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Sculpture with Fierce Intention

Installation view of “This City, Daily Rising” by Christina Shmigel, Bruno David Gallery

 

There’s a certain fearlessness to Christina Shmigel’s sculpture. Her pieces include traditional materials such as steel, wood, and paint, but they don’t stop there. From bright plastic pinwheels and cardboard to plumbing parts and found furniture, everything is fair game as a building block in her thoughtful, observant tableaus and constructions. Each finished piece is like a reflection of the world around her filtered through her keen eyes, skilled hands, and the particular quirks of her attention. There’s a fearlessness in that attention, too.

Christina comes to her sculpture practice with a particularly broad base of experience to draw on. Her BFA from RISD is in painting, and she followed it with an MFA from Brooklyn College that she describes as “more conceptual.” Later, she returned to school for a second MFA at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, this time with an emphasis on technical skills like blacksmithing and casting.

 

Sculpture by Christina Shmigel
Christina Shmigel, “The City in Which I Love You: Da Shi Jie (Great World Sheathed)”

 

Despite this rigorous training, Christina’s sculptures are anything but precious. “I work in a very crafted, un-crafted way,” she says. “I’m interested in that place where you make something, and you solve the problem with enough elegance so it ‘works’—it’s a little sloppy, but it has beauty, too… How do I bring that incidental beauty into my work?”

A simple answer to that question would be to look at one of Christina’s larger undertakings, A Foreigner’s Cabinet of Chinese Curiosities. The piece is built into the sixty-seven drawers of an old Chinese medicine cabinet and is a visual journal/scrapbook/“memory palace” of the years she has spent living in Shanghai. Each drawer is full of incidental beauty, found humor, and the little puzzles of the everyday in a vibrant, adopted city: discarded trinkets, cardboard reconstructions of Shanghai’s ubiquitous air conditioners, the peculiar packaging of a Chinese detergent. Together, they paint a nuanced portrait of a particular city at a particular point in time, and they give us a view into the mind of the artist as she takes it all in.

 

close-up of drawers filled with mementos
Christina Shmigel, “A Foreigner’s Cabinet of Chinese Curiosities” (detail)

 

This spring, Christina will bring her keen observations and relentless inquiry back to Penland, where she will teach the eight-week concentration Sculpture with Fierce Intention. The workshop is for students with an ongoing studio practice who are eager to uncover the “why?” behind the work they make. It will take place in the Penland iron studio but will welcome a wide range of media based on student interest. Guest instructors Mike Rossi and John Watson will each join the workshop for a week to teach their specialties of steel and wood/plaster.

Sculpture with Fierce Intention will run March 11 – May 4, 2018. Registration is open now for all spring workshops.

 

Three sculptures by Christina Shmigel
Christina Shmigel, “The View in Fragments: Demolish” (left), “The View in Fragments: Nouveau Riche” (middle), “The View in Fragments: Green Sheath” (right)

 

Sculpture with Fierce Intention

Christina Shmigel—Who am I as an artist? What distinguishes me as a maker? How do I work beyond what I know? Develop a serious body of work in sculpture/installation while digging deep into what gives you pleasure, purpose, and meaning. Through a guided series of riddles and playful explorations, you’ll investigate the why. Technical demonstrations (as needed) will assist you with the how. Guest instructors Mike Rossi (steel) and John Watson (wood/plaster) will each join us for a week of material improvisation. Students may work in any medium in object- or space-based sculpture. Penland’s iron studio will be transformed into a sculpture studio for this workshop. For artists with an ongoing studio practice in any material. Studio fee: $275. Code S00I

Christina: Studio artist; former Penland resident artist; teaching: Webster University (St. Louis), frequent Penland instructor; exhibitions: Ukranian Museum (NYC), Duolun Museum of Art (Shanghai), Laumeier Sculpture Park (St. Louis), St. Louis Art Museum. Mike: principal of Rossi Metal Design (Philadelphia) making unique architectural works, furniture, and sculpture; teaching: Ox-Bow (MI), Haystack (ME), Bryn Athyn College (PA), Kalamazoo College (MI); Windgate Artist in Residence at State University of New York-Purchase. John: Studio artist: teaching: Webster University (St. Louis), Belmont University (TN); exhibitions: Vanderbilt University (TN), hemphill Fine Art (DC); co-author of Living the Dream…The Morning After Art School (Kendall Hunt Publishing).

shmigel.com

rossimetaldesign.com

 

REGISTER FOR SPRING CONCENTRATIONS
clay  |  letterpress  |  painting  |  metals  |  textiles  |  wood  |  sculpture
March 11 – May 4, 2018

 

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The Art of Persuading Metal

Penland spring concentrations are coming up this March 11 – May 4, 2018. Registration is now open and scholarships are available. Scholarship applications are due by 11:59 PM EST on November 28, 2017.

 

Stirrup Cups by Adam Whitney
“Sea Monster Stirrup Cups,” Adam Whitney

 

It’s hard to hold one of Adam Whitney’s sea monster stirrup cups without being drawn in by memories of old maps, aquarium trips, and the open sea. They’re exquisite objects with incredible detail—shiny protruding fangs, shadowy eyes, and dimpled, scaly skin that looks as cold and wet as any creature drawn from the ocean’s depths. But seeing the finished projects is only half the story. The other half is seeing how Adam takes a solid silver ingot and transforms it with a hammer and anvil into a raised vessel before adding layers of detail with chasing, repoussé, and great patience and skill. If that sounds like magic, we’d suggest watching Adam’s animation below.

 

animation of silver ingot being raised into a pair of cups

 

This spring, Adam will be sharing his expertise with students at Penland during an eight-week concentration. The workshop is titled, appropriately, Persuading Metal and will introduce students to the process of coaxing silver, copper, and other metals from solid chunks into refined vessels, as well as jewelry techniques, tool making, hydraulic forming, chasing and repoussé, and more. Whether you’re a jeweler who wants to learn some new skills, an experienced metalsmith hoping to hone your work, or a complete beginner interested in gaining proficiency in metals, this workshop has plenty to offer, and Adam is an expert instructor (and former Penland metals studio coordinator!).

Registration is now open, and scholarships are available for all spring concentrations. The scholarship application deadline is November 28, 2017. See below for more details, and see Adam’s website for more images of his incredible work.

 

Adam Whitney working on a silver cup
Adam adding detail to a raised silver cup.

Persuading Metal

Adam Whitney—This workshop will be an exploration of manipulating metal and creating holloware. We’ll begin with the hammer: forging, sinking, and raising samples to establish a foundation in metal forming. Basic metalsmithing and lesser-known (and underappreciated) jewelry skills will be introduced with attention placed on working in a larger scale. Then we’ll move on to chasing and repoussé, basic tool making, and hydraulic press forming. We’ll start with lots of demonstrations and samples. As students become proficient with materials and processes, the emphasis will move to individual guided projects and discussions of historic and contemporary holloware. All levels. Studio fee: $160. Code S00MA

Studio artist; teaching: Center for Metal Arts (NY), Smith Shop (MI), Fritz & Friends (MI), Raffles College (Malaysia); visiting artist: Rhode Island School of Design.

awmetalsmith.com

 

raised cups by Adam Whitney
A selection of raised silver cups by Adam Whitney

 

REGISTER FOR SPRING CONCENTRATIONS
clay  |  letterpress  |  painting  |  metals  |  textiles  |  wood  |  sculpture
Scholarship applications due November 28, 2017

 

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Core Show 2017

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

 

Penland's A+ core fellows! Thomas Campbell, Eleanor Anderson, Kyle Kulchar, Elliot Keeley, Sarah Rose Lejeune, Stormie Burns, Rachel Kedinger, Corey Pemberton, and Alex McClay
Only a gold van is fit to chauffeur the core fellows on their big day!
BE IN TOUCH: 2017 Core Fellowship Exhibition
In addition to making all the work, the core fellows select the pieces to exhibit and do all the installation themselves.
Every year, this special night draws a crowd of staff, students, instructors, friends, family, and community members.
Director Jean McLaughlin welcomed everyone and introduced the Core Fellowship Program.
Penland's program director Leslie Noell introduced each core fellow with observations about their work and growth as artists.
A look through weaving by Sarah Rose Lejeune at the show on opening night
Alex McClay, Net Series, steel wire, sterling silver, linen knotted netting by Sarah Rose Lejeune
Alex McClay, Net Series (detail)
Alex McClay, May I Leave Now? etching on handmade paper
Corey Pemberton, On Separation, pen and ink on paper
Corey Pemberton, Auxiliary, Diptych (detail), fused glass
Eleanor Anderson, Studies from Penland Summer 2017, assorted media
Eleanor Anderson, Wood Quilt #1, plywood, paint, wire, waxed linen thread
Elliot Keeley, Basket Nasty, collagraph
Elliot Keeley, Bottle Permutations (details), wood-fired stoneware, steel, copper
Kyle Kulchar & Daniel Garver, Ikat Settee, ash, double weave-double ikat
Kyle Kulchar, Torsion, steel
Rachel Kedinger, Producing Connections, steel, enamel
Rachel Kedinger, Shoe Making Hammer
Sarah Rose Lejeune, At least there were some good dreams, cast and dyed silk organza
Sarah Rose Lejeune, Neither here nor there, handwoven ondulé devoré in cotton, silk, and stainless steel
Stormie Burns, left: Skew Bowl, cast glass; right: Skew Bowl (with Courtney Martin), wood-fired stoneware
Stormie Burns, Everything is Fine, screenprint
Thomas Campbell, Bronze Pin Container, bronze, salvaged steel
Thomas Campbell, Brake Vessel, salvaged steel, stainless steel
Congratulations on such a beautiful show, Core!

 

The annual core show in October is one of the most special events of the Penland year. It’s a time for us to celebrate our nine incredible core fellows, who give so much energy, hard work, and life to the studios and the school for the two years they’re here. This year’s show, BE IN TOUCH, featured pieces in metals, wood, textiles, print, glass, and more. The work ranged in size from earrings and delicate baskets to furniture and a giant stitched accordion book that, even partially folded, stretched up to the ceiling. Each piece was an exquisite representation of the dedication, exploration, and talent of these emerging artists. Congratulations Thomas, Eleanor, Kyle, Elliot, Sarah Rose, Stormie, Rachel, Corey, and Alex—and thanks for such a great show!

The work from BE IN TOUCH is currently on display at Queens University in Charlotte, NC. It will be up through December 7 and is well worth a visit if you’re in the area!

 

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Penland at SOFA CHICAGO 2017

aerial view of SOFA Chicago exhibit hall

We’re eagerly anticipating another year of incredible art, fascinating lectures and demonstrations, good friends, and more at this weekend’s SOFA CHICAGO 2017. The expo opens tonight and runs through November 5 at Navy Pier. It will feature work by hundreds of artists across a range of media from glass and metal to painting and textiles. Penland’s director Jean McLaughlin will be there, and we’ll have a table staffed by some wonderful Penland volunteers all weekend—please stop by and say hi!

If you’re in the Chicago area, a day at SOFA CHICAGO is a unique opportunity to see some of the best in sculpture, craft, design, and more all under one roof. It’s also a great way to see the recent work of many Penland instructors who are represented at the event. A few will be presenting as part of the SOFA lecture series, including jewelers Kat Cole and Janis Kerman, curator and glass artist Susie Silbert, and ceramic sculptor Esther Shimazu.

And for all of us who can’t be there in person, the lush photographs of this year’s art on the SOFA website are well worth a look. Take a peek and be inspired!

Images: SOFA CHICAGO

 

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