Photo(s) of the Week: Penland Bees

using the smoker on a bee hive

The Penland bees just got an early spring visit from our resident bee expert Marie Fornaro and bee-expert-in-training Rachel Kedinger. They donned their jackets, gloves, and veils to check on the two hives, which are located to the side of the knoll just below the Penland Garden. In the top image, Rachel is using a bee smoker to apply a few puffs of smoke to the hive. Beekeepers have used smoke since ancient times to calm the bees and interrupt the hive’s defensive response.

Below, Marie and Rachel are taking advantage of the bees’ calmer state to check on honey supplies and remaining space in the hive. The bees will feed off their fall honey stores for a couple more weeks until spring blooms can provide a steady flow of nectar. At that point, they will begin to fill open space in the frames with a fresh supply of honey stores.

inspecting a frame in a beehive

A honeybee will forage two miles or more from its hive, but having the Penland Garden right next door is still a win-win situation: the garden offers the bees a supplementary source of nectar, and the bees help pollinate the plants for a more robust harvest. It’s a win for all of us who enjoy the garden’s produce at lunch in The Pines, too.

two beehives with bees flying around

 

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Clay Goes Big

Nick Schwartz torching the top of a coil-built pot

The spring clay concentration has been busy preparing pieces for their first firing, and they haven’t been holding back on the scale or the drama. Here, instructor Nick Schwartz uses a torch to stiffen the most recent layer of clay on a sizeable pot he’s building. Below, two more large pots look on. They were collaborations between Nick and local potter Courtney Martin, whose signature geometric resist patterns you can see painted on both pieces.

And here, a fun and gratuitous flame close-up, just because:

closeup of a torch and wet clay pot

 

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Announcing Penland’s Newest Resident Artists

At long last! Our 2017 Resident Artist Program selection process is complete. We received an outstanding pool of 61 applications from across the United States for the four available positions. Our selection committee did an excellent job reviewing and evaluating applications; it is a thorough process, and we couldn’t do it without the time and energy they give so generously. Thank you to everyone involved in this year’s selection.

We would like to officially announce and welcome four new resident artists who will arrive at Penland September 15, 2017 to begin their three-year residencies.

 

Eleanor Annand

Eleanor Annand

“The expressive qualities of a line and the development of visual history are at the root of my work. I create drawings, paintings and prints that tell the story of my line. Process is at the forefront of this exploration. In a state of deep meditation I search for order and progress amidst a restless mind. Through scribed and abraded surfaces images emerge as representations of this often raw state of mind.”

Eleanor Annand currently lives in Asheville, NC, where she has been co-owner and art director at 7 Ton Design & Letterpress Company since 2015. She maintains a studio practice and exhibits her prints, drawings, and paintings on steel at galleries throughout the US and Canada. She has a Bachelor of Graphic Design from the College of Design at North Carolina State University and was a core fellow at Penland from 2010-2012. In 2016 she taught at Penland for the first time. This winter Ele is a resident at the Jentel Artists Residency Program in Banner, WY. During her residency at Penland, Ele plans to develop innovative uses for the press using printed and folded paper; combine printing, mark making, and design to create new work; and explore new formats for her work at a larger scale.

 

Yoonjee Kwak

Yoonjee Kwak

“In Korea, when people talk about someone’s personality, we often use vessel as a metaphor of one’s spirit of tolerance… When I work with clay, my interactive conversation with the clay is vital to the process. While I slowly build up clay coils from the bottom, my hand marks remain on the surface. It records elements of movement, time and my feelings.”

Originally from South Korea, Yoonjee Kwak currently lives in Rochester, NY, where she is a resident artist at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She exhibits her functional objects and sculpture throughout the US and South Korea. She received a BFA in Ceramics and Glass at Hong-Ik University in Seoul, South Korea before earning her MFA in Ceramics at the School for American Crafts (SAC) at Rochester Institute of Technology in 2014.
She was selected as a 2016 Emerging Artist by Ceramics Monthly and was a summer resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, Montana that same year. Yonjee has spent time at Penland as both a student and a studio assistant. During her residency she intends to expand the scale and scope of her work, experimenting with installation and the relationships created among multiple works presented as a group.

 

Matt Repsher

Matt Repsher

“I draw inspiration from architecture and how repetition is used to create structure and form in buildings. Using pots as my canvas, I carve and paint the surface to appear as if it is built by layers of arches, posts, lintels, and discs… My interest in pattern has moved me towards a long-term investigation of how the layers of carved and painted patterns can optically alter and manipulate the profile of my pots, visually stretching and compressing the vessels.”

Matt lives in Santa Fe, NM where he maintains a studio while teaching occasional workshops and classes. His work is represented by several esteemed craft galleries and has been shown throughout the US in group and solo exhibitions. Matt has a BFA from Pennsylvania State University and an MFA from Indiana University. He was the studio director at Santa Fe Clay from 2005-2008 and a resident artist at the Pocosin Arts Center (NC) from 2015-2016. Matt co-taught a concentration at Penland last fall. He looks forward to his residency at Penland as a way to be surrounded and influenced by the collective energy of artists working in all media. He plans to research pattern, material, and form through both 2D and 3D explorations.

 

Laura Wood

Laura Wood

“I began exploring the human form through dance. When I made the transition from dance to ornamentation to express my creative interests, one common thread emerged: a passion for the body and how this instrument is closely linked with our personal identities. This history of corporeal study will always be a driving force behind the work I create.”

Laura Wood is a jewelry artist living in Asheville, NC. Her work has been selected for many exhibitions throughout the US, most recently as a 2015 SNAG Emerging Jewelry Artist at SOFA Chicago. Her work can be found in select galleries throughout the US and in the permanent collections of the Gregg Museum of Art at North Carolina State University and The Racine Art Museum in Wisconsin. Laura was the founding voice of the annual ECU Symposium and is a co-founder of Jewelry Edition, a creative project to facilitate the growth of jewelry artists. Laura presented at the 2015 Yuma Arts Symposium and taught a spring metals concentration at Penland in 2016. She earned a BFA from the University of Georgia and an MFA from East Carolina University. As a resident artist Laura wants to expand her studio practice, amplify her teaching philosophy, and connect with the Penland community to better understand how artists can sustain and evolve a place in the craft world.

There will be three openings in the Resident Artist Program in 2018. The application deadline is January 15, 2018; artists working in all media will be eligible.

 

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Photo(s) of the Week: Community Open House 2017

learning to cast with pewter

Hands-on craft activities, a legion of wonderful volunteers, hundreds of eager visitors, and some beautiful spring weather all came together this past Saturday to make the 2017 Penland Community Open House a rousing success. Visitors tried their hands at perennial favorites like glassblowing and wheel throwing, as well as new additions like origami, sewn tote bags, and a letterpress scavenger hunt. We look forward to the open house every year as a way to welcome spring and bring together community members of all ages and skill levels. Thanks to all who participated for making it such a fun day!

In the photograph above, metals studio coordinator Ian Henderson guides two young visitors through the process of casting a spoon out of pewter. It took mere minutes to transform the hot, pourable metal into a spoon to take home and enjoy.

 

two people get their portrait taken

Meanwhile, in the photo activity, Penland resident artist Mercedes Jelinek was busy taking hundreds of portraits of open house attendees. Everyone who sat for a portrait was able to take home their own black-and-white print.

 

learning to make a glass bead

Visitors to the flameworking studio got to work up close with torches and glass. Here, one attendee learns how to melt the colored glass and shape it around a metal rod to make a unique bead.

To see dozens more photos from the day’s activities, take a look at our complete album of Community Open House 2017 pictures. We hope they inspire you to join us for Community Day 2018!

 

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Northlight 2.0

A rendering of the front of the new Northlight complex

A rendering of the new Northlight complex, scheduled for completion by summer 2018. The structure was designed by Louis Cherry, FAIA LEED AP with landscape design by Walter Havener, RLA, LEED LP.

 

Northlight has long served as a community hub here at Penland. For over twenty-five years, students have started their mornings there with early yoga classes, enriched their evenings with instructor slide talks, and celebrated the end of sessions with auctions and show and tell displays. It has also hosted dances, parties, symposiums, weddings, memorial services, benefit auction art displays, theatrical performances, core shows, lectures, and other events. The planning for the original building began around 1984, they broke ground in 1987, and construction was completed by 1991 thanks to a big push of community energy led by then-director Hunter Kariher and maintenance man Harold Jones. Shortly thereafter, the Fall 1991 issue of the Penland Line praised the project with these words:

The Northlight Building has added to the quality of the experience for Penland students because there is now a place in a central location where everyone can fit under the same roof at the same time. Northlight has enabled us to bring all of the studios to the center of campus.

 

man balancing on a building under construction

This image from the Penland archives was taken during the construction of the original Northlight building in the late 1980s.

 

Northlight earned a special place in many of our hearts, but it also caused a few headaches in its time. To name a few, it tended to flood in heavy rains; its heating, ventilation, and electrical systems could be lacking; the acoustics left something to be desired; it was the only building we’ve ever seen with a gutter on the inside (long story); and current building code requirements had long since left it behind. Nevertheless, it served us well for a long time.

 

Northlight as we knew it for many years.

 

Now, thanks to the gifts of many generous supporters and friends, we are building Northlight 2.0. The new Northlight complex will house state-of-the-art papermaking and photography studios and two levels of social space for slides, exhibitions, orientation meetings, auctions, movement classes, and more. The studios have been planned with close participation from Penland staff and instructors to allow increased flexibility and range in our workshop programming. The social area will enhance Northlight’s important role as a place to build community and bring people together at Penland, complete with a kitchen, gallery space, common room, landscaped outdoor areas, porches, and yes, those beloved rocking chairs looking out over the mountains. Floods will be a thing of the past and landscape features will help mitigate runoff problems in the lower part of campus. The new space will be accessible and adaptable. In short, we think it will be an amazing addition to the Penland campus, and we are eagerly anticipating its completion (planned for summer 2018).

 

Rendering of Northlight and surrounding landscaping

The new Northlight will encourage interaction, both between individuals and with the surrounding landscape.

 

Of course, as with all dear friends, we prefer to say “see you later” to the old Northlight than to wish the structure a permanent goodbye. We are excited that members of the Penland community have been carefully salvaging siding, rafters, windows, and other materials to give these pieces new life in other projects. Former resident artist and woodworker Tom Shields has been collecting hemlock boards from the exterior to use in the construction of his new studio in Asheville. Penland grant writer Nancy Lowe has saved some of the big windows from the face of the building to create a greenhouse in her garden. Wood studio coordinator Ellie Richards has recovered flooring and windows with the hope of incorporating them into a tiny house someday. And some of the siding and flooring will be used in the new building.

 

man removing nails from wood boards with a hammer

Tom Shields removing old nails from the Northlight siding he is hoping to use to build his new studio.

 

So in a summer or two, when you’re at Penland for a workshop or an artist talk or a July 4th community celebration, we hope your enjoyment of Northlight will be twofold—once in appreciating the beauty and functionality of the new structure, and once again in knowing that the old building lives on in the hearts, minds, and creative endeavors of our community.

 

See more photos of the Northlight deconstruction project in the slideshow below. (If you are reading this post as an email, we recommend viewing it on the blog.)

 

The photo studio all cleared out
A view through the papermaking studio of ground being cleared to make way for the new building.
Salvaged windows waiting to be transported to their next homes.
crunch2
crunch

 

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Textile Labyrinth

Katie Wigglesworth at Penland School

Katie Wigglesworth walks slowly and purposefully around and through a series of loosely woven, veil-like panels suspended from the ceiling of Penland’s flex studio. As she walks, her heels click on the concrete floor and the textile walls she is walking through part slightly as she passes. Katie has just completed a textile installation she began at Penland during the 2016 winter residency. “This piece came from a need for calm,” she explains. “I was in a transition time in my life when I began weaving these panels. I started thinking of labyrinths and meditation walks as ways of centering yourself, and the idea grew out of that.”

In 2015 she found out about Penland’s winter residency program from pictures posted on Instagram by a friend of a friend. She applied and was accepted for two weeks of residency in 2016. Katie works for a textile artist in Los Angeles making weavings on a tapestry loom, and this is how she has made most of her own textile work. But the Penland studio would give her access to floor looms, so she decided it was time she learned how to use one.

Katie Wigglesworth at Penland SchoolKatie has a friend whose grandmother is a weaver and belongs to a weaving group that meets every Wednesday night at an adult education center in Covina, California. “They have a group space with 150 looms,” she said. “They call their Wednesday night sessions a ‘class’ and they’ve been going on for eighty years. I was the youngest person there.” The other weavers taught her the basics of the floor loom, and in the 2016 residency she began working on her current project.

The panels are unpatterened plainweave made from white tencel yarn. Katie works the loom with a light touch so the weft threads are not compressed and retain some waviness. Each panel is about three feet wide and eight feet tall. While they are technically simple, their shimmering, diaphanous quality combined with Katie’s imagination makes them capable of transforming space.

After her 2016 residency, Katie continued weaving on Wednesday nights and then – after she got a loom – in her own studio. She used five panels to create an installation in a small gallery show, and as they accumulated, she began to imagine them creating a floor to ceiling labyrinth. “I started looking around for a place where I could set it up long enough to look at it and document it, but space is hard to come by in LA. So I decided to apply for the Penland residency again and bring all the panels with me in the hope that there would be a space I could use here.”

 

Katie Wigglesworth at Penland School

 

In January, she flew back across the country with twenty-one panels in a suitcase and spent most of her two-week residency weaving ten more. At the end of the session, she was able to realize her idea in an undesignated space called the flex studio.

She installed the piece. It was beautiful. She photographed it. Other residents came to look at it and walk through it. She took it down. It all went into a suitcase and back to Los Angeles. Katie says she will probably keep weaving panels until she has a chance to create another installation – with the form likely to change depending on context. Which is to say it will doubtless be seen again.

 

 

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Mugs & Their Makers

Potters pose with over 200 mugs ready to be fired

Potters Jacob Herrmann and Heather McLelland of Devon Court Pottery pose earlier this week with about a third of the roughly 600 mugs they are making for the 2017 Penland Benefit Auction. Each mug had to be thrown, handled, stamped, initialed, bisque fired, glazed, and wadded before it made it to this table. Then they all got loaded into the kiln on the left for a salt-soda firing that will leave them washed in hues of orange, cream, rust, and more.

To make one of their mugs yours, join us at this summer’s auction for Coffee at the Barns on the morning of Saturday, August 12!

 

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