Abstraction of Place - An Art Quilt Workshop

Friday Evening, June 16 - Tuesday Morning, June 20 with Maria Shell


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Join quilt artist Maria Shell for a unique opportunity to explore the wilds of Alaska through the eyes of a stitcher.  At the beginning of the workshop, students will capture the landscape of the Wrangell St. Elias National Park with their cameras. Back in the classroom, those images will be used to create beautiful abstractions of place. Students will learn the basics of creating improvisation-ally pieced abstract work, palette building aka color theory, as well as how to compose abstract pieced images.

The Workshop Fee is $325 which includes dinner on Friday evening, lunch and dinner Saturday through Monday, and brunch on Tuesday as well as instructor fees and an assortment of materials—fabric, sewing supplies, cutting mats, and rulers. Bernina sewing machines are available for an extra $35 for the duration of the workshop.


Instructor: Maria is the recipient of a Sustainable Arts Foundation 2011 Winter Award, a Rasmuson Foundation Project Award, and a Rasmuson Fellowship.  In 2012,  Maria was one of 44 artists from the Northwest invited to participate in the Bellevue Arts Museum’s Biennial High Fiber Diet. She was a featured artist for the 2013 Surface Design Association’s International Conference held in San Antonio, Texas. She has had several solo and small group shows including Cut, Stitch, Press at the Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer, Alaska, The Art of the Grid at the Wiseman Gallery in Grants Pass, Oregon,  fiber at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton, Ohio. and Hot Crossed Squares at the Kenai Pennisula College Gallery in Soldotna, Alaska.  In the fall of 2014, Maria was an artist in residence at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation in Charlotte, North Carolina where she worked with formerly chronically homeless individuals to build a community quilt celebrating their new home. In 2016, she was a part of the three person show at the Ormond Memorial Art Museum & Gardens. You can see more of Maria’s work on her website or learn more about her process by visiting her blog.

Location and Venue:

Stitchers working hard

The WMC is a private nonprofit institute whose mission is connecting people with wildlands through art, science, and education in the Wrangell Mountains. The course is based at the WMC's headquarters in the Old Hardware Store and adjacent Porphyry Place in McCarthy, Alaska. The town of McCarthy is set in the heart of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, the largest national park in the U.S. Over 23% larger than Switzerland, Wrangell-St. Elias is world renowned for its wild landscapes, high peaks, massive glaciers and rivers, healthy ecosystems, and dramatic scenery as well as its unique cultural history. McCarthy is approximately a seven hour drive from either Anchorage or Fairbanks. It is possible to fly or arrange shuttles from Anchorage to McCarthy.

McCarthy and neighboring Kennecott, a national historic landmark, are situated within the Kennicott Valley (note the different spellings between the natural features and historical features.) McCarthy and Kennecott serve locals and travelers alike as a gateway to world-class backcountry opportunities and amazing frontcountry hikes and walks (including access to the Root Glacier); the Kennicott Valley also provides a window into some of the most unique chapters in Alaska's history and an authentic, lively contemporary community.


The Workshop will begin with dinner on Friday, June 16 and end with brunch on Tuesday, June 20.    More schedule details coming soon!

Meals and Accommodations:

Lunch and dinner will be provided and shared communally; workshop participants are responsible for the breakfast meal. Breakfast can be purchased from a limited number of local vendors or participants can bring breakfast provisions to store and cook in the Hardware Store facilities. Hot water will be provided for coffee and tea. Every effort will be made to accommodate dietary needs and restrictions with advance notice. Primitive camping is available at no cost to workshop participants. The private site is located just a short walk away from the Wrangell Mountains Center campus. Those who camp are welcome to store gear and food at the Hardware Store. WMC staff will direct you to the campsite and orient you there upon your arrival. Other lodging options within McCarthy include the full service McCarthy Lodge and Lancaster's Backpacker Hotel, located just down the street. The Kennicott River Lodge and Hostel is another great option outside of town; it's a short bicycle ride or twenty minute walk each way. If you bring a vehicle with you, Currant Ridge Cabins is located on the McCarthy Road about three miles from the road's end; it's about a half mile walk between the parking area there and the Old Hardware Store. Free shuttles run between the river and McCarthy on a rotation with limited hours. If you bring a camper in or would otherwise like to camp out with your vehicle, there are two commercial campgrounds near the end of the McCarthy Road that will accommodate you without advance reservations.

Cost: $325/person. The workshop price includes lunches and dinners and optional camping and food storage facilities. Bernina sewing machines are available for an extra $35 for the duration of the workshop.


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If you prefer to register by phone or on paper please call Nate Anderson at 907-554-4464 or send us a message here.