Saturday, October 11, 2008

First time at the Barn

Thank goodness I had Annette to direct me down so many two-lane roads. I'm not sure I can find it again, even after driving back and forth for 6 days. My usually good sense of direction abandoned me in Ohio.

The studio barn is separate from the house and a working barn. It's surrounded by trees, shrubs and vegetation. Expressions of artistic hands and eyes - sculpture, prints, and the arrangements of items – signify it as an artistic shelter and retreat.

The studio was already abuzz with activity. Everyone was setting up. With only half-an-hour before dinner, I focused on finding my place.

Some participants had reserved specific spots. After a quick glance around the room, I picked an empty corner. Good and bad. Everything was only a few steps away: exit door, kitchen, dining room, restrooms and stairs down to the wet studio. So everyone passed by. But no other workshop participant nearby. My closest neighbor, Denise, was there for independent study and Nancy would occasionally sit at the facing table for some paperwork. It was my quiet little corner.

We had great help setting up. Three men who did the heavy lifting, raised tables, located electrical, and just made sure everybody and everything was okay. Nancy's husband and son were among them.

After supper, all the key players – Nancy, her husband, John Stitzlein, her son Nathaniel Stitzlein, the wet studio instructors Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan, and the chef Margaret Wolf, introduced themselves, laid down the rules and outlined time frames. Then we, the workshop participants, got a minute to introduce ourselves.

John encouraged us to take walks around the farm – in its fall glory: leaves turning color and trees loaded with red apples. The weather during the week was just perfect with some crystal clear days, gorgeous cloud formations, and even some very light sprinkles. Temperatures were still warm with just a hint of winter. Little did I know he meant that day. Heavens, no time later!

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