It turns out that sometimes you don't have to travel very far to study with an incredible teacher at an incredible art center.
This past weekend I took Melissa Jay Craig's Unusual 3D Techniques class at the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory and Educational Foundation located right here in Cleveland, Ohio.
Melissa is a great teacher. She covered a number of techniques in papermaking, scupture, and dyeing in just 2 short days. While I would have loved for the class to last longer, I walked away having learned a lot of things that I feel I can 'run' with at home in my own studio (with some modifications of course). This was my first experience making paper and I really enjoyed it. There is something really magical about it - especially when working with fibers like overbeaten abaca that shrinks and shrivels and has a gorgeous translucency. It is definately fun to work with a medium that changes as it dries - making it more difficult to predict exactly how it will look when it is complete.
The Morgan is quite a gem. It is a non-profit art center dedicated to the preservation of handmade paper making and the art of the book. It was established in 2006 in a converted machine shop in an industrial/residential area on the east side of Cleveland. It includes a large gallery, papermaking studio, bookbinding studio, printmaking studio as well as an amazing kozo garden out back in a re-claimed lot.
The other students in the class were incredible. They were very welcoming, very friendly, and cooperative. Despite our short amount of time to learn everything and try everything, people took the time to look around at what everyone else was working on, offer to share materials, and chat.
The staff at the Morgan were also incredibly friendly and caring and clearly dedicated to their mission and to Cleveland.
I expect to take many more classes at the Morgan and would be more than pleased to take another class from Melissa Jay Craig.
More photos from the class can be found here, here, and here.