First Friday will be celebrated at Tehachapi Treasure Trove, on Friday evening, Sept. 6, from 5 to 8 p.m. The Treasure Trove will feature Patti LaZelle of PJ’s Arts and Crafts. LaZelle makes a variety of wonderful things including doll clothes, wood ornaments, cloth dolls and other fun things. Come greet LaZelle and check out the offerings from our 55-plus vendors, meet the artists, enjoy food and wine and listen to music by Mayde in Ireland.
LaZelle talks about her life and becoming an artist and crafter:
“I started crafting when I was about 5 years old. I had a neighbor who designed windows at department stores in San Francisco in the 1960s. She would put the neighborhood kids that wanted extra money to work every summer. Most of the kids would pick fruit and take home a bag of fruit or walnuts and 25 to 50 cents for a day's work. I did crafting. I started out tracing patterns onto felt; and progressed to gluing, painting, stuffing, wrapping, etc. Each year, I learned something new.
“My father’s mother taught me how to knit, and 4-H taught me how to crochet, sew and cook. My father studied art in college. He taught me basic drawing, charcoals and pastels. I wasn’t really interested when he tried to teach me — that interest peaked about 15 years later.
“We moved to Hawaii when I was 11. There I learned how to make leis and hula skirts.
‘When I married, I moved to Japan. There, I learned a Japanese embroidery called Bunka. I also learned ceramics. That is when I got into the painting.
“‘I started making the doll clothes for Barbie, when my daughter kept ripping the store bought clothes. All the mothers in the neighborhood wanted me to make them some, and, well, that is how that started.
“Cross stitch, tole painting, pen and ink watercolors, and other crafts came after. I like creating, keeping my hands busy. I don’t really do this as a business, but as a hobby. I never mass-produce anything; I make what I want and maybe one or two more. One month, I might paint, another sew or do needlework. So my inventory is always changing. I make doll clothes, stuffed dolls or bunnies and bears, ornaments, dog clothes, baby bibs or whatever suits my fancy.
“Crafting has always been a stress reducer, and the past few years have been high stress, so I have hundreds of doll clothes. It is the most of anything I have ever made, and that is what brought me to the Treasure Trove.
"Since I have retired, I have been using supplies that I have on hand; this keeps my prices down. I do this for the enjoyment, so I really don’t price my time. I just want to be able to put something out there that the majority of people can afford, that is not made in China, and they can be proud to give as a gift or keep as an heirloom.”
LaZelle and her husband moved to Bear Valley from Lancaster earlier this year. They came because of their love of the mountains and the cooler climate. Their crafts are varied and wonderful. Come see for yourself.
Tehachapi Treasure Trove is located at 116 E. Tehachapi Blvd. For additional information on any of our activities, classes and events, call 822-6794 or visit facebook.com/Tehachapi Treasure Trove.
Susanna Monette is one of the owners of Tehachapi Treasure Trove and has been an artist showing at several locations for many years.