The last couple of months of 2017 and first couple of 2018 have been a whirlwind. Just starting now to surface for a bit of air! Big things have been happening one after the other and I haven’t had a chance to write about them all here on the blog, so am catching up now because they’ve been too good not to share.
The best thing that happened in all of 2017 for me – was an opportunity to go be an Instructors Assistant for Sherri Warner Hunter at a Concrete Sculpture class held at the Arrowmont school in Gatlainburg, Tennessee at the end of October/early November for 2 weeks.
I was floored when Sherri wrote and asked if I’d be interested. At first, I thought the email wasn’t real and had to read it a couple of times – I couldn’t believe she’d thought of me and was so ecstatic. I’d taken a course from her in concrete sculpture many years ago (you can read about it here) and always admired her and her work so much. From her course, I’d learned a ton about sculpture and how to properly structure an armature. It gave me such a wonderful foundation to move forward in my own work creating 3-D sculpture bases to mosaic. That and it is just feels kind of kick-ass to bend re-bar. 😀
Decided to drive to Gatlainburg from my home in Ottawa Canada. It was great timing for fall colors. I’d never been to Gatlainburg before and was excited to see it and the Smokey Mountains.
More exciting though was discovering the Arrowmont school. This school is astonishing. Visit it at arromont.org, if you have any interest in art, craft and learning this is the place to be. The staff are so warm and welcoming, they bring in world-class instructors, feed you tons of fantastic food and are tireless promoters of the value of arts and crafts. Go to their site, look up their classes – you will be amazed. I fell in love with this place.
I was nervous about being an assistant and hoped I’d be good. Wanted to do a good job for Sherri and for our class of 10 students. We had a class of all women which was kind of cool! They were all so amazing, came from different backgrounds and were truly delightful to get to know. Sherri is a phenomenal teacher and I learned a ton watching her teach and seeing how she is with the students. It was a great opportunity for me to not be on the learning end in terms of the sculpture – but to get to learn and observe from a teaching perspective.
When the time came for me to help students it was so great! I love love loved helping them! I loved seeing them learn, seeing them create and watching their ideas come to life. It was great to see their confidence build and help them be successful. They all created such different sculptures and each and every one of them was fantastic. It was truly a room filled with talent and I’m sure they will all continue to do great work going forward if they choose – which I hope they will all continue with it.
There were a few other workshops going on at the same time as we were there, a paper making course, water color, photography, wood marquetry and a pottery class right next door. There was so much talent around the whole time, it was inspiring to see what the other courses worked on. Fun for us – the pottery class had a huge kiln outside our studio and they did a soda spraying technique which caused big flames to come out of the kiln. It was tremendously cool to watch!
As a bonus for me – when we had slow time or on the weekend I was able to work on concrete sculpture projects for myself. It was great to be able to use the facilities and Sherri’s awesome tools, as well – having a block of time just do work on sculpture and get messy without the responsibilities of home was incredibly freeing. I got going crazy on the weekend and carved a bunch of styrofoam like mad and created way more than I’d intended. But sometimes inspiration (or insanity) takes over.
I could write a novel about everything that happened and how wonderful it was. Believe me, writing just this abbreviated version has been a challenge but don’t want to make an endless blog. Wish I could express how much I cherished this opportunity, how thankful I am to have had it, but it feels like nothing I could say expresses it enough. I thank Sherri Warner Hunter to the moon and back for this. She’s amazing and generous with her time and knowledge – if you’re interested at all in sculpture – consider taking a course from her, you will learn so much! She’s here on wordpress – you can find more info on her workshops at: https://swhartstudioinc.wordpress.com/workshops-events/
If you’re interested in any other kind of arts & craft, look up Arrowmont’s schedule for 2018. They’ve got a drool-worthy list of workshops available. Wish I could live there and take a gob of courses myself!