Monday, October 31, 2011

October At Shake Rag Alley

October is just such a great month in Wisconsin - crisp fall air, brilliant autumn colors, Fall Art Tour. And of course lots more great Shake Rag workshops...and Halloween. Kept us busy keeping up with it all.

Eleven classes in polymer clay, jewelry, blacksmithing and welding, photography, felting, and colored pencil. Here are photos from just a couple.

Students literally came from all corners of the country to fill Carol Simmons' 6 day Kaleidoscope Pendant Intensive polymer clay class. We even welcomed our first international students - three ladies from Canada! Students shared housing in comfort in four of our charming historic lodging sites, though judging from how late the lights were on at the studio we're not sure how much relaxing they did. But their efforts were totally worth it as you can see from these photos. Beautiful work.

We're looking forward to Carol's next class in June - a shorter one day class. Don't miss it (schedule should be up on the Shake Rag website in December).

More photos of Carol's class on the Fall Workshop Album on our Photo Gallery.

Cheryl Smeja led these happy students through the process of making Felted Hats...and just in time for the winter season.

Also in October, Shake Rag welcomed two "celebrity" guests:

Shake Rag Alley was host to Shelley Ryan, Wisconsin Public TV's lively "Wisconsin Gardener" as a guest artist on Fall Art Tour, the annual SW Wisconsin Open Studios Tour that draws thousands of visitors to the driftless area the third weekend in October. Shelley was selling her luscious dyed silk scarves...and visitors were so taken with them that they flocked to sign up for the remaining spots in Shelley's November class at Shake Rag.

If you missed out, you'll have another chance when Shelley repeats the workshop at Garden Getaway at the end of March. Check the Shake Rag website in December for details.

A week after Fall Art Tour, world class classical pianist Christopher Finkelmeyer performed a benefit concert for Shake Rag Alley at the Mineral Point Opera House. Part Garrison Keillor, part Victor Borge, but mostly Franz Liszt, Chris delighted the packed audience with his thoughtful, funny and poignant observations about life in the 21st Century while bringing a master’s hand to some of the world’s greatest music.   

Chris has strong ties to Mineral Point. Shake Rag's Ellery House which now houses our children’s programs, was the original home of his great, great grandparents. We were pleased that so many of Chris's local family members were able to join us for an enjoyable after-performance reception on stage. Thank you to board member John Hurley who baked 12 dozen(!) yummy cookies.

But maybe the most fun part of the month was the kids:

One of favorite fall activities is 5th Grade Fall Clean-Up Day when dozens of fifth graders from Mineral Point Grade School arrive with rakes, wheel-barrows, brooms and TONS of energy to sweep up all the fall debris and get the Shake Rag grounds ready for winter. 60 garbage bags full of leaves! Whew. And this year they planted 150 crocuses. We can hardly wait to see them come up next spring.  Once again, a HUGE thank you to all the kids and their teachers.

And we couldn't possibly wrap up October without a photo of the motley crew of odd (but friendly) characters who showed up at Shake Rag to pass out treats to Trick 'R Treaters. Who says Halloween is just for kids! Lots more Halloween photos on our Public Galleries.

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