WCA Announces School for Arts & Crafts



Not far from the birthplace of David Crockett is what’s known as the “Light in the Wilderness.” Washington College Academy has been sitting on the same sprawling campus since 1780, making it the mother school of Tennessee. Over the centuries both the school and the land around it have gone through many changes and challenges. Through it all, “the college” as it is known locally has been a center of learning and community. If you didn’t go here, you know someone who did. 

A serious effort is underway to extend the life of WCA and establish a curriculum of instruction worthy of her legacy. The Board of Trustees has devoted time and energy to rehabilitate classrooms and instruction space to prepare for students. They have worked with artisans from as far away as California and as close as Limestone to create classes that will inspire creativity, teach new skills, and do it in a way that reflects upon the history and culture of our region. 

“We want to be able to offer something you can’t get anywhere else,” said Heather Jones, WCA trustee.“We are getting this new program off the ground and everyone is working very hard to provide a great learning experience for students.” 

Beginning Saturdays in June, the initial slate of classes for the new program will include:

Ikebana Oriental Flower Arranging

This is not your grandmother’s flower-arranging class. Ikebana is a traditional Asian art form dating back to the 7th century. It involves the placement of individual flowers, branches, and leaves in specially chosen vessels designed to showcase off the arrangement.

“Like most visual art, Ikebana is about balance and flow,” said George Blanks, instructor for the course. “The arrangements can be simple and elegant or complex and visually stunning. It is a fascinating art form. Each session students are going to take home something very special.”

The class will consist of four three-hour sessions each Saturday, beginning June 2 from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Pence-Graybeal Building. Tuition is $260 which includes all the flowers and all materials except for containers for the arrangements and clippers, which students must provide.

Blanks began practicing the art when he lived in Taiwan, Taipei taking lessons for more than a decade and says Ikebana is enjoyed by men and women, young and old alike.

Creative Metalsmithing: Jewelry to Hood Ornaments

Have you ever wanted to craft something out of metel but didn’t have the first idea how? 

Dwight Bennett, a self-employed Metalsmith of 40 years will teach the fundamentals of working in copper and brass. 

“With practice, students will be able to create anything from jewelry to belt buckles, custom furniture hardware, car parts, patent prototypes, or sconces,” said Bennett, who holds an MFA in metalsmithing and was interviewed by Jay Leno about his work. “We’ll learn to intricately cut, pierce, rivet, twist, weave, form, make small tools, embellish, make chains, silver solder, polish, set stones, and combine found objects in metal.” 

The class will consist of two six-hour sessions on Saturday, June 2 and June 9, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (with an hour break in the middle) in the Pence-Graybeal Building. Tuition is $260 students may need to purchase a starter kit of tools and will be responsible for all materials. A second beginners class will be offered June 16 and 23. And for those wanting to take the next step, an Intermediate Metalworking class is scheduled for June 30 and July 14.

Creative Soldering for Stained Glass

If you work with glass at all in your art, you need to consider taking this one-day workshop on creative soldering. Richard Donoho, stained glass artist, will instruct participants on how to take their soldering work to the next level — creating decorative objects, patterns, and designs with a soldering iron. 

“Details like these add a new creative level to your work with glass,” said Donoho, who owns the Artistry In Glass studio in Limestone. “You’re going to learn how to add depth and decoration to your stained-glass pieces.” 

The one-day workshop will be held 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, June 9 at the Pence-Graybeal building. Tuition is $140. Materials will be provided. Students will need to supply your tools. A list of tools will be provided when you register for classes.  

Chair Caning

Want to restore an old heirloom chair with a rush or drop cane bottom? Bring your chair to our daylong workshop and get expert instruction as you work to bring your chair back to life. This workshop will be held 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. on June 9 in the Pence-Greybeal Building. Tuition is $140 and caning will be provided.

Cash in the Closet: How to sell on Ebay 101

Do you have a bunch of “precious junk” cluttering up your house?  Turn that stuff into cash on Ebay! Preferred Ebay seller, Dr. Dorothy Blanks, will guide you through the process in this hands-on, interactive workshop. This three-hour course will include: setting up an Ebay and PayPal account, making auction or fixed price decisions, pricing items for success (bring a few items to list), not losing your shirt in shipping, and tracking and monitoring items.

The workshop will be held Sunday, June 3, 1-4 p.m. in the Pence-Greybeal Building. The cost of the workshop is $75.

Getting Registered 

Interested students can use this form to register. The deadline for registration is one week before class begins. Registration requires a non-refundable (except in the case of a class being cancelled) $25 deposit toward tuition for the class. Fill out the form below and we will contact you with details.




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