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A Different Twist

Consumers with an eye for the artistic can find handmade offerings at the third annual Art Furnishings Show next month in Pasadena.


The taste for handmade wares never really dies, despite all the mass-produced objects we're constantly bombarded by. Furniture is no exception. Three-years strong, the annual Art Furnishings Show, March 3 and 4 at the Pasadena Convention Center, showcases the handiwork of 110 artisans from all over the country. They will bring studio-made furnishings, including indoor and outdoor furniture and artwork, floor coverings, lighting and decorative and architectural glass such as room dividers and doors. Garden art also will be represented, from fountains to "rain chains," which, when suspended from eaves, create a sculpture of falling rain.

Nancy Peck and Joanne MacDonald are the event's co-producers. At last year's show, $440,000 in furnishings was sold off the floor and by commission.

"It's a chance for artisans to get together and share common issues as well as meet customers," MacDonald said. "We feel like we are matchmakers, bringing studio artisans together with interested customers who know it is a higher-end show. They already know their measurements from home."

Kerin Lifland, a furniture maker for 13 years, works out of his garage-turned-studio at his home in mid-city L.A. He will show six pieces of his handcrafted furniture, including a wood "linen press" armoire fitted with shelves for clothes storage. "My idea is to animate a basic box form by literally dressing it in different colors and patterns of wood that give it a stylish presence. This particular image actually came to me in a dream."

Lifland is still working on one of the pieces for the show--a bed with a mahogany frame and pear wood and maple headboard. "I enjoy taking a more playful attitude toward conventional furniture form. For my bed, I've tried to create a theatrical sense of place by making the headboard look like a banner unfurled between two posts."

He added that anyone interested can commission the bed, but the one on display has to go back home. "I need a new bed," Lifland, 41, said good-naturedly, adding that just like a shoemaker who has no shoes, he has no furniture. "I don't want to sell it at the show because I would have a less hard time telling the client to wait a few months than tell my wife to wait. She's been waiting a few years."

Another area artisan at the show will be Stephen Courtney, 48, whose studio is in West L.A. He has made furniture for 12 years, relying on kitchen and bathroom cabinetry orders to support his more artistic endeavors.

Courtney said his display will include a side table with a "flowing pair of legs" supporting a stainless steel, perforated metal bowl covered by a sheet of glass coated with an under layer of buckshot. The piece took about three months to make, Courtney said. His secretarial desk with a bent glass top, which also will be available, took him nearly four years to complete.


The Art Furnishing Show, Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green St., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; $8 entrance fee per day; (805) 778-1584.

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