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08 December 2013

John C. Campbell - "Creating Picture Books" Wrap-up


This past week I had the great pleasure of teaching "Creating Picture Books" at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina (sort of like camp for adults in the thick of the Appalachians). I teach this class once a year, but must admit, I had the most fun ever on this trip.
     The classes this go-round were extended to four-day rather than three-day classes and that made all the difference in the world for mine class. The pace was more relaxed. My students got to make an actual book dummy, which was enormous help for their writing. And I wasn't so tired at the end of each day, I actually partook in some local fun.
     One night, we did wreath-making in the main house's ballroom (I use this term lightly). Staff brought in yards and yards of greenery and berries picked from all over the mountain campus, and we went to work fitting it onto wreath forms. (Here's Michelle putting together her wreath.) There was music, laughter, and hot chocolate. What a great way to get in the holiday spirit!
     The next night a few of us went to dinner in a small Italian restaurant, Antica Roma Cafe, in downtown Murphy, North Carolina (just down the road). It was during a holiday celebration in town - Santa was there. And we had some of the best gelato I've ever tried. Then we went back to Brasstown, where all the stores and galleries (about five total) stayed open late. Hot buttered rum was served, and there were as many folks just hanging out as there were shopping. How fun!
     I had the smallest class I've ever taught at John C, just three dedicated students, but we had a great (and intense) class. Their experience ranged from beginner to expert and they all ended up with tight, and greatly improved manuscripts. (The owner of Harvest on Main in Blue Ridge, Georgia was among them—a professional writer.) Still, picture books are their own unique art form and we all learned bunches. (I was reminded how much I love the medium as I had time to read lots of examples to the class with the extra time we had.)
     The weather is always changing up there, and is always stunningly beautiful as clouds or fog roll in over the mountaintops - changing the view from our studio every moment. What a wonderful place, what a wonderful time.
     Here are my students with their dummies—Ellen, Sam, me, and Michelle.
     And here are their mini-dummies (the acordian-folded items) and their full dummies, which they did a truly fabulous job on.

     SO PROUD!!
     And although I couldn't stick around this year, Sunday was the annual "Fireside Sale" at John C - where I usually do all my holiday shopping. (The Alpaca socks are the BEST!) Maybe you'll join me next year?
     Read about previous classes here:
2012 class
2011 class
2009 class
2008 class

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