Monday, August 8, 2016

Art on a Different Farm-- Fletcher Farm

Last summer I began teaching at a very special venue in Vermont, Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts.
Fletcher Farm reminds me of the summer camp my sister and I went to in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania for a couple of summers. I learned to swim and shoot and make lanyards and do ceramics. We were strictly segregated from the boys’ side of the camp but they could have been on the other side of the moon for all I cared--at the still innocent age of 11. We all ate in a big dining hall with a lofty ceiling and after lunch went off for boating or crafts or nature hikes. Some nights we got to stay up late and sneak off on a trip to the local hamburger place up the road, accompanied by our counselors.

So, if you’re nostalgic for a simpler time when the world outside seems far away—even just for a few days—Fletcher Farm is the place to be. Established as a family farm in 1783, it’s been run as a foundation since 1948 dedicated to teaching craft skills, both old and new, to children, teens and adults. My own medium—polymer clay—is one of the newest, although my friend Lisel Crowley teaches precious metal clay classes. The offerings run the gamut from rug hooking and ceramics, to traditional jewelry making, basketry, watercolor and folk art painting. Classes begin in late June and run through August and there are even some in fall and winter—here’s the link-- . The classrooms are in rustic buildings scattered around the spacious campus, some cottage-y and some in old barns, with a a beautiful post and beam ceiling in the dining hall.
I had two classes there this year—one for my new polymer veneer technique and another for that technique paired with forged wire. The students were all enthusiastic and a few were well-versed in polymer and wire-working techniques, so we could just get on with the business of making things and having the life-changing experience of seeing the creations of our hands come to life. Below is a selection of their work. Thank you, my wonderful students!

Forged wire and polymer veneer earrings by Marti A.
Polymer veneer elements for pendants by Wendy K.
Earring elements by Anne P.
Necklace elements by Marti A.
Polymer veneer elements by Anne P.
Polymer veneer pendant by Marti A. - forged wire and metallic
Anne P. working in The Corn Crib at Fletcher Farm