Photo(s) of the Week: Raising Day!

The timber framing class posing on the frame they raised

Penland’s eight-week concentrations are known for being intense and immersive workshops that leave students with new ideas, new skills, and new friends. This spring’s timber framing concentration was all that, but it also left a permanent mark on the Penland campus. In just eight weeks, the class, led by instructor Raivo Vihman and studio assistant Tom Shields, raised a full timber frame that will become the permanent home of a historical display just behind the Craft House. It took weeks of work to prepare the beams and fit them all together, but the raising took place in just one exhilarating day! Here’s to teamwork, cranes, and careful planning.

 

The first two walls of the frame going up

The two long walls of the structure were assembled on the ground before being raised into place.

 

Lowering a beam into place

A crane helps lower the first cross beam into position. Nice hard hats, all!

 

pounding a peg into place

The raising called for big pegs and big mallets. Unlike standard dimensional lumber frames, the timber frame isn’t held together with metal screws and braces.

 

The frame before the roof beams

With each new beam, the frame took on more and more of its final shape.

 

Thank you, timber framers, for this gorgeous structure! It will be a cherished part of campus for years and years to come.

 

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Counting Down to Summer

In less than three weeks, summer workshops will be underway at Penland! If you’re not registered for a workshop already, there are still lots of classes with open spaces, and even a few that have work-study scholarship positions available. Here are a few to get your creative juices flowing…

 

Belt buckel and brooch made by Lola Brooks

“Etruscan Horse” and “cut steel brooch (belly)” by Lola Brooks

 

In session 1, students in Lola Brooks’s workshop Storytelling & Belt Bucklery will tie together a wide range of metalworking techniques through narrative. The class will use stone setting, soldering, forming, fabricating, marriage of metals, and more to create pieces that are at once functional, beautiful, and full of meaning. It’s the perfect opportunity for beginning metalsmiths to get a solid footing in technique and for more advanced students to develop their ideas and artistic voice. Register now.

 

photograph by Emma Powell

“Against the Storm” by Emma Powell

 

During session 2, Fiction in Photography with Emma Powell will combine traditional 19th century printing processes with current digital technologies. Through a mix of theatrical photography, digital manipulation, and hand-printing, students will create images not of what is, but of what could be. If you’d like to to create images that are expressive, surreal, or even gravity-defying, this workshop is the one for you. Register now.

 

glass sculpture by Rebecca Arday and David Schnuckel

“com / mensural” (detail) by Rebecca Arday and David Schnuckel

 

Session 3 offers intermediate glass students an opportunity to deepen the content of their sculptural works in Logic & Lyricism with Rebecca Arday and David Schnuckel. By emphasizing conceptual intent, the workshop will encourage students to develop techniques in the hot and cold shops that amplify their ideas and artistic goals. For anyone who is ready to take their glass beyond simple forms, Logic & Lyricism provides a chance to make work with poetic appeal as well as technical skill. Register now.

 

These three workshops are just a small sampling of what Penland students will be learning this summer in the studios. To see all the other workshops across our fifteen studios and seven sessions that still have spaces, take a look at the open workshop list. Once you’ve found your perfect fit, you can register right here.

 

 

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Photo(s) of the Week: Spring in the Studios

The following post is a photo slideshow. If you’re looking at it in email, we recommend viewing it on the blog.

Students at work in the "Artist and Weaver" concentration
The weaving studio has looked like a veritable Pantone book this spring
Ikat weaving (and party banners!)
A giant frame loom with a radial warp
It takes teamwork to prepare pulp for papermaking
Learning the delicate art of Eastern papermaking
Turning pulp to paper
Handmade sheets of paper show their texture in the sun
The iron class started by forging spoons and other small objects
Products of an iron inflation demo in Elizabeth Brim's workshop
The glow of a coal fire in the iron studio
Taking a closer look at negatives during a 1-week workshop
Nancy Blum came to campus as this spring's visiting artist
This spring's clay concentration includes throwing, decorating, and handbuilding
Wavy clay things
Colorful clay things
Working with image transferring techniques
Students adding soda to a kiln during firing
A few treasures out of the kiln
A rainbow of inks in the letterpress studio
A few of the cloth bags that came out of one week of "Printfest!"
Just a small selection of the plates and prints that came through the studio in one week
Inking wood type to add to a print
Instructor Laura Wood in the studio during her "Make Show Repeat" concentration
Talking metals
For Alicia Keshishian's color theory workshop, the whole drawing studio got a colorful makeover.
Choosing palettes from a table full of color
Everything is scaled up in the wood studio this spring for the timber framing class
Working on site before the whole frame is raised
Wood students with their building-to-be!
Glass bubbles and tubes and twists before the addition of neon
Some glass blowing teamwork.

 

Between seven concentrations and nine 1-week workshops, we’ve had a busy spring at Penland. It’s been exciting to see the progress that long classes make, whether it’s transforming straight beams into a fully-realized timber frame structure or collecting plant material to make into paper to make into books. Scroll through the photos above to get a glimpse of the colorful, experimental, detailed, thoughtful, beautiful things underway in the studios. And, if you’re in the area, please join us on May 5th at 8pm to celebrate the end of the session at the scholarship auction in Northlight!

 

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From iPhone to I, Photographer

Mercedes Jelinek teaching at Mitchell High

Mercedes Jelinek explains to her Art 1 students how to edit images on their phones.

 

“Photography is not like painting. There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative.”

—Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1957

 

Although darkroom photography is no longer part of many high school art programs, photography itself is more prevalent than ever. These days, most high school students walk around with camera phones in their back pockets, and snapping photos is almost second nature. As a visiting artist at Mitchell High School in Spruce Pine, NC, Mercedes Jelinek’s goal was to show students that these photos could be more than just a way to record and share—they could be a form of creative expression.

“Photos can mean a lot more than just representing likeness,” Mercedes tells her students at the beginning of class on a Wednesday morning. The students are seated in bright yellow chairs around a projector in Jennifer Robinson’s Art 1 class. On the screen, Mercedes is advancing through portraits they took of each other yesterday, each original photograph shown next to an edited version. “What makes this one so good?” she asks. Her students respond with their thoughts about composition, lighting, framing. Despite being taken with simple cellphone cameras, the photos do look good—really good. There’s personality coming through in each one.

 

black and white portraits of three Mitchell High School students

Three of the many portraits Mitchell High students took of each other during their photo classes with Mercedes. From left, images by Tanner, Kassie, and Billy.

 

As a resident artist here at Penland, Mercedes has years of professional photography experience—both film and digital—to share with her students. Her three-day visit to Mitchell High was part of the Professional Craft Study for High School Students, one of Penland’s Community Collaborations programs to bring creative experiences to students in the surrounding counties. During her lessons, Mercedes started with basics such as camera controls and simple editing, but her students were soon talking about how to interact with subjects to make them comfortable and relaxed and how to set up a shot to lead the viewer’s eye.

 

Mercedes photographs a student

During her class, Mercedes set up a photo booth to take portraits of all her students.

 

On her final day of teaching, Mercedes used the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson as an inspiration for her students. Cartier-Bresson is known for The Decisive Moment, a book of black-and-white street photography. “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression,” he wrote.

In asking her students to take photographs of “decisive moments” as their final assignment, Mercedes enabled them to bring together the technical concepts they had practiced such as lighting and exposure time with their own view of the world. “Go set up the shot absolutely perfectly, then have somebody walk through it,” she instructed them. “You decide the perfect moment to take your shot.”

There was nothing uncommon about the laughter that followed, or the knots of two or three teens talking in groups, or the students wandering on the grassy stretch in front of the school. What was uncommon was the particular care and attention taken to document it all.

—Sarah Parkinson

 

black and white photographs by Mitchell High students

A few of the “decisive moment” photographs taken during Mercedes’s class. Clockwise from top left, images by Rylie, Madison, and Devlin.

 

See more photographs from Mitchell High School Art 1 students on the MHS Art Instagram.

All of Penland’s Community Collaborations programs are funded by grants and donations. The Professional Craft Study for High School Students is able to bring artists like Mercedes to Mitchell High School thanks to the generous support of the Samuel L. Phillips Family Foundation Education Partnership Endowment.

 

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Photo of the Week: Timbers

Timber framing at Penland School

Instructor Raivo Vihman (left) and studio assistant Tom Shields (right) with some very long timbers they are preparing as part of the spring Concentration in wood, which is building a small timber-frame building on campus.

 

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Welcome Back, Horner

Horner Hall at Penland School

After more than a year of renovation and new construction, Penland’s venerable old Horner Hall, home to the Penland Gallery, is fully functioning again. This is the front of the building with the newly-installed sculpture, New Growth, by former Penland resident artist Hoss Haley.

 

Horner Hall at Penland School

Much of the building was gutted, the floor plan was altered, and all the spaces were completely renovated.

 

horner-4

A new exhibition hall and a courtyard were added to the North side of the building.

 

Horner Hall at Penland School

The second floor, which had been used for student housing for many decades, was refashioned into staff offices.

 

Horner Hall at Penland School

The building reopened in mid-March, just in time for the opening of the first scheduled Penland Gallery exhibition, This is a Photograph, curated by artist, photographer, and long-time Penland instructor Dan Estabrook (at left, with glasses).

 

 

Horner Hall at Penland School

The gallery walls and pedestals (custom-built by former Penland resident artist Daniel Marinelli) are covered with beautiful work, and we hope you’ll come visit. The gallery is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10:00 – 5:00 and Sunday from Noon – 5:00. Closed Mondays. Lots more gallery information here.

 

Here is a time-lapse sequence of Hoss Haley and crew assembling New Growth on March 25.

 

 

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The Penland Archive: Linking Past and Present

Dan Bailey Penland image

Carey Hedlund’s office is packed from floor to ceiling with shelves and boxes, each carefully labeled and filled with a piece of Penland history. When you enter the room, your eye spends a few moments taking in the sheer density of the files before settling on a large framed photograph on the far wall. The image, created by Dan Bailey in 1983, is a piece that Carey cites as one of her favorites in the Penland archives. It’s a familiar view of the Penland knoll with The Pines behind it, but with a long-exposure twist: the photographer took a light and moved it in concentric rings so that the knoll looks like it is covered in a layer of glowing topographical lines. There are no people in the picture, but the gentle kinks of the ribbons of light record the path of a person walking a hill at night.

Carey’s own path to Penland was similarly circuitous: “a long and twisted one” as she describes it. Growing up, she spent time at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan, where she learned crafts such as ceramics and metalsmithing. She’d heard of Penland by the time she was in high school, but it wasn’t until the fall of 2014 that she finally arrived for the first time as a new member of the Penland staff. In between, she got an undergraduate degree at Oberlin College, spent a few years in the visual collections of MIT’s architecture program, obtained a graduate degree in landscape architecture, worked for two decades as a landscape architect, teacher, and illustrator, and eventually found her way back to working with collections.

portrait of Carey HedlundAs collections go, the Penland archives are a bit unusual. “There are some archivists who believe that objects have no place in a collection,” Carey explains. “But how would you tell Penland’s story without them?” Indeed, in addition to the many thousands of pages of old publications and photographs and letters, the Penland archives include a rich array of objects, from textiles and pottery to more humorous items like a knit doll of an eccentric woman who worked at Penland years ago. “I’m still seeing things for the first time,” Carey adds. “Whenever I pull a box out and start reading, I find something that’s fascinating or funny or moving. There are real people in those boxes.”

For Carey, one of the primary challenges now is to make the existing Penland archives more pertinent and accessible. “It’s not a collection to hold close to myself,” she said, “it’s a collection to spread out and share.” She would like to see the archives cataloged in an online database where they would be visible. “That would also make them sustainable,” she notes.

One of the things that drew Carey here was Penland’s deep living history. “All archives are about a certain continuity,” she explains, “but there really is this fascinating tie between the early history here and what we do now.” Carey sees Penland as a school, but also a web of people and connections that make up a rich community. Reflecting on her first year here, she concludes, “It was a joy to find work in a rural community—that was a goal. The mountains are glorious. And Penland itself is what most people say: an incredibly beautiful place with an incredible energy.”

–Sarah Parkinson

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