Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chasing Whimsy Part III: From New Hampshire to Tennessee and home again...

My solo adventure began the moment I left our cozy hotel room the Saturday evening after packing up my booth from SOAR. Michelle, Rita, and I all went to dinner at a little Irish pub. We thought it was a good idea until our food took what felt like years to come out to us. As if that didn't already make me run quite late indeed to get on my way, the thought of driving 16ish hours through the night was one that I was not too keen on. I was exhausted and felt much happier about sitting around chatting with Rita. She kindly pushed me out the door after an hour or so. Sometimes it is good when your friends aren't so subtle with you when you NEED to do something.

After a small fight with my borrowed GPS I was on my way. Barely 2 hours into the drive I was too sleepy to go on and slept in a McDonald's parking lot for a bit. Back on the road a few more hours and I could not go on yet again and stopped at a rest area for some much needed sleep.

Hours later and I'm running low on podcasts, McDonald's wifi to the rescue!

In the meantime, my good pal Mandy from college has called me to say that her and another friend are hanging out in Gatlinburg until I arrive so that we can hang out. Gatlinburg is CRAZY! It is like a mini Vegas with all of it's lights and tourist attractions, I felt like I was suddenly in another world, which was made even more strange the moment I pulled into Arrowmont School of Art and Craft which was a tiny incubated world in and of itself.
Joanna's sample pieces
The Red Barn, where I stayed

Entryway to the classrooms. My class was just to the left of this lovely fountain.

I quickly dropped my toolbox in the classroom where my classmates lingered long after the orientation I had missed, threw my bags in the room and met my roommates and was promptly whisked off the local brewery by Mandy and Dave.
 We had beer.
Did I mention it was happy hour?
mandy peering around the beers!
Lots of beer. mmmmmm... :D Much needed after that looooong drive.

There was an exhibit up from the Enamelist Society who had had a conference at Arrowmont not long before from what I understood. I snapped a few photos of my favorite pieces. Unfortunately they didn't have any cards for the actual artists out but the exhibit was really a treat.
awesome fold formed piece
loved the shadow in this piece
Enamelist Society Exhibit
The class was AWESOME Joanna Gollberg was my instructor and it was basically about trapping objects. I had soooo needed to get back in the classroom as a student. I felt like my work had become really stagnant so some new techniques and instruction were really great for stimulating my creativity. Joanna was such an amazing teacher and every single person in that class was just phenomenal. My roomies were super great and also happened to be in the class with me. Just being around so many different women allowing their individual styles to shine through using all of the same techniques that I was using was truly and experience. Despite being in the classroom and eyeballing everyone else's bench, I was in awe when we put everything out for some show and tell near the end of class.
our amazing classroom!
We even had a bear pop its head into the room! If you look at the picture below, we were all sitting around that front bench area for a demo when this when a not quite full grown black bear got a little bit curious. I think we may have startled it just as much as it did us because it took off immediately.
The bear came in in the door just to left of this photo!
Our last night at Arrowmont was one that I will not soon forget. I've never changed locations so many times in one evening but my favorite was probably the cantina across the street. I enjoyed a few Negra Modelo's and munched on some pretty awesome nachos with several of my classmates, including my two favorites who also happened to be my roomies.
My roomies and I :D
Fiber even managed to sneak back into my life during a week of metal. I came across a stack of business cards for the Smoky Mountain Spinnery which I visited on my last full day in Tennessee.  What a lovely shop it was! The owner was a very sweet woman who shares the space with an Angler shop so there was something for everyone. She carried lots of really unique items in her shop as well as several types of wheels. My favorite things that she had were handmade stuffed animal alpacas made from pelts. Their sweet expressions were so whimsical and hilarious and each one had its own fiber activity. One had a large dyepot it was stirring with blotches of the dye on its fur, another was knitting two socks at a time, tooooo cute! :D I really admired the owner for her eye and also for the fact that she told me she had started the shop all on her own with no loans or anything several years ago and still seemed to be going strong. If that isn't chasing some whimsy, I'm not sure what is.
Such a great trip. The ride back wasn't so bad, the fact that all of the views I had heading north were gorgeous certainly helped.
view from the hill I slipped down one night
   After two weeks away, I came home with 6 pieces that I was really happy with and a so many amazing experiences. I'm so fortunate to have friends all over the country that I am able to see when I travel and the opportunity to travel and meet so many new and incredible people. It makes you feel so much less alone as an artist and allows me to continue to know that I am chasing whimsy every day.
WIP on my bench
all my finished pieces

1 comment:

Jennifer Hepler said...

I love the look enameling. The pieces you created are so wonderful!