Did you ever stop by your elementary school during the summer when you were a kid? Remember the funny feeling of the place, how quiet and empty it seemed? It’s a bit like that around here in the winter. It’s nice, for a while – everyone’s mellow and focused, and a lot gets done, both in terms of art-making and housekeeping. We have core students and resident artists, winter renters and printmakers hard at work in the studios, and the staff settle in with hot beverages and woolly sweaters to clear out the inbox. But eventually the moment comes when it’s time for students to come back and for classes to begin again.
That moment has arrived. It’s time. And we’re ready. For all the other wonderful things we do here at Penland, ultimately it’s all about the moment when you round the bend, step into the studios, and start doing that thing. You know, that thing that’s at once work and play, exploration and homecoming, that thing we’ve been here for every year since 1929. It’s time. We’re ready for you. The rocking chairs are back on the porches (some of which are brand new – wait ’til you see them!), the blankets back on the beds, the bacon back on the griddle. Bring your curiosity, bring your imagination, bring your appetite and your dreams and warm socks and an umbrella. We’re ready. And excited. It’s time to do that thing.
See you soon!
Each year, on the first Saturday in March, Penland invites the public to spend an afternoon in our studios. Our studio coordinators plan and prepare for hands-on activities and are then joined by more than 100 volunteers who assist visitors as they try their hands at glassblowing, wheelthrowing, blacksmithing, and many other activities. This year, despite persistent rain, the event attracted about 450 enthusiastic participants. Our special thanks go the coordinators and volunteers who turned themselves inside out (not literally) to make it a great day at Penland. Click the picture or this link to see a slideshow.
If you are using an iPhone/iPod/iPad please use this link for the video version.
Penland instructor and former resident artist Rob Levin has received a commission from the Toe River Valley Trail Project to create a monumental work of public sculpture for the town square in Burnsville, NC. Unfortunately, there is no public funding available for the project, so Rob has been using the US Artists Projects micro-philanthropy site to raise money to complete the sculpture.
The piece will be made of local locust wood and river stone:
It is important to me that the materials for this project will come from right here in our area, reflecting the ruggedness of these mountains. I plan to use some wood that I’ve been storing for several years – it is lovely figured locust wood, and I’ve been waiting for just the right project to use it on. The stone will be large river rocks, which we have in abundance. Part of the challenge will be to find just the right ones! For me, these materials carry their own resonance, and “speak for themselves.”
And will evoke the form of an arch or bridge:
I have made many mixed-media pieces in the past using the theme of a “Bridge”, which I think of as a metaphor for the process of making art. Art serves as a bridge between the invisible and visible, the bridge between an idea and its final form. The process of bridging that gap is the work we do with our hands and our hearts. It also symbolizes the transformation that takes place within the person who is making the work… we always end up in a different place than where we began. The intent of this piece is to provide a sense of transition while combining internal tension with balance, gesture, and a sense of uplift.
As with all USA projects, Rob must meet his fundraising goal by a self-imposed deadline – March 17 – in order to receive any of the monies pledged. If you’d like to read Rob’s proposal, watch his video, and perhaps consider supporting his project, click here to visit his United States Artists project site.
We’re excited for Penland trustee Dawn Barrett, who’s been selected as the next president of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She’s currently Dean of the Architecture and Design Division at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, and is active in the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the American Landscape Association Accreditation Board (LAAB).
Art Daily online has done a lovely profile of Ms. Barrett and article about the selection process.
You can read the full text of it here.
Congratulations! We expect to see 2-week classes and bacon for breakfast at MassArt in the near future. Among other great things.