Monday, May 29, 2006

Beads & Books at Valley Ridge Art Studio ~
If you ever want to give yourself a really significant gift, take a class at Valley Ridge Art Studio! Located in southwest Wisconsin on a 120-acre farm, the spacious, well-lit studio is an instructor's dream place. Director, Kathy Malkasian, the gracious and energizing hostess, offers workshops from May through October.

A couple of years ago, an artist friend, Lynne Perrella, told me, "You've got to teach there. It is a fabulous place to teach." Fortunately I took her advice to heart, because she was right! Everything about it contributed to the wonderful experience we had there last week... small class (only ten students!), beautiful weather (including a sumptuous scarlet sunset behind the pine grove one evening), delicious lunches (with totally decadant desserts!), and all the working space we needed (everyone had their very own table).

Over the next couple of posts, I'm going to show you some of the wonderful books, beadwork and painting my talented students did during their four days at Valley Ridge. But today I just want to share some pictures that show what a lovely place it is. The last picture is a teaser - nine students holding their completed books! You'll see details in the next few days.

The top picture shows the farm house, where I was priviledged to sleep in a cozy room on the second floor with a home made quilt to keep me toasty warm even though I had the windows open. One of my windows looked out over the garden (from where I took the picture).

The house has a relaxed, homey feel to it, just as you'd expect of a well-kept farm home. Depending on the temperature, we lunched around the large family dining table, or at one of two picnic tables on the screen poarch, or out on the deck, where the sweet perfume of the old lilac tree enchanted us. From either the deck or poarch, we all enjoyed the view across the valley and ridge to the farm buildings east of us.

Below is a picture of the studio where we beaded, painted, and made our books. Many windows and good overhead lighting make it easy to work. No eye strain for us, even though we worked into the evenings!

One student had to leave at lunch time on the fourth day of class, and didn't complete the binding on her book. Everyone else finished! I'm so proud of them! Look for detail pictures of their work in the next few days.

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