Ideas / turning beads

Stories at Arrowmont

In July I had the opportunity to attend a woodturning class at Arrowmont (as I mentioned in a previous post about turning wood platters).  I loved the whole experience.  Breathing woodturning from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30p.m (minus breakfast, lunch and dinner) for almost an entire week was energizing and captivating.

The school is located in Gatlinburn, TN but you would think you are far, far away from the noisy main street of Gatlinburg.  Everyone breathes art and creativity on the campus.

This is best illustrated by the story of the staircase in Hughes Hall.

We were residents on the third floor Hughes Hall — much like a college dorm.  Using the stairwell (no elevators) was warm and stuffy, but on the ledge just above the second floor door a story unfolded.

Arrowmont blue grit ballAt first, there was just a blue grit ball.  I saw it the first night and thought someone had dropped it, tired after the first day in the workshop.  Likely the next person along picked it up and placed it on the ledge in the stairwell.

Arrowmont blue grit ball

The next day, there was a clay creature next to the blue grit ball.

By the evening a second clay creature had arrived and it appeared that the configuration of the items was changing each time  I passed them. A  third clay creature joined the ensemble for a short time.

I contributed some wood.  I’d meant to turn a wood mushroom, but it was going to take precious time away from the platters and bowls I was turning and so the mushroom did not fully evolve.  But the story did.

Each trip on the Hughes Hall stairwell rendered a different version of the story.  It seemed there was an entire tribe of artists traveling the stairwell and each one had opportunity to change the story.  Truly interactive mixed media.

What else could you expect from Arrowmont!

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