Yesterday was a terribly rainy day. Mid-afternoon, I opened my classroom door to the outside and looked towards the hills to the west. The trees are a juicy green now and a little bit of a misty fog hung over them. It looked like June 2004, Penland School of Craft. I haven't set foot in North Carolina since then.
I was 37 when I went to Penland. I went to take a class called "Spinning, Carving, Paring" taught by Dan Essig, Jim Croft and Shanna Leino. I have not seen any of the three of them since then either. I got there on a scholarship, with a recommendation from the mack daddy, Dan, himself. I did not belong there. I was not 22. I was not trying to decide between RISD and SCAD. I was married and, therefore, not interested in the cute guy teaching iron. I am not a vegetarian. I don't have my BFA. I have kids. I spent most of the two weeks I was there asking myself what I was doing there.
I had the full support of my husband. He and the girls were fine. I felt stupid and old. There were four students in the class older than me, but they were old enought not to care, like 50 or 60-something.
Dan, Jim and Shanna - geniuses, all three. Convicted of their work, passionate, brilliant. They are my book icons, idols, heroes. I know I will never be there. They see clearly and communicate. I am working thru smugded glasses with one eye shut and I haven't learned my whole language yet. I am 40.
This is one of the forty-two books I made during the two weeks at Penland.