One of my more enjoyable learning experiences was my three trips to John C Campbell Folk Art School in Brasstown, North Carolina. This is a serious college to teach folk arts. You spend most of the week on campus enrolled in a class. My first class was a watercolor class over 20 years ago. Then I did woodcarving, good thing there was a Doctor in the class, and finally a dulcimer playing class. Leah took two classes in basket making and one in dulcimer playing with me. John C Campbell is a site on the Craft Trail so they have a lot of visitors who are free to see what is happening in the classes. So if you are in the area make sure to visit. Most people spend 8 to 10 hours a day in their class making their project. At the end of the week there is a show of all the work produced which the general public attends. Then there is a big jam that evening by local musicians and visiting musicians. They have a great gift store stocked by local crafts people. They are famous for the Brasstown wood carvers. They have a museum stocked mostly by donations from their famous students. They generally have a short performance everyday by their artist in residence, and there are three field trips to craft studios. We saw an instrument maker, a wood turner, raku firing, blacksmith, etc., and you are free to visit the other classes to see what is being done. The area has become a craft colony with local stores owned by the crafts people selling their wares. They have discovered UPS ships anywhere so they can sell their wares anyplace. And it is an old farm and incredibly green and beautiful. You can get a catalogue from them with their class schedule. Gardening, cooking, painting, weaving, art, blacksmithing, basket making, knitting, jewelry making if it’s a folk art, they teach it with well known teachers. These are two of the watercolors I did over 20 years ago. I really want to go back. I wasn’t as serious an artist back then. But I still do watercolor.
As many of you may know I am self taught meaning I have no college degrees in art. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t had art teachers. In the next few posts I’m going to share some of my more enjoyable learning adventures in art. A great treasure in LA County is St. Andrews Abbey in Valyermo. They have Artists Retreats twice a year. Not much instruction but a wonderful, peaceful, beautiful place to make art and meet other Artists. I am fortunate to have gotten to go to one. I am signed up for the one in November but it was moved from the Spring one because of the Virus. They are the home of the famous ceramics. A wonderful used book store and a gift shop. You do not have to be Catholic to go but you do have to obey rules like silence for part of the day, no pets, no drugs, etc. You are welcome to attend Mass or not. The food is wonderful and you eat with the Monks and Priests. The Bobcat fire parted and went around leaving it unscathed but heavily burned around it. The Devils Punch Bowl was burned completely. You in the past could go from the Abbey there to paint and draw. It always sells out so if COVID ever leaves us sign up early if you want to attend. And it is very reasonable. Sharing two sketches I made.