Off-Site/Off-Season: Lorraine Hornby

Posted on January 23, 2015 by Sawdust Art Festival

Have you ever wondered what happens at the Sawdust Art Festival after we close our doors? Better yet, what happens to the artists who spend their entire summers here at the Sawdust Art Festival selling their artwork? Many artists are asked what they do when the shows are not running — do they go back to a “regular job,” do they travel, work in a studio or just vanish into thin air, only to reappear when we open our gates once again the following year?

Believe it or not, the artists continue to work. They leave the Sawdust grounds and return to their studios to create the pieces  they will feature in art shows across the country and around the world, and then again the following year at the Sawdust Art Festival. Each and every artist uses different techniques to produce his/her work and draw inspiration from a myriad of experiences and things. In this new series, “Off-Site/Off-Season,” we would like to share with you  every facet of the production process for our artists. Every artist’s story is a little different — as is their work.

Lorraine Hornby: Photograph by Jody Tiongco of Laguna Beach Magazine

Many artists begin their lives in different fields and decide to make a life change to follow their true passion. Meet Lorraine Hornby, a full-time artist with the Sawdust Art Festival since 2007. Educated as a computer scientist  at Rice University in Texas, Lorraine’s fist career was in the software industry. She then moved on to graphic design and website development after being certified as a graphic designer at the University of California, Irvine. Then Lorraine decided that she wanted another change in her life. She found that she wanted to work with her hands and create something tangible.

She began her exploration into art with a class at the Sawdust Art Festival in 2006. She took her first jewelry-making class with longtime Sawdust artist Catherine Reade in our Sawdust Studio Art Classes. She then attended Saddleback College and the Gemological Institute of America for further education in fabrication and stone-setting. At the same time, she became a certified gemologist through a degree program at Santiago Canyon College. She attributes much of her success to all the inspiring and unique opportunities provided to artists at the Sawdust Art Festival and within the city of Laguna Beach. Nine years after her first class, Lorraine has become an established jeweler.   Her collection, entitled Studio 44 Jewelry, incorporates an elegant and contemporary style while featuring one-of-a-kind gemstones. She draws her inspiration from the gems themselves, creating each design based on the features of each gem. Lorraine travels to the Tucson Gem Show and hand-selects the unique gems used in her work.

Lorraine uses basic and timeless fabrication* tools and techniques to create her jewelry. She starts each piece with a sterling silver sheet, malleable fine silver and a one of a kind gem. She then wraps the gems in malleable silver to create the setting and then solders the setting to the sterling silver base. Then, using a jeweler’s saw, she cuts the excess silver from the setting and begins many stages of polishing before finally setting the stone.

*Fabrication: the art of manipulating metal; bending, cutting, and shaping of raw materials

Beginning stage: Raw materials — sterling silver base, malleable fine silver for setting, drusy gem

First stage: Solder setting onto base

Second stage: Saw excess sterling silver base from setting









Third stage: Grind excess silver off the edge of the setting

Fourth stage: After grinding, the setting will go into a tumbler  for one of the many  cycles of polishing

Fifth stage: Before fully setting the stone, Lorraine checks to make sure the stone fits correctly, using a string so she can remove the gem to continue polishing the piece










These are some of Lorraine’s exquisite finished pieces.

See all her work on her website, or contact her directly at  949-463-8869.


Lapis and Rutilated Quartz Pendant

Labradorite Hammer Silver Ring

Silver & 18kt Gold with Zircon and Agate