Clocking in on American timeFor once, the Japanese are...


October 18, 1992|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Staff Writer

Clocking in on American time

For once, the Japanese are buying American. Native Baltimorean Rebecca Adler Greenwell's fantastical handcrafted clocks have been selected for a major trade show in Tokyo this month. The show is sponsored by Jetro, a non-profit trade organization, and is designed to promote American and Canadian crafts. If all goes well and the clocks are a hit, they'll be sold in gift shops throughout Japan.

Ms. Adler hand cuts the clocks out of wood from her originadesigns -- mostly fish and rain forest animals -- and paints them in brilliant acrylic colors. She makes everything herself except for the clock motor and hands, which she gets from a local supplier. "Interestingly enough," she says with a laugh, "The innards are made in Japan."

You can find Ms. Adler's clocks locally at Zyzyx!, a crafts store in Festival at Woodholme. (A second Zyzyx! will be opening in Bethesda Oct. 30.) They cost around $50. Zyzyx! also carries fTC some of her other artwork -- painted wall sculptures, giftware and holiday ornaments -- under the name RAG Art. (RAG are her initials, not her medium.)

You can play this Nigerian thumb piano -- it's a working musical instrument -- but it also makes a handsome accessory for a living room or den, its natural colors and graceful lines creating an art object as appealing to the eye as the ear.

"They define the word 'recycle' in Africa," says Bernadette Elseyowner of the Harmattan in Harborplace, where you can find the instruments. By that she means they are fashioned from a calabash gourd cut in half; then wood is inserted and the keys are put in on top. They're available in a range of sizes and cost from $38 to $80.

The Harmattan sells various artifacts from east, west and centraAfrica. You can find baskets; plates; sculpture; soapstone, jade, malachite and ebony carvings; fashions and jewelry. The store, located near the escalators in the Light Street Pavilion, is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Call (410) 539-3509 for more information.

"Normal furniture taken to the funky extreme, but definitely pretty" is how owner Patrick Slouk describes what De Faux Haus sells. Today is the store's grand opening, so you can see for yourself the cow-leg table with the zebra top, the faux marble pieces, the brightly colored children's armoires, the decoupage boxes. Much, but not all, is the work of his partner, Amy Neill, well known in this area for her ornate and charming art furniture. She's been a fixture at local decorator show houses, and her work is scheduled to appear in a coming House and Garden.

Prices at De Faux Haus are as low as $25 for a pair ocandlesticks, and nothing costs more than $1,500. It's located at 3508 Harford Road; the phone number is (410) 889-5228. De Faux Haus is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays by appointment only.

One of the trends seen at this month's furniture market in High Point is a passion for mixing materials unexpectedly. Designers are using walnut with wrought iron, or leather-wrapped wood, or leather with bamboo, or marble and hand-painted wood -- what Linda Jones of Masco Home Furnishings calls "extensive surface interest."

Lexington Furniture Industries' new American Country WesCollection debuted a rustic oak server with pierced tin inlays. And Lineage Home Furnishings has a textured update of a classic armoire made from wood with a coconut twig front. Baker mixes woven rattan and polished pine to create a distinctive lamp table for its Milling Road Collection.

Interest in spare, stark lines in contemporary furniture is fading, and in its place will be more of what Ms. Jones describes as "touch-me furniture" with lots of tactile embellishments and textural excitement.

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