Posted on December 1, 2008 by Sawdust Art Festival

December 1, 2008



(2008 Winter Fantasy runs four weekends: November 22 – December 14)

Laguna Beach, Ca – Longtime Sawdust Art Festival exhibitor Mary Hurlbut is retiring after 28 years as a stained glass artist, and she celebrates her final year of exhibiting at
this year’s annual Winter Fantasy show. In booth 242, you will find the last of Hurlbut’s colorful handcrafted glass pieces.
Hurlbut grew up in Laguna Beach and always dreamed of being an artist, and she began her career in stained glass shortly after graduating from the Dominican College in
Marin County where she majored in Fine Art. Hurlbut originally did oil painting with bold color and lines, but after receiving her degree she took a stained glass class and discovered a new passion, and she began using strong lines and a plethora of color in her stained glass. Hurlbut was hired as an apprentice at a stained glass studio in the
Bay Area, where she developed her skill as a stained glass artist for two years. Following her apprenticeship Hurlbut moved back to her hometown, met Sawdust brass
sculptor Spence Hurlbut, fell in love, and married two years later. It was Spence Hurlbut who first encouraged her to join him in exhibiting at the Sawdust Art Festival where he
had been selling his brass designs since 1971. In 1981, Mary Hurlbut participated in the Sawdust’s “booth picking day,” and by luck of the draw she was chosen 158th out of 160 exhibitors in the 15th annual summer show. Since then both Hurlbuts exhibited several consecutive years at the Sawdust, until last summer when her husband retired from his creative career in brass sculpture. Now Hurlbut joins her husband in retirement from a long career in creating and exhibiting glass art at the Sawdust Art Festival.

Exhibiting at the Sawdust Art Festival has proven to be a rare opportunity for the Hurlbut family. Their daughter, Brianna, was born in 1988 and spent all her summers at the
festival. Not only did the Sawdust allow the Hurlbuts the time to raise their daughter during the school year, while building inventory in their home studio for the following summer, but the festival also provided their daughter a unique childhood exposing her early to the arts culture. Brianna had the chance to meet, up close and personal, many
Sawdust exhibitors, depending on where her parents shared their combined booth spaces. Brianna learned everything from sewing silk with textiles artist Olivia Bathelder, to acrylic painting with Mike Hallinan. “Having a career in art while being a full-time wife and mom has only been possible because of the Sawdust Art Festival,” said Hurlbut. After nearly 30 years of stained glass creation, Hurlbut looks toward the future. She has developed another passion; art in photography. While Hurlbut has always taken photos, she did not want to spend an entire career in the darkroom developing photos. But after her mother gave her a digital SLR camera for her 50th birthday, Hurlbut rediscovered the same exciting passion and rush she felt when she first crafted stained glass. She cannot wait to spend the next year honing her technical skills in photography, and she plans on “putting her heart and soul into the art of photography.”
To visit Hurlbut and purchase her remaining stained glass pieces, visit the Winter Fantasy. The 18th Annual Winter Fantasy at the Sawdust Art Festival runs four
weekends: November 22 & 23, November 28, 29 & 30, December 6 & 7 and December 13 & 14. Hours are 10 am – 6 pm. Adult admission is $6; Seniors $5, age 65 and up;
$3 for children age 6-12; children under five years of age are free; and $9 for a SeasonPass. The festival is located at the Sawdust Art Festival, 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651. For additional information, please visit or call 949-494-3030.

The Sawdust Art Festival is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public
and promoting the art created in Laguna Beach.