Fine Art Flavors a Cardboard Canvas

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By Donna Furey

At Slice Pizza and Beer in Laguna Beach, each pizza is served up in a work of art.

The eatery is promoting the work of local artists by displaying their designs on their pizza boxes. This week, Slice co-owner Suzanne Redfearn announced the release of their second artist-designed box.

“In keeping with the concept of promoting community, we decided when we opened to have local artists design our boxes,” Redfearn said.

When Redfearn spotted a copy of a woodcut print by local painter and screen printer Cynthia Fletcher on social media, she knew the depiction of two clasped hands representing kindness and unity was ideal for Slice’s inaugural pizza box. “It was the perfect image to convey our concept of gathering and community,” Redfearn said.

Fletcher, a local resident of 36 years, said her wood cut was about “calming the public dialog by being quietly friendly and supportive on a personal level.” The piece is part of a series of prints she made of hands helping and hands holding.

“I felt that our angry national divisions could be eased by simple one-on-one kindness and fundamental acts of grace and respect,” Fletcher said. She chose a quote from Mother Teresa for the inside lid of her box. “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

: Artists Sharon Hardy and Cindy Fletcher with their pizza box designs for Slice Pizza and Beer. Photo courtesy of Suzanne Redfearn.

Ceramicist Sharon Hardy designed Slice’s new box, inspired by the hawks that can be seen every morning soaring over the hills near Cerritos Drive.

Opening the lid of the box reveals a quote from Langston Hughes: “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird.” Hardy, who has lived in Laguna for close to three decades, said, “I love the quote because it’s just so true. You have to keep dreaming.”

Before opening Slice at the corner of Forest Avenue and 3rd Street, Redfearn said she and her husband did “a lot of research” into pizza and pizzerias. Their concept of promoting community was inspired by time they spent in Italy where, everywhere they went, they encountered groups of people gathered, talking and interacting. In addition to pizza, salads and sides, the restaurant has a wall of tap beers which customers can serve themselves.

: (L-R) Lisa Mansour, Suzanne Redfearn, Cindy Fletcher, Sharon Hardy, Lauren Howell, and Nancy Deline at Slice Pizza and Beer. Photo courtesy of Suzanne Redfearn.

Redfearn had seen Hardy’s work with bird sculptures and feathered ceramic wall pieces before she invited the artist to submit designs for their pizza boxes. Hardy offered a half dozen designs; Redfearn chose the one that “spoke the most to Laguna.”

“I’ve been working seriously as a ceramic artist for the last 10 years, but I thought this would be a really fun project, and it was,” Hardy said.

Redfearn orders 30,000 boxes at a time and said that when the supply of boxes by Hardy runs low, she will seek another local artist to design the next box.

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