August 16, 2021

“A Beautiful, Raw, Natural Journey”: Serenity Sewell on her GlassRoots Experience at Peters Valley


For our final GlassRoots Fellow guest blog post, Serenity Sewell writes about her time at Peters Valley, and how she’s grown since being here. Serenity will be a business major in college and she says that her artwork, “expresses my constantly evolving feelings, emotions, and outlook on life as I take steps to become the person I want to be.” In this post, she talks about the way she’s seen skills translating from one class to another and what classes have sparked her excitement the most. 

“Hi, I’m Serenity, and this experience has been quite a journey. A beautiful, raw, natural journey but a journey nonetheless. After this week, we have one more week left and then I’m going back home, no longer as a GlassRoots fellow at Peters Valley. After being here these past weeks, it’s so strange thinking about not being here but I also really want to go back home. I really miss my dog and, being the youngest fellow here, I’m excited to start college.

Honestly, I was completely overwhelmed the entire first week. After the first day of my bookbinding course, I went back to the house where we’re staying, and I cried. Trust me, bookbinding is definitely not horrible. I really enjoyed it, and Scott McCarney was an amazing instructor. I tried to call my mom, but she didn’t pick up, and that’s when I realized that I was frantically looking for a sense of normalcy. A feeling that told me that I was still home, that the people I knew and loved would wait for me. But I wasn’t home because life doesn’t stop. No matter where we are in the world, life doesn’t stop, and you can’t conquer time and growth. Time is something that everyone has but the way we utilize it is what makes us different. 

I guess if I wasn’t here, I would’ve utilized my time in a way that wouldn’t have resulted in any growth at all. But being here really put my understanding of “growth” to the test. Each week, I had to utilize little bits and pieces from previous weeks’ courses. Right now, I’m taking a woodworking course with Jay Kreimer and saw cutting rules from the fine metals course I took with Luci Jockel from a few weeks prior still apply. In Jay’s class, I’m doing a lot of sanding as I did with my pieces in the blacksmithing course I took with Jon Hadden during my second week here. My brain literally didn’t have a chance to stop growing. If I would’ve zoned out completely, for even a moment, I probably would’ve accidentally sawed off my hand or something. But in other classes, it was easy for me to focus completely because I felt so determined. In Kulvinder Kaur Dhew’s painting basics course and Dominique Ellis’ woodcut reductions course, I just lost myself in my own excitement of creating and my drive to complete pieces that I would love.

But I guess I can’t completely say that my growth is completely due to my efforts because I’ve met some wonderful people here that have taught me so much. Even though they probably didn’t realize when they were teaching me something, I’ve learned lessons from people that have helped me realize things I struggle with in my personal life. I’ve learned so many lessons that I’ve started a personal book. It’s almost like a little diary, but it consists of the lessons I’ve learned and the things I’ve had to unlearn. This has truly been more of a mental health journey for me, an experience that I needed to help me better understand my spot in the universe and how to find a sense of happiness in this chaos that we call life. The lives we live and the things we see consist of atoms. Atoms, and electrons more specifically, have entropy. Entropy, randomness; life just throws random situations at us and how we react determines the results. You can either learn to live with the random stuff life throws at you or you can drive yourself insane trying to organize it all. I guess this is one of those random situations that I wouldn’t have imagined myself in. If there’s one thing that a lot of my courses have taught me, it’s to not think too hard; just do, create! There’s beauty in entropy! Some things don’t need to be organized, dissected, and understood to be beautiful and appreciated for the “mess” that it is.”