Sculpture created by Cambria, Gorda residents help Big Sur homeowners rise from the ashes

Phoenix sculpture created from metal recovered from burned homes will be auctioned Saturday

betling@thetribunenews.comJanuary 16, 2014 

A phoenix sculpture created by David Bidwell and John Handy from metal recovered from burned Big Sur homes will be auctioned Saturday to benefit the homeowners.


David Bidwell of Cambria and John Handy, owner of Treebones Resort in Gorda, have created a unique metal sculpture that will be auctioned Saturday, Jan. 18, to benefit those who lost their homes in the Big Sur fire just before Christmas.

The fire started near midnight on Dec. 15. Within hours, 34 homes had burned to the ground. Using metal salvaged with permission from some of the homes that were lost in the fire, including three shovels, bed springs, a pick, plant stand and a set of cast iron claw feet from an old tub, Bidwell and Handy crafted a Phoenix, the mythical bird that rises from flame and ashes.

Sale of the sculpture will, in fact, help homeowners rise from the wreckage left by the devastating blaze. The Phoenix Benefit Gathering starts at 2 p.m. Saturday and continues to 2 a.m. Sunday in Big Sur.

Entertainment includes music by Tropo Musik and Kevin Dayspring and various DJs; performing arts, including hoop, contortion and dance; an aerial show from Suspended Motion, San Luis Obispo’s leading aerial school; and much more.

Cayucos Beach Ale and specialty cocktails will be served at the 21 and older only event. Ticket holders will be shuttled to the site. For more information or to buy tickets ($50 in advance, or $60 at the door), go to the events page at and click on the Phoenix Benefit link.

“The sculpture depicts a proud new Phoenix forming and rising up from fire, smoke and ash and unfurling its wings to fly,” Handy said, “which is our hope for the area that was so devastated in the recent disaster.”

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