I just got back from a 5-day work trip to Costa Mesa, California.  While I was there to work a three day trade show at the Costa Mesa fair grounds, there was enough free time to get out and about to do some sight-seeing in the surrounding area.  From a woodworking point of view, Laguna beach was the highlight.  Along the main road through town there are dozens of galleries featuring world-class art work.  There were many paintings, but also many pieces of furniture, wood carvings, and turnings.  One gallery had a wide range of twisted vines from South America hanging from the ceiling.  At the same gallery, there were also some interesting bowls.  Looking at them on the shelf, I asked the fellow behind the counter what kind of wood they were.  He handed one to me and I realized that they were acutally pottery.  By layering different colours, it produced a wood-like effect.  I was amazed.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photographs.

At another gallery, I found lots of artistic furniture by Andrew Muggleton in the main room.  In the back room, I found a host of turnings including some by Dwight Giles.  His turned vessels are made from beautiful wood and executed to perfection.  But what sets his work apart from other turnings is the inlaid silver.  He carves the recess in the vessel, makes a mold of the recess and sends that off to a silversmith.  When the silver casting arrives, he carefully shapes it to perfectly match the recess.  I managed to take a couple of pictures while the staff were otherwise engaged.

Turned Vessel by Dwight Giles

 At a beachside cafe called The Greeter, I found these neat inspirational lamps hanging over the tables.  I would like to turn a bowl in a similar fashion and carve the streaks out so that more light passes through them.  Or I could inlay the streaks too.

The Greeter's Lamps

 I took a walk off the beaten path into the residential area.  There were a number of beautifully constructed houses with prominent wooden details such as railings, arbours, and even a spiral staircase or two.  Behind a school, I also came across some trees with interesting looking roots.

Picturesque HouseRoots

Further inland in front of a Ganahl Lumber store is a giant 9-foot bandsaw.  Each of the five Ganahl Lumber locations have such a bandsaw out front.

From an architectural view, the most interesting structure was the Bridge of Gardens which spanned a parking lot between the two buildings making up the up-scale South Coast Plaza.  I took this picture at 8:45 pm, after most of the stores had closed.  It was a neat feeling walking around an empty mall, aside from the security guards staff who were busy putting up Christmas decorations (including a ~60-foot tall tree).

Bridge of GardensGiant Christmas Tree (taken from second floor)

 At Borders book store, the only store open for business at 10 minutes to nine o’clock, I found the most comprehensive book on furniture I have ever seen.  Furniture: World Styles From Classical to Contemporary by Judith Miller is a hardcover book with 560 thick, glossy, colour pages.  It weighs a healthy seven pounds.  Inside the cover, the listed price is $60 US or $75 Canadian.  I picked it up for the bargain price of $10 US.  But I did have to carry it all the way back across the mall…

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