With the goal of researching ideas and acquiring new skills in support of my enamel jewelry design work, this summer I had the opportunity to travel to Deer Isle, Maine to participate in a two-week intensive workshop on enameling with renowned artist Jamie Bennett. Jamie’s course focused on experimenting with painting on enameled copper using over-glaze china paints to create wearable works of art.
Jamie Bennett’s work is known for its meticulous use of color and his interpretations of nature that combine historical reference and contemporary explorations. Bennett is a Professor of Art in the Metal Program at the State University at New Paltz. Bennett’s work is the subject of a monograph, Edge of the Sublime, The Enamels of Jamie Bennett, published by Hudson Bay Press, which accompanies a retrospective exhibition of his work that traveled to six museums nationally through 2010.
From the interesting people you meet, to the talented instructors and their passionate support of craft traditions, to the glorious ocean setting, Haystack is an inspirational and life changing place. Yes – working in the studio all day (and into the evening) proved to be exhausting, however it was incredibly rewarding and a luxury I never have at home. It enabled me to hone my process and see new connections between familiar ideas and techniques – my work has grown tremendously.
Each summer at craft schools around the country, diverse communities of beginner to advanced artists gather in non-competitive environments to develop craft skills and nurture the creative spirit. Taught by national and international practicing studio artists and university faculty, craft schools like Haystack enable artists to question their preconceived ideas, reassess their work, and challenge themselves to experiment in unfamiliar artistic territory.
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts is an international craft school located on the Atlantic Ocean in Deer Isle, Maine. Hugging the rugged coastline, the campus was designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, and added to the National Historic Register in February 2006. The school offers intensive studio-based workshops in a variety of media including clay, glass, metals, paper, blacksmithing, weaving, and woodworking.