Haystack Decompression

by laurie jane kern on July 3, 2011

It has been almost a week since I have returned from The Haystack Mountain School of Craft and I find that it is hard for me to organize, into words, all the experiences I had.

Where does one begin:
The metals class I attended;
The other classes during the session;
The people I met;
The art I was privileged to see;
The school and staff at Haystack;
The nature I was able to enjoy;
It was all so, so, so..

Let me start with the Metals class I participated in.

Myra is a really down to earth teacher and certainly let everyone in the class know we were there to have fun. Every day (M-F) of the first week there was a lecture demo in the morning which would finish up just a lunch time. After lunch we were encouraged to “move metal” using the technique discussed earlier in the day. After dinner each night from 8:00pm until 9:00pm, there was a lecture by the teachers, teaching assistants, and school personnel discussing their work.  The workshops were always open so after dinner and/or after the lecture you could go back  to the workshop and work some more, which I did most nights and  I usually finished up around 10:00 pm and went to bed by 11:00pm.

On the first day, we all introduced ourselves - names, what we "do" [read that as day job], our background with metal, and what we hoped to get from the course. In the class there were 11 students, Barb the teaching assistant and of course Myra.  Almost every other student had B.A's, B.F.A's, or M.F.A's - or were working on them. Several of the students were also working artists which made me not only the only student without a formal arts education, I was the only one not working in the arts.   I had come to learn and focus my attention on the techniques, it really did not matter what everyone else's background was.

Over the 2 weeks that I was at Haystack, we covered the following topics: sinking and raising;  cylinders and cones;  lapped and keyed seams; anticlastic, synaclastic, spiculums, and other shell forms; plannishing;spouts, handles and decking; wire rimming, hot forging spoons and other flatware;  and various other random subjects.

In the end, it was one of the best experiences I could have had. My sinking and raising skills greatly improved. I learned how to set a base and true up my piece. I learned how to make shell forms, and I realized that I need to practice and improve my soldering skills so I don't spend so much time cleaning up my work.  BUT I also learned some advanced techniques using a flex shaft to accomplish that as well. I learned how to make handles and spouts and a spoon - even though I did not make these specific items.

My head is buzzing with ideas but here are pictures of my work. [Click on a picture to get a larger view and see the added text, then you can scroll forward through them all]

I ended up taking quite a lot of pictures,  and those not related to my metal work will be posted over on Kernology for you to view. Look at the blog post(s) over there and in the pictures area [I have yet to do that if you don't see it right away]

laurie jane kern

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

laurie jane kern July 12, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Thanks, I went there thinking that 2 weeks of hammering would improve my skills and it certainly did. I want to go back!

Suzanne July 11, 2011 at 12:30 am

Jealous, jealous, jealous! The pieces look fabulous and the skills you came away with are priceless.

Barbara July 3, 2011 at 3:07 am

You’ve made some wonderful pieces. Love the hammered bowl. It just makes me want to pick it up and cradle it. You obviously enjoyed your experience at the Haystack Mountain School and I know from experience what a buzzing with ideas head feels like. It’s a challenge to try to get them all on paper — because if you don’t they fly in and fly out.

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