The OC Fair is gone, and in its place is a massive trinkets expo called Gem Faire. Against my wallet's cries of protest, I drove to the Costa Mesa grounds yesterday afternoon to check it out. What I found was a fashionista's dream spread: beads of copper, silver, glass, you name it, sold loosely or already assembled and ready to rock an outfit or seven. And the prices weren't atrocious either for the most part, though there was a diamond alley to be had.
The most unique pendants sat at the Allene's Beads booth, with owner Allene Rose behind the counter. Her spread consisted of clay beads made by international artists, and the colors ranged from sweet pastels to dizzying metallics. My eyes were instantly drawn to a series of beads which were glazed in areas, but glittered mutely in others. These were done Raku-style, said Rose, a tricky Japanese inspired method employed by artist Lisa Peters - who describes them on her website as a way of firing clay that "creates unpredictable smoke patterns and spectacular metallic or crackle effects in the glazes."
I ended up picking up an autumn leaf bead, which Rose helped me string through a deep purple silk chord. $18. See a photo of it here.
Check back later for a slide show of other treasures from the event. Our shiny, shimmery slide show is up.
Gem Faire is open today till 7pm and Sunday from: 10am-5pm. Weekend admission is $5, and kids under 11 are free.
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