Winter/early spring 2008 continuing education

Recommended New England courses about house, garden and related creative arts

(Classes and schedules are subject to change so check program websites for updates.)

DeCordova Museum School

Located in Lincoln, Mass., “The DeCordova Museum School is the largest non-degree granting studio art program in Massachusetts,” according to their website. I’ve often thought that the campus of the DeCordova Museum (which specializes in regional contemporary art) would be an appealing venue for art classes. It’s near the Gropius House and boasts an impressive sculpture park. Here are two of the School’s offerings that sound tempting.

Small Books Sampler Workshop

Instructor: Angela Liguori

Sunday, February 3, 2008: 10:00 am–4:00 pm; snow date February 10, 2008

Students age 16 and older

Limited to 12 participants

$140 member, $150 nonmember

“Learn three book structures in one day based on folding, gluing, sewing beautiful paper! Workshop covers a concertina book with six pamphlet stitch signatures, a pocket book as a variation of the accordian fold, and a dynamic book structure that folds and unfolds as petals of a flower. High quality paper will be used for the text block, and fine silkscreen Japanese paper for the three book hardcovers. Some basic bookbinding techniques and tools will be demonstrated. In addition, a wide selection of samples will be shown at the end of class for further discussion and inspiration. All precut materials and paper will be provided. (includes $40 materials fee)”

Photo Montage Workshop

Instructor: Michael Marlow

Saturday, March 29, 2008: 9:30 am-4:30 pm; snow date April 5, 2008

Students age 16 and older

Limited to 12 participants

$75 member, $85 nonmember

“This approach to photomontage will be grounded in examples and theory of the Modern art movement Synthetic Cubism. Using assemblage, collage, and mixed media, this workshop will discuss pictorial structure, context, and meaning. The significance of the image will also be discussed as a means of personal expression and expression of one’s time. A demonstration of the principles and methodology of collage will provide the scaffolding for the creation of a Photomontage. Students will be expected to provide their own photographic images, either created or found. All levels welcome.”

Fort Point Studio School

The website for this school in Boston, Mass. says, “ The Fort Point Studio School is the vision of Lisa Knox, a painter, portrait artist and former art history instructor. Lisa’s goal was to create a stimulating environment for art educators, art professionals and developing artists—a place where they could create artwork, strengthen studio skills, as well as gather, share experiences and refuel.” I happened upon Lisa’s school during the Fort Point Open Studios last fall and was intrigued. The class that I’m recommending below is listed among the courses for art educators, though I think anyone who’s interested in it could inquire about participating.

Box of Buildings : Tunnel Books & Pop-Ups

Instructor: Stephanie Stigliano

Visiting Artist: Laura Davidson

Friday, March 7, 2008: 9:00 am–4:00 pm (one hour break for lunch)

$150 (includes materials)

“This workshop combines the talent of two of Boston’s leading Book Artists. The morning session features a personal tour of the studio of Painter/Book Artist Laura Davidson. Davidson’s tunnel books illustrate the versatility of this unique format and range in subject from the architecture and history of Paris and Florence to Boston’s very own Big Dig. During the afternoon session Printmaker/Book Artist, Stephanie Stigliano will lead a hands-on workshop on Tunnel Books and Pop-Ups. Using easy-to-find and inexpensive materials participants will build structures ranging from elementary to complex. Each form constructed will fold-flat when closed and open magically to reveal the interplay between light, shadow and design. For the benefit of art educators the class will discuss how these objects can be taught in conjunction with printmaking, collage, color theory, two & three dimensional design and incorporated into interdisciplinary themes with core subjects. Most templates can be adapted to a variety of age and skill levels. Participants will leave the workshop with a bibliography, a supply and resource list and sample templates for further independent work.”

Grub Street, Inc.

The folks at Grub Street, Inc. in Boston, Mass. indicate on their website that their independent writing center was “founded by writers for writers.” They further explain, “Our goal is to help writers with all aspects of the writing life, from finding inspiration to marketing a finished work. Grub Street, Inc. offers high quality workshops, events, and professional development opportunities for writers of all levels.” It sounds to me like a collegial place to explore a penchant for writing. I’m considering this offering.

Six Weeks, Six Essays (Note this workshop is at Newtonville Books.)

Instructor: Michelle Seaton, who has written features and profiles for many publications including Yankee Magazine, where she spent three years as an editor.

(6) Wednesdays starting January 16, 2008: 6:00 pm-9:00 pm

$250 members, $275 nonmembers

Memoir writing doesn’t have to be just about relating trauma; it’s about spinning out compelling and entertaining stories. Find those stories in your experience with these writing exercises. In this class you will write five personal essays – which may or may not be part of a longer work – between 500 and 1000 words and revise one for submission. You’ll generate a lot of material, refine your editing skills and take a fresh look at your life experience. By working in a shorter format, you’ll also find ways to tighten your prose and heighten your storytelling skills.”

Horticulture Garden Programs

Co-sponsored by Horticulture magazine these programs look informative and inspirational. Their website says, “Each all-day symposium assembles internationally celebrated gardeners, designers and nursery owners for an intimate look at a topic vital in the gardening world. Developed by Horticulture’s Nan Sinton, these symposia impart new plant ideas to passionate gardeners across the country who wish to make the most of both classic designs and current trends.”

Patterns in Gardening

Elm Bank Horticultural Center: Wellesley, Mass.

Co-sponsored with the Massachusetts Horticultural Society

Speakers: Nan Blake Sinton, Val Easton, Raymond J. Evison, Jan Moyer, Gary Koller

February 10, 2008: 8:00 am registration – 3:15 pm

$124 subscriber; $134 non-subscriber

You say you like a natural garden, a wild kind of place, that the formality of a patterned look is not your style? Think again. Look around your garden and chances are you’ll notice at least one and probably more patterns hidden in plain sight. Do you plant perennials in repeating groups? Have you more than one clump of tall annuals? Do you count colors or scents in the flower garden? How about exploring your vegetable garden, the beds of ornamental grasses, the edging of a path, or your hosta, lilac, or hydrangea collections? Patterns speak a very old language, one that has guided gardeners for generations. Where did they come from and what can they do to help in making your garden distinctive?

Beyond the more obvious European influences, the medieval herb gardens, the French parterres and the Italian Renaissance gardens lie a host of hidden allusions, of inspirational clues from older art and architecture, from music and from language. Best of all you’ll discover how learning to recognize and use patterns can enliven your own garden and help you to maximize what you already have.”

House of Seven Gables Preservation Lecture Series

One of the highlights of Salem, Mass., The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association, was founded by Caroline Emmerton “to assist immigrant families who were settling in Salem,” according to the Gables website. “ Emmerton’s goal was to preserve the house for future generations, to provide educational opportunities for visitors, and to use the proceeds from the tours to fund her settlement programs. Thanks to Emmerton and [architect] Joseph Everett Chandler, the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, known popularly as The House of the Seven Gables, has survived with many of its original period features from the 17th and 18th century! This first period and Georgian architectural ‘fabric’ is today considered significant to American architectural, maritime, and cultural history.” Check out these lectures on historic buildings: preservation, restoration, renovation, and more.

Besieged by the Green Movement: Preserving your historic home & the planet, without guilt

Speaker: Jean Carroon, certified LEED professional

Wednesday, January 23, 2008: 7:00 pm (Snow date: Thursday, Jan 24, 2008)

Free and open to the public. Reservations appreciated but not required. Call 978-744-0991 x126.

“Jean Carroon, a certified professional in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™, demystifies techniques for transforming your energy-guzzling historic home into a high performing green building that is both energy and cost efficient. How much energy goes into creating a new building vs. conserving an older one? Which is greener: a new energy efficient house or a retrofitted older home? What are the costs of going green? These questions and others will be answered in a provocative and practical look at incorporating sustainable “green building” practices into historic buildings and homes. Carroon leads Goody Clancy’s extensive preservation and renovation practice and has received national recognition for her expertise in applying sustainable-design technology to historic buildings. She offers practical knowledge of both green building techniques and an understanding of historic preservation.”

How Historic Preservation Began and Evolved in New England

Speaker: James M. Lindgren

Wednesday, February 27, 2008, 7 p.m. (Snow Date, Thurs. Feb. 28, 2008)

Free and open to the public. Reservations appreciated but not required. Call 978-744-0991 x126.

“James M. Lindgren will discuss the history of historic preservation in New England from its emergence in the colonial revival of the late nineteenth century to the contemporary era. Beginning with key figures in the early preservation movement – William Sumner Appleton, George Francis Dow, Joseph Everett Chandler, and Caroline Osgood Emmerton - he will explore the impact of social and cultural changes in Salem, Boston, and New England on the region's heritage. While showing the evolution in the practice of historic preservation, he will explore the distinctions between preservation and restoration, as well as more recent trends like adaptive reuse, facadism, and the ever changing colonial revival. Dr. Lindgren, Professor of History at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, has written, taught, and lectured extensively on the history of American historic preservation and history museums. He is the author of Preserving Historic New England (Oxford University Press, 1995) and Preserving the Old Dominion (University Press of Virginia, 1993) and is now writing two books on marine museums, Preserving Maritime America and Remaking South Street Seaport.”

Maine Media Workshops

This unique school in Rockport, ME seems very appealing. Their literature says, “Offering hundreds of workshops and master classes as well as highly regarded professional certificate and MFA programs, Maine Media Workshops continues to set the standard for education in photography, film and multimedia.” Here's your big chance to write a screenplay.

Story Structure & Screenwriting

Instructor: Chris Keane and Janet Roach, both accomplished screenwriters and educators

February 24-March 1, 2008


“In this workshop, students learn to develop a story from an idea and shape it into a screenplay. The class covers how to write an outline, prepare a pitch, build structure, and write action and dialogue – all critical elements to understanding what turns a story into a screenplay a producer will buy.”