2017  SPECIAL TOPICS WORKSHOPS

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June 5–9  --- This workshop is no longer open for enrollment. 

Wood Sculpture 

Instructor: Jonathan Shapiro

All Levels

Come play with me in the process of self-exploration and negotiate your vision with the natural properties of materials. In the tradition of Thaddeus Mosley’s Touchstone classes, we will address the fundamentals of woodcarving tools and processes, and then use these as stepping stones towards unique abstract sculpture. The workshop will begin with material selection and preparation, with discussion on how to identify the best raw materials for your sculptural idea. You will then learn safe and efficient chisel work, as well as the best positioning of body and material while carving. You will be encouraged to explore your boundaries in a casual, non-judgmental, supportive space and are welcome to bring additional tools, materials, and found objects that you may want to use.

Given to Nature, standing 16’ tall, was designed by Jonathan Shapiro specifically for the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is an organic landmark inside this signature property. Most recently, PNC Bank has chosen to feature Seedling, a piece by Jonathan in their new development, dubbed the “World’s Greenest Skyscraper.”

A self-taught sculptor who incorporates natural materials along with found objects into his work, Jonathan has had local exhibitions at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Medelson Gallery. He has also been commissioned for many private collections. Recently he created Nature the Core, a site specific sculpture, which included a large, cast glass element. Growing up in New York, Jonathan was drawn to taking things apart and putting them back together in ways that were most useful, more meaningful, or just more interesting to him. He feels that his art has taken this inclination of his to new levels of expression.


June 9–11 --- This workshop is no longer open for enrollment.

Appalachian Spring: Wood Sculpture and Dance/Movement Collaborate Workshop

Instructors: Mita Ghosal and Jonathan Shapiro

All Levels

Inspired by the collaborations between sculptor Isamu Noguchi and Choreographer, Martha Graham, this workshop will guide participants in creating artistic work that grapples with the space between embodied dance/movement expression and the visceral process of manipulating materials to create forms in space. Students will work in the discipline of their choice whether that is dance/movement or sculpture and be guided in gaining inspiration across disciplines. A sample of the first day might be a yoga warm-up session for all students, followed by a dance technique class where dancers dance and sculptors observe and sketch, individual breakout sessions for both sculptors and dancers to flesh out ideas, and concluding with time for both groups of artists to work together to create collaborative or individual work. Sculptors are welcome to bring additional tools, materials, and found objects that they may want to use.

A self-taught sculptor who incorporates natural materials along with found objects into his work, Jonathan Shapiro has had exhibitions locally at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Mendelson Gallery. He has also been commissioned for many private collections. Recently he created Nurture the Core, a site specific sculpture that included a large cast glass element.

Mita Ghosal’s choreographic work explores emotional landscapes and their intersections with the abstract and literal expressions of the moving body. Informed by her studies and inquiries into contemporary dance, yoga, Laban, body-mind centering, and theatre, her movement vocabulary strives to be deeply human while existing somewhere in between everyday reality and artful poetic manifestations.


September 1–3

Making a Binzasara

Instructor: Tadao Arimoto

All Levels

$275 Member | $305 Non-Member

Class Time: Friday–Sunday

Learn how to make a binzasara, a traditional Japanese percussion instrument. We will use various hand and portable tools to make the handles and wooden plates as well as the assembly jig, which we will use to build the binzasara.

For the past 40 years, Tadao Arimoto, a woodworker, has practiced his craft in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as well as attended and taught at domestic and international workshops.

Before arriving in the United States, he studied industrial design at the International Design Institute in Kyoto.

In recent years, Tadao has contributed works to local universities, exhibited at national events, and was recognized as a Master Visual Artist by the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. While Tadao's focus has shifted from private works to larger and more public commissions, he invites anyone interested in his work, or in woodworking, to contact him.


Touchstone Center for Crafts
1049 Wharton Furnace Rd.
Farmington, PA 15437
T: 724.329.1370
T: 800.721.0177 
F: 724.329.1371
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