Molding Clay at the Sawdust Art Festival

Growing up in Orange County, the Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna Beach was the family fun day activity at some point over the Summer. I haven’t been since High School and when I saw that this was its last weekend, I knew it was now or next year. Despite the heat, we ventured 20 miles South to experience the last day of the festival.

This was my husband’s first time experiencing the Sawdust Art Festival and I was ecstatic to share it with him. I love art. I admire people who’s creativity can visualize beauty from raw material. My grandmother, mother and sister all seemed to inherit that gene. They could sketch, paint and craft in ways that blew my logically-inclined mind.

We walked the festival twice over and each time I passed booths that I knew I had already looked at, and yet I noticed something different each time. Every booth was unique. That’s the incredible thing about art. No matter whether the material used is the same (photography, painting, sketching, jewelry, etc.), each piece is completely unique. The human mind is absolutely brilliant. We are such an innovative species to continue to find unique combinations despite thousands of years of creating art.

Regrettably, most booths had signs that stated “No photos.” I respected their wishes. A few, though, welcomed the admiration of people who wanted to capture and share what they’d seen. My favorite booth displayed unique woodwork such as crafted clocks, shelves, tables and mirrors.

After we’d had our fill of drinking in the beautiful art, I decided to try molding clay, which is an activity I have never attempted before.

For $10, kids of all ages (yes, even me) could create a bowl, mug or vase, which the festival would fire and glaze on your behalf. If you weren’t available to pick it up later, you could have it shipped to you for an additional $8. I opted for the vase.

The instructor first had me take a mound of clay and throw it as hard as I could at the center of the pottery wheel. Then this same expert sitting opposite of me would give step-by-step instructions and model each hand movement before I would try it.

At first, I was supposed to apply equal pressure to both the top with my right hand and the side with my left, but I put too much pressure on the top and it spun out like a dish. She folded up my mistake and spun that clay back into the mound for us to try again. Thankfully, it’s hard to really go wrong with it. Like life, whatever happens happens and if you can re-do it, awesome. If not, that’s what you get and it’s as intended.

My vase was shorter than we set out for and I still thought it was pretty. I was happy with the result.

I’m looking forward to receiving the final vase in the mail! It will be a reminder that no matter what I create, it is as it was intended.

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