On the road again...

On Saturday I hit the road again bound for Gatlinburg, Tn. where I am attending

Arrowmont School of Crafts

for a week. I am taking a class from

Jason Walker

a Seattle area based potter known for his narrative sculptures in porcelain. I was torn about which class to take here, but when I saw Jason's work, I was completely blown away. My latest goal with my pottery is to bring more of my painting onto it and when I saw Jason's work it was a no-brainer. A I mentioned in last weeks post, one of the things that I enjoyed with painting once again was the ability to tell a story in a painting. Jason tells a story with his clay both in construction and surface painting. I am so jazzed to learn his techniques this week! We had orientation and a mini class tonight and so far I think it's going to be a swell week. He seems like a very communicative and supportive instructor and a generally nice guy.

I drove down to Gatlinburg, splitting the ride over two days. Cruising down Rte 81 through the Shenandoah Valley all the way is such a beautiful ride

Surrounded by mountain ranges on both sides  with breath taking views at some places and best of all being able to do it with a 70 mile per hour speed limit is just awesome! The highway is also nicely paved and the truckers even obey the speed limit and stay to the right, making this a dream drive.

Just before hitting Rte 81, I gave myself a chance to enjoy the scenery and a little wine at a winery off Rte 66. It was about 5 miles off the highway and had a beautiful view of the mountain range. The tasting room was a really nice building with a great deck and umbrellas outside, but you were only allowed to sit there if you were buying their food. If you brought your own, (which I did) you had to sit down in the buggy, sweltering "picnic area" with no shade. I was a little pissed at this because I have never been to a winery that treated people that way and felt that my $12 glass of wine should entitle me to sit wherever the hell I wanted. 

Anyway, I needed the break from the road and sat down with my cooler of road food and enjoyed the view and the wine.

About 3 hours later, my next stop was at my hotel, my halfway point in Salem, Va., nice Comfort Suites affording the same magnificent views of the mountains and a much needed hot tub for my weary bones and sore back.