“Creative Heaven” is the only way to describe this September’s New Works session at Haystack School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine. Anyone who has ever taught at this idylic craft school along the Maine coastline can add their name to the lottery for a spot in the 3-day session. Participants are sumpuously fed, housed, and welcomed to work in any studio they wish. Some artists continue work on ongoing projects; others try completely new media.
I decided to forsake my usual work with books and paper to try my hand at metalworking on both a small and large scale. I set up shop in the Small Metals studio to make some jewelry bezels, then was given a welding lesson in the Metals and Blacksmithing shop. I also sat in on one writing session conducted by Alison Hawthorne Deming, who managed to get a whole group of visual artists creating poetry. It’s amazing how much work is done in such a short space of time, but with no chores or distractions, artists can concentrate exclusively on their work. Plus, the social exchange that takes place in the studios, over meals, and in the evenings after dinner is one of the most rewarding aspects of the whole experience.