Monday, November 16, 2009

A journey of the imagination...my week at John Campbell!


I am back from my fantastically inspiring trip to the John Campbell Folk School! It was a wonderful week of focused learning and creativity. It's amazing what you can accomplish with no distractions, chores, responsibilities or electronics!!!

My mom and I both took Kathryn Walmsley's Animal Pull Toys class. She inspired us with her beautiful craftmanship and dollmaking techniques. We learned how to make an armature with foam and wire from our sketches and then layer paperclay details on top of that. The best part for me was her instruction on painting. She uses very diluted acrylic paints brushed on in many layers to create depth and dimension. Then, she adds shadowing and accents with pastels. I cannot wait to get a set of pastels and incorporate them into my work. They add such a soft, wonderful quality.

Kathryn showing us her painting techniques...


Me working on my Cheshire Cat....


My mom sculpting a Boston Terrier, inspired by her own rescue dog, Louie...



In addition to our excellent class, we enjoyed delicious food....3 home cooked meals a day!!! Heaven!! The meals are served family style and allow you to get to know the other students. It is great fun to hear about the other classes (woodworking, blacksmithing, weaving, knitting, cooking, etc.) and enjoy people from all over the country...one lady came from Alaska and another one was visiting from Greece.

And in true cat lady fashion, I happened upon a homeless kitten one evening on my way back to class after dinner. I saw it running down a path crying and crying, so I grabbed a can of cat food out of my car and followed it until it finally stopped at a place on the campus called "Mouse Town" (very fitting, huh?). He was very scared and absolutely starving, so he gobbled up his shredded chicken. Long story short, in the next 48 hours, he was letting several of us pet him and was enjoying being fed all day long by the passersby. I went to Walmart and bought a carrier and a bag of kitten food, and during lunch on the last day, one of the students agreed to give him a home. I named him Campbell and packed him up that evening and sent him on his way! Thank goodness for a happy ending!!!

Little Campbell eating a meal at Mouse Town...



And voila! Here are a few photos of our completed animal pull toys!

Kathryn's exquisite bird sculpture....inspired by a Dr. Seuss character. She even made the tail feathers by felting wool roving.


Our fellow classmate's whimsical turtle and mermaid piece...


Mom's homage to her beloved Louie! And can you believe this is the first time she has EVER sculpted with paperclay????!!!! Unbelievable!


My version of the Cheshire cat!

10 comments:

Grace said...

Heartwarming post from top to bottom. So wonderful to hear the happy ending for the little stray.

But how about those creations by you and your mom? Your mom's is absolutely amazing and yours... well it's incredible, from that cute little heart nose and curly whiskers down to it's happy tail and those birds. Well, it's wonderful, every inch!

Pixie said...

those are just fabulous! And good on you for recusing that kitten...bet he could just sense what a good kitty heart you have!

Jenny Carter said...

Those are all incredible!!! I am so jealous, I would have loved to go to that class. Anyway, what a wonderful story about the kitty. I am so happy for a great ending. Poor thing. I need to keep food in the car..goo idea!

Ginny Diezel said...

Yeow! Oh! How I wish I had been there! Do share more with me when you have the opportunity! xoxo G.

Pepi said...

Mdre mia que montón de artistas os habeis reunido, son unos trabajos preciosos, pero tu gato me encanta, es divino, una delicia mirarlo, precioso. Bien aprovechadas las clases, siempre es bueno aprender, aunque tus creaciones siempre me gustan de cualquier manera. Besos.

Jill said...

Absolutely wonderful works of art from all of you! I love your Chessie cat & your mom's terrier is amazing, especially it being her first clay sculpture. What a lucky little black kitten to have YOU find him! I'd love to go to that school sometime! ~ Jill

The Creek Cats said...

Absolutely amazing work!! Your mom did an amazing job, wow!!! I would love to spend a week doing art with no distractions. Love your Cheshire Cat, great job!!

Bless you for finding little Campbell a new home, what a wonderful ending to a wonderful trip!

I always keep a stash of dry food and canned for situations like these. Most of the time I have a trap too. LOL

noodle and lou said...

of course you saved a kitten in the middle of your fabulous trip! you warm my little heart carrie!!!! truly!!

what a class...i am in AWE of your cat and can NOT believe that is your mom's 1st time using paper clay!!! what?! you guys are a super talented bunch:) xoxo

Shes Off Her Rocker said...

OMG! Amazing amazing post and work! yOur mom is so talented! I love the idea of the pastels too. What a fabulous time! I want to go!! What a cute kitty...so glad he was saved. Just love your finished piece, and all the others...talent evreywhere!

tammy smith said...

You're growing and growing as an artist, Carrie. Everytime I check in on you I see you doing something new and a bit different. And your mom's project---WOW! I can see where you get your artistic ability. That little cat was sent into your path for sure-you're their guardian angel.