As the warm summer heat slowly cools to crisp winter temperatures, the Sawdust Festival grounds prepare their own transformation of a Winter Fantasy wonderland. We have been attending the Sawdust Art Festival Winter Fantasy for the last four years. On the third weekend of November we loaded our gaggle of spunky kids in the car and headed out to the canyon to see Santa on his special visit to Laguna Beach. Adorned in our warm winter coats (warm enough for the not-so-cold Southern California temperatures) we make a beeline for Santa's house in the Towne Square. The front entry of the grounds is designed to look like Santa’s town square in the North Pole including Santa’s house, his sleigh, the reindeer barn and decorated Christmas Trees (all decorated by different non-profit community organizations). After we finished telling Santa what we wanted for Christmas (I asked for a day off) and grabbed a few photos in the Towne Square we meandered down the aisles of the festival to see what we could find for the people on our holiday list. You never know what unique treasures you’ll find.
First up was a booth featuring a mother, daughter and son-in-law team of artists. Jane and Patty work with fused glass making tea light candle holders, star ornaments, serving plates, earrings and much more. The brightly-colored glass danced in the sunlight and grabbed my attention. I am a sucker for the use of color in creating a visual treat and I certainly was seeing that here with the Slowsky’s work. Jane and Patty have been working in fused glass since 1981 and have shown at the Sawdust Festival for 43 years! If you are looking for the perfect stocking suffers for Mom, be sure to stop by and see the earrings, ornaments and candle holders here.
Jane moved from Denver to Laguna Beach in the late 1940s after visiting family and falling head over heels in love with Laguna. Patty, her daughter, was born and raised here and also met her husband, Laguna Beach native, John Enfield. John is also an artist and you can often find him in the booth whittling away at his latest creation. Clearly John is a wood worker and his specialty is carving and shaping beautiful cutting boards, chopsticks and other items. I thought the cutting boards with inlayed designs were ideal for the foodies and chefs on my list.
Jane and Patty Slowsky
John B. Enfield
Next we wandered into Steve Dennis' booth where the tall walls were lined with brightly-colored birdhouses. Don't get the wrong idea, these aren't your ordinary birdhouses, these are made from repurposed wood, garden tools and other trinkets. Much of the wood is 100 years old and carries with it all the character of that time. Steve crafts all of the houses by hand and each one is a one-of-a-kind piece of art. These are perfect for not just the garden enthusiast on your list but also for the home decorator who values pieces with turn of the century and mid-century sensibilities. Steve does not show at the summer festival, so be sure to catch him at this year's Winter Fantasy.
Over at Alex Fritz's booth we fell in love with his intricate lamp work glass. He has a wide selection of bottle stoppers ranging from swirl and spiral designs to tidepool and critter-inspired ones topped with frogs and geckos. He also has a collection of custom wine glasses featuring his detailed glasswork on the stems. If you think you might recognize Alex’s work you are probably correct, he has exhibited at Art-a-Fair for the last three years, and this is his second year at Sawdust Winter Fantasy.
As you make your way through the festival grounds you’ll hear live music from strolling carolers or from one of the three outdoor stages.
There really is something for everyone at the Sawdust Art Festival Winter Fantasy so load up your kids or grab a friend or two and head out this weekend to the Sawdust Festival.
Open weekends through December 9th
10am to 6pm
Tickets: $6 Adults, $5 Seniors, $3 Children (6-12)
For a full listing of daily events click HERE
Bring an unwrapped gift for Toys for Tots on Sunday November 25, December 2 or December 9 and receive free admission.
By Anne-Marie S.