Dec. 15 2015 03:51 PM

Sue Fan and Danielle Quigley turn their love of foraging into outdoorsy crafts

Leading up to the holidays, we'll use this space to profile local crafters whose wares we think would make excellent gifts.

Danielle Quigley and Sue Fan
Photo by Pink El Bon

Danielle Quigley and Sue Fan's business plan for their handcrafted home wares and jewelry company is simple: "We pick up what we like and then we see what we can make out of it," says Quigley, one half of the local duo behind Wild Habit.

Wild Habit's designs range from intricate chandeliers crafted from the birch tree bark to jewelry made out of porcupine quills and slices of antler. The pieces are painstakingly detailed, yet are simple and accessible enough to appeal to just about anyone with an appreciation for the great outdoors. Quigley admits that some of their stuff, like the sun-bleached deer skulls with hand-carved designs whittled into them, are "a little out there for some people," but says all of Wild Habit's products are found in nature and nothing, be it plant or animal, was harmed in the process of making them.

"We think these things are already beautiful to begin with," says Quigley. "It's important to point out that these things are found. For us, it's all about bringing the outside in."

"A lot of people aren't from San Diego so we have a lot of people who are excited because it reminds them of home," Fan adds.

The two met while at college and quickly found they had a shared love of the outdoors. A study-abroad trip to Antarctica was particularly inspiring and the duo soon found themselves crafting items out of the things that they had collected during their travels: bones, tree bark and myriad eye-pleasing rocks they've compiled from trips back east to places such as New Hampshire and Maryland.

"We started to have all these sticks and antlers piling up in our homes," says Quigley, who says she and Fan soon started taking their collections and crafting them into items to give to friends.

Their work can be found in local boutiques such as Geographie in North Park and The Den in Carlsbad and Encinitas. The two work on their inventory from a studio in Encinitas and pieces like the "Woodstock Chandelier" can take up to two weeks to construct. Even with their passion now being a proper business, Quigley confesses that some things haven't changed.

"My backyard is covered in birch bark from New Hampshire," she says. "It's weird to see it piling up out their with the cactuses and stuff."


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