Category Archives: Arrowmont Notes

News from Boxes and Lockets Workshop at Arrowmont

This has been a mind-spinning week of wonderfulness, and it’s only Wednesday. Whoops, it’s Thursday now! The hours keep dripping away. I’ve been in class or in open studio for, oh, I guess about 45 hours so this week. Yeah. And you know what? I couldn’t be happier. I am learning from a master – John Cogswell – here at the Arrowmont School in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Mr. Cogswell is a consummate jewelry and metal artist, instructor, illustrator, author, and showman. His perpetually sold-out classes are extremely well organized, rich with information, and just plain fun. He teaches at State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz,  and is taking his spring break by doing what, what’s that? Yep, teaching again – at Arrowmont.

Class is a real treat for me and about 13 other lucky participants. We are learning how to make boxes and lockets – a set of difficult techniques for any jewelry maker or metalsmith.  Each morning begins with John standing on a chair in front of a huge chalkboard, writing copious notes peppered with brilliant technical illustrations. We students groan as we get our pencils sharpened for another lengthy note taking and illustration-copying session – no handouts allowed!

But it’s all in good fun, and the fun is just beginning. Every day brings literally dozens of new techniques to learn, interspersed with tall tales, jokes, and sweet family memories. Learning how to score a perfectly straight and true line on a slippery smooth sheet of metal is just as hard as it sounds. Metal must be scored several times just to make a basic fold for the wall of a metal box. That is only one technique of many, and an easy-ish one at that. But John’s instructions are patient and thorough, and he imbues the space with possibility. Each student is infected with the desire to do their best. For John and also for themselves. This is the hallmark of a truly gifted teacher.

Lest I overwhelm you with additional technical box-building details, I shall post a few pics instead.  They are taken as the work sits atop my workbench. You can see a portion of my notes and sketches from those morning note-taking marathons. At this point, I’m a little behind on my box but am hoping to make up some time tomorrow. The possibility for wonderfulness exists there. Or maybe tomorrow is today….

Nancy's Benchtop
Benchtop Photo
Benchtop Photo #2
Benchtop Photo #2

First Post From Arrowmont

Nancy Lee at ArrowmontRolled into Arrowmont in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, on Wednesday evening – happy and tired.  Current Studio Assistant extraordinaire Justin greets me with an, “I’m sorry I can’t take you to your dorm, I’m doing a slide show in the auditorium right now, but let me tell you where it is and if you have a problem finding it, please come get me.” No worries, Justin. Found dorm, settled in and got fed.

On to Turtle Hollow Gallery!

A few days to call my own before my real duties begin will allow for some sightseeing. Where to go? A great place to start is the Gatlinburg Craft Map. My friend Wug Laku and I separately selected the same location from the craft map. It seemed we were on the same wavelength regarding Turtle Hollow Gallery, located on the 8-mile loop of artist studios and galleries. We were drawn in by the tiny picture in the brochure and the description of the work there.

Lady at Turtle Hollow
Metal Sculpture by Ross Markley at Turtle Hollow
Cactus at Turtle Hollow
Cactus Sculpture at Turtle Hollow

An oasis of peaceful, well-designed beauty greeted us as the car rolled in to the gravel drive. The gallery sits in an amazing complex with other buildings, all designed by Ross Markley of Turtle Hollow. There is much to take in before ever setting foot inside one of the galleries. The exterior spaces were all designed and built by Ross Markley and peppered with his sculptural work, and must be experienced on their own. Beauty is abundant here.
Gallery Manager and fused-glass artist Kitty greeted us and showed us around the gallery, proudly letting us know that one of Ross’  sculptures had been on display at the Louvre.
Kitty’s glass work is the best example my companion, Wug, and I had ever experienced. Her sense of composition in her work, her color selections and designs were elegant and cool, yet playful and approachable. The gallery also represents work from several other artists, including detailed botanical paintings, drawings and etchings from nature artist Andrea Wilson, functional and sculptural ceramics, gorgeous wind chimes, jewelry, gourmet teas and more.

Stone Whale at Turtle Hollow
Stone Whale at Turtle Hollow

There were a couple more galleries in the complex but the owners/managers happened to be away at the time of our visit. Meaning, of course, a return trip in the near future.
If you are in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, this Turtle Hollow Gallery complex is a must-see!
Hours: Turtle Hollow Gallery 10am to 6 pm

Bench at Turtle Hollow Invites You to Relax
Bench at Turtle Hollow Invites You to Relax

Gallery Phone 865-436-6188
Turtle Hollow Gallery
248 Buckhorn Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

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