Eighteen years ago, American-born sculpture/designer Peter Shire created bold, interpretive art works for Sapporo Beer’s Hokkaido factory while in northern Japan for this commissioned project.

Stainless steel contrasts with vivid metal shapes in this Subarashi sculpture by Peter Shire of Echo Park. (Courtesy of Alan Shaffer)

Fast forward to 2008. Japan’s bubble burst due to a global economic crisis. As a result, the factory and surrounding shopping center were shuttered, unbeknownst to Shire at that time.

Now, his “Hokkaido Story” of made in Japan imaginative sculptures, tea pots and paintings are showing at the Barrett Art Gallery, Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center, through Dec. 4.

East meets West in a juxtaposition of earthy bamboo and ikebana coexisting with stark stainless steel and brilliant metal shapes and playful structures.

“The people of Japan are infused into my pieces. I’ve interpreted what I saw, the colors in this beautiful area,” he said.

Shire is a master artist of color, design and space. A Chouinard Art Institute grad, ceramics was his initial tag—graphic tea pots, sometimes whimsical, other times quirky. More sculptural, less functional, an ordinary object with a new attitude.

The term “jack-of-all arts” crosses my mind. Working with glasses and papers further challenge his wit, humor and methodology.

Small. Medium. Large. Extra big. Size? No fear here.

Locally, check out his repertoire at the LACMA, Colburn School of the Performing Arts, and Long Beach, Laguna Beach and Newport Beach museums of art.

A patchwork lap quilt of Asian print fabrics sewn by the WLA United Methodist Church volunteers is a top raffle prize. (Courtesy of O. Nakano)

Since you’re already on the Westside, stop by the West L.A. United Methodist Church for their fundraising holiday boutique on Saturday. With your gift list in tow, find Thanksgiving and Christmas gifts, decorations, calendars, and collectibles while those with a sweet tooth veer towards the homemade cakes, cookies, pies and brownies.

Quilts take center stage. Four opportunity lap quilts, perfect gifts for TV-watchers or someone wheelchair bound, will be raffled off. A dollar gets four chances for the purchaser.

Church volunteers work on these quilts using donated fabric. Five official quilters whipped out a total of 35 “Scrappy CreAsians,” with 20 donated to South Bay Keiro. The remaining 12 will be up for grabs—first come, first served.

Why not add a festive touch to your home and office? Find a big selection of holiday decorations, plus more home décor pieces, only at Touch of Nature in Diamond Bar over two weekends. Call for more info.

Light-hued curly maple is the wood of choice for this Japanese inspired pagoda lamp from Temple City’s Arne Hansen. (Courtesy of Hansen Woodworks)

The buzz is out about a crowd-pleasing chow mein found at the Kiku Crafts and Food Fair on Sunday. There’s also Spam musubi, teri chicken plate and Asian chicken salad.

Kicking off their second year at the East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center, look for Arne Hansen whose claim to fame is woodworking. When he generously donates one of his exotic lamps to their oldies dances as a raffle prize, wallets open.

Five to six feet of wood make up a single Japanese lamp. The soft translucency of light  shines through an organic Malaysian mulberry paper, backed with a thin plastic sheath. All-in-all, it takes 20 hours.

Workworking comes naturally to Hansen. Reason enough to have his own Norm Abrams-type workshop where he turns paduck, white oak, Brazilian walnut, mahogany and zebra woods into cutting boards, trivets, tables and desks.

A former biology teacher, he is one not to sit still for long. With a potter’s studio for 10 years, he’s also made Tiffany lamps. Little wonder that he’s inspired by the meticulous works of Sam Maloof and the Shaker and Craftsman style furniture.

“I get great joy when finishing something new and doing it well,” he said.

Friday-Sunday, Nov. 5-7,
Friday, Saturday, Nov. 12, 13, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Touch of Nature Home & Holiday
Décor Show
Diamond Bar, call for location
909-594-5964, Lily Saito

Saturday, Nov. 6 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Holiday Boutique
WLA United Methodist Church
1913 Purdue Ave., Los Angeles
310-479-1379, Fusako Hamamoto

Sunday, Nov. 7 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Kiku Crafts & Food Fair
E. San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center
W. Covina Buddhist Church, Sponsor
1203 W. Puente Ave., W. Covina
951-818-8740, Hisako Koga

Saturday, Nov. 13 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
JAMsj Winter Boutique
Japanese American Museum of San Jose
San Jose Buddhist Church Gym
640 N. 5th St., San Jose
408-294-3138, Mimi Suga

Sunday, Nov. 14 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Holiday Crafts Faire
Gedatsu Church
7850 Hill Dr., S. San Gabriel
626-572-0923, Judy Hamamoto


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