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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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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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Communicating Through Craft: A Profile of Aaron Hughes

portrait of Aaron Hughes working at the press in the letterpress studio

 

Art, activism, performance, protest—for Aaron Hughes, the lines between them are blurred and insignificant. “All my work is about creating stories and sharing stories,” he explains. “I’m trying to find space for people to bridge the divides we have in our world through art and through stories.”

As a veteran who served in Iraq and Kuwait for fifteen months in 2003-2004, Aaron is sharply aware of those divides. His deployment introduced him to a rougher and more complex world than he’d known growing up in the Midwest. “I felt like the ideas from my upbringing, my religion, my country didn’t make sense anymore,” he remembers. “But what did make sense was art. I felt like art was something I could invest in and believe in and put my energy into. It was something creative and not destructive.”

Aaron came home from his deployment determined to use art as a tool to generate conversations and connections about difficult topics like war, trauma, and oppression. In 2006 he graduated from the University of Illinois with a BFA in painting, and in 2009 he received his MFA in Art Theory and Practice from Northwestern University. Then he went on to work with organizations such as the National Veterans Art Museum, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and the Center for Artistic Activism.

 

Drawing from the series 21 Days to Baghdad/Chicago

One of the pieces from “21 Days to Baghdad/Chicago,” a collection of drawings and maps Aaron made after returning to Illinois from his deployment.

 

In the summer of 2013, Aaron came to Penland for the first time with a Windgate Charitable Fund Scholarship. “I had spent so much time helping others to tell their stories and listening to other people’s stories that I had neglected any kind of personal work I needed to do,” Aaron explains. “I applied to Penland as a part of my transition back to focusing on my own art practice.”

He has returned to Penland each summer since to take classes in the printmaking and letterpress studios. “One reason I’m super invested in the printmaking program is that I’m interested in the way printmaking and politics can help to popularize language, stories, and movements,” he says. The connection is clear for Aaron: “Your ability to communicate lies in your ability to execute a craft. That’s what I’ve been gaining each time I come to Penland—the opportunity to develop my craft and to improve my communication skills.”

Aaron readily admits, however, that his time at Penland has been about more than gaining skills in the studio. “Penland is a generous space for me as a veteran,” he explains. “It’s a place of transformation and growth and learning. I’ve been encouraging other veterans to apply there because it’s such a healing, generative space.”

When he’s at Penland, Aaron describes himself as a “studio hound.” “I just want to make, make, make, make, make,” he laughs. But Aaron also values the quieter, more contemplative moments on campus. He describes the short walk back from dinner to the print studio: “There’s a little bench that’s halfway. I’ve often enjoyed sitting there, embracing the evening as it approaches and watching the Appalachian dusk. It’s so beautiful—transcendently beautiful. And I just sit in between all this creativity and embrace the present moment of being there. I feel like that’s healing. That’s wholesome for anybody.”

–Sarah Parkinson

 

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The Altered Image: Mixed-Media with Photography

Nick DeFord, “Cibola,” Hand-embroidery, Highlighter, White-out and adhesive stickers on found map

Nick DeFord, “Cibola,” hand embroidery, highlighter, Wite-Out, and adhesive stickers on found map

 

“The type of work I make is not the kind of thing I can speed up. It goes at the pace it goes,” says artist Nick DeFord. “It’s stitching. I can only do so many stitches.”

It’s easy to imagine stitching and to think of detailed quilts or elaborately-embroidered handkerchiefs. But to imagine those items is not to imagine the work that Nick makes. Nick stitches not to attach two surfaces or enhance them with detail, but to add meaning, distort meaning, change meaning.

“My work explores the visual culture of cartography, occult imagery, geographical souvenirs, and other structures of information that are altered to examine the relationship of identity, space, and place,” Nick explains. He often chooses a found object as a starting point—an old photograph, a map, or a page from a book. From there, he adds layers with paint, stickers, paper, yarn, or thread, adding dimensions to it or changing its context. “Embellishing the truth” is how Nick describes the process.

 

Nick DeFord, "Invasion," hand embroidery on paper, four panels, 13" x 13" each

Nick DeFord, “Invasion,” hand embroidery on paper, four panels, 13″ x 13″ each

 

This spring, Nick will bring his unique approach to the Penland studios for a 1-week workshop called The Altered Image: Mixed-Media with Photography. The class, which will run April 24-30, 2016, will focus on physically altering photographs through collage, drawing, painting, and embroidery. Each student will transform photographs into pieces of layered art—but whether those layers are supernatural, whimsical, spooky, romantic, contradictory, or something else all together will be entirely up to them. The image is just a starting point.

“If you like spirit photography and stitching, then this workshop is for you,” Nick states. Register for The Altered Image now.

 

Nick DeFord, "Lost" (detail), hand embroidery on found map, 19" x 27.5"

Nick DeFord, “Lost” (detail), hand embroidery on found map, 19″ x 27.5″

The Altered Image: Mixed-Media with Photography

Nick DeFord—Photographs are perceived to be artifacts of truth—but truth can easily be distorted, embellished, and exaggerated. This class will use embroidery, collage, and drawing/painting techniques to physically manipulate photographs as a metaphor for the psychological dissection of truth, memory, and time. We will work on photos brought from home and found photos (both from the physical world, but also the cyber world). While students are welcome to shoot and print digital photos during the workshop, we will not be using the darkroom, and the emphasis of the class will be on manipulation and embellishment after the photo has been printed. All levels. Code S03P

Studio artist and Program Director at Arrowmont (TN); teaching: University of Tennessee, Arizona State University; exhibitions: William King Museum (VA), Vanderbilt University (TN), University of Mississippi, Coastal Carolina University; collections; City of Phoenix (AZ).

nickdeford.com

 

Nick DeFord, "Give the Devil," hand embroidery and Scotch tape on book page, 7" x 7"

Nick DeFord, “Give the Devil,” hand embroidery and Scotch tape on book page, 7″ x 7″

 

 

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