Unique gifts abound at Handcrafted

As if moving to a new country wasn't a big enough undertaking, Tomoko Sakurai took over ownership of a unique Solana Beach business just a month after.

The Japan native, who moved to Solana Beach last June, purchased the Handcrafted store in the South Cedros Avenue Design District in July from Michael Gamble and Danny Burris.

Most of the items at the three-year-old shop are — you guessed it — handcrafted mostly by American artists. A few items were also created by creative minds in Canada and Japan.

Sakurai said she would often visit her parents in California and would always stop in Solana Beach on her trips. When she decided she wanted to move here, she found that Handcrafted was being put up for sale by its original owners.

Sakurai, a photographer, found the business to be a perfect way to support other creative folk and ease her into her new home.

The business is not commission-based. The shop — at 415 South Cedros Avenue — purchases the works outright from the artists to maximize support for them, Sakurai said. She said the shop finds artists at events such as craft shows, including the upcoming American Craft Retailers Expo next month in Philadelphia.

"I've always wanted to support the artists," she said. "I love when people can make their livings with what they do as an artist."

The boutique sells unique items such as jewelry, accessories, home goods, pottery, scarves, cookware, handbags, glasswork and mirrors.

As they peruse the store, visitors can learn about the hundreds of artists.

Sakurai said she enjoys selling American handcrafted items in particular.

"I love American handcrafted work because they're not just beautiful," she said. "They're so affordable and made so people can enjoy them in their daily lives."

For more information about Handcrafted, visit www.handcraftedsolanabeach.com or call 858-847-2385.

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