Clay molds her life

COSTA MESA — Five years ago, as Magie Smith-Fleisher prepared to retire, she started looking for something to occupy her time.

She tried oil and acrylic painting, but when she touched clay for the first time in 25 years, she knew she had found her "something."

"That was it," she said. "I knew that was what I was going to do."

Smith-Fleisher, 73, of Costa Mesa is busy every day bringing to life everything from plates and bowls to birdhouses, teapots and sculptures. The fruits of her work were on display Thursday afternoon in her garage as she practiced how to present her pieces that will be in the Piecemakers Christmas Under the Stars Craft Fair this Friday and Saturday.

For the second year, Smith-Fleisher will join more than 100 crafters at the juried show. There will be live music, food and, of course, lots and lots of crafts for sale.

Craft fair coordinator Joanna Nelson said crafts, like everything, go through trend cycles and she's been seeing a lot of pottery this year.

Nelson said Smith-Fleisher's pieces are nice because they are different.

Ceramics became a part of Smith-Fleisher's life during the 1960s, when she was in her late 20s, until she said she needed take a "hiatus" to find "a real job."

The New York native went to school to become a dental technician, which she worked at for 25 years until retiring five years ago.

Now she volunteers and works at the Irvine Fine Arts Center, has a number of blue ribbons under her belt and sells her pieces at craft fairs and on her website.

"She's making something all the time," said her husband, John Fleisher.

Working with clay is rewarding, she said.

"I love how I can put my creativity into whatever I'm making, and just the feel of the clay is really wonderful," she said. "I just get a lot of enjoyment out of working."

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

If You Go

What: Piecemakers Christmas Under the Stars Craft Fair

When: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Piecemakers Country Store parking lot, 1720 Adams Ave., Costa Mesa

Cost: Free


Interested in Magie Smith-Fleisher's work? Go to

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