Whale with me

Adriane Tomik finds a beautiful hand-made candy dish for her apartment. (Photo by Niko LaBarbera)

Adriane Tomik finds a beautiful hand-made candy dish for her apartment. (Photo by Niko LaBarbera)

Underwater enthusiasts gathered at the 44th annual Dana Point Festival of Whales for two weekends in a row to commemorate the 5000-mile migration of California Gray Whale from Alaska to Mexico. Some patrons came exclusively for whale watching excursions, while others were more interested in the festivities onshore.

From 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. there were loads of activities from classic car and boat displays to clam chowder cook-offs. The city offered a free shuttle service to the festival, which was beneficial to those who indulged in the beer and wine garden.

Face paintings, henna tattoos, kona shaved ice, bounce houses and bocce ball contests took place surrounding the harbor.

A family participating in the sand sculpting competition, weekend one, of the festival. (Photo by Niko LaBarbera)

A family participating in the sand sculpting competition, weekend one, of the festival. (Photo by Niko LaBarbera)

All hands were on deck in making the festival possible, a variety of volunteers helped maintain cleanliness both on and off the shore.

The art fair harnessed the attention of people roaming through the harbor, where all facets of art were held. Wandering through the 87 degree salted air, there was an array of booths that displayed the work of local artists and students. In a time of economic hardship, both artists and patrons found solace in buying from their local art market.

Silke Turner, mixed media artist, jeweler and photographer, brings new life to natural elements that have fallen in her path.

Silke Turner hands reporter Amarah Eden her hand-made body chain. (Photo by Niko LaBarbera)

Silke Turner hands reporter Amarah Eden her hand-made body chain. (Photo by Niko LaBarbera)

As a member of the Ocean Defenders Alliance, she collects debris from the ocean and uses the weathered materials to form her work.

“The only material I won’t use is plastic,” said Turner, of Laguna Niguel.

However, she does repurpose the bones of marine life, wood and degraded metals. Turner mentioned that she uses native american techniques when disinfecting and preserving bones.

“The method of the native americans was to use cornmeal,” Turner explained.

The range of textures and colors in her works were inspired by our ecosystem and natural surroundings. Turner was a fine example of how it is possible to do what you love for a living, when dedication is applied to your passion.

Julie Setterholm is the face of Copper Feel, and uses her welding background to fuse copper, bronze and colored enamel to form works of art and jewelry.

Julie Setterholm's piece sitting on a rock as her main display. (Photo by Niko LaBarbera)

Julie Setterholm’s piece sitting on a rock as her main display. (Photo by Niko LaBarbera)

Her work is vivid, and the blended pigments are that of a fairy tale. The colors leak into each other which creates a liquefied effect on an inflexible piece of metal.

Adriane Tomik of Costa Mesa was astonished by how resourceful all of the artists were. She saw sea glass being repurposed into jewelry, hand woven textiles and crocheted jewelry inspired by Peruvian culture.

“The festival had so many  unique artists displaying their beautiful pieces,” Tomik said. “I’m so excited about my purchase especially since the artist conveyed so much passion behind his work. It was a gorgeous day to walk around and admire the art.”

Setterholm, along with other artists, patrons and families felt fortunate to share the sun and her artwork with the community.

”It was a wonderful day and location to enrich peoples lives with art,” Setterholm said.

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