Why is Laguna Beach the place to be for artists? It's expensive and full of traffic and visitors. It's also home to 37 beaches, miles of conservation land, and has maintained its old surf town vibe from 50+ years ago.
Winter Fantasy Sawdust Festival is back and better than ever. Come down and see Drake Casting Co and our latest designs. If you're not in the area then try some of these ideas yourself with a pair of Drake Casting legs!
Christian took it up a few notches for the summer show with this "showstopper".
TA-DA! It's fun to watch the growth and evolving styles of this guy just over the past two years. Remember, he used to be an antique dealer and now he's an artist. I must adjust.
Our friend and canyon neighbor John and his family own West Coast Arborists up in Ontario, CA. He hooked up christian with a big hunk'a curly red wood.
After slicing up that bad boy, the whole thing gets sanded like a mother. Lil holes are found throughout the wood, which is why the tree was taking down in the first place. This could be seen as a flaw, or as an opportunity to do something RAD. (Rad Racer? One of my top five Nintendo games) Christian got a whole bunch of turquoise, drilled out the holes a bit more, and filled them with the stones.
Now this is the part I love(hate). The giant slab gets dragged to our back room where nobody is allowed because he will cover the whole dang table in 3-4 coats of a resin. Each layer must dry completely before the next is applied.
So if you're pickin up what I'm puttin down and you know that our back door to the laundry is in this room—I have to walk around the whole house to do the laundry. My life is so hard.
A million hours later the piece is finally dry and I can resume my usual laundry tasks. Until the next slab arrives.
IS IT DONE?
No! Now the legs have to be prepared! The classic Drake design and color are picked for this piece. Each leg gets sanded down, painted, lettered, and sealed. We'll save that process for another day.
BUT IT'S STILL NOT DONE!
Four slabs were created with this same process, two for the table and two for the benches. Two slabs for the table means something cool is about to happen down the center of these slabs...
Why not a succulent garden surrounded by moss and stones!? It can be changed up for holidays, if you're into that sorta thing, or go nuts with the succulents and let them go on with their bad selves.
Now it is complete and was brought to Sawdust and... sold! He built this bad boy twice and sold them both. Now we just need one more for our dining room... wink wink.
Sawdust is, like, pretty cool. I've never seen anything else like it, but then again I didn't grow up here and I find myself being confused by a lot of California norms. Not in a bad way. It's more like, "Am I in a different country?" Maybe that just means I spent way too much time in New England? I get made fun of for my use of the word, sneakers. Nobody calls them sneakers here! What the heck!? I digress.
Given the major transitions over the past two years, Sawdust has provided a small community for us and it makes the big, insanely populated metropolis of Orange County feel like home. Quite frankly, it makes neither of us ever want to drive beyond the confines of Laguna Beach. And why would anyone? IT IS SO NICE ALL YEAR LONG WITH MILES OF SANDY BEACHES... and a million restaurants, beautiful sunsets, small population, and a huge dog park for my fur child. But let me get back on track.
You could just visit Sawdust's website and read about the history of the festival but what could be more compelling than one of my nutshelled stories?
History Lessons by Katie
The festival started in 1966, making this year their 51st show which I feel is pretty impressive. The reason it started is because across the street, Festival of the Arts (a juried show that began in 1932) rejected a bunch of artists from the show in 1966. They decided to start their own show and prove to those fancy artists across the way that they embodied the true artist spirit and would not be rejected from showing their art to the world. After several years of changing locations, new leadership, yada yada yada... they got their show underway and became known as Sawdust Arts and Crafts Festival. Some of the original gangsters are still here!
What you won't find on the official website are the O.G.'s stories of turning to art to get away from LSD, Orange Sunshine, and the brotherhood of eternal love. We've all heard stories here and there, or maybe watched a movie about Timothy Leary, but to meet these people is something else. They were part of this famed drug movement and really, just wanted to spread love, man! Peace, love, happiness, and VW bugs. But wait, this is real! They lived it and survived it, and are now part of yet another historical movement—SAWDUST! I could never be so cool.
So now it's 2017 and it's our first show and we're not even from the West coast, or even anywhere close to it. But these 209 artists have taken us in, accepted us as east coasters and midwesterners (don'tcha'know) like we had been here all along. And so back to my first (or second) question: why do we talk about it so much? Now you know. It is the reason we moved here, on a wing and a prayer, and it has proven to be a WICKED FUN TIME! Besides my heartfelt explanation of providing us with a sense of community, it is also hoppin' all summer long.
Art, Music, and Booze
In addition to the 200 booths full of arts and crafts, there are three separate stages with live music on constant rotation. There are various restaurants on the grounds including our fav G.G.'s Mediterranean (yummo), a saloon to loosen up those pockets, and on weekends when the super, super awesome bands play, there's lots of dancing! Locals come every weekend just to hang.
But What Else?
So there are cool things happening, but what else makes it cool? I will tell you. Every summer the whole show is rebuilt and will look different every year because each artist designs and builds their own booth. Drake Casting Co's booth is like a mile high. Not really, but it is 16 feet tall. Other booths have lofts and hiding areas (check out Walter) or crazy roofs. A couple have trees straight through them. And of course the entire grounds are covered in wood chips, aka sawdust.
I guess you have to be here to get the full experience. Better hurry 'cause it closes next weekend! Don't worry Winterfest is right around the corner...
Christian started out in the business of antiques and jewelry. He owned Fancy That Antiques for ten years in Massachusetts. Want to do something scary in your mid to late 30s? Just change EVERYTHING about your life, including but not limited to: moving across the country, selling your business, and starting a new one on a complete gamble. I believe I was in survival mode at the time so it's a very big blur to me now. However, YIKES. What were we thinking???
Well two years later here we are, at our first summer Sawdust show. They require you be a resident of Laguna Beach for 18 months before applying to the summer show. We have been through two Sawdust Winter Fantasy shows with success, so they kindly took us in for the REAL DEAL. Winter Fantasy is just five weekends, thanksgiving to Christmas. The summer show is two months long, it's open 10am-10pm daily. ALL DAY, ERR'DAY. Err'body in the club. Err'body in the 'dust.
Why did we decide to leave? This is the number one question we receive on a daily basis. My answer has been very much nutshelled into something like this, "the weather". * (I am currently sitting in the DCC booth at Sawdust and someone JUST asked me that same question. I can't escape it.)
"Really?" they exclaim.
"No, not really. We had a really bad fire in our garage in the middle of a(nother) horrible winter. We couldn't live in our house for four months. We needed a change of scenery and Christian wanted to get out of the antique business. He has family is Carlsbad, whom we would visit and then wonder why we don't live here too?"
Post fire, and mid birthing of DCC, the West Coast Lunds pointed us towards the Sawdust Festival to show off this fetus of an idea. Now here we are. Christian, me, our dog Finn, and our two year old, Drake Casting Co.
Stay tuned as we continue to document our adventures, and keep you updated on what we're up to at Drake Casting!