Instead of hectic shopping, why not have fun learning to make your own original gifts this year. No experience is necessary for the holiday workshops coming up led by talented artisans in the Litchfield Hills of Western Connecticut. With these top professionals as teachers, it is surprisingly easy to create gifts such as hand-blown glass, small metal sculptures or a fanciful gingerbread house. Many of the workshops are ideal family activities.
Glass flowers, Paperweights, Ornaments
Noted glass artist Peter Greenwood, whose work has been shown in over 20 museums, welcomes students to his studio in a picturesque 1829 stone church in Riverton to learn the art of glass blowing. Greenwood’s students have ranged from age 8 to 85.
People are amazed, Greenwood says, to see how quickly they can learn to blow into a pipe and see the glass expand into a Christmas ornament. It takes only five minutes to create one of these very personal ornaments.
For an even more impressive gift, Greenwood offers students a hands-on experience learning to twist and pull molten glass and sculpt it into a lovely glass flower or a swirled paperweight.
Classes are offered at various times Tuesday through Saturday and all materials are provided. For more information, see www.petergreenwood.com.
Fanciful Metal Sculptures
Artist/designer Karen Rossi is well known for her whimsical original small metal sculptures known as Fanciful Flights. Karen shares her creativity with students in workshops at her studio on Main Street in Torrington. In December, her Saturday workshops have holiday themes.
Santa Claus Fanciful Flights on December 6 will feature Santa figures as well as fancy presents, snowflakes and toys, ideal decorations for a tree or a window. December 13 brings Wine Angel Lights, decorating festive bottles using some of Karen’s delightful laser-cut shapes plus bead, paints, sparkles and confetti. Students on December 20 will create an original mosaic tray, a welcome gift for any hostess. For more details see www.karenrossi.com
At The Silo, the award-winning cooking school at Hunt Hill Farm in New Milford, workshops to create take-home gingerbread houses are a favorite holiday tradition. Teams of two or three people learn to decorate wonderful houses using over 85 kinds of candy. Teams can include children age five and up, Traditional workshops start the baking from scratch. Those with less time or with younger children can choose sessions with houses already assembled and ready to decorate.
Classes are scheduled for December 7 and 13. They are limited in size and they fill fast so early reservations are advised. See www.hunthillfarmtrust.org for more information.
An even more unusual workshop assembling and decorating a nativity scene with gingerbread, and candies will take place on December 13 from 10 a.m. to noon as part of the Christmas Festival Weekend at the Lourdes in Litchfield Shrine. Spaces are limited so phone for reservations: 860-567-1041. More details can be found at www.shrinect.org
For more information about holiday activities and a free copy of Unwind, a full-color, 152-page booklet detailing what to do and see, and where to stay, shop and dine in the Litchfield Hills and Fairfield County in Western Connecticut, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, or visit their web site at www.visitwesternct.com