Today’s guest blog post comes from Erin Meyers, an art educator at High Point Regional High School. Erin is a long-time friend of Peters Valley and this summer received an Art Educator Scholarship to attend a ceramics course on campus. Below, she writes about her experience and shares photos from her class.
“I am an art educator who is entering into her 25th year of teaching (23 spent at High Point Regional High School in Sussex, NJ). I teach wonderful 9-12 graders drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, stained glass, and many other fine crafts. I am honored to be a teacher and I have built lifelong friendships with my art students (including Raechel, who works in the Peters Valley office).
I recently took a course called Large Vessels and Storytelling with ceramist Jessica Thompson from California. I have taken four other courses at Peters Valley before, but this one was by far my favorite. I learned so much and made a really gigantic pot! I was amazed by the challenge and fun of it all. I loved my course mates, who were all females ranging from a college student at Temple University to a retired art teacher who gave me a glimpse of myself in 10 years. The retired art teacher and I immediately gravitated toward one another and made plans to visit art museums together as soon as we can! Everyone who comes to Peters Valley is so special and I love how each has their own unique story. On the second-to-last day of our course, our pots had gone into the firing and our entire group – including our instructor – decided to take a long walk up to the studios at Thunder Mountain. It was an amazing 5-mile trek that included getting to know each other on a deeper level, exploring the local flora and fauna of our gorgeous area, and seeing an old foundation of a tavern from the early settlers of the area. We also got to visit the fibers/fabric-dying artists and the woodworkers in their respective studios. It was so fun to see their wide range of work and share in their excitement of being completely immersed in the making process!
I have a very special place in my heart for Peters Valley School of Craft. I grew up in this area and have always loved attending the Craft Show, both when it was up on the mountain and at the fairgrounds. I also sold my handmade jewelry at the Peters Valley Craft Show one year. I brought my sons to Peters Valley for children’s art camps. I have taken courses in Encaustic Painting, Mold-making, and Pottery at the center, and this year, I was fortunate enough to take another pottery course. I have recommended the Craft School to my high school students, and I enjoy showing the Peters Valley video on YouTube. Three of my students have been granted student scholarships. One of my autistic students recently had a metals experience through a partnership between Peters Valley and SCARC and I went to visit her during her workshop two weeks ago. One of my advanced level painters recently took her first-ever sculpture class, and again, I went to go visit her and have lunch with her under the pavilion. Each time I ‘crash in’ on any Peters Valley course, everyone is so welcoming. Last time I went, Bruce had such glowing things to say about the high school program I run at High Point and publicly announced them to all the folks taking the course. It made me feel so validated as a teacher and an artist hearing that from Bruce, who happens to be an absolute ROCK STAR in the international art world. Each and every experience I have had at Peters Valley has been positive and life-changing for me.
I am planning to bring my students for a raku pottery day this spring, and I definitely hope to take another course next summer… each one has been a cherished experience and opportunity for growth for me as a student and an artist. I am like a sponge anytime I am lucky enough to TAKE an art class!
I truly look forward to sharing the knowledge I have gained from my recent experience with my students. This was a welcome reward after the challenges of this past school year!“