with Nicola Vruwink
Hosted by Open Workshops
This all-inclusive two and a half day creative workshop takes place at Jackrabbit Studios in the beautiful Mojave Desert north of Joshua Tree National Park. Throughout this immersive weekend artist, educator, and designer Nicola Vruwink will share her knowledge of hand-building, craft, and design as you create multi-media sculpture and assemblages inspired by story. In between creative projects, stimulating conversations, and healthy meals, enjoy time to just relax and soak in the natural desert beauty on this historic 5 acre parcel.

Following in the footsteps of Larry Smith's Six-Word Memoirs project, together we will explore language and material to bring words into form. Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” In this workshop you will play, explore, and write your own short story. Beginning with a wide lens, we’ll focus and funnel down to compose individual six-word memoirs to shape into physical three dimensional or ephemeral form. We'll craft mobiles and tabletop sculptures through various media and processes. We’ll experiment in writing, explore a host of materials, visit spaces of inspiration, workshop ideas, and compose individual narratives expressed creatively, unexpectedly, and uniquely.

The emphasis will be on play, process, and investigation. Exercises that scaffold, support, and challenge you will be introduced as you find your story line, build camaraderie, and let go of expectations.

We’ll open our creative minds with a visit to the infamous Sky Village Swap Meet in Yucca Valley. There we’ll hunt for objects–a pair of old glasses, a crystal champagne flute, or broken tennis racquet–that conjure past hopes and dreams to channel into six-word fictional narratives. We’ll also collect items for possible use in our own memoirs back at the studio. During the workshop you’ll be introduced to various multi-media techniques and methods to express your story in two or three dimensions including mobile building, wire wrapping, fastening, assemblage, sewing, and watercolor. On the final day, you’ll present your six-word memoir to the group. This may be composed from found objects, paint, paper, textile, or maybe even written in the sand, danced, or spoken/sung aloud in the voice and style you see fit.

Special Guest Singer/Songwriter Wildlife Freeway will join us Saturday night to perform and share insights into her creative practice.

We hope you will join us in this adventure in which the unexpected will be discovered, assumptions will dissolve, and explorations will be revelatory.

Optional Museum Visit: For those interested in additional inspiration before the workshop begins, we’ll organize a visit to the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum to experience the immersive large-scale sculpture by Noah Purifoy who dedicated himself to the found object and to using art as a tool for social change.

2.5 Day Workshop (instructors, lunch and dinner, and materials included but feel free to bring your own materials or objects as well!)
$450 Early Bird
$495 After January 21, 2024

Overnight lodging is available on site ranging from $50 to to pitch your own tent to a king suite with private bath. See photos below. Details and pricing can be found on the registration page. Space is limited!

Limited to 12 participants, with a minimum of 6.

This adult workshop is open to everyone, no experience is required and experimentation is encouraged! 
Hosted by
Open Workshops
@ Jackrabbit Studios
in Landers, California
Date & Time
4 PM, Friday, February 23 - 4 PM, Sunday, February 25, 2024
Top: Nicola Vruwink, Best Shot (Four letter word series), 2023, Cone 10 stoneware and glaze, 17 x 16 x 16 inches.

Bottom: Nicola Vruwink, I see magic in your eyes, Crocheted cassette tape, Dimensions variable.  
I do not wish to be an artist, 
I only wish that art enables me to be. 

– Noah Purifoy, 1963
About Nicola Vruwink
Nicola Vruwink, MFA, is an artist, educator, and designer committed to mentoring future creatives while maintaining her own studio practice. She has found her home in the California community college system, where she is a full-time faculty member in the Graphic Design program at Santa Monica College. She is also serves as assistant faculty at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, CA where she teaches ceramics. Language often plays a starring role in her studio practice as seen in her ongoing crocheted cassette tape wall hangings and recent four letter word ceramic series.

Originally from Iowa, Nicola received her MFA from the University of Washington in Seattle and studied in the MFA program at the University of Iowa. She lives in Los Angeles and maintains a studio in Landers, CA where she also founded and curates exhibitions in Goat Gallery. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at the Palm Springs Museum of Art, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids, Michigan, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, with solo exhibitions presented by the Lancaster Museum, Seattle Art Museum, Bellevue Art Museum, and Riverside Art Museum. Her works are held in the collections of the Palm Springs Art Museum and Seattle Art Museum, among other public and private collections and has been reviewed in the Los Angeles Times, Artforum, Huffington Post, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and Angeleno Magazine.
Special Guest
High Desert singer/songwriter Sunny Atema who performs as Wildlife Freeway will join us Saturday night under the stars to share insights into her creative process and perform a few of her favorite songs.
Joshua Tree National Park
Noah Purifoy Outdoor Art Museum
Sky Village Swap Meet
Jackrabbit Studios
Located on five acres of serene Mojave Desert landscape North of Joshua Tree National Park in Landers, California—nestled amidst great horned owls, rare mature pine trees, roadrunners, and namesake bunnies––this 4-bedroom historic desert home, casita, and workshop has inspired creativity for generations. Featuring eclectic furnishings, enchanting natural lighting, and epic night skies, you’ll find yourself in a super-powered artistic hamlet (the famed Integratron is just down the road!)—with endless permutations for communing, creating, uncovering, and recovering.
Optional Overnight Accommodations
Offering 3 private king bedrooms (one with private bath), 1 shared room with 2 twin beds, 2 bell tents, and BYO tent spots. Click on the photo for the name of the room and type of accommodation. Further details may be found on the Registration page. Space is limited. Recommendations for additional accommodations nearby upon request.
Early Bird Discount through February 4, 2024!
This workshop is for adults and takes place at a desert home near the base of Goat Mountain in Landers, California. We will be spending a good deal of time out in the elements. The workshop and other creative projects will take place both inside and outside. Meals may be enjoyed outside as well. Days begin at 9 a.m., include a light mid-day lunch, and end with a cocktail/mocktail hour before a thoughtfully prepared communal dinner and lively conversation under the stars.
What is included?
A welcome gift
* An evening slide talk and presentation
* Professional instruction by knowledgeable artists and experts
* All workshop materials (You are welcome to bring your own objects and materials–be creative!)
* Special Guest performance by High Desert singer/songwriter Wildlife Freeway 
* Afternoon snacks, and healthy vegetarian lunch and dinner made with locally sourced produce. Please share any allergies or dietary concerns in the sign-up form and let us know if you have a food allergy that could result in hospitalization.
*  Evening cocktail/mocktail and glass of wine with dinner (you are welcome to BYO) 
* Time to rest, reflect, unwind, write, and connect with self, new friends, and the beautiful natural surroundings.

What am I responsible for?
* A curious mindset
* Transportation to and from the location. Palm Springs Airport is the closest airport and is one hour from Landers. 
* Warm layers, sun protection, hat, water bottle, sturdy closed-toed shoes 
* Personal dietary needs 

Is Overnight Lodging Available?
* Yes! Jackrabbit Studios offers a variety of options with a host of price points ranging from private or shared king rooms with linens and blankets, to bell tents or the option to pitch your own tent. Bathrooms are shared, unless otherwise noted in the room descriptions. 
* Breakfast is included 
* If choosing to stay overnight, please bring your own bath towel and personal bath products

What's the Refund & Cancellation Policy?
* Individuals wishing to cancel before January 31 will receive a 50% refund. No refunds after January 31. 
* The workshop will be held rain or shine. 
* In the case of extreme environmental concerns, such as fire or flooding, the workshop may be subject to cancellation, in which case reservations will be 100% refunded.

The workshop and property occupancy is limited to 12. Even though we love them, no additional guests or pets, please.
Join Us! 
We look forward to hosting you!
Have questions? 
Feel free to reach out to [email protected].

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