Shoppers, think of it as the Home section’s mini craft show: 30 handmade gifts that are beautiful, largely inexpensive and occasionally eccentric. All are sold locally. To see more photos, check our L.A. at Home blog.
A California-based artist who goes by Lukas What What makes hand-screened patches sold for $5 apiece at Monkeyhouse Toys in Silver Lake. The textile scraps have simple motifs (chairs, clothespins, tea bags) and can be treated like tiny pieces of retro art suitable for framing. Monkeyhouse owner Mayra Baligad says Mr. What What sells the patches to finance his world travels. “Last year,” she says, “he was in Indonesia touring with a traveling circus.” www.monkeyhousetoys.com()
To improve the flavor of mass-produced wine, half-inch-thick pieces of white oak are added to stainless steel vats of reds and whites as part of the fermentation process. Marina del Rey furniture maker Cliff Spencer takes that discarded wood and transforms it into pieces such as his Malachete table ($2,250). The gorgeous striping of the tabletop is a sign that the various pieces of wood were steeped in everything from Pinot Noir to Pinot Grigio.
Los Angeles letterpress artist Elinor Nissley of Krank Press has developed a following for her offbeat designs, including calendars and gift tags. Her greeting cards include Tokyo taxis (vibrant saturated colors) and what she calls “yard fauna” -- urban critters such as raccoons and coyotes. A set of five cards is $12.
Atwater Village felt artist Tanya Aguiñiga’s designs include modern rugs and classic folding chairs sheathed in soft, hand-felted wool. At the more affordable end of the spectrum: felted mockingbirds, robins and chickadees that roost in four colors ($36 each).
Tyler Bender makes custom hand-bound journals composed of recycled and vintage materials. You can provide an old book cover, wallpaper, vinyl record artwork, scrap paper, your own drawings, whatever. Most are $40.
The offbeat Pasadena gallery Gold Bug commissions artists to create large-scale sculpture as well as more budget-minded works. Acid-washed concrete fists, $20 to $30 apiece, are among original designs that also include mice and baby doll heads.
Joan Takayama-Ogawa, a professor at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, shapes ceramic platters to mirror the forms and patterns of nature. A 17-inch-long glazed earthenware piece carved into the silhouette of a lotus flower with a single leaf -- stunning in black -- is $275.
L.A. artist Hannie Goldgewicht combines pine-needle basketry and ceramics to create distinctive bowls, vases and urns. We admired the bud vase pictured here, wrapped with her carefully tied needle design, $80.
As a design student, Katherine Gray was assigned to create a vase. Instead, she created two vases in one. Her Either/Or design has a central well that acts like a traditional vase, or for a more minimal approach, a glass loop inside the vase can cradle a single stem. The hand-blown piece is 9 inches high and 5 inches in diameter. Price: $250.
Santa Monica mom Jeana Greulach launched J Clay Pottery this year as a creative outlet after the birth of two daughters. Her work landed in Zero Minus Plus at Fred Segal, but you can buy her new collection directly from Greulach via Etsy. Serve Yourself, Serve Others is a line of wheel-thrown stoneware that’s glazed on top and inscribed on bottom. Most bowls run $25 to $30 apiece, and serving dishes and bowls are $75 to $85. The collection is beautiful, functional, and safe in the oven and microwave.
Richard and JoAnn Patterson craft beauty in their respective ways, he in woodwork and she in ceramics. Though JoAnn has started making large-scale sculptures that have found their way into the homes of Kanye West and Saudi royalty, she also carves beautiful earthenware vases ($80 and up) whose faceted facades lend a contemporary touch to an ancient form. One of Richard’s most recent designs: two elegant nesting tables ($4,000 for the set) cut from the same camphor tree, so the wood is perfectly “bookmatched.”
Highland Park artist Jocelyn Webb Pedersen finishes her pinch pots with a variety of Japanese glazes. The pieces don’t just look great. “You can often feel the work of my hands when you hold them in your hands,” she says. “They have been used for hors d’oeuvres dishes, jewelry holders, planters and candle holders.” We picked up the one pictured here for just $20 and plopped a cheap Home Depot succulent inside. Voila -- instant awesomeness. Pedersen’s pieces are $15 to $45 each.
Till her page is set up on the Etsy crafts website, e-mail the artist at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Pasadena artist Kimberly Elowe of Kafuffle Designs uses vintage and found objects to create her pieces. At Mindfulnest in Burbank, we picked up her “‘Drink Me’ Alice” shadow box, an artful tableau set behind glass ($125) and a small decorative box with “peace” spelled out in Scrabble letters ($26.50). (818) 840-0123,
Feathers, oddly enough, are emerging as a décor motif -- on fabrics, as porcelain Christmas ornaments and more. They float down the front of hand-made letterpress cards by Los Angeles designer Christine M. Brandt. A set of six cards is $14.
Michael Wells can lasso some western spirit into your kitchen with flour-sack towels screen-printed with fictional ads touting Cowboy Coffee and Mountain Mama Grits, Bison Feeds and Best Friend Dog Food. The retro designs are kitschy amusements, available on T-shirts, aprons and pillowcases if you don’t like the kitchen towels. (The flour-sack material is surprisingly soft.)
The towels are $8 each, sold at the Studio City farmers market on Sunday or through www.cattleheadquarters.com. (Cattle Headquarters)
Peace Industry rugs aren’t actually made in California, but the designs -- and the spirit -- take flight from a shop in San Francisco‘s bleak-turned-chic Hayes Valley neighborhood. That’s where Melina and Dodd Raissnia have built a link from the West Coast to their fair-trade workshop in Iran. The result is artwork for the floor made of 100% felted lamb’s wool that’s not woven but rather pressed -- an ancient technique applied to distinctly contemporary designs.
Altadena craft maker Anise Mouette decorates wooden “kitsch-en” magnets with her original artwork -- retro imagery such as View-Masters and rotary telephones. Each sells for $3 to $5. The same whimsy colors her finger puppets, kids clothes and tote bags.
They’re cheep and cheery: prints of cardinals, sparrows and other feathered friends at just $14 a pop. Working under the name the Mincing Mockingbird, La Crescenta painter Matt Adrian offers 6-inch-square high-impact color prints on archival paper, each signed and dated. Buy a few and your loved one will have a veritable aviary for the wall. Really, really like what you see? The original paintings start at $50.
Kevin Beer makes his living designing homes and offices, but it’s hard to call his offbeat “terrariums” a side business when they have landed in stores such as Blackman Cruz and Gary Gibson. His meticulously crafted assemblages set under glass domes are secret little worlds unto themselves, harboring tales that may vary depending on the onlooker. “What I love about Kevin’s work is that there is a narrative, you can imagine a story,” said Stacey Coleman, whose Gold Bug gallery ( www.goldbugpasadena.com) has one piece titled “Friends,” with two tiny figurines sitting on a miniature park bench that, it turns out, was once used by birds in a circus act.
E-mail the artist at email@example.com (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Local filmmaker and fashion photography set designer Steve Halterman creates hanging 1970s-style architectural votive candle lanterns whose stained glass sits in a redwood frame with a leather strap. They’re available in orange, blue and green, $600 each at Commune Design’s Community Shop in West Hollywood
Repurposed Pallet Shelving by Jason Burton is pretty much what it sounds like: oak slats recycled into eco-friendly displays. Each is made in Long Beach, shipped flat and assembled by you in any number of configurations. Vertical posts are slotted to allow for shelf planks to slide in and lock into place using a wrench that’s included; the whole thing is protected with a clear Safecoat finish. A full system measuring 48 inches square is $500. Half-size orders (24-by-48 inches) are $300.
From her Costa Mesa studio, Kristie Thinnes designs and prints textiles that look modern and fresh. Pillow covers ($20 to $38 apiece) feature simple silhouettes of foxes, wild horses and bears arranged in ways that create a more abstract pattern when viewed from afar. Her colorful printed tea towels ($12 each or $38 for sets of four) are pretty groovy too.
Margaret Dorfman’s vegetable parchment bowls are made of paper-thin formations of dried purple beets, golden squash, green bok choy and more. They can be used as tea light holders, the flickering flame colored by the produce surrounding it. They sell for $34 to $60 at the Gallery of Functional Art at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica.
The Home section first featured the floral artistry of Krislyn Komarov three years ago, and ever since we’ve noted how frequently her designs are ripped off by copycats -- and with good reason. Her works capture the fleeting beauty of flowers but have the longevity of sculpture. One of her more affordable introductions this year: “moss hills,” 1-foot-wide assemblages of dyed moss that are arranged into simple, lovely tablescapes. They start at $80.
The high-fired stoneware of local artist Sunja Park is showcased at the Silver Lake store Ten 10 right now. Swing by and you’ll see beautiful pottery and -- the surprise for us -- some glazed ceramic clocks ($125 to $175).
Love it just for the name: the Peaclock, a letterpress clock made by the L.A.-based Mable Lee and Christen Cutrona, who go by the studio name Dee & Lala. Originally produced in blue, the clock is now available in green or orange too. It’s just $34.95 at