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Photo of the Week: Community Open House

community open house at penland

Volunteer Mike Chmielewski working with a visitor to the iron studio during Penland’s annual community open house, which took place on Saturday, March 3. One-hundred and sixty volunteers, 500 visitors, and most of the school’s staff spent the afternoon on activities in most of Penland’s studios. You can see a big album of pictures here. Join us next year on Saturday, March 2.

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Amy Tavern: “This is It.”

Amy Tavern "This is It"

Outgoing resident artist Amy Tavern shared her thoughts about her Penland experience in a recent post on her blog. We’ve been so fortunate to have Amy as a member of our community, and we’re wishing her the best, even as we’re wishing she wouldn’t go (and Daniel and Jeong Ju, too!). At least she’s sticking around long enough to teach a class this spring.

“My residency officially ended last week… I wrote “this is it” on a huge piece of paper taped to a wall in my studio when I first moved in and “it,” meaning my residency, truly was. It was IT and one of the most remarkable times I have ever experienced. I reread my application recently to remind myself of what I said I would do with my three years. I talked about transitioning from production to one-of-a-kind jewelry, starting a new studio practice, and finding my voice as a studio jeweler. I was happy to realize I did pretty much everything I said I would…and so much more happened, too, more than I ever expected or even imagined…”

You can read Amy’s full post here.

You can visit Amy’s website here to find out more about her and see pictures of her work.

You can learn more about Penland’s Resident Artist Program here.

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More artists talk about “Generosity of Spirit”

Generosity of Spirit: The Gifts of Penland Artists, an exhibition of contemporary ceramics, jewelry, and metalwork by 68 artists affiliated with Penland School of Crafts at Signature Gallery in Atlanta, is open through Thursday, March 15. Work in this show has been donated, and proceeds will support a new scholarship fund for clay and metals students at Penland School of Crafts. We asked the artists in the exhibition to share why they chose to give their work. (You can read more artists’ responses in an earlier blog post here.) Here are some more of their answers…

Boris Bally:

Boris Bally metalwork
Boris Bally in his studio; "D.P.W. Platter," traffic signs, copper

“I am participating in the show because our field (Metals/Crafts) would vanish if it wasn’t for magic places such as Penland that keep the techniques/language/history/spark alive. My experiences there have nourished my mind and heart and give me hope that our world will not simply become a place where objects are designed/made for $$ by computers or in other countries. (No, I’m not a Luddite.) We have such a rich heritage and Penland is the keeper of the flame.”

Click here to visit Boris’s website.


Jon Ellenbogen and Becky Plummer:

Barking Spider Pottery
Jon and Becky at Barking Spider Pottery; "Soup Tureen with 4 Bowls and Ladle," stoneware pottery

“After meeting as students at Penland in the early 1970s, we have worked together as Barking Spider Pottery for over 37 years. Living a mile down the road from the school has allowed us to be fully immersed in this remarkable community of artists, while raising our twin boys in a rich and unique environment. Penland has been the catalyst that has allowed us to create an incomparable quality of life.”

Click here to visit Barking Spider Pottery on the web.


Sarah Loertscher:

Sarah Loertscher jewelry
Sarah Loertscher at work; "Structure Pendant with Polygon," sterling silver

“It’s hard to put into words the impact Penland has had on my life. I was a Core Fellow at Penland from 2005-6. The Core program was singly the most challenging and rewarding experience that I have thus undertaken. It gave me the time and space to define my artistic path, and being surrounded by hundreds of other working craftspeople bolstered my confidence that craft could be a viable livelihood. Penland is a place that I continually return to – physically, mentally, and emotionally – for confidence and renewal.”

Click here to visit Sarah’s website.


Joy Tanner:

Joy Tanner pottery
Joy Tanner loading the kiln; "Carved Vase," porcelain

“I have lived in the Penland area for five years and worked as a full time studio potter. I have long admired Penland School and the surrounding artist community for its vibrant and creative setting. I feel fortunate to be able to work and live in such a wonderful and nurturing area.  In the past few years, I was awarded student assistantships in clay at Penland. I have also been fortunate to grow and learn in my work through generous mentoring from several established artists in the area. I am honored to be exhibiting in the Generosity of Spirit: The Gifts of Penland Artists fundraising exhibition at the Signature Gallery because I’m pleased to know it will inspire future clay or metal artists to get an opportunity to come to Penland with a scholarship. Coming full circle, knowing the work I create will help others create is a great way for me to say thank you to all of the artists in this area who have helped me.”

Click here to visit Joy’s website.


For more information about the exhibition, click here.

Work in Generosity of Spirit is also available for viewing and purchase in an online gallery at