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Well-crafted gift-giving

Handmade pieces make artful presents and these 30 items are all sold in Los Angeles.

December 05, 2009|By Lisa Boone, David A. Keeps and Craig Nakano

74Highland 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 joce@earthlink.netjoce@earthlink.net.

75Pasadena 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, mindfulnest.net.

76Feathers, oddly enough, are emerging as a d├ęcor 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 from www.floraandfaunapress.com.

77Michael 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.

78Peace 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. www.peaceindustry.com.

79Altadena 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. www.anisemouette.com.

80They'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. www.mincingmockingbird.com.

81Kevin 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 khbeer@earthlink.netkhbeer@earthlink.net and look for a photo of "Friends" at latimes.com/home.

82Local 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, (310) 855-9080, www.communedesign.com/shop.

83Textile artist Paula Smail makes 4-inch-square sachets with fabric remnants stuffed with fragrant lavender. Each set of three is $15 at Henry Road in Studio City, (818) 762-8966, www.henryroad.com.

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