A few years ago, I took an adult pottery class at a wonderful place in western Massachusetts called Snow Farm. For one weekend, I threw pots, learned about majolica glazing for hours and hours a day and spent time with other people who were just as enthusiastic as I was about craft. It was fabulous experience, one I hope to be able to do again. There are other places in the USA which offer this type of art and craft courses – Haystack and Penland School of Crafts come to mind.
The best part of this experience for me, as an adult, was the total immersion I was able to have in the craft – even if it was only for a weekend. I didn’t have to cook for anyone nor wash any dishes. I didn’t have to go anywhere in my car. I didn’t have to feed any animals. It was all about the craft, the materials, and spending time practicing and developing technique.
Yesterday, Julia and I went to Snow Farm to visit Olivia, my niece who is spending two fabulous weeks learning glass blowing and pottery along with about 60 other high school kids. Olivia has always been good with her hands – when she was very small, she loved to sort buttons by color. Then she spent a couple of years making miniature fimo sculptures and selling them at her church fair. Her dexterity and talent is amazing. She has knit and embroidered projects that have been photographed in my books. She is like a sponge who sucks all the knowledge out of whoever gives it to her. Then she perfects it to a T.
Olivia gave us a tour of her studios – both the glass blowing hot shop and the ceramics studio. Then we ate a picnic lunch under the trees. One of her friends toured us through the flameworking studio and metals shop. What a great facility of little studios full of all the supplies the students need!
I was envious of Olivia’s time there but I was also so proud of her. She decided to do this on her own and earned the money to go herself. She ventured to a new place where she knew noone. She is going to go home with a lot of finished projects. But it isn’t about the finished objects – it is about the time that she is spending experimenting and learning in a lovely atmosphere. And learning about how important it is to have a craft you can spend hours and days, years, and a lifetime, learning the process of creativity. I know Olivia will remember this experience for her entire life. How great for Julia and I to share a little glimpse into it!
I’m working on learning a relatively new craft this summer that I hope to be able to show you soon. What are you learning this summer? There is still time to gather your supplies and feed your creative spirit. Don’t let August slip away!
p.s. Snow Farm hosts adults most of the time. They do full week elderhostels too which includes knitting and other fiber crafts. Check out their website and you might find something new you might want to learn.