2017 / Pasadena Artists to show work at Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden, June 25

Niko-an Teahouse at the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden, Pasadena: Image by Deanie Nyman

Correction: the date in the June/July issue, page 8 is not correct. The Art Fair will be held on Sunday, June 25, 2017.

On Sunday June 25, for the second year running, members of the Pasadena Society of Artists (PSA) will be showing their work at an Art Fair at the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden (SSJG) in Pasadena.

The traditional Japanese stroll garden, which was originally designed in the 1930s by Japanese designer Kinzuchi Fujii as part of the estate of Charles and Ellamae Storrier Stearns, was recently restored by the talented landscape architect Takeo Uesugi under the direction of current owners Jim and Connie Haddad.

Now running the garden as a non-profit, the Haddads are keen to make the beautiful natural space an educational and cultural resource for the local community.

From top left in clockwise: “Grasshopper” by Kruti Shah, 2013, inks on paper; “Turtles Piggyback” by Mariko Bird, 2017, glazed ceramic: “Reflections” by Rebecca Pollack, 2017, print on paper; “Twisted Vase” by Mariko Bird, 2016, glazed ceramic.

The Annual PSA Art Fair is part of the program series for the garden’s Last Sunday Open Days, which have been running for five years and feature concerts, family festivals and artistic and cultural offerings.

The Fair was launched in 2016 in collaboration with the PSA to offer local artists a venue to show and sell their work.

“The garden provides a uniquely beautiful setting for appreciating art,” explains SSJG Creative Director, Meher McArthur, who organizes the garden’s public programs. “We also hope that the Art Fair will help to introduce the garden to a wider audience of art and culture lovers.”

James Marshall, Director of Publicity for the PSA is similarly enthusiastic. “This is the second year the Pasadena Society of Artists has participated in this beautiful, peaceful, serene and historical garden,” he explains. “Each of us love this collaboration and looks forward to meeting the wonderful supporters of Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden.”

Twelve PSA artists will participate in this year’s fair: Martin Ehrlich, Aaron Fotonuova, Mariko Bird, Stan Kieffer, Eileen Oda Leaf, Patricia Lee, Warner LeMenager, Rebecca Pollack, Robert Sullivan, Joanna Kos and Kruti Shah and Jackie Stemski.

Their works range from ceramics to prints, paintings and photography, and they will range in price from $5 to $500.

A portion of the sales will be donated to the garden to help support its educational and cultural programming.

Tai-Ling Wong, who sells the Citron line of Asian-inspired clothing, will also participate in the Art Fair and contribute to the garden’s programs.

Although the PSA artists work in many different styles, several of them create work that resonates well with the Japanese garden setting.

Mariko Bird, a Japanese American ceramic artist who is participating for her second year, says, “I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the exhibit there last year. I felt my ceramic work was in perfect harmony with the serene atmosphere surrounded by water, flowers and an impressive tea house.”

Bird draws much inspiration for her work from elements of nature, such as “the surface of a boulder, the bark of a tree, or a piece of fruit,” so her ceramics are very at home in a garden setting. In some of her pieces – her tea bowls, small dishes, sake sets and hanging wall vases – a Japanese aesthetic is apparent.

“Although I don’t consciously try to create Japanese-themed pieces,” she explains, “I often employ Japanese decorative techniques such as mishima (inlay) and hakeme (brushed slip) which seem to give viewers a sense of Japanese effect.

” However, there is also a great playfulness in many of her works that reflects a cross-cultural sense of art and humor, as in her flip-flop dishes, stacks of turtles and twisted flower vases.

The PSA Art Fair will be held at the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden on Sunday June 25, from 10am to 4pm.

The garden is located at 270 Arlington Drive, Pasadena 91105. Admission is $10 at the gate, $7.50 with a reservation on the website (www.japanesegardenpasadena.com), and children 12 and under are free. Reservations are recommended for this popular event.

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