Did you ever see horsehair vases? Experience these and other unique eclectic creations of 200 local artists when you step into “Art through Our Eyes,” the 46th annual Sawdust Art and Craft Festival in Laguna Beach.
On display and for sale, from June 29 to September 2, are creations from painting, metal work, ceramics and jewelry to photographs, textiles, art glass and mixed media. Visitors can experience the “awe” in artwork being created before their eyes, including the large glass blowing enclosure where glass masters perform their skill at the furnace. This year there will be 18 new artists exhibiting their unique handmade artwork.
Gavin Heath, glass artist and 20-year president of the Festival, proffered, “You’ll be able to interact with the artists as they demonstrate the creation of their art.” Don’t miss his quirky glass giraffe in Booth 318. “My work stems from traditional glass techniques in the height of our car culture,” he proclaimed. “Living in the Americas and born and raised in South Africa, I see ‘Progression’ and ‘Primitive’ in one life –fantasy and future.”
Robert Jones, the creator of the horse hair ceramics, has been showcasing these and his other ceramics for six years here, though he has been “throwing” for 30.
Located in a eucalyptus grove, the Festival features live entertainment on three stages in addition to roaming acts around the grounds, artist demonstrations, hands-on classes, outdoor cafes and a food court. A non-profit public benefit organization, it states as its mission to educate the public and promote the art created in Laguna Beach. Visitors can purchase pieces at the Buy It Now prices any time during the festival. All purchases are considered tax-free donations.
Each year the artists build their artist booths and displays from the ground up. Stroll the grounds and you’ll view the goblet art of David Sullenger as he turns distinctive woods into art. And nearby Jeanne Sullenger exhibits her distinctive gourd art. Both are displaying for their thirteenth year.
Jewelry artist Rachel Goberman stated that her extensive travel helped to form her fascination with the history of adornment and beads. An award winning artist, she integrates her background of classical jewelry techniques of enameling, bezel setting and chain making into a completely fresh approach to jewelry. Inspired by natural resources and the natural patinas of metals, Goberman utilizes cold joiner applications as she fabricates various metals and gemstones into jewelry.
John Barber, glass designer and master glass blower, has been demonstrating the art of glass blowing at the Festival in front of thousands of spectators annually for more than 20 years. On display are decorative footed blown glass clam shells, bowls, tumblers, champagne flutes and wine goblets.
During his training in Germany, he studied the intricate decoration of glass masterworks of European masters, apprenticing under world renowned master glass blowers: German Erwin Eisch and Americans Harvey Littleton and Dale Chihuly. In 1973, Barber returned to the United States and founded one of Southern California’s first privately owned glass blowing studios. He continued his research, “focusing on the rediscovery of lost techniques which produced the breathtaking glass masterwork of the Art Nouveau period.”
A celebrated artist, he produced the cameo etched vase for Elizabeth Taylor’s 65th birthday and designed and produced the Holy Grail cup used on the stage of Garden Grove’s Crystal Cathedral. Among his famous patrons he includes Vera Wang, Oprah Winfrey, Cher and Dyan Cannon.
New this summer for the Festival is the Reset Sundays entertainment series, featuring a “mellow genre” of music every other Sunday evening at 5 p.m. aimed at helping visitors to unwind their weekends and prepare for a new week. Featured will be chamber music groups, jazz ensembles and lighter musical performers.
Studio art classes at the Sawdust are held every Friday and Saturday throughout the year at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Participants can create their own unique art pieces “to wear or to share” in just one two-hour session. Choices range from jewelry, ceramics, glass and other media. Cost is $95.
The annual Artists’ Benevolence Fund Auction, which supports artists who have experienced a catastrophic event, will be held on Sunday, August 12, from 2 to 5 p.m. on the main entertainment deck. This year the moneys raised at the live auction will help replenish funds granted during last winter’s disastrous floods.
The third annual Sawdust Art Education Fundraiser, the “2012 Original Collectors’ Panels,” will feature an auction of a collection of art, each uniquely created by contributing Sawdust artists utilizing mixed media.
Commemorating the third year lottery of the Sawdusts’s title sponsorship with American Honda, two Honda hybrids are on display. Guests will have the opportunity to win a 2013 Civic Natural Gas at the drawing on Sunday, September 2, at 4 p.m.
Get in on the fun!
The Sawdust Art Festival, located at 935 Laguna Canyon Road, is open daily through September 2 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. There is a free City trolley service from the Act V parking lot. General admission: adults $7.75; seniors (65+) $6.25; children (6 – 12) $3.25; children (5 and & under) free. Summer season pass $15. Annual pass $20.
For the summer season calendar and special events, see
www.sawdustartfestival.org or phone (949) 494-3030.