Laguna Woods Bonanza Displays Crafts – Orange County Register

By Penny E Schwartz


Artists and art lovers alike converged on Clubhouse 4 over the weekend of November 5th and 6th to enjoy the creations of more than 100 Village artists.

According to Clubhouse 4 supervisor Sabine Stadler Bayless, the annual event, which attracts hundreds of residents and members of the wider community, has been going on for more than 20 years.

“This artist exhibition is unique because a private community isn’t typically open to the public,” she said.

“A lot of talent, knowledge and wisdom is gathered in the workshops with the art on display,” she added.

In the Lapidarium, dozens of jewelery artists presented their creations for viewing and sale.

Rose Simat, who attended her fifth show, said she learned her craft through a Saddleback College emeritus course held at the clubhouse. Many of her creations are made of natural stones that she cut and polished herself.

“In class we were asked to bring cabochons for our jewelry, so I learned to make my own,” she said, referring to polished gemstones.

“It’s fun to go home and think about what to do,” she said. “The stone will tell you what it wants to be.”

Stones from around the world were on display at the nearby stand of Kerry Bourgeois, a member of the Lapidarium Club. A qualified gemologist, he said he had collected stones in the field and at gem fairs since he was a child.

At the age of 93, after a few years of teaching at community college, Eddie Hoffman began making jewelry. His work includes glass, stones and beads in a variety of styles.

“I saw the workshop here and volunteered to be a glass shop attendant,” said the Holocaust survivor from former Czechoslovakia, who is also a Korean War veteran.

In the sewing room, Patty Chiu liked to model aprons with large pockets and Mumu-style dresses, which she sews from light-colored fabrics.

She was showing her work at Bonanza for the second time and said she learned to sew right there in the Clubhouse 4 sewing room.

“I was wearing a dress I made and people said they loved it and asked if I could make them one,” Chiu recalled. “But I only do one size – an 8,” she said, laughing.

In another part of the sewing room, handmade quilts by the Crazy Quilters displayed a dazzling variety of colors, shapes and patterns.

Members of the Needleworks Club displayed knitted, crocheted and embroidered creations. Proceeds from their sales went towards their charitable projects, including hats and caps for military members, chemo caps for cancer patients through Knots of Love, and newborn items for local hospital nurseries.

The lumber shop was packed with artists and shoppers as many jewelry and ceramic displays spilled into the large room, which smelled of sawdust and fresh wood.

Ken Frey spun his large self-winding wooden tops for fascinated customers. He also exhibited bowls and chopping boards, one of which had a couple of bowls attached.

“People don’t have a lot of space, so they need something functional,” Frey said. “I like the creative part of making art with function.”

One customer agreed when she snagged one of Frey’s square bowls to replace one she said she regretted giving away when she downsized.

Steve Neuburger has lived in the Village for three years and learned his woodworking skills in the workshop.

“There are many good mentors in the business,” he said

During the pandemic, Neuburger learned to work with resin and now makes all sorts of tables with stones and other materials embedded in the wood. He titled himself “Mr. Harzman.”

The only woodworker selling her wares was Christine Kelly, who moved to the village a year and a half ago to use the shop. She is the only female supervisor, she said, and often the only woman working in the store.

“I wish more women would come into the store,” she said. “The men here are very helpful and a good community to work with.”

Kelly oversees Friday afternoon and encourages women to get her help learning to use the machines.

At her second Bonanza fair, she said the show was “great, with so many great artists.”

Also in the woodworkers’ room were items made by members of the Hula Halau, including plants and headgear for those wanting a bit of island styling.

A variety of handmade and painted greeting cards, prints, and hanging artworks adorned the art studio, while the Camera Club room featured colorful backdrops of fall foliage and open water for guests to take photos of club members and have them printed. Members were also on hand to answer questions and demonstrate printing equipment and member photos.

On the other side of the huge clubhouse, the pottery workshop was crammed with bowls, plates and imaginative sculptures.

Richard Moren patiently explained how he spends two to three months creating his large bowls with handcrafted bobbins, either lacquered in natural colors or fired in the vibrant raku style.

In a small adjoining room, the porcelain artists showed their plates, bowls and tiles, while the huge workshop next door is home to the ceramic thrust casters.

These artists pour liquid clay into molds and make all kinds of ceramic objects, painting or glazing them in myriad designs and patterns.

A group of three Slipcasters offered a table full of items to raise money for the Laguna Woods Village Foundation.

Patricia Kaizoji was on Bonanza for the first time. “What a great show,” she said. “I can’t believe how talented people are. It’s intimidating.”

Thomas Sun sat on a bench in front of the clubhouse waiting for his wife to finish shopping.

“There’s a lot of smart, talented people in there,” he said. Laguna Woods Bonanza Displays Crafts – Orange County Register

Dais Johnston

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