Buy my wares” will be the cry this weekend in Torrance and Hawthorne. And for those in a mood to buy, the choices will range from crocheted potholders, decorative magnets and jewelry to paintings, wooden rocking horses, stuffed animals and gift items with Easter themes.
Both cities are sponsoring arts and crafts fairs designed to give hobbyists a place to show off what they do and earn a little money.
Several other South Bay cities sponsor similar events at other times of the year.
“Most of the vendors are more concerned about the public’s reaction toward their creations than they are about how much they will make on an item,” said Michelle Winters, assistant director of the Hawthorne Department of Parks and Recreation. Most hope to earn enough to pay for materials they will turn into artwork for the next show.
About 150 vendors are expected to display work at the Hawthorne show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Memorial Center, 3901 El Segundo Blvd. (For information, call 970-7230).
“It’s a beautiful thing to go to,” said city recreation secretary Karen Carver, who has been going to the show for eight years. “Things there are unique, not like something that’s sold in every store.”
The Torrance fair is limited to work by people 50 or older. About 70 people are expected to display their creations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Recreation Center, 3341 Torrance Blvd. (For information, call 320-5918).
Torrance recreation coordinator Suzie Wand said the show is put on for social as well as artistic reasons. “It is a chance for people to come out for an activity with other people who have the same interests,” she said, adding that while some bring a lot of work, others might have “four or five crocheted afghans. They really come for socialization.”
As an added attraction in Torrance, the Kitchen Band will perform at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. The band is a group of Torrance senior citizens who find music in such things as kazoos, washboards and kitchen pans.
Admission to both fairs is free, and refreshments will be sold.
What are the popular crafts these days?
Wand said knit and crochet work dominates the Torrance show, along with handmade dolls and doll clothes. “Stained glass is getting popular,” she said, “and so are country items such as picture frames and photo albums decorated with fabric and lace.”
Blanche Campbell, who has taken part in the Torrance show for eight years, calls her crochet work a hobby that brings her a little money as well.
“As a lot of us get older, we sit and make things to keep ourselves busy and because we like to,” she said. “When it comes time to sell them, you don’t expect a big profit, but you expect to get a little bit.”
At the show Saturday, Campbell will display small pastel-colored afghans intended for babies, although she said many older people use them as lap robes. She’ll also have Easter rabbits and chicks made out of socks.
Ed Hudgens, a retired warehouse manager who turns out woodcrafts in his home, said that sitting for hours at the crafts show is never boring.
“A lot of people are attracted by the items and get inquisitive,” he said. “They want to know how long it took to put something together and what it’s used for.”
While his specialty is large doll houses, forts and missions with fancy doors and window shutters, he’s bringing smaller items to the Torrance show that will fit into his car. Among them are wooden boxes filled with candy Easter eggs and decorated with rabbits, and carts with cargoes of scented potpourri.
In Hawthorne, those showing work pay $17 for the two days, while the tab in Torrance is $5 for the day. The cities supply display tables, but tablecloths, easels and decorative touches are the responsibility of the craftspeople.
The Hawthorne show always fills up and the city already is taking reservations for the fall show in November. Wand said there is still some open space in the Torrance show and reservations may be made today.