Archive | April, 2012

Photo of the Week: 4:30 PM in the clay studio

George Bowes reading in the Penland clay studio

Everyday at 4:30 PM in Kathy King’s spring clay class, several students stop working for a bit and mop the floor (a daily necessity in a clay studio). While this is going on, Kathy reads out loud from a cheesy pirate romance novel. George Bowes was here this week as a visiting artist so he did the honors on Thursday.

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First Craft School on the Moon!

Our neighbor, frequent instructor, former resident artist and trustee Dan Bailey recently shared with us a series of stills from a photographic animation of a lunar landing he made at Penland in 1983, using multiple slide projectors:

Dan Bailey's Extraterrestrial Kiss

Dan Bailey's Extraterrestrial Kiss

Dan Bailey's Extraterrestrial Kiss

Dan Bailey's Extraterrestrial Kiss

Our neighbor, metalsmith Marvin Jensen, is the astronaut, and jeweler Kathleen Doyle is his alien attacker. Author/illustrator and puppeteer Debra Frasier created the extraterrestrial costume. This was all pre- Photoshop and After Effects, of course, so the props, costumes, actors, and scenario had to be photographed live, in situ, in rapid sequence. The slides were then projected with a programmable two-projector setup that created the appearance of animation. Dan describes the project as an attempt to connect narrative photographic series (like the work of Duane Michals, for example) with early cinema from the 1900s.

Out of this world!

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Fire on the Mountain: Nol Putnam Blacksmithing Lecture Saturday Night

Blacksmith Nol Putnam

Photograph by Roger Foley.

Please join us for a lecture by master blacksmith Nol Putnam in Northlight Auditorium at Penland School, at 8:15pm on Saturday, April 28th.

Nol Putnam opened his first forge in 1973. He taught himself the craft with the help of books, stubbornness, and a mentor. Starting in the early 1980s he undertook large architectural commissions – gates, balconies, and curved handrails. While he still does a few commissions, his work since 2001 has largely been sculptural, ranging in size from the palm of the hand to architectural scale.

Nol is the featured master blacksmith at Fire on the Mountain Blacksmithing Festival, which will take place in downtown Spruce Pine from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, April 28th. Featured demonstrators at this year’s festival also include April Franklin and Mike Chmielewski.

To see more of Nol’s work, you can visit

Hope to see you at the festival and Nol’s lecture!

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Easter slide show

Here’s a slide show from our the 2012 Penland Easter celebration. Craft eggs, bonnets, egg hunt, community fun…

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Photo of the Week: Driven


Taking advantage of a sunny Saturday, weaving concentration student Tal Landeau does some driving in the meadow. “I’ll lose my form if I go two months without practicing!” she says.

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Studio Style: Green Eyes, Green Scarf

Nancy Ulliman

Nancy Ulliman's scarf

Nancy Ulliman, from Detroit, Michigan, a student in Beth Ross Johnson’s Traditions of Weaving class, wearing a scarf that she wove in a shade of green to match her eyes.

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“A place where everyone ‘gets’ what you do….”

Ceramics artist Julie Guyot spent a little time at Penland recently, as a visiting artist in Kathy King‘s clay concentration. She had some sweet things to say about the experience on her blog.  Some sweet hipstamatics of the campus, too.

Julie Guyot's hipstamatic of Penland

"view from the dining hall" by Julie Guyot

“There is just something about being in a place where everyone “gets” what you do.  How often do I get a chance to take a break from my life, from the news, from my meetings, my dog, my house and studio and just “be”?  Student or teacher, I was still immersed in art and craft.  I was surrounded by makers and people who support makers.  I ate, I danced, I walked up some serious hills, I saw some amazing ceramic art, I talked with great people and I drank a lot of Gingeraid.  I connected.  In short, I was inspired….”

You can read Julie’s full account here.

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