If you thought of handmade crafts as being shells glued onto a cigar box, you haven’t been to Eleven B. The shop at 1234 Broadway in Placerville represents more than 150 local crafters who make everything from exquisite pottery for daily use to jewelry, yard art made of tools and silverware and one-of-kind aprons you’ll want to wear out on the town.
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The small store greets customers outside with Tom Warren’s peacock flower pots made of recycled tea kettles and silverware. Inside, more of the El Dorado Hills artist’s works are splashed around in the form of wind chimes, garden art, tchatke quail and fish and jewelry — all using silverware. Warren’s whimsical works include an Airstream trailer made from a 1950s toaster with a cheese grater awning and garden art masks made from shovels and repurposed hardware.
Beautifully crafted wood pens and wine bottle stoppers fill one case while pine needle baskets, picture frames and handmade moccasins by Elizabeth Jordan fill another. The fat little jars of Sierra Candles natural soy candles are neatly stacked for display and while Mango Habanero Jam and Blackberry Jalapeno Jam from “Two Hot Chicks” peek out from between Scott Wilson’s boldly-hued rice pots, mugs and bowls.
Eleven Bee started in Pollock Pines in 2008, as vehicle for the owners, Louisa and Ed Beld, to feature their son-in-law Scott Wilson’s handthrown, high fire porcelain and rakku pottery. They offered space to local crafters to place their work on consignment in the store and used their background in editorial illustration and graphic arts to promote them.
“Crafts aren’t being presented as they should be,” said Louisa Beld.“The community responded with many fine, quality craft items and continues to do so.”
Crafters represented at Eleven Bee range in age from teenagers to grandparents with the oldest crafter being 91. Many of the crafters have been with the Belds for years.
“Some of our crafters have more than 600 items with us because they go so fast,” said Beld. Crafters set their own prices and Beld takes in new crafters and their art all the time.
An art quality, “Tiny Tot Activity Book” by Nancy Wong graces one shelf. The fabric book, completely handmade, allows little ones to practice zipping, snapping, buttoning and tying with whimsical, beautiful pages that will become a family treasure. Anthony Wong’s birdhouses and wooden toys top other shelves.
Vyvian Anderson’s gorgeous, colorful aprons hang in the center of the store. “Vyvian’s aprons are like paintings,” said Louisa Beld. “She’s one of the first crafters who came to us. Beld plans to hold an “Apronapalooza” featuring Anderson’s many creations from the first part of May through Mother’s Day.
Beautifully crafted toddler sundresses and hats join colorful, innovative fabric wallets, cell phone cases and seat belt covers, handcrafted purses using designer fabrics and knitted or crocheted baby sweaters and blankets in the store. There are too many items to name and the quality and craftsmanship has to be seen to be appreciated.
In April of 2012, Eleven B relocated to Hangtown Village Square. “It’s been a very positive move for us and we couldn’t be more pleased with the new location,” said Beld. The Belds kept the name Eleven B from the number of the unit the store occupied in Pollock Pines, 11 B, and added a bee logo created by grandson, Emmett Wilson.
Eleven B is located at 1234 G Broadway in Placerville. Hours are Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call 530 644-1172.