Friday, August 27, 2021

Embellishing @ John C. Campbell on Off the Wall Friday


Jennifer Reis stitching her latest piece

First of all, I want to apologize for taking a break from blogging.  I've have been having some health issues this summer which I think are finally behind me!  Still they didn't stop me from making the 11 hour trip to John C. Campbell Folk School.  After getting cancelled out of two - YES TWO! - classes in 2020, I wasn't going to miss this year.

This time, I was lucky enough to snag a spot in Jennifer Reis' Embellishment class.  We spent the week first learning (or refreshing) all sorts of hand stitched embroidery skills and embellishments.  In fact, we learned so much that first day, my head was spinning!  After that we could work on our piece.  Luckily I had brought a piece I had made in Emily Richardson's class in 2019 which was perfect to embellish and stitch down.  Little did I know that I would only get about 20% of it done in 3 days!  Handwork is inherently slow, but me feeling not my best made it even slower.

Not to mention, I spent the week whiny, which is NOT my norm.  Normally, John C. Campbell is my happy spot.  This year...not so much.  Due to on-going blight on our life, we had to wear masks in all buildings including class.  Our class was limited to 7 people, all of which  had to social distance at least 6-10 ft apart behind ... plexiglass!  So here we are hand stitching all week in this big beautiful studio masked up, behind plexiglass and too far to talk comfortably.  It led to a week of silence.



You thought I was exaggerating right?!?

Meal times which normally are a time to socialize and get to know your fellow artisans were also socially distanced behind plexi glass.   People were scattered across campus to eat.  The food was great
though but it wasn't nearly as good as it would be  with some good company.  

See I'm whining again just thinking of it.  Jennifer's class was great and I would highly recommend it if you would like to learn a new twist on hand work.  She's a great teacher but really one of the few highlights of the week  is that she's a great lady.  She always brightened my day.  


Also the campus was as beautiful as ever.  In August, it wasn't unbearably hot with plenty of seats in the shade.  We stayed at the Rock House which was treat!  Our room was spacious and really, really comfy.  

Detail of Jennifer Reis work in progress
Maybe it's because I work from home but I wasn't used to wearing my mask for such long periods of time.  Nor was I ready for Covid to dominate so many conversations.  As we left for the week, you could see how hard North Carolina had been hit with restaurants closed for Covid cleanings.  Sad.

Anyways, I am feeling better everyday and ready to get back after my piece.  Jenn managed to spark my love of handwork.  But the biggest thing I learned from the experience is that although I go to John C. Campbell's to learn, the real draw for me is the socialization.  I mean I can work in silence at home as well as eat dinner every night with my husband.  I go there to be with people who understand what I do and why I do it.  That was really what I was missing this trip.  Hopefully next time we'll be back to normal!

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Jenny K. Lyon said...

Oh that sounds hard! So sorry that all that plexiglass took some of the joy out of the class. It looks like a fabulous class and wonderful work. I do hope your health issues are behind you. I am afraid all the Covid restrictions at Houston will suck the joy out of the situation also. I'm glad you are well.

Norma Schlager said...

I do hope you are feeling better. The class sounds wonderful, but I can see where the isolation would make it difficult. Can't wait to get Covid behind us!

Lynda said...

I've always wanted to go to John C Campbell. Thanks for your post about it. So sorry COVID had to play a big part in it. Hopefully, next year this time, COVID will be just a bad memory (seems like I said this last year.) Yes, learning is great, but it is about meeting like-minded creative spirits. Hope you are feeling better.

Angela said...

I am so sorry your experience wasn't better. Delighted that you enjoyed some hand stitching though. It is one of my favourite things to do. It really helps to keep me in the present moment.

Sherrie Spangler said...

That's too bad about the isolation at the retreat -- that would be hard. But the piece you're working on is absolutely gorgeous!!!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Viewing the photo of the classroom, it looked like pure heaven to me! I too spend my days alone, working by myself, but honestly, I find working in a classroom of people I don't know more or less breathing down my neck a very uncomfortable and limiting experience, and any socializing (which everyone else seems intent on doing) just detracts and distracts from my learning experience. To each her own . . . Meals however, that would be disappointing not to be able to mingle more. Ah well, looks like you learned a lot and enjoyed yourself anyway.

DVArtist said...

I glad to hear you are feeling better and that you got into the class. I am also happy to hear that precautions were taken in the class. It may not be the same but it was safer.

Irene MacWilliam said...

glad you are improving by the day. Good to have the change of routine even if you missed the fun of socialising over food. Keep safe. Irene in N Ireland