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thumb_AnnStenson_in_studioFormer participant Ann Stenson hones her skills in the glass studio at the Appalachian Center for Craft.If one of your goals for the new year is to break out of the same old, same old and try something new, then take the scenic drive to Tennessee Tech University's Appalachian Center for Craft and immerse yourself in a hands-on craft workshop this spring or summer. The Craft Center is offering one eight-week, evening clay workshop starting in February, as well a full range of workshops from May through July.

The evening workshop, entitled "Wheel Throwing & Handbuilding Techniques in Clay" will meet each Monday night from 6 to 9 p.m., starting Feb. 21 and running through April 18 (with no class session scheduled for the week of spring break). The class is designed for beginning and intermediate-level participants and will focus on techniques for wheel throwing and handbuilding vessels, plates, bowls, cups, vases, and more.

"The eight-week evening workshops offered by the Craft Center really give participants an opportunity to explore the craft medium," said Beth Smith, marketing and program manager at the Craft Center. "The additional contact time with the instructor and opportunity to become familiar with the studio environment truly enhances the experience. Even if you've never touched clay, you'll enjoy learning in a fun and relaxed environment."

The Craft Center will also be hosting a wide array of weekend, one-week, and three-week intensive workshops from early May through late July in blacksmithing, clay, fibers, glass, metals, and woodworking. The one-week classes can be taken for one hour of elective credit, and the three-week intensive workshops can be taken for three credit hours. The full schedule, along with workshop descriptions, how to take classes for credit, and fee information, is currently available online.

Yet learning something new or honing current skills doesn't have to cost a fortune.

"Many people may not realize the Craft Center offers substantial discounts of workshop fees for TTU employees and students," Smith said. "There is a 50 percent discount for TTU students, faculty and staff available one month prior to the start of any workshop we offer."

Workshop classes are available for beginners to professional artists; however, participants must be at least 18 years old to register for a workshop, and advance reservations are required.

The Appalachian Center for Craft overlooks Center Hill Lake near Smithville and is conveniently located approximately 6 miles from Interstate 40 at Exit 273 (Smithville/McMinnville). Take Hwy 56 South and turn left immediately crossing Hurricane Bridge over Center Hill Lake.

For more information about the Appalachian Center for Craft's workshop program, call the Craft Center at 931-372-3051, e-mail or visit