Oakland’s New Mayor Rides in our Snail Art Car

“I think it’s a great symbol of Oakland,
our vitality, our creativity, our secret sauce”
- Libby Schaaf on the Golden Mean Snail Art Car 

Photo by D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group

Photo by D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group

It’s no surprise people are talking about Oakland’s new mayor, Libby Schaaf, but there’s one detail that seems to surprise everyone: her mayoral ride, the Golden Mean. Apparently most political figures don’t travel to their inauguration in a giant snail with flaming eye sockets.

Schaaf and I first connected during the 2013 Oakland mayoral race around West Oakland business. I agreed with Schaaf’s vision for an Oakland that supports artists, makers, and industrial businesses like mine. When she requested the Golden Mean make a campaign event appearance, I was happy to oblige.

When Schaaf won the election, we took a celebratory ride in the Golden Mean. But the greatest honor came with the last request: a ride for Schaaf and her family to her mayoral inauguration. The event was quintessential Oakland: held at the Paramount Theater, the mayor and her family arriving in the Golden Mean, Schaaf’s acceptance speech including “hella”, and protesters reminding everyone of issues to be addressed.

When we first built the Golden Mean in 2008, little did we know it would someday make Oakland history. Working on nights and weekends, the snail car my wife Kyrsten dreamed up was built by her, myself, and our Empire of Dirt crew of artist makers in my West Oakland Form & Reform shop. Since building Golden Mean we’ve made the Electrobite and Serpent Twins, but you’re less likely to see our mayor riding around in them, seeing as they’re not street legal.


Meet the Golden Mean Sunday, January 11, 2015

As part of Schaaf’s inaugural week, the Golden Mean Snail Art Car will soon make another appearance at the public event celebrating the great town of Oakland and it’s makers this Sunday, January 11. We hope you’ll join us for the “Made in Oakland” Inaugural Festival at American Steel in West Oakland from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Press with Libby Schaaf and the Golden Mean

SFGate / SF Chronicle – Libby Schaaf sworn in as Oakland’s 50th mayor
San Francisco Magazine – That Fire-Shooting Snail Car That Mayor Libby Schaaf Keeps Driving Around Oakland Is the Best Thing Ever
Inside Bay Area – Libby Schaaf sworn in as Oakland mayor
Laughing Squid – Oakland, California’s New Mayor Libby Schaaf Rides Snail Art Car To Her Inauguration

Election Victory Celebration
KQED – Video: Libby Schaaf Rides a Giant Mechanical Snail
SF Gate/ SF Chronicle – Libby Schaaf celebrates Oakland mayoral victory: “an awesome city”
SJ Mercury News / Oakland Tribune – Libby Schaaf celebrates decisive victory and ‘Oakland’s awesomeness’
CBS – Quan Concedes Oakland Mayor’s Race; Schaaf Celebrates In Fire-Breathing Snail Car

Golden Mean Snail Art Car
Facebook Fan Page
Instructable / how it was made
Blog: Golden Mean

Recent Golden Mean in Oakland
Popular Mechanics Video – How Oakland Is Becoming Northern California’s Next Great Startup Hub

“It’s hella time for Oakland.”
  – Libby Schaaf, inaugural speech

Jon Sarriugarte’s new designs available at Restoration Hardware

 Restoration Hardware

I was approached by Gary Friedman and his team from restoration Hardware this year to design a group of lights for them. Gary and the team had eaten at Camino restaurant in Oakland CA and liked the lights I had done for them. I ended up designing 11 lights for RH for the fall catalog.
These production lights are beautifully crafted, well designed and very affordable.

If you’re interested in a uniquely designed and crafted light just for you please contact me. jon at formandreform dot com

My custom work is made right here in West Oakland in my shop Form & Reform. Each piece is signed and made to make your space uniquely yours. Here is some of the custom lighting I have done.

My furniture line is available here

Snail at Oakland Art Murmur

Zolie and her Cousin Stellan shooting fire from the Golden Mean Snail car.

Great story at the East Bay Monthly



To celebrate their 25th year in business the Boca Bearing Company is giving away over $20,000 in cash and prizes as part of their 2012 Boca Bearing Innovation Contest. Winners will be chosen based on a video submission of their innovative mechanical project that utilizes ball bearings, roller bearings, linear bearings or any form of full ceramic or ceramic hybrid bearings anywhere in the application.

The Serpent Twins have entered the competition and we would love your vote!

Wedding Heart

This is a Heart I made for Christine & David’s Wedding Jan 21st, 2012

More pictures

Blacksmithing Burning Man and Oakland

I got some great press at Huffington Post. Big thanks to Robin Wilkey for the story. I love that she printed what I said about Oakland. I really do hope Oakland get’s it right this time. I encourage you all to vote and take over this great city!

Jon Sarriugarte: Blacksmith And Burning Man Legend On The Playa And The Future Of Oakland


New Years 2012

What a way to end the year! Great to see all of you and a big thanks to the great crew who made it all so relaxing I got to talk to a few people!

Stay tuned for future mini events, movie nights,  art openings,  kids events and more.

Jon’s Pictures

Will’s Pictures

Kore’s Pictures

Kyrsten & Jon enjoying the view from the top of the Golden Mean.

Woodside light fixture

Woodside light fixture

More Custom Lighting

This is a huge light! 8 feet 8 inches wide and almost 100 lights! The challenge was to make it look simple and clean and hide all the wiring. Really a wonderful space and this light ties it all together.
8’8″x10′ high Steel and cable
More pictures

The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man

The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man

16 years in the making, 196 photos, 112 pages, 11”x8.5” softcover, $29,
the book has landed.
Black Rock City is a unique urban experiment in the American landscape.
For one week 50,000 people deploy treasures of ingenuity to survive in style (or not) and leave no trace in one of the harshest environment of the USA. Home of the Burning Man festival, the artistic nature of the event calls for one-of-a-kind solutions mixed with open source creations and off-the-shelve gear.
From 1996 to 2010, photographer Philippe Glade documented more than 170 ephemeral dwellings, camps, structures of BRC.
This books presents for the first time a comprehensive selection of those solutions.

This book features both My Blackrock Hardware shade and our camp the Empire of Dirt.

Golden Mean on the History Channel Nov 28th 2011

Last Spring we shot an episode of Modern Marvels called Weird Machines for the History Channel. I features both The Golden Mean Giant Iron Snail Car and our restored 1920’s Hogan Tesla Coil and is set to air Nov 28th, 2011.

Check your local listings for air times.

jon sarriugarte's items Go to jon sarriugarte's photostream