Haystack school to hold winter workshops

Posted Jan. 19, 2011, at 6:04 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:52 a.m.

Haystack Mountain School of Crafts

in Deer Isle closes its unheated campus for the winter, but beginning this month, the school will be offering for the first time a series of three workshops at its Center for Community Programs in Deer Isle Village.

“Our campus is about seven miles out [from the village],” said Haystack Development Director Ginger Aldrich. “It’s pretty remote, and people come to the campus for a retreat setting. We were finding we really wanted to connect to the community members more.”

Poet Wes McNair, visual artist Barbara Putnam and book artist Rebecca Goodale will be leading one- and two-day workshops for adults.

“We’ve had a great response from people around the state,” said Aldrich.

The winter workshops were filled two weeks after the announcement, the attendees chosen through a lottery system. At the end of each workshop, the instructor will give an informal presentation that’s free and open to the public.

Haystack’s Center for Community Programs was established in 2007. The heated and winterized building allows the school to hold exhibitions and workshops year-round. Past programming has ranged from events for high school students to exhibitions by internationally renowned artists.

“I think this is a work in progress in terms of how we use this space in the winter,” said Haystack Director Stuart Kestenbaum. “This is the first time we’ve offered a general workshop to the Maine community outside the ones we do at the Haystack campus.”

About a year ago, Haystack staff members started thinking seriously about holding a series of winter workshops and started applying for grants. By summer, the program was supported by funds from the Maine Community Foundation’s Hancock County Fund, the Quimby Family Foundation and Haystack’s Maine Programs Endowment.

All three instructors for the winter workshops previously have taught at the Haystack summer workshops.

Wes McNair of Mercer recently read his poems at the Library of Congress and was selected for a United States Artists Fellowship as one of “America’s finest living artists.” His workshop, “Poems That Inspire Poems: A Workshop in Free Verse,” will take place Saturday, Jan. 29, with a public reading at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28.

Barbara Putnam, Head of the arts department at St. Mark’s School in Massachusetts and a Deer Isle summer resident, will lead a drawing workshop Feb. 18-20. Participants will draw a large-scale still life made of fishing and marine equipment. An exhibition of the work will be on display at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20, with an informal talk by Putnam.

Book artist Rebecca Goodale of Portland is Faculty Director of the University of Southern Maine’s Book Arts at Stone House program. She will lead a workshop on various book structures on Saturday, Mar. 26, with a public talk at 7 p.m. Friday, Mar. 25.

The workshops cost $35 and class sizes will be 10-12 people.

“In terms of the scale of it, we wanted it to be an experience that in some ways mirrors what we do at the campus, which is an intensive workshop experience,” Kestenbaum said.

For information, visit the Haystack School of Craft website at www.haystack-mtn.org or call 348-2306.

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