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Jerolyn Crutesackman brought her pinwheels to the Entrepreneur Gals Expo and filled the entrance to the Oxnard Performing Arts and Convention Center with color. (Photo by Chris Frost)
Friday, May 10, 2019

By Chris Frost


Oxnard-- A celebration of beauty, art, color and personal initiative filled the Oxnard Performing Arts and Convention Center May 4, as the Fourth Annual Entrepreneur Gals Expo was a great event for all.


Shoppers got to peruse meticulously crafted pieces of art created by women and left with great treasures for themselves or something special for mom just in time for Mother's Day. 


Linde Clark from Lotus Productions organized the event said this is her fourth Entrepreneur Gals Expo, which includes art and women-owned businesses.


"It's my love for people, the arts and giving them the opportunity to make money and promote their business," she said about her desire to start Lotus Productions. "I screen all my vendors and, I go to different shows and recruit."


She likes to see what they are doing, meet the proprietors and see their work. 


"I vet them, and if I love their work, I invite them to do our shows," she said.  


Seeing all the vendors being successful and networking, she said, is what drives her passion.


"I have another show coming up on Nov. 23, which is my holiday show, at the Calabasas Community Center," she said. 


Her passion for being an artisan began 30 years ago, as well as her love for being a professional art instructor.


"I did this out of my love for people and the arts," she said. "I believe that all people have the potential to do art on many levels and inspiration is the tool. With that comes creativity."


Rachel Shur from UCAAN (United Cancer Action Advocacy Network) was at the event handing out information and said she runs a 501c3 organization based in Moorpark.


"We focus on bridging the gap between cancer patients and their needs locally and nationwide," she said. "We focus on all aspects of dealing with cancer, and provide a lot of customized resources and information."


The group was selling jewelry, mosaic items and also her brand of soap made from donkey milk.


"I have a weird sense of humor because I had terminal stage four cancer in 2006 and 2007," she said. "I started the non-profit because I didn't understand why they didn't provide me with information when I had cancer, like important pertinent stuff like not eating sugar and referring to cancer as "the cancer" rather than "my cancer" and all kinds of preventative stuff like dental care. My teeth fell out because of radiation and chemotherapy."


She too is an artisan.


"I did a full mosaic on cinder blocks in the front of my house and in my bathroom," she said. 


People who want to become involved with UCAAN can contact Rachel in several ways; on Facebook via UCAANorg or via email at UCAANorg@yahoo.com.


"The best way is to text me or call me at 805-479-1032," she said. 


Casey Edgar is Rachel's best friend and got started through a worker's comp program.


"I have been with her for over a year," she said.


"I can't get rid of her," Rachel joked.


Casey said her best friend's passion drove her to want to be a part of helping others with cancer.


"It's relatable," she said. "Everybody knows somebody who has gone through this, and it's a neat thing to be a part of," she said. "It's different because Rachel doesn't raise money for research, she raises money to help the patients now."


Rachel said too often people donate to research cancer.


"There is no reason why we don't raise money to help patients," she said. "Lots of organizations cut financial assistance programs in 2013 to focus on research."


Inez Zucherman had lots of hand-crafted items for trees or the wall.


"I was inspired to make lovely pieces when I made a giant heart for my nephew when he got married," she said. "I cut all the shapes and do all the hand-stamping, and I embellish these pieces with pre-made pieces. I also have some vintage pieces in here."


She also had rocks and stones she collected and did wire wrapping on the pieces.


"I try to do a little bit of everything," she said. "There is no glue or solder. It's called cold connection, which is a rivet and it is attached that way. It's an old-world technique and a lot of fun."


Jerolyn Crutesackman makes pinwheels inspired by nature and were loaded with flowers, butterflies and things with feathers.


Her pinwheels evolved gradually.


"I was doing some other kinds of paper art that were based on flowers," she said. "They were flowers and wreaths, and I also did some that looked like floral arrangements, but everything was made from paper, including the vase."


She wanted to create items that were a little more inexpensive that people enjoy.


"I wanted to make something that was fun to make because I am making a lot of it, so I combined my ideas and made a pinwheel," she said. 

The first pinwheel she sold was to a lady in her late 70s, Crutesackman said, and she remembers her vividly.


"She closed her eyes, blew on it, and I could tell she was five again," she said. "When she talked to me, she told me she used to have one of these as a kid, not this fancy, but she bought one because it reminded her of her childhood."


For more information, visit Lotus Productions on Facebook.