“I chose to take a class at RISD CE because I’m a writer and while I love language, I was at a point in my life when I was looking for a new creative outlet. I wanted a practice that allowed me to work with my hands and that would be both fun and challenging. I took a papermaking class with Suzi Cozzens in 2018. After that, I took a bookbinding class with her. I instantly fell in love with book arts. I continued bookbinding during the pandemic and now make one-of-a-kind journals. This fall, I was accepted into the Made in Warren Artist Cooperative and am selling my journals under the brand Wordlily.

There are three RISD CE instructors who made an impact on me. Suzi Cozzens introduced me to bookbinding and papermaking. I still hear her exacting and encouraging voice in my head when I’m working on a new journal. Rina Naik, who taught Expressive Sketchbook, helped me to embrace playfulness in all my work. Her enthusiasm for experimentation was inspiring. The drawing instructor Jeremy Durling taught me how to really “look” at objects. He taught me how to break down a composition; how to look at shapes and angles; and how to use negative and positive space.

I really enjoyed the in-person interaction of classes pre-COVID. However, I’ve found that the ability to take courses online has expanded my practice and given me flexibility. Also, I’ve been able to engage with other artists from all over the country. Right now, the third bedroom in my home is a combination writing room/bookbinding studio/drawing den. Space is tight, but I make it work. Taking RISD CE courses has kept me inspired and in touch with my art practice. If I wasn’t taking a class, it would be easy to let the days pass without engaging in some kind of art. That’s one of the reasons I recently enrolled in the Natural Science Illustration certificate program. I want to continue creating and being creative as much as possible.

My advice that I would give to someone thinking about taking a RISD CE class is to ditch any perfectionist tendencies you have! Be open to being a beginner again. Experiment. Have fun.”

—Tina Egnoski, RISD CE certificate student

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