KRAFTY KORNER: Wanted: Shoppers


Rafu Craft Editor

Go shopping!

An Azteca intertwined basket weave shawl of earthy fall colors is hand-loomed by Rick and Julie Ayers of Grover Beach. (Courtesy of Ayers Hand Women)

The crystal ball at ShopperTrak has predicted that there will be fewer shoppers in the stores, although sales will increase two to three percent.

Does that mean that we’ll increase shopping on a wireless device? I find myself doing more online shopping. Free shipping and no sales tax make a huge difference in my choice of selections.

The shopping experience at the Asian arts and crafts shows is on a different spectrum. YOU really need to be there — to see, touch, even taste, all the interesting products from snazzy, crafty artisans.

Bumping into friends from the present and the past is always fun. The JA community is much like one big family. If we’re not related, somehow we are all connected. Scenario 1: I know so-and-so, who is a cousin of you-know-who, who went to school with what’s-her-name?

Here is someone who fell into crafting when she retired. Juneko Sugihara left the world of banking in 1999 from a major bank to do some soul-searching. From a right-brain thinker for 40 years to a left-brain artist in her sixties, she found her niche.

Classes in sewing, knitting, quilting and fabric bead making, in that order, caught her fancy. Whatever she tried, she was good at it. Except for a knitting career that abruptly ended when a painful hand condition required surgery. She knitted one too many scarves.

Sugihara uses vintage Japanese fabrics like kasuri, aizome and shibori for quilts. Any leftover scraps are crafted into fabric beads for necklaces.

Hand-rolled Japanese fabric beads make up a striking three-strand necklace designed by Juneko Sugihara of San Francisco. (Courtesy of J. Sugihara)

Shoulder bags are recycled material from kimono, obi, furoshiki, futon and zabuton covers. Obijime cords, an obi accessory, become straps.

“Whatever appeals to my eye, I’ll combine different colors and patterns,” she said. “One night I jumped out of bed at four in the morning to write down an idea.”

See her stash and that of others in NoCal at the Eden Holiday Craft Show on Saturday. Shop at the San Leandro Marina Community Center.

Local Angelenos will shop ’til they drop all weekend long. On Saturday, the Pasadena Buddhist Church welcomes everyone to their first show, Craftastic.

In celebration of the church’s 60th anniversary, look for a new cookbook, “Heritage of Japan: Favorite Recipes, Vol. 3.” Dedicated to the Okusamas of the temple, I hear tell that some dishes from the 400- recipe cookbook will be prepared and served alongside tasty Chinese chicken salad and pulled pork Sloppy Joe sandwiches.

Expect to check out wares from some 20 vendors. Corky Ishikawa is a church member who sews up a storm. “Just do it” is a compliment paid by others about her abilities to tackle projects tastefully.

With a background in fashion design, it’s no doubt. Ishikawa is a self-taught wooden doll maker and quilter who loves to shop for fabrics. Handmade gifts are her forte.

The terry cloth apron design started out as a functional bib. A colorful Japanese print with terry fabric is completed with cute embroidered images.

“I enjoy working with my hands and creating things that people can use. I like putting smiles on people’s faces,” she said.

On Sunday, the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo plays host to the Kokoro Craft Affair of crafts and designs. With a purchase, take advantage of free admission to museum exhibits. Good only for that day.

Fall officially arrived last Friday. Think warm and toasty as the chilly night air is here to stay. Update your wardrobe and accessories for this seasonal change.

Rick and Julie Ayers fill the bill. Ayer Hand Woven scarves, shawls and throws can be yours for the asking. These two artists are yarn spinners. Seriously! They rely on their own energies to hand loom each design.

Weaving is like a breath of fresh air for this husband-wife duo. Textured wall hangings are on their to-do list.

Rick’s journey started in elementary school with potholders and cardboard loom weaving. The couple met when Rick was spinning a lot of yarn at the Agoura Renaissance Faire. A former computer consultant, he has over 20 years of experience working with animal fibers and wool, mixed with silk, angora and cashmere.

Julie’s art background complements all that they do. Fiber arts classes and summer retreats have increased their vision for Navajo weaving, natural plant dyes and various craft techniques and shortcuts.

“The passion and enthusiasm for the fiber arts shared by artists, instructors and students have made this artistic journey a wide, colorful, beautiful open road,” Julie said.

Saturday, Oct. 1, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Pasadena Buddhist Church
1993 Glen Ave., Pasadena
626-574-7090, Corky Ishikawa

Saturday, Oct. 1, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Eden Holiday Craft Show
Marina Community Center
15301 Wicks Blvd., San Leandro
510-471-8052, Karen Valerio

Sunday, Oct. 2, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Kokoro Craft Affair
369 E. 1st St., LA

Saturday, Oct. 8, 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
SEJSCC Holiday Boutique
Hawaiian-Style Pancake Breakfast
7-11 a.m.
Southeast Japanese School & Community Center
14615 Gridley Rd., Norwalk
714-847-1173, Edna Kurihara

Saturday, Oct. 15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Crafty Foxes Holiday Boutique
Joan Pisani Community Center
19655 Allendale Ave., Saratoga
408-356-2764, Carol Yuki

Sunday, Oct. 30, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Krafty Delites Fall Boutique #1
Carson Community Center
801 E. Carson St., Carson
310-329-5874, Stephanie Nakayama

Sunday, Oct. 30, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
WLA JACL Aki Matsuri Boutique
Venice Japanese Community Center
12448 Braddock Dr., Culver City
310-936-3182, Marisa Tamaru

Friday-Sunday, Nov. 4-6, Nov. 11-
13 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Touch of Nature Home/Holiday Décor Show
Diamond Bar, call for location
909-594-5964, Lily Saito

Sunday, Nov. 6 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Kiku Crafts & Food Fair
Sponsored by W. Covina Buddhist Temple
E. San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center
1203 W. Puente Ave., W Covina
951-81-8740, Hisako Koga

Saturday, Nov. 12 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Japantown Winter Boutique
Japanese American Museum of San Jose
San Jose Buddhist Church Gym
640 N. 5th St., San Jose
408-888-8798, Gail Sugiura Bush

Saturday, Nov. 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Ayame Kai Holiday Craft Fair
Blaine Memorial Methodist Church
3001 24th Avenue So., Seattle, WA
425-827-4930, Shizue Yahata

Saturday, Nov. 19, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Koi Krafters
Almansor Court, Lakeview Room
700 S. Almansor, Alhambra
626-282-2932, Irene Jong

Sunday, Nov. 20, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Beary Best Friends
Holiday Inn
7000 Beach Blvd., Buena Park
562-865-2637, Ellen Mabuni

Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
imaginAir Crafts Boutique
Toyota Meeting Hall
3330 Civic Center Dr. North, Torrance
310-719-8697, Deanna Takahashi

Sunday, Dec. 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Krafty Delites Christmas Boutique #2
Carson Community Center
801 E. Carson St., Carson
310-329-5874, Stephanie Nakayama

Sunday, Dec. 4, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
St. Mary’s Christmas Boutique
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
963 S. Mariposa, Los Angeles
213-215-3883, Fifi Newcomb

Sunday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
A Time for Sharing Christmas Boutique
Gardena Elks Lodge
1735 W. 162nd St., Gardena
310-329-5874, Stephanie Nakayama

Saturday, Dec. 10, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Kimochi’s Silver Bells Arts & Crafts Faire
The Event Center at St. Mary’s Cathedral
1111 Gough St., San Francisco
415-931-2294, Sakura Suzuki



  1. Thank you for the article in the Rafu Shimpo Newspaper. We truly appreciate it. I also took time to review the paper and it is very well written and filled with lots of interesting information. My mother used to work in Little Tokyo and now has retired and lives in Orange County. I will definitely subscribe to the Rafu Shimpo and give it to her as a gift. She will love to read it again.

  2. Craftastic Alert: Lincoln Avenue off the 210 may be closed today (Oct. 1). Please use the Arroyo/Windsor exit. Turn north onto Windsor. Turn right onto Woodbury. Right on Glenrose (becomes Glen south of Woodbury). It will be worth the short detour!

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