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Photo of the Week: Dit-Dah

rachael garceau installation at Penland

This is artist, former core fellow, and now Penland yoga instructor Rachel Garceau, putting together a ceramic installation outside the Pines. Made from slipcast porcelain, the piece is modular and variable, and Rachel has installed several versions in different places. The pattern represents the dots and dashes of Morse code. In this case, she’s spelling the words, “I can’t just limit it to a note.”

This phrase was said to her by instructor Dolph Smith, who was telling her that he’d been asked to write a sentence or two about Penland. He had a lot to say on the subject, so instead he sent a page or two along with the explanation, “I can’t just limit it to a note.”

Among Dolph’s many skills and interests is Morse code. He was trained by the Army, which stationed him as a signal interceptor in Berlin during the early days of the cold war. “Morse code is almost like handwriting,” he explained, “so we could identify individual operators, write down what they were transmitting, and also triangulate their locations. It’s all very archaic by today’s standards but it was interesting work.”

So, in honor of their shared affection for Penland and Morse code, Rachel used Dolph’s words for this installation.

Here’s a recording of Dolph speaking the phrase in dits and dahs.

For those of you who are completely puzzled by all of this, here is an explanation of Morse code.

-Robin Dreyer



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Photo of the Week: July 4 (er, 2)


Kat Cole’s “Found and Fabricated” metals class representing in the July 4 parade, which happened a couple of days early on account of Friday being the last day of the session.

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“Marjorie is encouraging us to work with what we know,” says Geraldine Murphy of Dublin, Ireland, about the metal objects being shaped and enameled by students in Marjorie Simon’s workshop.

We couldn’t help noticing that one of the wildest “work-with-what-you-know” forms, in Geraldine’s case, is her name.

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Photo of the Week: Auction Mugs!

auction mugs by Lisa DiFeo at Penland School

These are just some of the 500+ souvenir mugs made by potter Elisa Di Feo for this summer’s benefit auction. Elisa will be teaching a workshop during sixth session focused on tableware.

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Photo of the Week: Home Stretch in Metals

penland metals studio

April 28, week eight of the spring concentration. Things can get intense at the end of a long session.

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Photo of the Week: At work in the clay studio


Nick Moen in Penland clay studio

Studio assistant Nick Moen in the clay studio, behind a wall of his own works-in-progress.


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Photo of the Week: Snow Leopard Parking

no parking sign at Penland

Today is the birthday of our food services manager, Richard Pleasants. Richard has a large fan club, which includes some extremely clever people. Two of them (code names DTB and IPH) were up late last night installing this sign on Richard’s customary parking place. The sign is made from steel and brass sheet metal. The spatula is forged steel. He is kind of like a snow leopard: lithe, white haired, and on task.

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