Creature features

Times Staff Writer

CALL it bionic taxidermy: With scraps of leather, eucalyptus bark, copper pipes and pieces of aluminum flashing normally used for roofing, Ron Pippin, right, transforms skeletons and urethane foam animal forms into mythic creatures like bucks with wings and beavers in armor. "He takes art in an exciting intellectual and emotional direction," says furniture designer Richard Brustlin, who is staging Pippin's first non-gallery show at his Melrose showroom. Hollywood-born and Chouinard-educated, Pippin, 61, has been exploring the integration of nature and technology for nearly a decade and has engraved a taxidermy deer form with verses from Dante's Inferno. "It gets a little obsessive from time to time," he admits, "but that's what makes it worthwhile." Pieces such as "Wildcat with Copper," shown here, start at $7,500 at Brustlin Workshop, 8727 Melrose Ave. (310) 652-8727. For artist information, visit



Dishing out a '70s revival

For most of the 1970s, the Block China company in Germany produced Chromatics, a line of tableware made in a sophisticated rainbow of glazes. The Bauhaus-influenced dishes, bowls and coffee cups were designed with concave and convex curves that created a fanciful, undulating profile far more sculptural than the average stack of dishes. The sugar and creamer, shown here in the center, nestle together, giving the appearance of a pitcher. Discontinued in 1981, the timelessly modern collection has a renewed cachet for a new generation of trend-setting place-setters who scour EBay or www.replacements.comfor Chromatics. Fans include the design duo Glenn Lawson and Grant Fenning, who sell the pieces shown here, $15 each, at their showrooms at 7257 Beverly Blvd., (323) 934-0048, and 1618 Silver Lake Blvd., (323) 660-1500.



Underwater illusion

Visitors to the Catalina Hotel during the recent Art Basel event in Miami Beach might be excused for thinking they'd stumbled into Captain Nemo's chandelier factory when they saw Adam Wallacavage's over-the-top lighting fixtures. The 37-year-old photographer began designing ornamental plaster chandeliers for photo shoots and his own Victorian brownstone in Philadelphia. "I wanted a dining room that looked like it was 20,000 leagues under the sea," he says of his octopus-inspired creations. Wallacavage's Fenicologia, shown here, is a collaboration with Los Angeles jeweler Tarina Tarantino, who added pink pearls and Swarovski crystals to the fantasy fixture. The one-of-a-kind piece is available for $15,000 at Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York, (212) 243-3822. To view other pieces, visit and click on artists and then Wallacavage.



Toys with good karma

Lucky the dog, Boomer the squirrel and Betty the bunny are part of Tina Nguyen's line of chew toys for Jax & Bones of Pasadena. Made from hand-tied, naturally dyed cotton thread, the Good Karma collection lives up to its name: The toys promote doggy dental health and Nguyen has pledged a portion of the proceeds to the L.A. dog and cat nonprofit the Rescue Train ( The critters come in two sizes from $12 at Maxwell Dog, (818) 505-8411; Puppies & Babies, (323) 653-3995; and

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