Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Home from Folk School

I'm so glad I was able to finally experience the folk school after hearing about it for years. After the first day or two of rain, we had pretty beautiful weather. I especially love these gourds for nesting birds that are in different parts of campus.
There is art in the dining hall as well, including the new fabric banners above, weavings, a large quilt, stained glass, wood carvings, instruments, and so on. If only I had found the fruit bowls earlier in the week!
Mouse Town is not far from the studio I was teaching in. I've heard that it was even bigger before but that it looks curated, with less objects. There's even some ceramic cheese lower down against the side of a big wood shed.
The one accurate prediction from a friend was that it is beautiful. Aside from the natural beauty of the mountains, the landscaping was pretty gorgeous. My roommate taught the Greek cooking class, so she also clued me into a lovely herb garden across from the cooking studio. Campus is very walkable, but I was so focused on my class and didn't get enough sleep, so I never made it to all the studios. Of course I visited the brand new book & paper studio, but then ended up catching up with a colleague I haven't seen in years, so I never made it to the nearby woodturning and something else studios.
I had a lovely group of ladies in class who were so good about helping each other. The studio was just the right size and easy to work in. I had totally overestimated how much hanji we'd need, but hopefully in the end, everyone was satisfied with what they learned. Here's info on what I had planned.
Pattie was my hero, having booked me to sub in for a teacher who passed away this year, and took excellent care of all of my needs (from bringing me melatonin to driving my suitcase here and there, and showing up with whatever tools and supplies we needed). She's a very skilled basket maker, so twining was no problem for her. This is her first jiseung piece, a double-walled goblet.
Once I mentioned the steganography of shifu (writing a message on paper, slicing it into a continuous strip, spinning into thread, weaving into cloth, sewing into clothing, and clothing the messenger with it just to reverse the entire process by the receiving party), she got right into a birthday gift for her grandson. This is the message on gorgeous washi made just for shifu, after she sliced it.
Here is the thread she spun from the paper.
And the start of her weaving for him.
On my last morning, I walked out to the gardens that sustain the cooking class and probably some of us in the dining hall.
I hadn't seen any dogs on campus but dreamed about one after I got back home. Between exhaustion, I enjoyed myself, especially by being in a community of warm, friendly people. It's a beloved institution for good reason. Speaking of communities of people, an amazing author wrote about me here. I highly recommend his most recent book, The Adjunct Underclass. It came into my life at exactly the right time and helped me understand seismic shifts in our culture that have led to today. I feel much less alone, more informed, and inspired again to make the best of my life given the circumstances.

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