I would never plan to do two full week classes back-to-back in such different parts of the country, but sometimes things just work out that way. I packed up at Idyllwild in California on Friday night, flew out Saturday — arriving after dark — and was set up and teaching again by Sunday in Tennessee.

That doesn’t even make sense on paper much less in the real world but it worked thanks to the amazing team of summer interns at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts who helped me get settled in and set up quickly.

It didn’t hurt that they have more power in that studio then I’ve ever had for a workshop, but we still had to try a few configurations to get it just right. I felt like the indecisive woman changing her mind on where the couch should be, but it’s important to get the tables and equipment set up in a way that fosters community and we did just that.

I had a whopping 15 students in this class. Look at all that power!

Below is a video tour of our classroom, with the gallery just outside our doors for instant inspiration.

I was thrilled to have my work on the anchor wall for the show, and even sold one of these pieces while I was there.

They have an excellent gallery at Arrowmont, run by the talented Gallery Coordinator Karen Green. It’s essentially the hallway between the classrooms but what could have been very ordinary has been transformed into a series of intimate spaces with the use of stones, fountains and quiet seating areas.

My studio neighbor (and new buddy) Susan Fecho discusses her work in the gallery. Click on this photo to see more of her mixed media work.

Susan's assistant Evan was kind enough to share some of their class demos with my students too.

There was a great feeling of collaboration throughout the week. I often invite students and teachers alike from other classes to stop by and see what they can do with the wax in their own projects, and several of them took me up on it including TJ Erdahl (below) the Arrowmont Program Manager who wanted to make a waxed hat for his fascinating ceramic sculpture.

Mary Ann gets the kinks out with a quick hoop break.

As you can see above we did manage to have some fun and that often included “hoop breaks” with our own cruise director Sara Gibson. She brought several hula hoops to share, including one that’s collapsible for travel (!) and got everyone into it (see video below).  She’s fantastic at this!

Another fun break was the Artist-in-Residence open house, where we could see how these talented artists spend their year at Arrowmont. The video below takes you through the work spaces of Andrea Moon, Shawn O’Connor, Wyatt Severs and Jennifer Wells.

Believe it or not, we did do some actual painting during the week. The studios at Arrowmont are open late into the night so there was a lot of time to work too. I was astounded my the sheer number of pieces that were finished, but they were also really high quality.

Several students traded or sold work to one another on the last day of class and everyone went home with some work to be proud of.

My buddy Carolyn aka "spider woman" prepares the real thing for one of her paintings.

We had to snip off his back legs to get him flat enough, then attach them again with wax. Yes, it was icky. And yes, he was long dead!

What a fun group! Special thanks to my studio assistant Lynn Bland, back row third from the left. Thanks for all of your help!

These wonderful folks just about made me cry when they presented me with this beautiful water tumbler, a big bar of chocolate and a beautiful card signed by everyone. Now I’ll always have my water at hand, but that chocolate is LONG gone. Thank you all so much!

Advertisements