article from the San Diego Union Tribune:
By Ruth Lepper
September 15, 2004
JULIAN – When a fire in the town hall delayed the opening of an art show, Mike
Menghini offered the spacious grounds at his winery for artists to set up their
That was 18 years ago, and the Menghini Arts & Music Festival is still
"It's just become a tradition," said Menghini. "People bring
their chairs and sit here all afternoon, looking at the art and listening to
The show is open to members of the Julian Arts Guild and other invited artists.
John Heglin will exhibit his sculptures at the show. This is his third year to
participate. He specializes in life castings, mostly of faces and torsos.
"I've made a living most of my life as an artist/sculptor, working in
clay, metal, glass and wood," said Heglin.
The life castings are considered therapeutic for cancer patients or anyone who
wants to preserve their body image before it undergoes changes.
"I'm making a permanent representation of their form, then they can let go
of that aspect of their illness," he said.
He uses a plaster-like substance to form a mold directly on a person's torso or
face. After the mold is made, it takes about one month to complete the
"They only need to sit for me one time, but some people come back to see
the process," he said.
Heglin has been an artist since 1968 and has made castings for faces since 1974
and torsos since 1994. His sculptures are mainly done on commission.
"I've always been fascinated with faces and doing face casts," he
said. "It's sort of like a facial massage for people who are experiencing
Heglin has amassed a series of faces that he calls his "20-year
"It's a collection of all these faces of ethnic backgrounds, of
occupations, socioeconomic status, education level," he said. "I'm
going to see if all these things show on a face."
He is "somewhere in the middle" of completing the collection.
A former professional dancer and choreographer with a background in psychology
and counseling, Heglin has lived in Julian for three years.
Arlene Smith will be in the Menghini show for the first time. She makes small
figures and pins from the wood of dead apple trees.
"I became an artist, because (Heglin) inspired me," she said. "I
do clay, woodworking and stained glass."
Other arts and crafts at the festival will include watercolors, oils, acrylics,
jewelry, ceramics and stained glass.
The music is being coordinated by Harry Joe Reynolds, who plays with the Volcan
Mountain Boys. Several bands will play throughout the two-day event. Please note, the Menghini Art Festival is not currently being held.