Arrowmont Redux

Karen Hardy –  Jake Weigel

I’ve been trying to find the best way to show some of the work that happened at Arrowmont. Everyone in the class gave me permission to post their work, but there are hundreds of photos.

Linda Kossmann – Martha Olson

I tried narrowing it to one photo each, and that was a shame, so instead, I’ve made an album with at least two photos of each person’s work. The album is here, but it is still only a tiny, tiny portion of what was made.

Cathy Mills – Josephine Faulk

Some folks focused intently on one or two projects, others on a larger project with multiple components, and others experimented wildly; to me, that mix makes an incomparably satisfactory class, an exciting, vibrant one.

Summer Carmack – Kelly McGrath

If you click on an image in the album, you can see a progression of images with the artists’ names.  Betsy Patten was working on what will become her Senior Project installation this fall at George Mason University, an undersea environment. Recent grad (soon to be full-time faculty) Naomi Adams experimented freely, as did Kelly McGrath, using multiple techniques alone and in combination; so did Cathy Mills, Noel Tillman, Martha Olsen and Josephine Faulk, who were all making individual transitions from 2D to 3D (Josephine made the. best. stuffed. armature. I have seen to date).  Sculpture grad Jake Weigel made multiple structures as well, many by combining steel wool and overbeaten abaca, some containing magnets.  Summer Carmak made vessels, concentrating on a large teapot; Linda Kossman also made a large and lovely vessel and some smaller works, embellished with materials she’d brought along.  Karen Hardy, a grad from University of the Arts, worked diligently on her ‘spores’ and their environment (which, you know, I just have to love) and BFA student Emma Roeder delighted us all by making a beautiful, resonant kalimba with the cooperation of the wood and metals studios (as well as a group of oddly charming insects).  Lovely, hardworking Heather LG Bella actually was able to find time to make multiple experiments as well, and even I got a few projects started during the final two days. It was, as I say, a stellar experience. I thank everyone at Arrowmont, but especially the fantastic folks in the class, for making it so.  Enjoy the wee sampling of their work!

Below, top: Betsy Patten – Noel Tillman; bottom: Naomi Adams, Emma Roeder


My hat’s off to Karen Green for her lovely installation of 18 copies of (S)Edition!

After a follow-up session with 2/3 of the class (three folks were working as Studio Assistants at Arrowmont, and one had already left) and two margaritas with my fellow instructors and a lot of other Arrowmonters, I packed up my room, loaded the car, got a good night’s sleep, had one last Arrowmont breakfast, hit the road and drove all day with a couple of stops just to get the kinks out; and Paul had a late dinner waiting when I got home last night …perfect!

Two-thirds of us Friday evening – before margaritas!

I’m back in Chicago for 10 days, with lots and lots and lots on my plate to be accomplished during that time!  The Swiss Army Subaru is not even unloaded yet.  I do have to say (and I’m saying it over and over) that my experience at Arrowmont was: stellar.  Tonight or tomorrow, I’ll sort through all the photos and show you some of the fantastic work that was made in the class.

But first I want to introduce you to my new, photo-based blog (yes, I am insane): MakerCentric, where I’ve already posted some of the highlights from Arrowmont.  I’ll let the blog explain itself; subscribe if you think it’s something that interests you.

I’ll be back here very soon with the promised art images: you will be absolutely delighted.  I was!

Below: we had to be out of the studios by 6pm and we were.  I returned to photograph a few extra things for MakerCentric at 6:10, and this is what I found. Ha! (The next class in the studio begins tonight).

Arrowmont Energy!

SO much happening!  No real time to write about it though; our studio at Arrowmont is buzzing, hopping, jumping, a hive of incredible pulpy energy with literally hundreds of projects and experiments happening everywhere; we’ve had to expand into a second room.  I am loving it!  Here are a few inadequate shots (not much time to remember to pull out the camera, either); watch this space for names and (I confidently predict) amazing final results soon.

Day one…

Day two…

…and here’s one Day 3 sample – and more here. And this is just a wee sampling.

…and its opposite.

You’d never guess what’s out there beyond that wall…

Today was my first full day at Arrowmont.  Things went a wee bit haywire before I left; I’d originally planned to leave Thursday afternoon and spend the night with friends in Indianapolis, but that didn’t happen, so I drove here in one go Friday.  And, due to the  haywire-ness, I’ve had to cancel two visits to old friends that had been planned for ages, while wending my way between here and Women’s Studio Workshop. Instead, I’ll immediately return to Chicago for 10 days to take care of business.

Yesterday’s drive should have taken just under 10 hours but took well over 12, due to a chunk of 1-75 that was missing (looked like might have slid down the mountain) outside of Knoxville, and then worse: driving through Pigeon Forge on a Friday evening.  I can’t even begin to explain; I’m trying to forget.  But we are in Dollywood Territory, and what that has become is INSANE.  Giant ‘attractions’ that look like half of the Titanic, packed in next to thousands of others like enormous King Kong figures with glowing red eyes, popping flashing animated signs everywhere, Shark Attack!, fake mountains obscuring the real ones, and traffic to rival a Chicago rush hour. Gatlinburg, which I remembered as a sleepy little mountain town from way back in time, is now like Pigeon Forge’s even cheesier sideshow. I am so, so very sad for the dignity of the beautiful, haunting Smoky Mountains themselves. But when you turn in the driveway to Arrowmont, suddenly, you are in a small peaceful haven, a different universe. One step out, though, and it is immediate, total tourist hell and there are multitudes, thronging the sidewalks, choking the roads. Food everywhere; none of it real. Corn dogs, fudge, taffy, deep-fried Oreos. I actually ate at a Subway, because at least they had a tub of squashed avocados, some shredded lettuce and flabby pink tomato slices, the only vegetables I saw.

One of those dormers is mine.

But tomorrow night, Arrowmont begins feeding us; most of the instructors and students will arrive during the day. Somehow, I had it in my head that classes began at 9am on Sunday; no.  There’s a short session at 7:30 pm. and it all really starts on Monday. I’ve met 4 of the folks in my class; 3 are working here. And friend Kerri is here, working for six weeks, getting a show ready!  Sweet!  So is the little Valley / Voith beater: it overbeat abaca beautifully in just 3 ½ hours today; perfect shrinkage and translucency. With luck, I might not have to go back out that driveway till I’m headed home.