Summer Workshops

Summer 2021, we are offering one single four-week boarding session for 100 teens, in-person, in the studios on Putney’s farm campus in Vermont. We are currently monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will be designing our on-campus programming to be safe and within State of Vermont guidelines.
We hope you’ll join us.


Students select two workshops as their main focus. Each workshop meets for three hours of daily instruction during morning and afternoon blocks. Workshops are designed for students at all levels of experience and focus on each student’s individual trajectory. All students benefit from professional instruction that puts an emphasis on process over product.

Workshops are supplemented with shorter evening activities, artist talks, and open studio time. Students will also be able to take advantage of the natural beauty of our setting through various on-campus activities. After workshops, students can take part in organized team sports activities, hike the many trails of our 500-acre campus, or join in farm chores.

With dedicated and focused time every day for four weeks, students build their skills and confidence as they create a rich portfolio of work in a supportive community where they can be themselves.

Dates & Tuition:

4 Week Session: June 27 – July 24

Tuition: $8,400

Applications received before Jan 15, 2021 will receive a $500 early application discount

Tuition includes room, board, workshop materials, and activities.

“The workshop (Songwriting) was like preparing for working on my own after Putney. Now I have better motivation to continue working.”

– Noa, Summer ’20

Animation

Ceramics

Dance

Farm

Fashion Design

Filmmaking

Fine Woodworking

Graphic Memoir

Life Drawing

Metal Jewelry

Narratives in Photography

Painting

Sculpture

Songwriting

Stained and Fused Glass

Storytelling

Textiles, Etchings, and Reductions

Theater

Weaving & Fiber Arts

Writing People, Writing Place

Animation

“I want to expand my knowledge about animation and find what types of animation suit me the best. I want to continue to do art in the Putney atmosphere.”

– Audrey, student summer 2020

Animation allows you to tell powerful visual stories. In this workshop you try your hand at stop-motion animation, claymation, rotoscoping, and time-lapse photography, while learning the 12 Principles of Animation. You will develop foundational animation skills and apply those techniques through the production processes, using digital tools and physical mediums. Students will have a chance to work through a variety of exercises and to create a final work of their choice.

Through individual and group projects, you bring your ideas to the screen and gain proficiency with digital tools like Photoshop, AfterEffects, Premiere Pro, and iStopMotion.

Ceramics

Throw exquisite and functional bowls on the potter’s wheel, sculpt slabs into expressive forms, explore glazing techniques, and witness your work come to life through gas and electric kiln firings.

In this workshop, you will create collections of work along specific aesthetic themes of your choosing. You will experiment with surface treatments, including the application of glazes, low relief, and three-dimensional decoration to distinguish your work. While beginners are exposed to a range of clay techniques, advanced students work to expand their portfolios.

Through class discussions, collaborative explorations, art books, technical articles, and one-on-one instruction, you will gain a greater understanding of what ceramics is and what inspires you to create.

Dance

Move in new ways in this modern dance workshop where you will study technique, practice improvisation, delve into partnering exercises, and develop your own choreography.

While modern dance technique is the foundation of the workshop, you may draw inspiration from yoga, ballet, jazz, African dance, and other movement forms. In addition to choreographing your own performance piece, you will also contribute to a group project that will be performed at the end of the session.

This workshop is tailored to each student’s physical and intellectual desires with emphasis on the creative process. Anyone with an appreciation of movement is welcome in this workshop.

Farm

Have you ever dreamed of growing your own food? Putney is located on a working farm with vegetable gardens, a dairy herd, a small animal barn, and a managed forest woodlot.

Led by farm educators, you work side-by-side with the school’s professional farm crew. You will learn about and  be able to discuss sustainable farm practices and the future of small-scale agriculture.

Students are introduced to dairy farming by taking turns working early morning chores. You will visit small- and large-scale farms and meet a number of local farmers. Learn about Vermont cheeses by visiting a local artisan sheep cheese maker and tour a nearby cheese factory.

Work hard, get dirty, and experience the satisfaction that comes from this unique combination of labor and learning.

Fashion Design

Take your fashion designs from sketch to dress—or shirt, or pants, or whatever you want to wear.

In this workshop you not only learn the fundamentals of sewing and construction, but you also begin to explore your own artistic sensibilities through discussions of themes and trends in fashion and applications such as costume design and haute couture. You’ll create mood boards, sketch your own fashion collection, adapt a pattern to your own design, and sew by hand and on a sewing machine. 

Each student constructs garments which are presented in a group runway show and gallery exhibit at the end of the session. Experience with a sewing machine is recommended but not required. 

Filmmaking

Whether you are an experienced filmmaker or completely new to the craft, this workshop will challenge your knowledge of the medium and give you the skills you need to make effective and engaging films.

Students learn to direct, shoot, and edit through hands-on training. You’ll learn how cinematic techniques significantly impact the viewer’s perception. How does lighting change the mood of a scene? What does a dolly zoom tell you about the shot? Mise-en-scène, camera movement, lighting, sound design, and editing all converge to tell your stories on screen.

Fine Woodworking

In the Fine Woodworking workshop, you will learn the fundamental skills you will need to create unique, functional and artistic objects out of wood. You will learn the value of preparation, mocking-up designs, using hand tools, and safe power tool operation. You will build foundational skills as you explore hand-cut joinery like dovetails and the mortise and tenon. These skills will be refined through hands-on projects. Build a bench, an ornate box, or a small bookcase in preparation for a project of your choosing.

Graphic Memoir

Visual storytelling has always been an important part of human history. From prehistoric cave paintings to complex narratives in cinema and avatars in video games, we have an inherent need to communicate our stories visually and sequentially.

In this workshop students will explore personal storytelling through the careful balance of text and image. Students will hone and polish their illustration skills as they find a unique narrative voice through class projects. Play with page composition, develop story structure, and experiment with various materials and techniques. Students will craft narratives around their own unique experiences and dive into a process that is both self-expressive and self-reflective.

Life Drawing

With our shady trees and green mountains, the Putney campus offers a variety of locations for you to work and build your understanding of perspective, proportion, volume, and composition.

In this class you will develop an understanding of traditional and non-traditional approaches to drawing using charcoal, graphite, pastel, ink, and other materials. Students draw from careful observation of a still life, from the human figure, and the landscape. Group critiques, individual critiques, and evaluation of student work are key components of this class.

Advanced students joining the workshop will be able to work at their own pace,  taking part in introductory work to refresh their skills, or diving straight into developing their body of work.

Metal Jewelry

Hammer, cut, solder, twist, and shape silver and brass to create unique pieces of wearable jewelry. You’ll set precious stones in delicate bezels and bend thin wire to create a single chain or an intricately woven piece.  You’ll develop skills to create rings, pendants, chains, pins, bracelets, and small-scale sculptural pieces.

Jewelry making is a discipline in which students pay heightened attention to technical and aesthetic detail. Instruction and projects are individualized and students with more experience work independently on advanced projects.

Painting

You will expand your knowledge of fundamental technical and theoretical approaches through painting on paper, canvas, or wood panel with acrylic paint.

After an initial overview of value, color, and composition, students learn the basics of color mixing and paint handling. Students consider a wide variety of forms through exploration of themes and ideas from different art periods up through contemporary works. 

You will primarily paint from life. Projects include an in-studio still life, painting the figure from a model, and landscape painting in a variety of locations on The Putney School campus.

Advanced students work at their own pace. You may take part in introductory work to refresh your skills or dive straight into developing a new body of work.

Narratives in Photography

Sharpen your camera skills in this black and white photography class and explore the multi-step process of using a manual 35mm camera. Learn the fundamental skills necessary to process your negatives and print your images in a wet darkroom.

Learn how to optimize aperture and shutter speed and how these variables affect your images. Experiment with different contrast filters and burning/dodging techniques to produce the most expressive prints.​

Advanced students will be able to work at their own pace, taking part in introductory work to refresh their skills or diving straight into developing a new body of work.

​​Students who enroll in this workshop should bring their own manually adjustable 35mm camera. 

Black and white film is supplied.

Sculpture

Chisel, cut, hammer, sand, bend, and pound materials into three-dimensional pieces of art. Learn to work with different types of materials including wood, clay, stone, plaster, wire, and steel.

You will create sculptures and assemblages from found objects. Electric and gas welding is taught for those wishing to work in metal. Our studios offer opportunities to work with mediums rarely found in traditional high school settings.

You will be able to develop your unique vision as a sculptor as you experiment with texture, scale, and space, as well as amorphous and figurative forms. Students will draw on their sense of design and balance to explore and complete a variety of assignments before undertaking independent projects using materials of their choice.

Songwriting

If you enjoy playing instruments and singing, this workshop is a great place to delve into the artistry of songwriting and composition. 

A strong foundation in music theory, structure, and form will provide students with the fundamental skill set necessary to write and record interesting and unique songs. Students will also have the opportunity to perform their work for the entire community.

You will have at least one private lesson a week with plenty of time to write and experiment with your compositions. The Putney School has a lab equipped with Sibelius, Garageband and Audacity, as well as other specialized music production programs.

Experience in songwriting is not required; students should, however, be able to play a piano or chordal instrument and be fluent in traditional music notation or tablature.

Stained and Fused Glass

Working with glass lets you create using color and light. You will cut, frame, and arrange  pieces of glass using both traditional stained glass as well as fused glass techniques.

Play with color, texture, transparency, and opacity as you combine these elements to create windows, boxes, frames, or three-dimensional sculptural pieces.  Students also learn slumping, where you arrange pieces of fusible glass on a mold for use in a high-fire kiln to create colorful bowls or platters. Come explore the myriad of possibilities for using glass to express yourself and to create something beautiful.

Storytelling

Why do we tell stories that aren’t even true? Why do we tell stories at all? Whose truth are we telling, and how do we decide the best ways, the best angles, to craft the telling? In this workshop, we’ll create stories— on the page, certainly, and beyond it— in audio form, perhaps in monologue form, perhaps as a graphic novel/story— and consider the questions central to that telling.

How do we create character, setting, tone? What’s left in, and what’s left out? What are the narrative structures that might best suit the work? What’s the best medium for the telling? In this creative writing workshop, we’ll work across genres as we consider possibilities and elements of story, of craft, and the many ways that stories come to life as we make them into so many new realities.

Textiles, Etchings, and Reductions

Create original plates to produce a unique series of prints. You will learn techniques in relief printing where a reproducible image is created by carving wood or linoleum, as well as intaglio printing where the lines of an image are incised into copper and printed.

Students will also design and print their own textiles. We will consider the culture and evolution of hand-designed textiles and explore the landscapes, artifacts, textures, and palettes that inform who we are.

Students are introduced to drypoint, engraving, and etching techniques. You will learn how to prepare plates, work directly into copper, apply ink, and print on a press. You’ll use these skills to work on individual projects of your choice, such as an artist’s book or an edition of finished prints.

Students of all levels of experience are welcome.

Theater

Delve deeply into the process of acting and creating theater. Use collaborative exercises to create a sense of ensemble and the “phantom note” that develops when artists truly work together as a unit.

In this workshop students use improvisation exercises and monologues to awaken their creative voices, overcome inhibitions, build confidence, and hone their abilities as performers. 

You will delve into some method acting and work with sense memory to discover the unique emotional palette that makes up our individual identity as actors. You will also explore the technical aspects of theater and gain a basic understanding of lighting, blocking, and direction.

The workshop culminates with a final performance of an original work written and performed by students under the guidance of their lead teacher.

Weaving & Fiber Arts

Learn to express yourself creatively through fiber, color, and pattern. Weaving, quilting, sewing, needlework, knitting, crocheting, spinning, and dyeing are all forms for you to explore.

You can choose to focus on one area or explore a variety of techniques. The fiber arts studio is equipped with a remarkable collection of four- and eight-harness floor looms, spinning wheels, sewing machines, and a knitting machine, as well as a large collection of natural fiber yarns and fabrics.

The school farm provides fleece for spinning and plants for natural dyeing. We have an extensive library of contemporary and historical textile books and periodicals for inspiration.

Writing People, Writing Place

Writing the world around us opens a lens to the world of ourselves.

In this workshop, we’ll explore ways to write people— how are characters formed, what makes them work, what’s at stake, what choices and risks might they take— and consider how we might most effectively bring characters to life within and on the page. We’ll also think about how to make meaning of place, using the environment around us as a way to begin our exploration, but will also consider the landscape of memory in our explorations. 

This class will work across genres as a way to write beyond, and within, ourselves and the lenses we bring into our experiences.