“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.”
— Anthony J. D’Angelo
Remember when you were a kid and couldn’t wait to grow up so you could do whatever you wanted and have fun all the time?
Now that you’re a grown-up, ever wish you were a kid again so you could do whatever you wanted and have fun all the time? Especially in the summer!Remember summer camp? Hanging out with friends listening to music, creating all sorts of unique crafts, filling days with wonderful new adventures?
Well, it’s not too late to rediscover what summer is all about. McKinney is a town filled with wonderful classes tailored to adults who want to revisit a passion or expand their horizons. Here are a few stand-out summer courses for all skill levels.
Collin County Farm Museum
Jennifer Rogers, museum coordinator at The Collin County Farm Museum at Myers Park & Event Center in McKinney, says, “We very much have the adult twist on summer camps going on here!”
The Farm Museum offers a plethora of workshops for adults throughout the year. The hands-on classes include soap-making, cheese-making, canning, fiber crafts, leather crafts and more. “People who attend our classes have an opportunity to learn long-abandoned skills and experience tasks that were not only a necessity for livelihood, but an art form,” she said.
Here are just three examples of fun adult classes the Farm Museum is offering this summer:
This five-part course is available on Tuesdays from June 30 through July 28. Students begin by making the oldest and simplest form of cheese in the world, butter. There’s more to butter than meets the imagination. The following two classes introduce the use of bacterium to make cheeses. The last two classes focus on popular and fun soft cheeses, such as mozzarella and ricotta, or dessert cheeses.
This is a return of one of the museum’s most popular adult programs in which students learn to make cold-processed soaps. The four-part series is available on Tuesdays from Aug. 4 to Aug. 25. Students walk away with enough soap and shampoo to keep a household supplied for well over a year. Those who graduate from the workshop series are welcomed back every six to eight months for Soap Makers Club, where they can enhance their skills and exchange ideas with other enthusiasts.
Leather Journal-Binding Workshop
This combines the museum’s leather crafts workshop and book-binding workshop into a two-day class Aug. 21-22. Students create their own leather cover using a variety of skills they may have picked up in previous classes, or skills they learn that day. Students who have taken previous bookbinding workshops will be able to choose their preferred binding stitch, while those attending a book-binding class for the first time will learn the classic Coptic book-binding stitch. Class space is limited, so be sure to register early.
For more information on adult or children’s classes at The Collin County Farm Museum at Myers Park & Event Center call 972-548-4792 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
McKinney Art House
Sona Knox founded the art school in 2005 because she had the desire to offer a place where people could learn about art and create their own. Today Knox and 14 other teachers offer a broad spectrum of classes, including pottery wheel and sculpture, drawing, painting, fabric, print-making and more.
“It’s a beautiful, colorful home for creativity that is fun, safe and affordable,” Knox says. “All of our teachers are artists. We offer classes for aspiring artists of all ages – including adults. I really believe it is a craft that can be learned at any age, just like anything else can be learned. I feel art is essential. It creates endorphins (just like your body creates in Sports), and after spending time with art you notice your world more.”
Summer will be chock full of classes and workshops for adults and children. Noriko Dewitt won first place at the Collin County Art Show and will be adding extra classes on Saturdays this summer. “Her work in colored pencils is amazing!” Knox says. “Space is limited in many of our classes, so sign up early.”
K.D. Hafley knew growing up what she wanted to do. Today, the award-winning painter and pet portrait artist offers acrylic workshops at the Art House and teaches private lessons out of her home. “I paint almost exclusively with acrylic paints because they can be manipulated like watercolor and oils, but working with acrylic is much faster and easier,” Hafley says. “As an artist, my primary focus is painting people and animals, especially the latter. I love animals, and whether they are wild and exotic, or a beloved pet, each is a beautiful creature with a unique essence.”
Hafley teaches all age levels, but strongly encourages adults to explore their inner artist. “You can always be inspired by something, and you don’t know if you like it until you try it,” she says. “You’re discovering something about yourself through art. Self knowledge is the best kind of knowledge.”
In addition to her regular Tuesday evening class, Hafley is planning a special summer program that will feature nature-oriented day trips for students to explore art and nature through drawing, sketching, painting and photography.
Learn something you’ve always wanted to do – learn how to throw on the pottery wheel to create your own bowls, cups and plates. You will receive instruction on hand-building and throwing on the wheel, along with slab-rolling, sculpture and various glazing techniques. “Explore a new medium, hang out with other potters, and just have some fun,” Knox says.
Renee Wrenwood says she has always drawn and painted, though she found her artistic path through her children. Renee says, “I became a mom and my art became crafts with the kids. I started taking lessons alongside them and (my teacher) told me I should be a watercolor teacher. I’ve been teaching ever since!”
Wrenwood says she is drawn to the luminescence and freshness of the medium. “I love how there are so many things you can do with it,” she says. “It is a medium that is full of surprises.”
Wrenwood teaches students of all ages. “What an adult gets of art, any art, is joy, relaxation, time to be with other adults and time just for themselves,” she says. “People who think they can’t draw a straight line come in and shine – they do a great job. They amaze themselves when they realize, ‘Hey, I can do this! I’m an artist.’ ”
Her classes are on Wednesday evenings at the Art House. Wrenwood is planning a special Watercolor Pour class this summer. “Every person’s art is a tender, precious extension of ourselves,” she says. “As a teacher, I want to be the person that cheers them on.Art is spectacular to create.”
Pernie Fallon has been an artist all her life. Her parents encouraged her to explore her creativity, and by the time she was a teenager, she had launched a successful career as a jewelry designer. She spent about 30 years designing one-of-a-kind jewelry for people around the world. “Then one day someone put a pastel in my hand and I’ve been hooked ever since,” she says.
“People often confuse chalk and pastels as the same thing,” Fallon says. “They are very different creatures. Pastels are pure pigment. They are made of the same thing oil paints are made with, and are bound together, but are not an oily medium.
“The age-old argument is if pastels are a drawing or painting medium. I tend to use them as a painting medium. Each stroke in pastels is equivalent to the stroke of a brush as one would use in painting with oils. Pastels are an easy medium, are non-toxic, don’t take up much space and are less messy than some other art mediums.”
Fallon’s Saturday Studio: Classes in Oil and Pastel meets on the second and third Saturdays of each month (unless otherwise noted) at mARTin Place, a dedicated creative space for adults and young people. Private lessons are also available.
“Every adult should take art and or music classes to re-build their sense of wonder,” Fallon says. “They will find their inspiration, and it will enrich their lives in so many ways. Art is a time of connectiveness with your own soul. It’s a great feeling, a time to truly be yourself.”
About the author: Dawn Bluemel Oldfield is a freelance writer and Collin County master gardener. She is also the author of six children’s books.