Sawdust Festival Attracts World Class Talent

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Sawdust Festival Winter Fantasy

November 20, 21, 26, 27, 28, 2021 & December
December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 & 19, 2021

935 Laguna Canyon Rd.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
sawdustartfestival.org
$10, $20 season pass

Sawdust Winter Fantasy
935 Laguna Canyon Rd.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 494-3030
sawdustartfestival.org

By C. MacDonald

The Annual Winter Fantasy at the Sawdust Art and Craft Festival in Laguna Beach featured 107 very talented artists, including a former star golfer on the LPGA Tour.

Muffin Spencer-Devlin, who won three tournaments and more than $1 million on the pro tour, is getting to be known even more for her blown and sculpted glass.

"I used to stroke it and now I blow it," joked the energetic, humble artisan. "I'm still learning the art."

"I'm in my seventh year and probably have a 16 handicap," she said. "I've been learning the technique and I can now feel more of what's going on." The modest Muffin already has created some beautiful glass sculpture champion trophies for the LPGAs' Kia Classic and Ladies Senior Open Golf Tournaments.

She even sometimes incorporates glass golf ball designs in her work. A fascinating piece for sale at the festival had a ball hanging on the edge of a cup, a sight every golfer has seen on a different cup—the one you try to get the ball in on the green."

Muffin admits there are several similarities between golfing and glass blowing. "They're both very physical and you have to be in shape," she said. "The action of your hand and wrist is so important and the touch, the feel you give to what you're doing is critical. In both activities you have to be disciplined, extremely focused and pay attention to detail. Each requires mastering the right tools and many hours of practice."

Muffin said whereas professional golfers have caddies, blown and sculpted glass artists often have interns that carry the necessary tools and equipment.

The Ohio native retired to Laguna Beach in 2000. Six years later, she became captivated watching her best friend Megan Ekstrom blow glass. "The heat was intense and the fear factor high," Muffin recalled. "It ignited my passion and Megan agreed to teach me. It was a trial by fire. The first thing we produced were little bowls."

In 2009, famous Laguna Beach glass blower John Barber asked Muffin to assist him during his glass demonstrations at the Sawdust Festival. She spent four years as his apprentice before starting her own company, Trophy Glass, in 2012. (To find out more about this creative, bundle of energy, who also has acted in film and television (i.e., "Star Trek: Voyager"), go to muffinspencerdevlin.com.)

There are so many other fascinating artists at the Winter and Summer festivals that you need to come and meet them for yourself. At the 2013 event, a Winter one day attendance record was set on a Saturday when more than 4,300 guests showed up, according to Cynthia Fung, the Marketing and Public Relations Director. Fung, a talented violinist literally grew up at the festival, where her aunt has been a seamstress artist for years.

Acrylic Painter Douglas Miller said this was his 43rd year at Sawdust. "I've created 14,860 paintings as of today," said the prolific and hilarious guy, who wrote on his booth: "I date all my paintings but I don't go out with them." (He can be reached at dougpaintslaguna@cox.net.)

The unique tree-shrouded magical village, comes alive with skilled and soulful musical groups like "Upstream," which literally got the whole place grooving, singing "I love to move it, move it." While they sang, artists in their booths and guests alike were moving their shoulders, feet or arms to the sounds throughout the grounds. It was a sight to behold.

Thousands of people come from all over to see the genius displayed at Sawdust. Jennifer Gordon of Camarillo saw a KTLA-TV news report on a vendor's super hero paintings and convinced her grandparents, Aaron and Sheila, to drive her there right away.

Over 2 hours later, the Gordons arrived and Jennifer happily purchased a colorful Michael Phillips acrylic on wood panel, called, "Should I get the car?" (Robin posed the question to Batman in a wonderful superhero painting). (To see more, go to michaelphillipsart.com)

The next Sawdust Art Festival is June 27 through August 31, 2014. However, there are terrific Sawdust Studio Art Classes, taught by Sawdust artists, offered all year long! Workshops are offered in a wide variety of media that can turn your art dreams into reality. For more information on classes, go to SawdustStudioArtClasses.com.

Events are not guaranteed. It is your responsibility to confirm before going.


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