Last week, with friends in from town from Phoenix, I ventured to the Sawdust Festival for the first time since the Preview Party.
No matter how many times I go, I find the Sawdust Festival quite charming and fun. It seems, too, that many artists have reduced pricing on their artwork and creations this year, and many more strollers are becoming happy shoppers.
Begun by a rogue element of Laguna Beach resident artists 45 years ago, the Sawdust Festival has grown up to house more than 200 artists from every make and model of art media you can imagine. For Summer 2014, the Sawdust Festival event runs June 27th – August 31, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and you’ve just got to get there.
Laguna Beach’s Sawdust Art Festival is every type and kind of art imaginable – jewelry, ceramics, glass sculpture, photography of every possible thing you can photograph, Raku pottery, oil paintings, acrylics paintings, watercolors, watercolor tie dye on fabric, fabric purses, wire art, pen-and-ink drawing, brass sculpture, wood carvings and … when they can’t figure what else to call it … “mixed media” is in the bag, too.
The Sawdust isn’t necessarily “juried” by those usual art jury standards – in fact, it’s why the rogue element began this thing. So, you’re going to see artists of world renown sitting next to artists who are babes in the woods in the festival world. But as the artists chat together and chat amicably with anyone stopping in their booths, you’ll find that everyone is on the same playing field here.
Folks like Michael Ezzel, Walter Reiss, John Eagle and Kirk Milette have practically been here since the Sawdust began (imagine 30+ years of day-in and day-out booth sitting at Laguna’s Sawdust Festival. That’s commitment!). Others, like booth mates Dedre Bickler-Sines and Paulette Auster have just passed single and double-digit years at the Festival. Raku favorite Mike Brennan is still on record for being the youngest artist ever invited to the Sawdust nearly two decades ago, while another young artist I met – Art “Z” – received his first invitation this year.
I think what I love most about the Sawdust is getting to know such a wide variety of personalities and “back stories” in these amazing artists. They’re live and in color, and what a bunch of great colors you’ll see coming at you. At the same time, you actually have decent food and drink here at the Sawdust; live music; all sorts of kids’ workshops; and additional art classes you can participate in throughout the Sawdust season.
Get some art in your blood. Take your visiting relatives and friends. It’s a great event to treat yourself and anyone else in your life to the gift of handmade, professional artisan masterpieces from the Art Colony village itself, Laguna Beach.