An artisan's paradise

September 17, 2001

Bryce Alderton

A bright blue sequin pattern rough to the touch graces the front of

one of Cherri Segall's original handbags.

Turn the purse to the opposite side to find a mask with feathers

sticking out, resembling a mask worn by Mardi Gras revelers.

This was one of many handbags Segall displayed Sunday during the third

annual Pacific Craft Show at the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport



Segall's home in Laguna Beach doubles as her studio, where she has a

hard time stopping once beginning a new handbag.

"Sometimes I get so involved I don't even eat," Segall said.

She creates her handbags mostly out of fur, sequins, leather and


"I like to be original," Segall said. "These are all handmade, there's

not one alike."

A piece of cheetah fur is glued to the bottom of one of Segall's "boot

bags," which are handbags that use anything from cowboy boots to high

heels as the base for the bag. Animal fur often lines the inside and top

edges of her boot bags.

One of Segall's creations is a Marilyn Monroe bag that two executives

from Chicago took to this year's Academy Awards. The pink bag is in the

shape of a dress and is made out of a chiffon material that has tiny gems

sewn into the fabric to make the dress sparkle in the light.

This was Segall's first year doing the show, but the former Manhattan

resident wasn't without reservations as she considered Tuesday's

terrorist attacks on the East Coast.

"To see [the towers] collapse was overwhelming," Segall said. "It was

a sad and surreal moment."

Nonetheless, Segall was glad she attended the show.

"I'm glad to be a part of a beautiful show," Segall said. "It's been a

good release."

Shari Fraser, a Newport Beach ceramist, has been a docent at the

museum for 10 years and said Sunday's crowd was typical of past Sundays

and was glad to see the show go on.

"You need a break to have some fun and take your mind off [the

attacks]," Fraser said. "I identify the most with this show. You get to

have face-to-face contact with the artists who made these things."

The show brought together more than 50 prominent national craft

artists who create art out of glass, metal, fiber, clay, wood, and other


Joel Rubell, a Costa Mesa resident who represents 76 artists to the

Interior Design Community, called the work found at the show "fabulous."

"The color and the shapes of the glass are made by artists who are

exceptionally talented," Rubell said.

Balboa Island resident Celia Swanson showed off her mahogany colored

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