any longer to tell you about my long awaited visit to Kit Kraft, Inc. a remarkable craft and art materials supplies store in Studio City, California.
I had found them online about a year ago when I was looking for a source for (allegedly non-toxic resin) Magic Sculpt to use in armature building. The site was extensive and pretty much indicated that they carried absolutely everything one could ever wish for to build a movie. Reading what they carried, I pictured a vast old space with room upon room of stock on shelves. I thought someone there would say, "The casting material ROOM is this way, just past the clays." I'd been dreaming and panting to get there for so long but it was so hard to arrange the trip.
When I finally walked in on Wednesday I saw this... and was crest fallen.
My first view from the door. I was so disappointed to be able to see all four walls of the place and not even a little second floor!
Surely this small shoebox of a place can't have much of anything?! WRONG!!! In about :30 flat of looking more closely what I found was a mind-blowing kick-ass well-run and thoughtfully curated mega art supply shop.
Every aisle was perfectly organized and fully stocked with huge variety of goods in a wide range of materials. This is only a small sampling of a few. Every wooden shape one could need in perfect bins (I bought the rest of the Christmas parts there!) Every size and shape of scale lumber and plasti-struct, all kinds of leather and plenty of styrofoam on hand. There were aisles filled with just metal stampings, and the best selection of jewelry findings I've ever seen (and I've been everywhere). Can you imagine, there was a box of walnut shells!!! And to make matters more spectacular--I NEEDED walnut shells!!!!! They had me right then.
I noticed a man moving quickly and efficiently to restock a spot high up on a shelf. This guy was on it. Clearly for this store being merely ok was not enough. This store is managed with a high regard for its customer's delight. I'm sure that's why there was a steady stream of customers the whole time I visited. When other art supply stores are run like cold heartless big-chain supermarkets with employees who hate you and hate working there (I guess I was bitter about it and didn't know it) this place is like the artisanal village establishment that warmly cares about what you need.
I was raving about the place to the owner, Mike Sitkin, and asked him if he would order me a larger-sized bag of Ultracal for my large puppets that need molding. He said that he would although he stopped carrying the 100lb sacks as they were too hard to handle. He suggested a building materials place where I could fill up pails that I could carry (for a bit better price than his as well) and besides, he said, he was using the former space in the back room to stock his newest passion, GLITTER!
Mike showing off part of his gorgeously curated selection of fine grain glitter in his stock room. Treat yourself to a creative rush, go visit Kit Kraft and the fine people there for whatever you're into. (They'll even fire your precious metal clay pieces there for $1 a piece!) The store's been thriving since 1946 and let's keep it that way. Hours: 9-6 Monday through Saturday, one block north of Ventura Blvd. East of Laurel Canyon.
I found a lot of great Halfland stuff there. Here you see the wooden ornaments that will embellish the exterior of the cottage and its furniture. They had a large selection of carved wooden items in both human and small scales. I used one of the rectangles as Rana's front door plate. I got the brainwave while at Kit Kraft that Anthropolgie's huge array of vintage style drawer knobs would double for Rana's front door knob. I rushed over there and found too many great choices (above bottom left are just a few I found in their bins and would be perfect. I finally boiled it down two based on correct size and color, one is crystal and the other embossed ceramic.