It seems silly that I still don't have the words to best describe my experience at Penland School of Craft in late May/early June. It was, after all, not even one week spent 'on the mountain' in North Carolina. How could such a small amount of time be so profound?
The people. The reason I went was because of Sarita Westrup, the teacher of my sculptural basketry workshop. When she was on the roster back in January, I knew I wanted to attend. I've admired Sarita's work from afar for a long time, but Sarita *in person* is such a gift. She is a ray of sunshine, as generous with her teaching as with her laughter and serious about her art and the story it tells. And her teaching assistant, SR LeJeune (Sarah Rose), was another gift in the studio - a certified basket genius, but clearly a genius beyond baskets. Between the two of them, our studio was led with heart, warmth, support and kindness and it was just lovely.
Kindness attracts kindness, and laughter attracts laughter. The 12 of us who found our way to the workshop were equally eager to learn and make -- who could ask for a better cohort in this kind of intense learning experience? It felt like we so enjoyed just being there that we could laugh when things weren't working the way we'd hoped, celebrate others' successes, easily ask for help. We worked in the studio from early in the morning to very late at night, and in that time you can learn a lot about the people you're surrounded with. Small talk fades away fast and deeper sharing can take place.
When I got back home, I felt incredibly sad. Surprisingly sad. It hit me hard that I wouldn't be joining this crew to make more the next week. It felt like we had so much more to do and say and enjoy with each other. We'd just gotten started. That's the thing - we learned so much in such a short period of time, and then we had to take it away for our own personal exploration. I thought I liked working alone, but it can get awfully quiet.
There's so much more to say about the entire experience. TBD, maybe more to come about the basket-making, the food and dorm-living (a central theme to the Penland experience), and so much more that seems to make everyone light up when you mention Penland.
I can’t wait to see what everyone in our crew does next - I’m cheering for team baskets!
yarns and snippets is a little corner where I'll share some writing, recording my story in a way that's more comfortable for me - long form over social media. so, a bit of a journal and a record of my work, workshops, markets and weaving and knotting journey.