Oh, the things you can make

In Laguna Beach, patrons of the arts spend a good time admiring artists' work but it's rare to get the chance to create a work by their side.

On Saturday, the public will get a chance to do just that during Spring Into Art at the Sawdust Festival.

From glassblowing and watercolors to mixed media and digital photography, there's plenty to choose from in the list of two-day, weekend workshops until April 3.

Suzette Rosenthal has been teaching Mixed Media Playtime with Coastline Pilot columnist Cherril Doty for the last three years and thinks the class is a fun introduction to the craft, whether or not you're an artist.

"The classes are fun because you can learn a whole new technique or craft you haven't tried before," Rosenthal said. "I know some people don't think they can do art and then they're amazed that they can."

Rosenthal and Doty's class is also popular because it takes advantage of everyday materials, making it an affordable and eco-friendly way to get creative. She mentioned items, such as the corrugated inside of the Starbucks cup holder or produce bag netting, as useful in creating texture and dimension.

"We have quite a few people addicted to finding recycled items and using it for collages," she said.

Rosenthal and Doty will also teach the group how to make mini, postcard-size masterpieces they can mail to friends.

The practice of mail art, Rosenthal said, has become an international phenomenon.

Participants in Olivia Batchelder's silk-painting class will walk away with hand-dyed scarves. The Laguna Canyon artist recently lost many of her silk-printing materials in the floods, and she's slowly getting back into her craft.

Batchhelder believes the class is fun because silk is such a unique medium to work with.

"It's all about color," she said. "Silk is the only surface, other than glass, that takes color really vibrantly."

Unlike a painting or a sculpture, this is a piece of art you can wear.

"It's always wonderful for people to be able to see something take shape in their own hands," she said.

Another practical art form that's on the list of workshops is an introductory digital photography class.

Mary Hurlbut, a stained glass artist and photographer, is always surprised by the number of questions she's asked when it comes to basic camera functions.

"I have so many people come up and don't even know how to take the flash card out and put photos on their computer," she said. "There is this big need for people to learn how to take better pictures."

In her workshop she plans to teach 20 basics that people should have down and then will lead a tour around the city, giving a hands-on tutorial on making the most out of your camera.

For more information about the workshops and how to sign up, visit sawdustartfestival.org/spring-into-art.

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