Sunday, June 17, 2012

Shakerag, Sewanne, TN 2012

St.Andrews Prep School, Sewanne

First day of class-clean tables and blank spaces
I just returned from teaching a one week collage/paint workshop in Sewanee, Tennessee at Shakerag.  Held for just two weeks every June at St. Andrews, a small  private prep school, Shakerag is tiny operation in the world of arts & crafts workshops. Because the school is a boarding school during the academic year, Shakerag students and faculty are fed and housed at the school, and the classes are held in their classrooms. The food is spectacular, often local and organic. All of the bread for the meals is provided by a local wood fired bakery, as well as the coffee coming from a local roaster.  The students are fanatically loyal, coming back year after year for the classes offered.
Alice George's Artist book/paint and collage with her poems
Kathy Loisel's workspace
My class was about learning how to combine paint and collage.  There were 15 students in the class--a combination of different types of artists with most being women (we had one man in the class).  Students worked in many ways, but with the commonality of using paint(either oil, gouache, or acrylic)and some kind of collage media.  One student constructed a book from large sheets of water color paper, halved the sheets, bound them, then painted and collaged onto the surfaces, finishing off by adding her poems using an acrylic transfer technique.
Ami Cole working
The class was a rowdy bunch, working late into each night.  Each morning when I would come into class I would be astounded by what had transpired during the night, along with a constant stream of references and jokes hatched the night before. On the last day we had a critique, each student putting up their three best pieces to be talked about.  The student whose work was being critiqued was only allowed to listen--a fly on the wall-as we discussed the merits and problems presented by their pieces.
Teaching is an enormous pleasure for me, and I left Shakerag pleased with what we had accomplished.  I felt refreshed and revitalized from the lush landscape, the wonderful food, and the generous and hardworking students I had worked with, as well as the community of like minded people that I was part of for the week--perhaps as close to artist's heaven as we get.

McLeod Tumer examining work before the critique

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