Chasing Down The Muse: After one year, classes prove to be success

All work is seed sown. It grows and spreads, and sows itself anew.

— Thomas Carlyle


I consider myself fortunate that my work is a labor of love — love of learning both for myself and for others with whom I am fortunate enough to come into contact. This work for me is, as George Sand said, reward and strength, glory and pleasure.

On Saturday, it will be exactly one year since the startup of the Sawdust Studio Art Classes program. When the person previously hired as manager to get this program up and running unexpectedly left at the end of September last year, I jumped at the opportunity to help out. Saying I would stay on until they could find a permanent replacement, I dug right into the work at hand.

Many people and groups of people had a hand in developing the Sawdust Studio Art Classes. I especially would like to acknowledge the Resource Committee of the Sawdust Festival, the Laguna Beach Visitors and Convention Bureau, the city of Laguna Beach, and the untiring staff of the Sawdust Festival. Without the hard work of all these folks there would be no Sawdust Studio Art Classes.

This would not be a good thing. Laguna Beach needs more art programs for all ages. Sawdust Studio Art Classes is a small beginning. Longer programs, classes for kids, art retreats … the sky is the limit!

The vision is for a multi-tiered program of classes year-round in the beautiful eucalyptus grove that is home to the festival. With the much-needed support of the Visitors Bureau and the city itself, this first step was taken. Two-hour classes in which a unique piece of personal art could be created was the goal. These classes would be aimed at visitors to the community as well as hometown and folks from nearby communities.

The challenge was in. A group of experienced instructors was brought in by my predecessor and they honed it all until they could offer some beautiful opportunities to both learn and take home a beautiful piece of art in just two amazing hours.

What began with jewelry and ceramics has grown to include classes in painting in oils, acrylics and watercolor; fused glass has been added, along with silk painting, printmaking, and even glass blowing in September.

For me, well, I'm still here. I don't know that I could stay away. There are always challenges, of course, but the opportunity to share in the joy of students who have just created a piece of art never pales. Each week I look forward to observing students as they learn and expand their own visions of possibility.

As an artist, I am thrilled to be part of the creative process. As a writer, I am titillated by the many enticing stories in which I am allowed to share. As a teacher, the joy of learning that takes place at so many different levels is wonderful to behold. As a human being, well … it's just pretty grand on so many levels.

Because this is the first anniversary of the program, we are offering a couple of great opportunities so that more folks can share in this adventure.

On Saturday, all classes, which are regularly priced at $95 (and really well worth it, I might add) are going to be $50 each. To see what is offered that day, go to And to sign up, call or email me —, or call (714) 745-9973. Classes are filling up fast.

In addition, throughout October you can register for any class in November, December or January for a $20 savings at $75. This would make a great gift for a friend, family member or even yourself.

Do I sound like I'm pushing Sawdust Studio Art Classes? Well, I guess that I am. I'm a bit of a joy hog and I want more of the joy that I get from interacting with all the great students and instructors and everyone else involved in this fledgling program.

Watch for lots more to come. And if you just want to take a peek, drop by any Friday or Saturday to see what we are up to.

CHERRIL DOTY is an artist, writer, counselor, and manager of the Sawdust Studio Art Classes in Laguna Beach. Always fascinated, inspired, and titillated by the beauty and the myriad mysteries of life, she can be reached at or by phone at (714) 745-9973.

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