Enriching lives through art and craft

Courtney Martin: 2023 Fall Studio Intern

An interview with Courtney Martin, Arrowmont’s 2023 Fall Studio Intern, and Kelly Hider, Director of National Programs at Arrowmont.


KH: Courtney, tell us a little bit more about yourself! Where are you from, and how did you get into the arts?      

CM: I grew up in Athens, OH and currently live in Pittsburgh, PA. I grew up in a very art-focused town so I was continuously encouraged to pursue any medium I wanted to try. I’ve spent the majority of my life learning new mediums and techniques, whether it be self-directed or through school. I began to pursue art full time during the pandemic, making jewelry and other crafts to sell online and at craft fairs. I currently have a small business named Dainty Prairie. You can check out some of my work on my website at daintyprairie.com.

 

 

KH: Tell us more about your artwork and studio practice. What are the mediums you primarily work in, and themes that your work explores?  

CM: The focus of my practice at the moment is needle felting. I’ve used needle felting to make jewelry for the last several years. I like to work with bright, expressive colors that also pull from feelings of nostalgia.

The environment of being around such amazing artists inspires me to challenge myself with my own craft. The individuals that come through Arrowmont are always willing to share their experiences and offer advice.

KH: What interested you most in the Arrowmont Fall Studio Internship?  

CM: I’ve stayed at Arrowmont previously as a work study, and I knew from experience that Arrowmont is an incredible place to be. The environment of being around such amazing artists inspires me to challenge myself with my own craft. The individuals that come through Arrowmont are always willing to share their experiences and offer advice. The studio technicians who work here are very knowledgeable and great with mentorship, so I knew this internship would be a great opportunity to learn a variety of valuable skills. 

KH: What have your responsibilities been as the Fall Studio Intern? What do your days look like?
CM: I help the studio technicians with various projects around campus as well as contribute as a team member to make sure each instructor has everything they need for their classes to run as smooth as possible.

 

KH: Tell us one magical story from your time here at Arrowmont.  

CM: I celebrated my birthday during this internship after being here for only a few weeks. I was nervous about how it would go, being that I was away from home and friends and family. Various staff, students, and instructors showed up to help me throw a super fun karaoke party. All these friends that I had only met a few weeks prior, were so happy to help me enjoy my special day and celebrate with me. It made for a very special birthday.

KH: You were able to take a national workshop with instructor, Camela Guervera, as part of your internship. How did that experience impact you?

CM: It was amazing because it was a workshop centered around learning to make a wearable garment using a pattern. I’ve been wanting to learn how to make my own clothes my whole life but always struggled with teaching myself. This class was the perfect opportunity for me to accomplish that goal.

 

I’ve learned that every person’s path can be completely different. You can be an exceptional artist and acquire your own version of success if you put your mind to it.

KH: What have been the most valuable learning opportunities you’ve had during your internship? 

CM: I’ve learned that every person’s path can be completely different. You can be an exceptional artist and acquire your own version of success if you put your mind to it. I’ve learned that ruts are always temporary – take a break or switch to something completely new if you’re losing passion for what you’re doing.

         

KH: How has your experience at Arrowmont as the 2023 Fall Studio Intern impacted you or potentially your career or life plans?  

CM: Having so many people around to mentor me and lend advice when I’m struggling about what to do for my next steps in life, has been very inspiring and self-esteem boosting. I feel this experience has taught me a ton about professionalism and what it’s like to work on a team.

ART WORKSTENNESSEE ARTS COMMISIONTENNESSEE FOR THE ARTSTennessee Specialty License PlatesEAST TENNESSEE FOUNDATIONWindgate Foundation Arrowmont is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number SLFRP5534 awarded to the State of Tennessee by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

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