Handcrafted decorative, functional and wearable art will fill the floor of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium at the upcoming Contemporary Crafts Market, scheduled for Friday through Sunday, June 9th to 11th.

Viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day of the expo and the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium is at 1855 Main St., Santa Monica. Tickets are $6 per day for adults, and children under 12 are admitted free. The show, held twice a year, features about 250 artists from across the country exhibiting their works.

Featured items include hand-thrown ceramics, glassware, vintage-inspired textiles including silk and velvet garments, woven items, wearable art, wood creations and glass furniture. Also fiber arts, sculptures, prints, photographs, furniture accessories, basketry, gourd art, mixed-media sculpture and hand-cast/sculpted jewelry.

The field of crafts is distinguished from art by the functionality of the works produced, according to show organizers Roy Helms & Associates. Handiwork and skill are used to create items such as pot holders, beaded jewelry, diamond rings and furniture.

Contemporary Crafts Market is a juried show that showcases what are considered “fine crafts,” organizers say. All work in the show must be represented by the artists themselves, disqualifying mass-produced and manufactured items, organizers say.

One art form where the line between fine art and crafts is blurred is that of glassblowing, or sculpting a mass of molten glass into decorative and functional art pieces by blowing air through a tube. Peter Vizzusi, a glassblower from Northern California, is a featured artist at the Contemporary Crafts Market.

Vizzusi first became interested in glassblowing after a post-college visit to Murano, Italy where he studied ceramic art and design. Vizzusi says that glassblowing “found him” and that the medium is an artistically-satisfying combination of “spontaneous expression, mechanical inclination and grace.”

The process for “off-hand blown glass,” which Vizzusi uses, is essentially the same as that utilized in ancient glass making, but also relates to the best of Murano, and to Tiffany’s “Favrille” from the turn of the 20th century. The raw glass batch is shoveled into the crucible, cooked at 2,350 degrees, and manipulated into shapes and forms according to the artist’s vision, adding rich elemental colors and iridescent surfaces. Vizzusi has been creating handmade pieces at his studio in Monterey Bay for about 25 years and has exhibited at shows across the country. He will show some of his most recent work at Contemporary Crafts Market.

Also exhibiting at this year’s expo are clay sculpting team Michael and Sumati Colpitts, based in Sedona, Arizona. Michael Colpitts is a world traveler and says he has gathered inspiration from his trips to Africa and Southeast Asia. While living in Ibiza, Spain from 1975 to 1982, Colpitts became fascinated by the desert people of North Africa and the animals of that continent. He later put this inspiration into his clay creations. Sumati Colpitts first collaborated with Michael Colpitts in 1989 and the pair has been working together ever since. The pair’s techniques include using slab, pinch and other hand-built techniques and creating subtle variances by using different colored stoneware clays. Textures are added for accent and variety. After the finished pieces are air-dried, they are glazed and fired in a kiln, ultimately reaching 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit. The finishing process and the firings include the addition of glass eyes, wire whiskers, bases or final touches of color to enhance each individual piece.

The Colpitts’ works are presently shown in Exposures Gallery of Fine Art in Sedona, Arizona; Chepita Gallery of Aspen, Colorodo; Connexions Gallery in Sausalito, California; and Latitudes Gallery of Houston.

Information, (310) 285-3655.

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