Not all masterpieces are created with paintbrushes and canvases—Karin Worden’s nature-inspired jewelry stuns while Karen Pester’s fused-glass animals take a whimsical approach.
Section by Ashley Ryan
Home base: Laguna Niguel
Background: She started making jewelry in a crafts class in high school, then double majored in English literature and metal art at San Diego State University before continuing on to get a Master of Fine Arts degree in artisanry from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.
Media of choice: Precious metals, including sterling silver and high-karat gold, and a variety of gemstones
Work: Karin aims to create wearable jewelry that relies on unique artistic design. Her pieces are carefully handcrafted with techniques she has learned over the years, allowing her to make one-of-a-kind rings, pendants, earrings and brooches. She uses forging to shape the metals, a process that can elongate pieces of silver or create curves. Karin also has experience with keum-boo, a Korean gilding technique used to apply thin layers of gold on top of silver. Another technique, photo etching, allows her to add textured patterns to her pieces through a chemical process.
In addition to the silver and gold she uses in her metalworking, Karin incorporates colorful gemstones. The placement seems methodical—drawing the eye in and accenting the metal’s basic shades. Red, purple and blue stones are placed in the center of flower pendants, or set in rings framed by gold. Each item’s design is unique, resulting in a multitude of color and texture within her collection.
Karin finds inspiration in the nature surrounding Laguna. Her collection largely comprises flowers, leaves and branches, and the blue gemstones used in her pieces stir up mental images of the neighboring Pacific. The amount of detail put in to the petals of the flower pendants is magical and reveals her passion for metalworking and jewelry design.
Since opening the gallery more than four years ago, Karin has crafted pieces of jewelry that fit in everyday life while maintaining their artistic value. Her artwork will be displayed at Silver Blue & Gold during the month of February as part of the gallery’s Valentine’s Day exhibition. (949-715-3000; silverblueandgold.com)
Home base: Grew up in Ann Arbor, Mich.; currently residing in Rancho Palos Verdes
Background: She was very interested in art as a child, watching her grandfather paint and accompanying him to an Ann Arbor fair. When she got a little older, she purchased a kiln to fire ceramics and discovered she could also fire glass, which became her passion.
Media of choice: Various types of glass, mainly dichroic, as well as high-karat gold
Work: Filled with an array of colors, shapes and overall designs, Karen’s artwork is fun and pleasing to the eye. In an effort to make whimsical, lighthearted pieces, she has created a collection of 3-D, standing glass animals. She has made everything from frogs and dogs to lions, turtles and giraffes.
Karen’s animals are handcrafted with dichroic glass, which reveals different colors depending on the lighting and viewing angle. To create these pieces, she first cuts out the geometric glass shapes necessary to assemble the animal. She then fires the glass twice in a kiln in an effort to fuse the dichroic glass with black glass; she also takes this time to bend components like legs and tails into their correct shapes. Part of the firing process also includes adding 14- and 22-karat gold accents. Once finished, she signs the back of her unique creations.
The vibrant colors of the glass and the abstract shapes that make up the animals add a distinct appeal. Each piece is fun to look at and constantly changes with the light. Her love for nature and animals, as well as her passion for travel, inspire her fused-glass pieces.
Stop by Pacific Gallery throughout March to view Karen’s featured work. (949-494-8732; pacificgallery.net)
Original works by more than 100 of the Golden State’s hippest artists will be showcased Feb. 7 at Laguna Art Museum’s annual auction. Art Auction 2015: California Cool is a tribute to the state’s creative residents who have continuously redefined what it means to be cool through the years, from jazz music to modern design to abstract art. The evening will include silent and live auctions featuring museum-curated artwork by some of the top artists in California. Additionally, the event will offer music by a disc jockey and a sampling of local food and wines. Part of the proceeds will go to local education and art exhibitions. There were more than 400 attendees at last year’s auction, and this year is shaping up be to even bigger. (949-494-8971; lagunaartmuseum.org)
Laguna is known as a colony for artists—something that is celebrated all over town. The city-sponsored Artist Open Studios takes that passion a step further, allowing outsiders the chance to peak behind the scenes of Laguna’s art world. A shuttle will run along Laguna Canyon Road, moving visitors to the studios of several artists. Once there, participants can discover how their favorite painters or sculptors create various pieces, observing the details of their artistic sanctuaries. It is a great way to find out about local artists in the community and observe their talents firsthand. Visitors will learn about everything from oil painting to mixed media to kiln-formed glass. The studios will be open on Feb. 7 and March 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (949-497-0722; lagunabeachcity.net)
JoAnne Artman Gallery
From the beginning of February through the end of March, JoAnne Artman Gallery presents “How the Sun Goes,” a solo exhibition for painter America Martin. She will be showing both new and old works. The exhibit’s opening reception is planned Feb. 5 from 6-8 p.m. during the First Thursdays Art Walk. (949-510-5481; joanneartmangallery.com)
Len Wood’s Indian Territory Gallery
For the first few months of the year, the Indian Territory Gallery will feature a collection of nearly 200 blackware pots created by Maria Martinez, a world-famous potter from Mexico. She re-created and refined ancient techniques of the black-on-black style of pottery found during an excavation. Using a traditional fire pit, she partly smothered the flames, causing the smoke to help transform the red clay to black. Most of the pots in the exhibit are famous pieces that were created in the 1940s and 1950s. (949-497-5747; indianterritory.com)
Orange County Creatives
Two themed shows are coming up at Orange County Creatives. A box of artfully-crafted specialty chocolates inspired the first, titled “Tiny Bites.” Gallery owners Jason and Maggie Tockey realized each piece of art is composed in a similar way and so they are turning the gallery into a box of treats for the eye. The exhibition runs Feb. 1 to March 1, with a reception on Feb. 5. The following month, on March 5, they will host a reception for their next showcase, “Blue,” which celebrates pieces incorporating that color and will be on display through March 27. (978-473-9658; orangecountycreativesgallery.com)
On March 5, the Quorum Gallery will host the Springtime Delight art auction. This event will include new originals from 12 of the gallery’s artists, all with a spring theme. The silent auction portion will allow visitors to take these pieces home as well. (949- 494-4422; quorumgallery.com)
Starting in February, the gallery will present a new show featuring painters from the American West. Beautiful landscape pieces will be exhibited from artists like Edgar Payne, John Bond Francisco, Gordon Coutts, Paul Lauritz and Elmer Wachtel. (949-497-3356; redferngallery.com)
“Figures and More” will be featured in the front section of Sandstone Gallery from Feb. 4 to March 2. This showing of work by Howard Hitchcock will include sculptures, paintings and prints. At the same time, in the Skylight Gallery, Hyatt Moore will show his “Figures in the Abstract” series, which includes oil and acrylic paintings. (949-497-6775; sandstonegallery.com)
An artist reception for urban cubist painter Joëlle Blouin is planned Feb. 5 from 6-9 p.m. The self-taught artist from Quebec, Canada, is known for her cityscapes of skylines, historic landmarks and bridges as well as for landscapes depicting colorful sunsets, oceans and piers. Her broad brushstrokes create thick texture in her pieces while her technique of mixing paint directly on the canvas creates a distinctly cubist image. (949-376-4244; thesignaturegallery.com)
Silver Blue & Gold
In honor of Valentine’s Day, Silver Blue & Gold will host a February exhibition called “Hearts and Flowers” where the gallery will showcase handcrafted jewelry—perfect as gifts for your sweetheart. Artists on display include Karin Worden, Patricia Tschetter and Jo Baxter. (949-715-3000; silverblueandgold.com)
Running from January through the end of March, the Townley Gallery’s exhibition will present work by artists including Shane Townley, Lori Kelmar, Pierce, Paul Keohan, Olga Loera, Mati Russo, Linnea Leeming and William DeBilzan. (949-715-1860; townleygallery.com)
Through March, view a variety of paintings—still lifes, romantically lit interiors, seascapes and floral images—by artist Marc Whitney. His passion for art is made evident through his use of subtle color and poignant lighting, evoking a sense of peace. (949-497-4322; marcwhitney.com)