It's been a while since I've traveled to
Southern California to visit and it's been
even longer since the last time I've had
an opportunity to see the Art-A-Fair and
the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach.
Located within walking distance of each other
each is a great way to get some sun
and enjoy local artists.
Fond memories live in my heart
due to these annual events. For instance,
the first glass-blowing demonstration I ever saw
was at the Sawdust one summer (about
umpteen years ago), and the first time I watched
someone soldering jewelry was also at
that venue a few years later.
This summer, one of my favorite
mixed-media jewelry artists, Gretchen Shields,
is at the Art-A-Fair displaying her
current work and demonstrating
her range of techniques.
Working in various styles, this artist
mixes gemstones with found objects and textiles.
With an eye for sophisticated designs and color
combinations she creates pieces that mix
tribal beads and antiquities with
Japanese obi and Chinese treasures.
The final result is bold, dramatic, and unique.
Many will prefer her beaded jewelry comprised
of elaborate multi-strands of different-colored
pearls that are very eye catching,
but my personal preferences revolve around her
textile creations, namely her Silk Road collection.
Elaborately constructed each is a work of art.
Rich fabrics, vibrant colors, lavish layers - it's all
there. Each eclectic combination is a feast for the eyes.
The finishing touch for each piece is her signature
hand-knotted macrame loop and button closure.
Each piece creates both visual and emotional impact.
If you are in the area and haven't already been to
this event get yourself there as soon as possible.
Art-A-Fair will run until August 28.
More of her work can be seen at