When your art teacher comes to class after firing a kiln-full of bowls, you can tell she is deeply connected to her craft. The result is teaching that feels real, practical—and also inspiring. Williston arts faculty are practicing artists. Whether on the stage, at the barre, in the studio, or in the costume shop, they are pursuing their passions both as teachers and as creative professionals. What that means for you is an enriched environment where the arts are energetically alive.
Ed Hing '77
My original concept for the Ireland residency was to drive around documenting the landscape and then printing in the darkroom, to connect place with process. Three feet of snow two days prior to arrival changed that plan. Snow drifts, sheep blending into the background, mud. Sitting in the studio one morning I saw some incredible light streaming in through the windows and recognized the possibility of making a series of still life images.
I am a ceramicist and produce a line of handmade functional pottery called “slow studio.” I think of myself as a designer as well as a maker and the designs of my pieces are intended to reflect my interest in simplicity and harmony. I am inspired by natural elements and interpret light, textures and forms of nature through clay. Both my personal practice and teaching feed each other to keep each endeavor fresh and vibrant.
I’m primarily a set and light designer for live performances locally. Most of my stage designs incorporate light as an aesthetic element as well as a thematic component. In recent years, I’ve traveled to London to study video and projection mapping as well as to Makerspace workshops at MIT. These are being integrated it into my own work, and into my teaching at Williston, where I continue to explore ways to bring physical aspects of the stage to life.
While I spend most of my time in the theater these days teaching acting and directing stage productions, my training is in dramaturgy and dramatic criticism. As a dramaturg, I have worked on new play development with aspiring and professional playwrights, collaborated with ensembles in devised projects, and adapted classical texts for contemporary production. For my dissertation, I translated three Spanish modernist plays that were not previously available in the English language. My passion for translation and adaptation informs my work as a director and acting teacher, as I gravitate to texts that reimagine ancient stories and dramatic conventions for contemporary audiences.
Since I could hold a crayon, my first love has been portraiture. Over the years, I’ve worked in a variety of media including graphite, colored pencil, charcoal, gouache, and acrylic and oil paints. Recently, I have been creating colored pencil portraits in an abstracted grid format. This allows me to work methodically as I experiment with different color pairings to render shapes and subtleties of color and shadow in a face. Just as I have used art as a way to explore the world and capture people in my life, my objective is to teach students ways in which they can tell their stories through art.
Noel St. Jean
When I am not working with the Williston Dance Ensemble, I enjoy training students of all ages at my dance studio in town, Art In Motion. My touring company, The Legible Bodies, produces contemporary dance performance for stage and screen. I truly love creating original choreography and producing dance events in the greater Easthampton area, and I take every opportunity to make dance happen in my community and beyond!
I’m a classically trained flutist but I play many styles of music. I used to perform full time in the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra in the Canary Islands, Spain. Now I play in a flute-and-guitar ensemble, Duo Fusion, which plays classical, jazz and Latin music. I studied free improvisation with Grammy award-winning cellist David Darling, and that’s when I started exploring various styles of music. I’ve also recorded many CDs. Music has taken me all over the world, and I say to my students that if you keep practicing, you never know where your music will take you!
When I am not designing shows at Williston, you will often find me in a costume shop at one of the local colleges or regional theaters working as a draper (pattern maker) or stitching. Currently, I am working on a reproduction of a Tudor era child’s dress with my 8 year old using historical patterns. I have found the greatest rewards of my craft come from teaching young people a new skill and I am in the process of developing a series of sewing workshops for elementary age children.