Haywood Community College’s Continuing Education Department offers a variety of Creative Arts courses ranging from upholstery, quilting, and sewing; to watercolor painting, drawing, and wood carving. While all these subjects are different in what a student will learn, they all have excellent instructors and always offer encouragement, inspiration, and creativity. The most amazing part is that once a student takes one of these courses, they almost always take the classes again and again.

Andrea Tilmont took the Quilting Workshop about four years ago when she retired and moved to the area. She has since taken it several times.

“I used to make some of my own clothes and sew curtains but when I visited the Amish country and saw the quilts they make, I fell in love with it and wanted to learn to make them myself,” Tilmont says.

She now quilts things from crib size to queen size and has recently started quilting sweatshirts. Last time she took the Quilting Workshop at HCC, she was able to complete three quilts in class-a lap quilt, a twin, and a full-size.

“You progress at whatever level you are at,” she explains. “And the best part is when you finish a quilt, you know it is made 100 % by you.”

When Judy Medford first took the Tips, Tools, and Techniques class, she says she really got to know her personal sewing machine.

“The class brought back some things I had forgotten,” Medford says. “I learned to incorporate techniques and to use the right thread and the right needle on the right material.”

Medford says one of the things she really enjoyed is making a journal showing all the different stitches her machine can sew. While she has taken the class several times, she learns something different each time.

Trish Salmon also took the Tips, Tools, and Techniques class. She wanted to become more confident using her machine. “I learned I could be more creative with my work and you don’t have to have an expensive machine to get a lot out it. The class gave me confidence in tackling new clothing.”

Wendy Cordwell took her first Watercolor Painting course at HCC about five years ago. She has always loved art and when her son went to college, she found she finally had time to take the class.

“You learn basic techniques and then you build on what you’re taught,” Cordwell explains. “I have since become active in the Blue Ridge Water Media Society. I actually sold work at my first showing.“

Cordwell plans to take Journaling for the Artist this fall. “You sketch and write about an object. You can create a storybook illustrating your travels. It’s a way to capture your memory of what you’ve seen.”

Amanda Pope took the Sewing and Basic Alterations class because she always has to have whatever she buys hemmed. “I wanted to learn to hem them myself and since I took the class, I feel comfortable hemming a pair of pants.”

In class, Pope says she made a skirt, top, and a purse. She plans to take the course again.

Doug Sisk says he’s always been interested in wood carving but just needed someone to show him how to do it. He says instructor Cliff Hannah knows how to explain on any level.

“You start out by carving a duck so you learn to see things in a symmetrical manner,” Sisk says. “You quickly learn that if you can see it in your head, you can do it.”

Sisk has now taught his grandchildren to carve soap.

“It’s a hobby that is very relaxing and satisfying. You can leave your job behind and have fun. I find that I hurry home on Tuesday evenings so I can get to class.”

When Dwight Ewart was taken out of work for medical reasons, he wanted to get out of the house. That was about seven years ago when he first enrolled in the Upholstery class at HCC. He’s been coming ever since.

“We all help each other in class,” Ewart says. “We have fun and bounce ideas off each other’s heads. And we all learn something.”

Ewart put what he’s learned to work when his parents bought a house. He redid the whole house from windows to beds with items he bought from thrift stores.

Shancy Garrison, owner of Persnickety’s on Main, knew learning upholstery would come in handy in her home décor and furniture consignment shop. “Lani (upholstery instructor) makes sure you will not leave the class without a great piece. We are all at different levels in the class but we all learn so much.”

It’s never too late to take one of these courses for the first time. “If you’re looking for something to do to be creative, you will find it to be very rewarding,” Tilmont says. “You will have a support crew there once you start. You’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner.”

Sisk says, “You develop camaraderie. You critique each other’s work. There’s a lot of fellowship. It’s a very encouraging atmosphere.”

While some of these classes are underway now, it is still not too late to register. The upholstery class has a day and evening class and is led by Lani Hendrix. The day class has started and runs until December 15. The evening class has also started and runs until January 12. Quilting Workshop, also led by Lani Hendrix, has started and runs until December 2. Tips, Tools, and Techniques is taught by Julie Simpson and is scheduled to begin on Thursday, September 24. Sewing and Basic Alterations, taught by Kate Brown, begins Tuesday, September 15. Watercolor class begins Monday, September 14. Perspective Drawing Beginning and Intermediate begins on Tuesday, September 15. Journaling for the artist begins on Monday, September 21. The Watercolor, Drawing, and Journaling classes are taught by Lilian Parks. Woodcarving is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, September 15 and is led by Cliff Hannah.

For more information about these classes, please call Laura Simmons at 828.565.4244 or email lsimmons@haywood.edu. To register for a class, please 627-4505.