A Gem in Midtown

I love happy accidents. I take delight in stumbling across a discovery that I may never have found had it not been for one small change that takes me out of my normal routine. Today, I found world of beauty, housed in an unassuming building on a nondescript corner in Midtown.

I drove to work as usual at the Hacker Lab (a little later than usual, actually), and was met with the more frequently occurring issue of lack of parking. Instead of my usual routine of playing the parking game where I move my car to a new spot every two hours and hope I don’t find a ticket waiting for me when I forget, I decided to park on F Street at 19th, where besides the street cleaning period on Wednesdays, parking is unrestricted. I figured I could use the walk, and it would be nice not to interrupt my day with short frantic drives around the block.  I found a spot on F, grabbed my things and started walking, but before I reached the corner I paused. The large sign proclaiming BOOKS I had read as I drove toward my parking spot was notable but not enough to give me pause; it was only upon a closer view and reading a smaller sign labeled “Art Books” that I was compelled to take a detour. The sign on the door directed me to ring the bell for entry. A few seconds later an older gentleman with horn-rimmed glasses and a white beard opened the door and let me in. I stepped over the threshold and was immediately enthralled. It was like a perfectly staged movie set of the quintessential independent bookstore: wall-to-wall books, vintage lamp fixtures, oriental rugs, paintings and sculptures propped upon and against shelves of BOOKS! The picture was made complete by a fat cat lounging on the rug next to the store owner’s antique desk. 

Richard, of Richard L. Press Fine & Scholarly Books on the Arts, showed me around the shop, pointing out each area where books on almost every art discipline were clustered: painting, sculpture, architecture, dance, textiles, fashion, street art, and yes, jewelry. He pointed out the shelves that held books on African and Asian art, and showed me art works by local and well established artists. He shared with me a little of his history, of selling books in Sacramento for 35 years — 8 years in this location, which was previously a hardware store and before that and egg processing center. My attention was riveted and my passion for creativity and learning was piqued; all I wanted to do was curl up on one of the chaises with whichever book was within arm’s reach and dive in headfirst.   
Richard L. Press in his art-tastic shop
Yet there was one book that caught my eye almost immediately upon entering the store: a thick tome called Art Deco Jewelry by Sylvie Raulet. The cover sported an image of a statement necklace of metal, wood, and gemstone that was much an art piece as it was a fashion accessory, and played to  my love of combining textures and shapes. I made a beeline for it and decided to make it a part of my independent study — it cost as much as a textbook.  After telling Richard a little about {tula in bloom} and how I design unique jewelry based on reused and repurpose materials, he gave me a gift; a catalog of the jewelry of Margaret De Patta from the 1976 exhibition at The Oakland Museum. With that gift, he sealed the fate of his shop as my new favorite haven. 

This book had me at the cover.
1976 catalog of the Margaret De Patta Retrospective Exhibition at The Oakland Museum. This artist is so my style... <3




I left the bookstore feeling renewed and inspired. Had I not been compelled to avoid a parking ticket I would have missed out on this place. It’s little gems like Richard’s bookstore that make Sacramento special, and little serendipities like this that help keep me motivated in my journey to create a successful jewelry design brand.
Richard L. Press Fine & Scholarly Books on the Arts is located at 1831 F St. STE A, Sacramento, CA 95811. I may be there, curled up on a chaise the next time you visit. 


“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” {Dr. Seuss}