Monday, May 4, 2009

Tales from the Tennessee Woods

My trip to Arrowmont was a great adventure from the plane ride in to the plane ride out. When I was snailing down the aisle of the plane at LAX and approaching my row, a man stood up and asked me if I wanted to change seats. I hesitated until someone in a first class seat said "Just say yes!" So I took a leap of faith (not much on the line after all) and said sure.  Well, it turns out that the man who wanted to sit in my assigned seat (never found out why) was in First Class!!! So I got the royal treatment all the way from L.A. to Charlotte, NC! I ate quiche with real silverware on real china plates with real cloth napkins! What an experience. 

Gatlinburg via Planetware

From Charlotte I flew to Knoxville and then met a driver who drove the rest of the way to Gatlinburg. He was soo charming. Told us how he was born in a log cabin just a few miles from Gatlinburg, yes - he knows Dolly and she's a wonderful gal, shared his surprising political outlook (voted for Obama), and was a wonderful tour guide in general. Instead of taking the highway, he drove the scenic route through the forrest and even though night had fallen, it was just gorgeous.

Ripley's Aquarium in the Tennessee mountains, Believe It Or Not!

Sky Tram via Borderline Barbie

Then we arrived in downtown Gatlinburg. Oy Vey! Not exactly what I was expecting. I was picturing a sleepy town with a main street lined with historical architecture and one or two stop lights. What I saw was the Smokey Mountain version of Las Vegas or Hollywood Blvd!  If I wanted to see Ripley's Believe It Or Not or The Hollywood Wax Museum or the Hard Rock Cafe or a mile of neon lights - why did I leave home! Although it makes sense since Pigeon Forge, the home of Dollywood is just a few miles down the road - and I hear even more tourista'd out. 

Staff Quarters. I slept here!

Porch at the Staff Quarters via Borderline Barbie

But once on the grounds of Arrowmont, all that faded away and I was immersed in the glory of nature again. We were housed in a lovely building that had it's own living room and  10 or so small bedrooms, all very prettily decorated. I shared with Mary Ellin D'Agostino. 

I found the classroom I would be teaching in the next day and began to set up the tables and lay out the supplies. The facilities are spectacular. I'd love to teach there on a regular basis. Bit of a commute though.

Main building via Donya Stockton

My class, Little Altars, went really well. I had five students and they were all wonderful and made such lovely pieces. Unfortunately I ran out of camera batteries, so I have  no pictures. I was so proud of myself for remembering to bring the dang camera in the first place and it never occurred to me to check the battery life. Phooey.

The next day I took the second day of the Level Three class. Remember I made the box/inro pendant in preparation for that? Well now I needed to complete the other project, creating a setting for an un fireable stone. Man - there were some talented ladies in that class too! Must be something in the water. 

Metals Classroom via The Foundling
This is where the Level 3 was held

The following morning I was off! Back to the airport for the flight home. Drove through the lovely forrest again and had a sighting of a wild turkey!! So beautiful. All in all, a wonderful time was had by all. I met some lovely new friends, spent a very relaxing few days, and highly recommend the experience for all of you. If there's ever a workshop offered at Arrowmont that sparks your imagination - go for it. It's an experience to remember!


Karen Gill said...

Very interesting! Lovely photos.

Vickie Hallmark said...

Thanks for helping me visit Arrowmont vicariously! Someday I'll make it there for real.

Paige said...

I'm totally jealous. Arrowmont is definitely on my must do list.

wendy said...

Lovely piece that you finished! Thanks for all the great pictures!

Elaine said...

Ah, that brings back such fond memories. I did work study, cooked tofu for 60!

Any word on the possible sale of Arrowmont?

~ Lora Hart Jewels ~ said...

No sale! The sale fell apart and as far as I know Arrowmont is trying to gather the money to buy the property themselves. You can read more about it here.

~ Lora Hart Jewels ~ said...

Now that I re read the info at the link I gave, I think it may be out of date. But I'm sure it will be updated soon.

Nicola said...

What a beautiful place, the staff accomodation looks like a holiday retreat.
I wish I could win the lottery because that's where I'd like to live!
Nicola xx