Photo of the Week: Another Penland Romance

Richard Margolis and Sherry Phillips

Sherry Phillips and Richard Margolis met at Penland 30 years ago. Sherry was taking a textiles workshop and Richard was teaching a photography workshop. A long-term romance ensued. They stopped in for a visit this week and celebrated their 30th anniversary while they were here. Vive l’amour!

 

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Photo of the Week: The Women of Iron

three women working at the anvil

Ann Klicka, Rebekah Frank, and Meghan Martin working together to taper a steel component for a large sculpture Ann is making.

 

The beautiful work coming out of the studio would be reason enough for a blog post, but something even more momentous is happening in session 1 iron: instructor Rebekah Frank, assistant Ann Klicka, and coordinator Meghan Martin are combining forces for some serious female blacksmithing power. While accomplished female instructors and female students of all levels are a common sight in the iron studio, it’s the first time in Penland’s history that the iron instructor, studio assistant, and studio coordinator have all been women. It seemed like an event worthy of recognition (and some serious camera cheesin’).

 

three women pose for a silly picture in the iron studio

 

And no, iron coordinator Daniel Beck hasn’t gone anywhere—he’s just across the driveway this session as a student in Kaitlyn Becker and Daniel Clayman’s Moldmaking for Art and Science workshop!

 

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Contemporary Ceramics at the Penland Gallery

Ceramic work by Shalene Valenzuela, Jeremy R. Brooks, and Roberto Lugo.

Works from “Within the Margins.” From left to right: “Ironing Things Out: Various Notions” by Shalene Valenzuela, “(Altered) Young Man’s Fancy” by Jeremy R. Brooks, and “Basquiat and Celia Teapot” by Roberto Lugo.

 

The Penland Gallery presents Within the Margins: Contemporary Ceramics, an exhibition curated by Steven Young Lee, in the John and Robyn Horn Gallery. Seventeen artists are represented in the exhibition with mostly narrative ceramic sculpture in a wide range of forms and styles. The exhibition runs from May 30 through July 16 with a gallery talk at 3:30 PM on Saturday, June 3 and a reception to follow from 4:30 to 6:30 PM.

The group of artists is quite varied in terms of their cultural backgrounds and personal histories, and this is reflected in the content of the work. Shalene Valenzuela, for example, says of her bright-colored earthenware and porcelain sculptures: “My narratives explore topics ranging from fairytales, urban mythologies, consumer culture, societal expectations, etiquette, and coming-of-age issues.” Sculptor Sunkoo Yuh makes complex pieces that are often groupings of forms including plants, animals, fish, and human figures. He describes his process this way: “I draw images intuitively and spontaneously with ink and brush. I study my drawings and select a few to transform into three-dimensional clay sculptures. My work expresses my inner emotions, communications about life, and directly draws from mundane experiences.”

Curator Steven Young Lee is the resident artist director of the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena, Montana. He has lectured extensively in North America and Asia including at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. His work was recently featured as part of “Visions and Revisions: Renwick Invitational 2016” at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

In describing his intent for the exhibition, Lee said, “The exhibition includes artists who, while residing within one set of perceived margins or another, are working from within to expand or redefine those boundaries, ultimately shifting the lines of ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, cultural identity, or material association. Each artist is articulating a world view, and the most important aspect of their work is the sincerity of their investigation and quality of their execution. The title, Within the Margins, recognizes that while boundaries do exist, the mere fact of their existence invites—if not demands—that they be confronted, challenged and reshaped.”

 

Three ceramic plates featuring the letters E, F, and G

E, F, and G plates by Holly Walker from “Abecedarium | Envisioned.”

 

Also on view, in the Focus Gallery, is a small-format exhibition of functional ceramics by Holly Walker. She specializes in handbuilt earthenware and approaches the surfaces of her pots as a painter, brushing colored slips over the clay surface and then layering them with multiple glazes. This exhibition is titled Abecedarium/Envisioned because it includes an installation of twenty-six plates whose designs are inspired by the letters of the alphabet. The gallery talk at 3:30 on Saturday, June 3 will include remarks from both Steven Young Lee and Holly Walker.

The Visitors Center Gallery has an ongoing display of objects that illuminate the history of Penland School, while the Lucy Morgan Gallery presents a selection of work by dozens of Penland-affiliated artists. On display outside the Penland Gallery is a monumental steel sculpture by Hoss Haley and two new stone installations by Carl Peverall.

The Penland Gallery and Visitors Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM and Sunday, Noon-5:00 PM; it is closed on Mondays. For more information call 828-765-6211 or visit penland.org/gallery.

 

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A Truly Collaborative Piece

Students and others involved with the project pose with the completed wolf mural

Mayland Early College High School principal Stacie Burleson, artist Rhea Ormond, Penland Community Collaborations manager Stacey Lane, and students Lily Adams, Amber Vance, and Katie McMahan pose with the finished wolf mural.

 

Most people know Penland for our workshops and residency programs. To many, our name calls to mind late nights in the studio and views out over the knoll. But the kids who grow up in the surrounding counties get to know a different side of Penland through our Community Collaborations Program, which seeks to provide our local community, and especially school children, with meaningful opportunities for creative exploration.

One recent Community Collaborations project was a joint effort with the Mayland Early College High School and the Rural Education Partnership to create a pair of murals that will be displayed on the Mayland Community College campus in Mitchell County. Penland’s Community Collaborations manager Stacey Lane recruited local mural artist Rhea Ormond to lead a small team of interested students to bring the murals to life.

For six weeks, Rhea met with Lily Adams, Amber Vance, and Katie McMahan, three Mayland Early College students, every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. The group set to work on two ambitious murals, both roughly 4 x 8 feet. One, which will be displayed in a big hallway where students congregate between classes, was inspired by local vegetation and the school’s timber wolf mascot. It shows a large wolf on a wooded path lined with trees, trillium, ladyslipper, and other Blue Ridge plants, all impressively rendered by these budding artists. “The wolf’s name is Barkley!” Lily announced excitedly to anyone who came to view their work.

 

 

The other mural, which will adorn the walls of the cafeteria, puts lunchtime front and center. A giant sandwich floats on a bright blue background, surrounded by a slew of toppings from cucumbers and tomato to bacon and mustard. The students joked about different names for their piece—”Space Sub” and “Sandwich in the Sky” were two favorite options.

“I really wanted the kids to come up with their own ideas for the murals,” Rhea explained. “They took on this ambitious project and ran with it.” All three students are hoping to pursue careers in the arts when they finish school, which made the mural project particularly exciting for them.

When I came to take photographs, their pride in the results was written all over their faces.

— Sarah Parkinson

 

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Photo(s) of the Week: How to Make a Trail

Penland’s on-campus trails just got a beautiful new expansion thanks to the talented folks at Trail Dynamics. The new trails create a series of loops between the well-trodden Paulus Path and the fire road behind the sleeping cabins. They’re open for use and ready to welcome students, instructors, staff, and community members of all stripes, from casual dog walkers to avid runners.

How does one make a new trail, you might ask?

Step 1.) Employ the world’s cutest little Bobcat to clear the way.

Step 2.) Follow up with some hand tools.

Step 3.) Enjoy the fresh dirt as you start your adventure!

(Not pictured: A very generous donor and months worth of planning, designing, surveying, marking, and more.)

 

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Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 Workshops

Fall 2017/Spring 2018 Penland catalog cover showing two students blowing glass

Today may be the first full day of Penland summer workshops, but that isn’t stopping us from looking ahead to this fall and spring. Complete Fall 2017/Spring 2018 workshop information is now online, and catalogs will be in the mail this week. Whether you’re looking for an immersive 8-week concentration or a 1-week creative reset, we think you’ll find something of interest—workshop topics range from shoe making and sculpture to digital photography, steel fabrication, floor loom weaving, and everything in between.

Registration is now open for fall and spring workshops. Scholarships are available for all 8-week concentrations; scholarship applications are due by August 1, 2017 for fall and November 28, 2017 for spring.

 

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Photo of the Week: Warping Mill

Allie Dudley using a warping mill at Penland

Student Allie Dudley using a warping mill to measure out threads before warping a loom in the spring weaving workshop taught by Tommye McClure Scanlin and Bahkti Ziek.

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