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College of Continuing Education News

Following the Muse

Regular Split Rock Arts Program attendee and donor indulges in her passion for textiles --

Lifelong East Coast resident Bonnie Miller found the Split Rock Arts Program somewhat by accident; but since taking her first workshop nearly 15 years ago, she has become a regular attendee, as well as a donor to the program's scholarship fund.

How did this Boston-area public school headmaster end up spending part of her summer vacations in the Midwest? What are her artistic passions, and what keeps her returning every year?
Why Minnesota every summer? What is the draw?
In the mid-1990s, when I saw a notice about Split Rock courses in my local bead shop offering the chance to study with David Chatt and Joyce Scott [who were teaching beadwork retreats], it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. Now, [every year] I drive out to stay in Minnesota for three weeks (a week each at Split Rock, a cabin on the North Shore, and a B&B).

You have taken close to 20 courses--what is your primary focus at SRAP?
I started out with beading, but I've really branched out. I enjoy the opportunity to spend a week immersed in a creative environment with great teachers and fellow students. I've taken classes in beading, knitting, drawing, color media, polymer clay, fabric surface design, clothing design, and more... [My art] is a way to relax and get away from the stresses and responsibilities of work and daily chores.

Favorite part about the Split Rock experience?
I enjoy the fact that it's a weeklong experience, with teachers who not only are accomplished in their fields, but also have academic credentials. It provides a great scope for the imagination.

I learn skills and have experiences that I bring forward into my life through the rest of the year. The impact extends far beyond the week that I spend [there], making it a more meaningful use of my resources than a more "traditional" vacation at the beach might be.

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