Eleanor on mon 22 may 00
As a matter of fact, I just got back from a week-long raku workshop
sponsored by Elderhostel. It was at Horizons, an art school located
on a former farm in Massachussetts north of Northampton (near Amherst
and Smith colleges).
This was a hands-on course: we made pots, hand-built and thrown; they
were bisqued in an electric kiln; we glazed, using the studio glazes;
we helped load the raku kiln, an outdoor gas-fired affair; we
monitored the cone; we removed the pots (and heard them crackle); put
the pots into sawdust, then water; we cleaned them up.
As an aside, we also did some terra sig in an overnight wood firing.
The teacher, Bob Greene from Vermont, is a professional potter,
specializing in raku. He was competent, patient, thorough and nice.
As an aging electric kiln hobbyist, I found the experience
enlightening and enjoyable. I know I'll never do raku--it's a whole
'nother discipline and there's too much smoke (for me).
Other courses were offered: watercolors; beads; enameling; rustic
furniture; photography. The teachers were all professional and good.
This was my first Elderhostel. People told me that other Elderhostels
are equally good. The participants were lively, experienced (like
me), or beginners---everyone learned something. You or your spouse
have to be 55; the accommodations vary from luxurious to roughing
it--the latter was the case at Horizons--the food was simple, superb
(and I'm a fusspot). It's not expensive.