Alec Waller IV and his wife frequent Bloom Coffee and Tea in Northfield, which is where he heard an artists' studio was opening across the hall. Waller is a sculptor and new to the area, so he had been looking for a place to work on his art.
"He came in just really excited to use our space, to get his clay out and start sculpting again," said Amy Sullivan, part owner of Dwell: An Artist Space.
Dwell opened in November 2013, and is owned by Sullivan, of Egg Harbor Township, and Ray Nunzie, of Ocean City. The studio was intended to be used as an artist collaborative space and a space where classes and workshops can be held.
"I've been working out of my studio at home, but working around other artists is super inspiring, so it was cool to bump into Amy and be part of a collective." Waller said.
After spending some time in the studio, Waller asked if he could lead a sculpting workshop, an idea to which Sullivan and Nunzie were receptive.
On Feb. 15, Waller led Dwell's first sculpting workshop. The three-hour session was directed by Waller and featured a live model. Waller said the class was a quick introduction to sculpting with clay. The group focused on seeing the body in space and understanding how to recreate what is physically seen.
"I guess my hope is that people can take away a better understanding about how to see or observe how life goes on around them, and they can learn and develop some of their skills," Waller said.
Waller moved to Northfield last January from Tennessee and works for the U.S. Coast Guard as an electrical technician at the Cape May Airport. In Tennessee, Waller apprenticed under local sculptor Cessna Decosimo. It was at Decosimo's studio where Waller first starting leading workshops.
"Beyond colleges, I'm not sure there are really any places to take a fine arts small figure class with a live model," Sullivan said.
Sullivan and Nunzie plan on continuously hosting workshops at Dwell.
"What we're trying to do is bring something different that we haven't done previously every month," Sullivan said. "We're trying to bring in different artists that have different crafts. This is the first (workshop) we're doing that we're not instructing."
"I hope the workshops are a lot of fun," Waller said. "I'd like to see people develop and learn a little bit no matter what level they're at."
The workshops are family friendly and encourage participants of all ages and skill levels.
Participants in the sculpting workshop were able to keep their clay pieces after they were fired in a kiln.
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