Every year Betsy and I go on some kind of vacation together. Sometimes it’s a weekend trip to shop, see a play, and eat out. Other times it’s been as elaborate as a Caribbean cruise. For the past few years we have talked about going to an adult arts and crafts camp, but didn’t get beyond the research stage. As a teachers we both pride ourselves in also being a life-long learners, so the idea of spending a week at camp learning a new skill is right up our alley and the possibility of this as a vacation was never far from our minds. Because I love research, I periodically pulled out my laptop to see what kinds of opportunities were available. And you know what? If you can imagine it, it’s out there. Everything from baseball or fantasy rock star camps to music, dance, theater, and of course, crafting. So instead of posting this week the how-tos of a project, I decided to write about camp.
After hours of research and reading, I narrowed our choices down to two and sent the links to the camps to my sister to get her opinion. I was really excited about both options so I was on board either way. The two that made the final cut were the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina and the Interlochen College of Creative Arts in Michigan. Both camps offer a wide variety of classes, reasonable tuition prices, and have on-campus housing so it was a difficult decision to make–in fact, it was agonizing. So many choices so little time! Quilting, cooking, basket weaving, singing, media arts, glassblowing, wood crafting, dancing, jewelry making, metal working…you name it! After all the research and discussion we decided on Interlochen and made our adventure into a road trip.
Though a later post will have the directions for the shibori method of dyeing fabric we learned, this week I just wanted to write about the camp–so maybe it is a how-to, a how to have fun.
The Interlochen College of Creative Arts is a program for adults but is located on the same campus as their world-renowned music camp for children and adolescents. We were a little surprised to pull into the camp and see a sea of uniformed high school students heading toward one of the camp’s theaters for the evening’s concert. Though hundreds of music students roamed the campus, we were never inconvenienced or bothered by their presence. The rustic cabins available to rent were removed from the student cabins and even though we had our windows open all the time, it was never noisy. Because the camp has concerts almost every evening, the presence of all of these fine young musicians is actually a benefit.
Interlochen, as you might guess from its name, is located between two lakes–Green Lake and Duck Lake– and is just a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan. As you can see from the photos, it is a breathtaking location. It was unseasonably hot while we were there (and our cabin was not air conditioned!), but the evenings cooled off nicely. I didn’t take a photograph of our cabin, but though rustic, our cabin was clean, quiet, suited our needs. Hanging baskets of flowers decorated the outside along with a small park bench to give us some outdoor seating. Quite frankly, it was absolutely adorable. The cabin wasn’t air conditioned, but were knew that ahead of time and brought two small table fans. The cabin also had a large window fan and windows that easily opened on three walls, so it was very comfortable. Interlochen does have its own hotel and there are a few hotels in close proximity to the camp, but we chose to conserve our money on housing and use it for shopping. I don’t think either of us regret that decision.
The class we decided to take was silk dyeing. This art is something neither of us had ever tried so it was a good choice for us. We both started as complete novices and learned basic to advanced shibori dyeing methods. As usual, my sister was better at than I am, but I still had so much fun!
Our instructor was great and the class size was small. After the three-day course, I left feeling very confident that I could continue to dye fabrics on my own.
Here are some general pictures I took during the class–kind of a preview of the how-to post that is to come.
There are so many different shibori methods, and these pictures show just a small number. The class gave us a chance to try half a dozen different techniques, learn from our mistakes, and try again. Our instructor was so patient with us and willingly gave us individual help and instruction–and tips to fix our errors. The other students in the class were supportive and creative, making this an all around great experience.
Each day we both were able to complete two projects each using different methods. At the end of the three-day workshop we each had six silk scarves, knowledge of how to dye fabric, and the enthusiasm to want to try more.
We had so much fun on our crafting adventure. Interlochen wasn’t our only stop–maybe I’ll write about our other stops another time. Wherever you live and whatever your interests, I’m sure there is a camp just for you. Start your own research, plan an road trip, and have a grand adventure. You won’t regret it!