Stripe stripped back to reveal the idiosyncratic wonders of the past and the best of the present

Written by Amy Meadows

On Friday, February 17th from 5pm – 8pm, Stripe in Santa Cruz is reopening its huge museum-style 8 ft high doors and inviting everyone to step by to see the store’s eclectic mix of purposeful yet fun objects, including vintage furniture, stunning textiles and nostalgic curiosities.

Originally opened in 2009, Stripe has been reimagined and stripped back to lay clear the workings of its founder, Suna Lock’s, miscellaneous and often mischievous mind. Step in, and the store presents an instant sense of the familiar, because so many of the objects for sale are the everyday and deeply useful, such as spoons, string and scissors, and yet the store is also full of the unexpected, the unusual and the unfathomable, with obscure treasures from the past.  

Jewelry is draped over taxidermy or nestled in birds’ nests, metal fishing crates contain embroidered cushions and stunning cashmere fills a rescued wooden boat. There’s something for everyone, be that a really distinctive find for your home, or a particular gift for a special friend, you just need to slow down and take the time to come and look closely.  

The highlight is that the store's large white walls are now the backdrop for Suna’s masterful installations — a bold interplay of ordinary yet useful remnants from the past, which become unexpectedly mesmerizing and beautiful when curated so skillfully.  

The first installation, with its distinctive assortment of fishing reels, faucets and iron locks, also displays the work of local celebrated artist Brian Rounds, together with drawing pencils, salvaged cooking utensils and large wooden cartwheels. Further into the store, the next installation features spinning tops, barometers and ornithological drawings. These installations, works of art in their own right, can be bought in their entirety, or by the foot, or you can even choose just a single item. 

Stripe intends to present an ever-changing landscape and portrait of curiosities that have been sourced and salvaged (a genuine way to be more sustainable) alongside showcasing a wide range of talented artists and makers from the local area, and further afield too, when someone particularly talented catches Suna’s eye. The mixture of found old items and newly made objects is a critical feature of the store to keep it interesting and relevant.

“If you’re looking to bring more joy, curiosity and humor into your homes then come to Stripe. You’ll find items that will make you say ‘What the hell is that?’, or squeal with delight, or reconnect you to memories of your grandmother’s kitchen and grandfather’s shed, and I bet there’s even objects that will produce all three of these reactions. It is my passion and privilege to search out bits and pieces from attics, sheds and cellars and bring them to Stripe. I like to encourage people to forget preconceived ideas about what objects are worthy of display and which are consigned to cupboards and drawers, and give you the freedom to delight in everything you find purposeful and beautiful. Stripe is the antithesis, and hopefully provides some antidote, to our modern conformist lives. Come down the rabbit hole with me by visiting my store.”

Stripe is at 107 Walnut Avenue, Santa Cruz. Opening hours 11am to 7pm Thursday through Sunday. Appointments only Monday – Wednesday.

See more on our instagram @stripesantacruz