Friday, June 15, 2018

Creative Vacations Pt II - Off The Wall Friday

This week I wanted to continue on with my journey through the country's folk art schools.  The more I researched, the more I realized that these schools offer a lot of different types of experiences.  The one thing they all had in common was that they offered an immersive creative experience perfect for a vacation from everyday life.

Clearing Folk School, Ellison Bay, WI

  • Large 128 acre rural property in the woodlands along Green Bay
  • Rustic comfortable dorms-double rooms, no TV, Radio, Laptops allowed
  •  Cell phones usage is limited to two designated areas (not in the lodging, classrooms)
  • $1200/double private bath plus gratuities
  •  Independent study/retreats are available each session
  • Writing, philosophy, Yoga are offered with the normal Art classes
  • Several hiking trails exist on the property

Peters Valley School of Craft, Layton, NJ
  • A rural area campus located in the Delaware Water Gap
  • Campus is split with a two-mile distance between the parts
  • Very "No Frills" accommodations are offered with a pay per night fee structure
  • Art quilt classes are offered occasionally
  • Class tuition varies with class
  • $1200/double approximately since room/board/class costs all vary
  • 5 Day sessions run Friday - Tuesday
Pocosin Art School, Columbus, NC

  • Small town main street location 
  •  Small three class weekly sessions offered March - October
  • One riverside lodge available with singles, doubles, quads (all doubles have bunk beds)
  • Individual air conditioning, wifi, bath - nice common areas
  • No meals are included, 24/7 communal kitchen with restaurants near by
  • Art quilt classes are offered
  • $1200/double with tuition but no meals
Which leaves us the granddaddy of all the Folk Art Schools ...
John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC
  • Large extended campus in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Offers year-round classes - 880 last year in  48 subjects!
  • Class size is limited to 12
  • Evening programs are offered in storytelling, music and demonstrations
  • Many types of accommodations are offered at every price point
  • $1300/double with a private bath 
  • Large well-appointed classrooms with plenty of light 
  • Inter-generational classes are offered (one adult/one minor)

 Now if after reading all about these schools, you think  - wow  - I'd love to try this but I don't have the money, let me mention that they all have scholarship and/or work-study programs that all ages are encouraged to apply for. In the past, while I was raising my family, I was the recipient of two scholarships.  Both times, the process was painless and I was truly blessed with the experience.  For that matter, I'm still considering trying a class as a work-study because that sounds interesting!

This Arromont's Amazing Library
Hopefully, these posts have sparked your interest in trying out a folk school.  I had mentioned them to my husband several times over the years, but until I literally opened up the Campbell Folk School catalog in front of him and told him to read  - he never considered it.  Now, he can see the possibilities of what fun it would be to take a class in maybe something other than our chosen media of fiber and wood.  Or maybe just pick something in those catagories.  Really as you can see from these schools there are a plethera of choices!

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, June 8, 2018

Creative Vacations Part I - Off the Wall Friday

My husband and I have decided we are all " Disney'd Out".  I mean, ten days at the Happiest Place on Earth, would probably be enough for pretty much any couple.   What we did discover though is we like vacationing together.  So I was tasked to come up with our next destination.  Now you wouldn't think this would be so hard because there are so many great places to go in this country.  But, I needed to find that had enough to do to keep us both interest without totally exhausting us and didn
My classroom at Arrowmont
't involve mountains or beaches (since he doesn't like beaches and I'm not that keen on mountains).

Finally I decided on a week or two at a Folk Arts School.  In this country there are several to choose from all with their own take on what a "Folk Arts School should be. Now for you that don't know, a Folk Arts School is a school that offers classes from weekend to a week to several weeks in all types of hand arts all in the same week.  Most offer woodworking, ceramics, metalwork, Fiber (Weaving, Paper, Needlecraft) and glass.  Here is a snapshot of some that I researched using the 2018 season as a guide.

Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, Tennesee
  •  Has a Rich 100+ history
  •  Located in a tucked away spot off of downtown Gatlinburg
  • Some housing on campus in dorms or rustic "doubles" rooms
  • Hotels/ restaurants within walking distance 
  • WiFi and Air conditioned
  • Has a great Library and Gallery
  • Classes mostly run Spring through Fall, 20 classroom size
  • About $1200/ week each for two people (room, board, tuition)
  • Offers Art Quilt Classes periodically
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, ME

Penland School of Crafts, Penland, North Carolina
  • Located on a large rural campus in Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Summer and Fall one week sessions are mostly offered
  • Several choices for rooms on campus are available
  • Evening activities are offered as well as a library, gallery
  • About $1650 for a double (private bath)/week (no air conditioning)
  • A very spread out campus but provisions are made for mobility issues 
  • Studios are open 24 hrs a day

 This post is getting long so I thought I would break it up into two parts!!  Hope you find the information helpful and if you would like me to feature a school you know of in next week's post please let me know!

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, June 1, 2018

Color Palettes of the Masters - Off the Wall Friday

Its been a while since I talked about  color and choosing a palette.  One of my favorite ways to do that is to pick a piece of art I love and use the colors in it to be the starting point of my own palette. That said, I don't think I've ever done it with famous painting.  But really,  what better way to study color than to look at how the masters have put them together.

Here are some examples I thought you'd enjoy. . . . . . I used Color Explorer to break out the colors

Cafe Terrance at Night, Vincent van Gogh, 1888

The Flower Carrier, Diego Rivera, 1935

The Ninth Wave, Ivan Aivazovsky, 1850

The Boat Trip, Mary Cassatt, 1883

Cardsharps, Caravaggio, 16th Century

In the Bazaar, August Mackey, 1914

Ya know this is getting a little addictive... I really could go on and on. Its super easy to do
  1. Google a famous Painting or Painting site
  2. Save image of the painting                        
  3. Go to                          
  4. Click on "Image Color Import"                 
  5. Upload the Painting Image                        
  6. Enjoy the Palette!                                      
You can refine the palette or enlarge it as much as you want.  With Cardsharps I had to enlarge the palette for it to capture the gold and the burgundy which I felt was essential to that painting.  So this is NOT full proof but it will get you in the right direction.

I really am going to have to pick a favorite artists and analyze all the palettes of my favorite paintings!

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, May 25, 2018

Quilting a Social Affair - Off the Wall Friday

I have a confession.  With all the good things about working from home, I find it kind of lonely. You wouldn't think so since my job is talking to customers all day, but still I do.  So that's why in the last couple of years, I've made an extra effort to keep in touch with my girlfriends.  I really think that its important to make sure in our busy society that we cultivate and maintain a nice inner circle of friends.  Now, I'm not talking about the kind of social media "friends" where these days we've created a new verb from the noun.  No, these are people that have your back, keep your secrets, forgive you when you're petty and share an hour of laughter.

With that in mind, I've started a new quilting project with one of my best friends.
 She doesn't quilt but she "gets" my passion for it and is very creative. She thinks she'd NEVER be able to do what I do. But we know she could. How many time have we heard that - "I could never make that. You're so talented" So untrue. But that's another blog post!

 Anyways, we've decided to start a quilting pattern, The Gypsy Wife by Jen Kingwell. We were looking for a project that we could do an afternoon at a time and where we would feel a sense of accomplishment as the blocks began to add up. Plus I needed something that I could easily put away between visits and pull back out when I saw her pull up.

So how do you quilt with a NQF (a non-quilting friend...grin)? First you chose the pattern together that's hard enough to be interesting and not to hard that it  will drive you slowly insane.  Then chose the fabrics together and trust her not to laugh at your obnoxiously large stash.  Then you teach her how to cut accurately with a rotary cutter and rulers and the difference between  "Press" and  "Iron" with your new Rowenta.

THEN you spend the whole afternoon talking, laughing, making a couple of blocks - you sewing  - her ironing and feel all refreshed and tired at the same time by the end of the day.  5 hrs later the fabrics were picked, pressed and one whole block done.  Grin.

Now she thinks that she's only ironing and cutting this quilt. But sooner or later I'll get her behind my Janome.  You wait.  I promise I'll share our progress as we go.

So remember this summer to reach out and connect with your friends.  Life is too short not to take the time.

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, May 18, 2018

Vacation Inspiration - Off the Wall Friday

Once again, I'd like to apologize for messing up the link up last Friday.  You'd think that after nearly 300  times of doing it I could do it in my sleep.  In fact, there have been weeks that I HAVE done it in my sleep - grin.  But still let me tell you, Disney World wiped me out.

An Average WDW Day
That all said, we had a great time.  There was so much to see and do and eat and hear. . .well there was SO MUCH.  Included in there was inspiration.  Now this time I promised myself I wasn't going to spend the whole time taking pictures like I have in the past, but I did manage to take some that interested me at the moment.  I thought I could use these as ideas for future projects.

With vacation season upon us, here are some ideas to take your photos and turn them into vacation inspiration!

Art Work Photos 

 Take pictures of art work that gives you ideas of what you can do next.  This is an amazing wall fiber piece on the wall of Tiffins, a signature restaurant in Animal kingdom.  They had it commissioned for the restaurant with a crazy quilt kind of backing and paper lantern animals on top.

Favorite Places

Take pictures of favorite places or attractions and play with your photo editor to give them a new look.  THEN use that for inspiration.  This of course is Hollywood Studio's Tower of Terror  which was NOT one of my favorites since I'm not a thrill rider.  But since I waited outside while my husband rode, I had time to take the picture.  My favorite ride in all of WDW is Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom.

Candid Moments

Everyone's photo files are filled with posed pictures of the holidays and vacation.  But really what I want to remember are the quiet candid moments you can catch with your camera.  Here is one of Paul on Magic Kingdom's People Mover.  The People Mover goes all around Tomorrowland and its one of the few places you can have a quiet moment.  Not to mention look how cool the curve of the line is!

Favorite Textures and Patterns 
 Let me tell you, once you start looking, there are really great patterns and textures all over the place.  In fact I had to promise myself getting caught up looking at them and stopping everyone around me to take a picture of them this vacation.

This is a street grade on main hub of the Magic Kingdom right in from of Cinderella's Castle.  One thing that Disney gets high marks in is the details in their themes.  Its overwhelming really.


 Don't forget that a lot of those pictures that you think didn't turn out all that well that can be turned into interesting abstracts.  Also big iconic shots can be cropped to find the more intimate bits inside.

I have a ton of blurry shots where I just snapped quick.  They all could be made into cool abstracts.

Thanks for letting me share some of 25th Anniversary trip pic's and ideas on what to do with all those vacation photos!!

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, May 11, 2018

Off the Wall Friday

We're home safe but after 10 days at Disney World you can imagine how exhausted we are.  I was so preoccupied with unpacking and getting back into the routine that I nearly forgot that today was Friday!!  So sorry this post is a bit late !

But tell me,

What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, May 4, 2018

On Vacation - Off the Wall Friday