Bill and Tracey Wertz frequent the San Clemente Village Art Fair as well as the Dana Point Famers Market. (Photo by Niko LaBarbera)
Artists, photographers, sculptors, jewelers and more unique exhibitors come to set up their vendors on the first Sunday of every month in San Clemente. The Farmers Market can be found on Del Mar Street weekly, but the smorgasbord of artists at the Village Art Fair brings patrons from further distances.
Michelle Waller of Bohemian Rags displayed her handmade bags, clutches and wallets each made from unique cuts of leather. Most bags are similar in shape, but what makes each one different are the stones and trinkets that embellish each piece of folded over leather.
Bohemian Rags unique display of purses. (Photo by Niko LaBarbera)
“I try to match the chain to the finding on the front,” Waller said. The findings range from polished stone to antique metals that can appeal to everyone.
Meander further down the street and say hello to Bill Wertz of Renovare Woodworks. Wertz makes candle, table and custom ware from old wine barrels of the Napa Valley. The simplistic yet rustic pieces of reclaimed wood are made into contemporary household items that would have otherwise been discarded.
Wertz makes a variety of funky racks for hanging towels, coats and jewelry. If you are the type of person that is always wondering where your keys are, you’ll dig his key rack. Attempting to make life easier for these people, Wertz constructed this rack in specific from barrel staves and old antique keys.
This key rack will help you determine where your keys are, or aren’t. (Photo by Niko LaBarbera)
“When I was making it [key rack] I think about four of the keys combusted from being heated. Not every key makes it to the rack because of this,” Wertz said. “How funny would it be if because of the keys I got hurt, but never suffered any injuries from working with all the other dangerous equipment I use.”
Renovare is a Latin term that translates “to make new.” (Photo by Niko LaBarbera)
While Werts designs each piece, he doesn’t take all the credit for his work. His wife Tracey is the face of Renovare, and stands by his side at all of their vendor locations. She is a visionary in the same way as her husband, and keeps her eyes pealed for new creative things to add to their wood.
On the other side of Del Mar is GP Mauro for The Creature Den. GP Mauro is a Los Angeles based artist who creates his pieces by exercising his skills in woodworking, sculpture and painting.
“I used to work for a high end custom furniture company, but the clientele wasn’t something I was interested in,” Mauro said.
Mauro started off by making his nephew a Rhinoceros coat rack made from pine, casting urethane and lacquer for his bedroom. His nephew’s friends soon became fans of his work and asked if he could make other animals.
GP Mauro’s first time selling at the San Clemente Village Art Fair. (Photo by Niko LaBarbera)
After making different sculptures for friends, Mauro decided to withdrawal from his high society clientele. Since November Mauro has been fully invested in The Creature Den and is excited for what his new path will reveal.
You might be lucky enough to find the honky-tonk blues guitarist who has his setup outside of Jack’s Surfshop. Feel free to donate if you please, while he sings sweet-sounding tunes into the atmosphere. The Village Art Fair is an eclectic group of individuals that bring togetherness and a real community feeling to San Clemente.