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.