Why does a person take a week off from work . . . . . pay $1,000+ . . . . buy a list of supplies. . . . .drive 10 hrs. . . .shlep all her stuff. . .create in front of perfect strangers and just generally leave the comforts and safety of a home studio? Well to have her life changed - that's why.
|Teacher's Cottage with its wonderful porch|
Arrowmont is not like that. During my week there, they gathered 70 other artisans from the base beginners to the most advanced. They all specialized in different media including woodworking, fiber, glass, clay, metal and ecaustics. They were all ages (from teens through Seniors) - all walks of life. Really - the only thing that we all had in common was that we all love to create so much so that we took the plunge into Arrowmont.
And what a plunge it was. From the moment, you enter campus you can tell its different. I stayed in a comfortable room in Teacher's Cottage (not where the teachers stayed btw). My rustic room with its double bed reminded me of when you go to stay at your gram's house. It was comfortable and quiet all week complete with WiFi and air conditioning. Not that I spent much time there. I tended to get home after 11pm every night and left about 6:30 every morning. On Friday night, with my studio all packed up for my trip home, I finally discovered the wonderful screened porch . Rocking chairs are very therapeutic!
I loved the walk to studio every morning. This path lead to the main building going between other dorm cottages and the clay studio. Since Teacher's was only a quick 5 min walk from the main building - if I wanted to run back to my room during the day it was no big deal. Nor was it any big deal to walk back at night since there were always people around - including those you could look in on in the Clay studio. (I really did feel like I was a peeper each night). Even though Arrowmont's campus is a half block from downtown touristy Gatlinburg you definitely feel like you are in the middle of the Smokey Mountains.
Once you got into the main building, you would walk through the lovely gallery which hosts different shows throughout the year. The Teacher's exhibit was showing while I was there. You can see Elin Noble's piece at the front of the gallery and a peak of Elizabeth Barton's off to the far right. Even though I looked at the show thoroughly the first afternoon, I seemed to find something that caught my eye or fueled my creativity every day. The gallery even hosts a wonderful fountain where the sounds of the water was very soothing after a long day of creating.
My classroom, the fiber studio was right off the gallery with restrooms conveniently nearby. The studio hosted 5 large sinks, a washer and dryer, large padded tables, lots and lots of natural light and really all the equipment a would be surface designer could want. They even have Bernina sewing machines there if you don't want to lug your own (which of course I did - LOL). Design boards were brought in though one wall has its own. For the most part, my fellow students were quiet and focused. Normally, I find at quilt conference that ladies spend a lot of time chatting and socializing. Not this bunch - yes they were friendly - but you could tell they were there to work. I never had any problem finding someone who wanted to work late like I did. Elizabeth even worked hard coming back into studio a couple a times each night to make sure nobody had any questions.
Rena Wood, whose work is really amazing. I'm sure we'll be hearing more from her in the coming years.
The main building also hosts a wonderful bookstore and art supply store, Arrowmonts' amazing library which is open 7 am - 1 am everyday for everyone to enjoy and a 24 hr lounge which hosts tv, games, snacks etc (the coffee and tea were a welcome relief!)
|The wonderful dining hall|
So...... that is why a person would spend all year planning to go away for one week of a life changing experience. I would highly suggest anybody take the same plunge that I did to either study more of their chosen medium or to explore a new one. Classes for next year are announced in January. There are scholarships available (I was blessed with one!) and work study programs. There is even continuing education credit for teachers. Check out their website for more info!
Feel free to email me questions.
So now that you got the full picture of where I was all last week -
What have you been up to creatively?