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Photo of the Week: Don’t Yell into the Ear Trumpet

Jeff Goodman animated GIF

Jeff Goodman, who is teaching a photo/video/documentation workshop this session, made this sequence of pictures of studio assistant Laurencia Strauss (listening) and instructor Christina Shmigel (yelling) for a flipbook demonstration. Of course, anything you can make into a flipbook, you can also make into an animated GIF.

 

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Photo(s) of the Week: Canoes of Bamboo and Plastic

Tom Huang skinning a canoe

Instructor Tom Huang and his assistant, Reed Hansuld, putting the skin on a canoe outside the wood studio. The ribs of the canoe were cut from plywood, the shell was made from strips of split bamboo. The skin they are applying is recycled grocery bags laminated with spray adhesive. They applied 6 or 8 layers of plastic to each canoe. The class built five canoes using this method.

 

Bamboo canoe on the water

It sounds a bit sketchy, and the boats were intended to be somewhat ephemeral. But when they put them on the water, they behaved just like canoes.

 

Bamboo canoes on the water

Here’s the flotilla (plus one dog) on its way down the Toe River.

 

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Inside 8 Weeks of Penland Letterpress

students printing on Penland's letterpress equipment

Penland letterpress photo by Lauren Faulkenberry

 

Spring and fall are intense times at Penland. Students and instructors spend eight full weeks here, fully immersed in deep creative exploration in their studios. For many, these concentrations can be rigorous and sleep-depriving, but also enlightening, recharging, andultimatelytransformative.

Lauren Faulkenberry, who taught the spring concentration “Letterpress Books: Guts to Glory,” shared her thoughts in her blog about the “wild ride” that was eight weeks at Penland:

“To sum up: I had fantastic students. They made amazing things. We had a slew of letterpress adventures in the form of tiny books, broadsides, and ephemera that ran the gamut from poignant to wickedly funny and downright dirty. There was pressure printing, block carving, impromptu screen printing, and enough experimentation to warrant calling the studio a laboratory. Art. Science. Madness. Delight.”

 

Letterpress-printed poster advertising a studio open house

Open house poster photo by Lauren Faulkenberry

 

Lauren also describes one of the primary challenges of Penland concentrations: that constant tug-of-war between intense creative work and the rest needed to refuel our creative engines:

“It’s not easy teaching every day for eight weeks, even in a place that feels like paradise. I was often just too tired to work on my own projects after dinner each night, but it was hard to make myself leave the studio. There’s something about being surrounded by creative people in a flurry of breakthroughs and troubleshooting that makes it hard to walk away.”

Now that those eight weeks are over, Lauren reflected on what she took away from her eight weeks here at Penland. As many people do, she found it was much more than simply new techniques or a piece of work to be proud of:

“After a long cold winter, my students and my new friends breathed some life back into me. I won’t lieit was hard leaving there and coming back to the ‘real world’… But I’ve got a notebook full of ideas and a high-five poster that will remind me to keep doing that thing I love, and that path will most certainly cross the ones of all those great folks on the mountain that reminded me of why we do these things that keep calling us to do them.”

 

To read more about the moments that really stuck out in her eight-week class, see Lauren’s complete blog post here.

 

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Through a Student’s Lens

students and instructors working together in Penland's hot glass studio

Penland glass studio photo by Andrew Peter King

 

Fine art photographer Andrew Peter King joined us as a student for Jo Whaley’s session 1 class “The Theater of Photography.” In addition to learning some new approaches and techniques for lighting while at Penland, Andrew also took some captivating images of his fellow students and their work.

Head on over to Andrew’s blog post on Penland to read more and view the images he took for Jo’s class. And don’t miss his second blog post with dramatic photos of Penland’s hot glass studio!

 

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Photo of the Week: Kiln Break

Michael Kieghery at Penland

Internationally-known ceramic and performance artist Michael Kieghery taking a break in the Penland wood kiln. Michael was part of a special summer session that was taught entirely by artists from Australian National University.

“What’s it like in there, Michael?”
“It’s wonderful! I have a beautiful view of the mountains, it’s cool, and nobody cares if I smoke.”

 

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Photo of the Week: Steel Bird

Andrew Townsend at Penland School

Student Jane Petitt and instructor Andrew Townsend making a component for Jane’s emerging steel bird. Andrew is co-teaching with Suzie Bleach and everyone in the workshop is fabricating an animal form. Andrew and Suzie are part of a group of artists from Australian National University who are teaching all of Penland’s second-session workshops.

 

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Rebuilding the “Julia”

“Penland has plenty of kilns sitting outside the ceramic studio – and the kilns have names. There’s Lucille, for one. There’s Jin Jin for another. Then there’s the Julia kiln. “Julia” is named after my wife Julia Terr, a former student and teaching assistant at Penland. She died in 2009.

“The original Julia kiln was built with the help of the Julia Terr Fund for Ceramic Arts which was formed to help support non-profit clay communities to underwrite the building or purchase of kilns. When word spread on social media that the Julia kiln at Penland was being rebuilt, I received messages from friends and total strangers describing to me the pots they took from the shelves of Julia over the past four years. The Julia kiln fired hundreds and hundreds of pots during its time, pots that got cleaned up, packed up and taken home to keep as reminders of knowledge gleamed in workshops. A friend told me she owns a bowl from the Julia kiln that has served her granola and yogurt every morning for the past two years.

 

JuliaKiln

 

After repeated firings, the Julia kiln required repairs; our fund stepped in to help. In April, I traveled to Penland to assist kiln-builder and potter Will Baker to construct “Julia 2.” As I handed bricks to Will, the floor and the walls of the new kiln began to appear, rising up off the kiln pad as if it were the most natural thing in the world. In a flash, I pictured the interior of the new Julia kiln, and how it would house and fire another generation of Penland pots.  I could almost imagine the hundreds of cups, mugs and bowls and the people behind theses pots. The feeling was remarkable to experience, to visualize this new kiln as a tool for future potters at Penland and all the potential this new possibility encompasses for an artistic community. To me, kilns feel like instruments of hope: a glance inside a kiln and one can only imagine what will result, what shapes and forms will materialize as the temperature rises, what beautiful pots will finally emerge from the miracle of the heat.

“The kilns at Penland touch the lives of so many pots and, by extension, so many people. A new kiln called Julia 2 will impact more lives in the years to come. “Julia 2″ had its first firing in the Cynthia Bringle’s spring clay concentration in April 2015.”

–Vince Montague
vincemontague.com

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