Posted on November 13, 2010 by Sawdust Art Festival

Laguna Beach, CA – The Sawdust Art Festival is proud to welcome 44 new artists to its 10th Annual Winter Fantasy show this holiday season. The following includes several sentiments expressed by the new artisans:

Elizabeth Bendarzeski (Jewelry) – My inspiration comes from nature.   Since I work with natural stone, it is the stone that influences the rest of the piece, or if I use shell, it is the shell that has the influence. My favorite thing about being an artist is to create what I feel and not what someone else would   like me to do….creativity is that which we have in common with God

Jamie Bichler (Jewelry) – I blend my love of words and my desire to empower the world together to make jewelry that is fun, positive and sometimes sarcastic. I try to play with words, making statements with humor, double meanings and positive associations.   I am inspired by the people in my life, including my customers who have shaped the designs I create. I love playing with metal and making art and I feel truly blessed to finally be doing what I love for a living, making art! I grew up coming to the Sawdust Art Festival and it feels like coming full circle to move back here and show at the Sawdust.

Randi Burton (Fiber) – I am so excited about exhibiting this year in the Winter Fantasy, because I have been an ardent consumer of Sawdust products for the past ten years.   Every year, I look and drool over the quality of the work, and think, ‘I could bring my wacky things here, and they would be appreciated.’   It has taken a few years and lots of prototypes to make my things of high enough quality for the Sawdust. It hasn’t been an overnight process.   Yet, hope springs eternal!   I love the feedback from other artists, and am looking forward to working in such a creative and stimulating environment.

Denise Conradsen (Jewelry) – Most of my inspiration for my jewelry designs come from nature.   I designed my dragonfly bracelet after a walk along the creek with my 5-year-old son.

Jason Cullmann (Glass) – The giants in hot glass from 1850 to 1980 inspire my artwork. They are the cream of the crop: Lino T, Orient & Flume, Lundberg, Emile Galle, R.Lalique! These are some of the folks that keep me reaching every day. ‘I’m chasing the Best;’ period.

Steve Dennis (Wood & Metal) – Being an artist reminds me of the wonderful freedom we have in America, and that freedom allows me to bring joy to others.

Jennifer Doehring (Graphite & Prisma) – I am excited about exhibiting for the first time in the Winter Fantasy because I will get to experience how a live audience will react to my work. I have only had the chance to get my work in front of peers, but I have never been able to put on a showcase and get a chance to sell my art as well. I am very happy to finally have gotten to an art festival that is of the utmost class and am excited to see where it takes me.

Cheryl Frye (Fiber Art) – My artwork is inspired by nature. The repeating patterns and earthy-tones of nature are a perfect match for knitting. I enjoy the creative outlet knitting provides after a day of teaching science. I love creating a product that people can use every day and exhibits their unique personality!

Christie Grimstad (Mixed Media, Acrylic & Watercolor) – My excitement in exhibiting for the first time at the Sawdust Winter Fantasy is not knowing, yet being surrounded by other artists and lovers of art. My inspiration is drawn from many different sources: the Sierras, classical music, opera, architecture, gardening and the wilderness.

Debbie Josephson (Chinese Brush Watercolor) – As an artist, I enjoy being able to sit down at my work table and instantly be taken into the world of my painting.   All the things that might have me all worked up, just seem to disappear and it’s incredibly relaxing and peaceful.   I enjoy sharing my paintings with people and hope to give enjoyment and beauty to others.

Mary Keating (Textiles) – No one color is interesting alone. Combining two or more colors, whether accidentally or intentionally, fabric or paint, is exciting and stimulating, and challenges my creativity. I love what I do and I do what I love because I can.

Margaret Kenning (Wearable Art) – I am inspired by nature, meditation, music and other artists. My favorite thing about being an artist is seeing the joy my work brings others. I am excited to be exhibiting for the first time in the Sawdust Winter Fantasy with such talented artists in a show that is so well organized.

Gayle Lee (Jewelry) – The design of our jewelry is inspired by the beauty of nature and the abundance of natural and organic forms.

Janel Pahl (Photography) – Stepping out into the outdoors, whether it be my own cottage garden, a forest just after a rain or a seaside cliff dappled with wildflowers in Ireland, will always inspire me.   The natural beauties of this earth fill my soul with inspiration.

Ole Ross (Woodwork) – I have always loved the patterning, texture and even the scent of hardwoods. It brings me great joy to take rough pieces of wood and create something that is so beautiful.

Karen Williams Smith (Mixed media & Rocks) – When I was a child I fell in love with rocks. The artwork I am doing now is all about my love for stones. As I work with and on stones I feel connected to the earth, to history, and to the spiritual qualities of creation. Each stone is unique. I never get bored holding them in my hands and studying their individuality, as every stone seems to have a story of its own. I feel connected to all living things, to all things that have been, or ever will be, when I hold them. A simple stone can be incredibly inspiring and it is amazing how many ways I can find to make artwork with rocks.

Other new artists include joining the 2010 Winter Fantasy festival include:
Wendy Ballam (Woodworking), Grant Bathke (Mixed Media & Painting), Miguel Borbolla (Metal Sculpture), Leanne Cairns (Handbags & Jewelry), Shaleeka Dhameja (Painting & Mixed Media), John Genesta (Photography), Marty Gray (Painting), Mary Gulino (Painting & Photography), Carmen Gundelach (Sewing), Jamie Helminiak (Painting, Glass, Mixed Media & Photography), Rick Hunter (Glass), Baruch Kaufman (Jewelry), Annie Kook (Mixed Media), Carmen Lee (Textiles), Bonnie Leigh (Forged Gourd Sculpture), Antonio Mendoza (Textiles), Marcy Middler (Painting & Mixed Media), Pamela Quigley (Glass), Kathy Ranabargar (Fabric), Susanna Russell (Jewelry), Vivian Shimoyama (Glass & Mixed Media), Murray & Thelma Sklar (Mixed Media), Patrick Sullivan (Jewelry), Jeff Thomson (Textiles & Painting), Jennifer Tye (Textiles), Sara Van Dyke (Clothing), and Art Zdanowski (Photography & Painting).

The 20h Annual Winter Fantasy at the Sawdust Art Festival runs four weekends, November 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 and December 4, 5, 10, 11 & 12. Hours are 10 am to 6 pm. Adult admission is $6; Seniors $5, age 65 and up; $3 for children ages 6-12; children under five years of age are free; and $9 for a Season Pass. 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.