Come experience beauty...

Laguna Beach is Southern California's premier seaside destination, midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. A year-round retreat for art lovers, nature enthusiasts and beach goers, Laguna Beach features seven miles of soft sand and surf.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Plein Air Life

Plein Air Life in Laguna Beach was born out of a love for art and the beauty of nature. The phrase “Plein Air” is literally translated as “open air” and is commonly used to refer to painting in the open air. But the owners of this unique bath and body shop adopted the phrase for the name of their store. For Danny and Kenneth, inspiration can be found in nature by capturing its essence and beauty, whether it be in a painting or in the fragrance of a bar of soap.

Plein Air Life began as a gift-giving hobby for friends and family. Kenneth and Danny gave hand-made bars of  soaps and lip balms. It turned out that their friends and family loved the products so much that they kept asking for more. Danny decided to start using his friends as a testing ground to perfect his lip balm and soap recipes. It took him about 1 ½ years to get it just right. With the praise that they were getting from their friends, Danny and Kenneth finally decided to take Plein Air Life on the road to Street Fairs and festivals. Quickly, they garnered a loyal following and began adding lotions and candles to their product line.  Then, two years ago came their decision to launch a retail store in Laguna Beach.  Laguna was the perfect setting for to the “Plein Air” philosophy. They pull their inspiration from the beauty that surrounds them in Laguna Beach…the ocean breeze, the salty air, the wildlife in the canyon or the colors of the sunset…all find their way into their products.

100% Soy Candles

The Lime Eucalyptus is heavenly

Now within steps to the beach you can find all of Plein Air Life’s product line while you’re in town visiting Laguna Beach. Every item is still handmade by Danny and Kenneth, many of which are 100% natural.  One of my favorite items they make and sell is the Lotion Stick. The lotion is in solid form and made with no dyes, no parabens or sulfates, it’s 100% natural. It goes on smooth and doesn’t leave a greasy film like so many lotions can. It’s also the perfect size to throw in your beach bag or purse.

I recommend the Coconut Sage scent, you’ll feel and smell like you never left the beach!

Drop in to Plein Air Life and grab a body spray, candle, or lip balm for yourself and a friend…you won’t be sorry you did.

729 South Coast Hwy.

Open Sunday – Thursday 11am to 7pm
Friday 11am to 8pm
Saturday 10am to 8pm

By: Anne-Marie S.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Art with Mom

I grew up in a home where there was always a craft or project being worked on. For every holiday or birthday, we made our gifts. Ranging from baked goods to candles, soaps, and jewelry. My mother instilled in us an appreciation for the creative process and the pleasure of giving something that your hands fashioned. I’ve kept that with me into my adult life and jump at any chance to create.

On my mom’s recent visit to Southern California I knew I had to take her to experience a Sawdust Studio Art Class at the Sawdust Art Festival grounds. The classes offer the rare opportunity to work with real artists to create your very own piece of art. Classes range from jewelry making, ceramics, fused glass, print making and even glass blowing. I had taken a class on copper jewelry making a few months ago and now I had the opportunity to take my mom to one of these fabulous classes.

We arrived in the canyon on a perfect Laguna day…bright blue skies, a light breeze and a comfortable 71 degrees.  (It may seem like I say this often, but the weather is truly amazing in Laguna Beach! Every time I come into town I am reminded of the pure beauty of this coastal village.) Mom hadn’t been on the festival grounds since 1974, even before I was born, but thought it still held all the charm and wonder that she remembered. Once in class, we were acquainted with our artist and teacher for the day, Lorraine Hornby. She is a gemologist and jewelry maker from Laguna Beach. We were learning about water casting, one of the oldest forms of jewelry making. We would be taking silver, heating it to a temperature of at least 1600 degrees and then pouring it into cold water. How fantastic! Lorraine introduced us to the torch and how to use it and adjust the intensity.

Next she demonstrated how to use the torch to heat the small silver pellets down to molten metal using the torch and a crucible.

Once the metal was heated completely the crucible is lowered and the metal poured into water. The shape of your now hardened metal will depend on the height and speed of the pour. It was a surprise when you would reach into the pot of water to pull out the metal and see what treasure you’ve created. Not one piece in the class came out the same.

Next, we jumped deeper into the creative process by deciding how to transform our silver pieces into a pendant or broach. I decided to use one small bead and a jump ring to turn mine into a broach.

Mom decided to add two beads and a pin to transform her piece into a lovely broach.

Wearing our finished art pieces, mom and I walked out of the festival grounds feeling like an artist, even if it was for just one day.

Sawdust Studio Art Classes are offered every Friday and Saturday at 10am and 2pm. Visit the website for more information and register for classes.

By Anne-Marie S.