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Printfest with Aimee Joyaux | April 10-16, 2016

Letterpress print on old ledger paper

Aimee Joyaux, “Posh RVA,” letterpress, rubber stamps, ledger paper, 16″ x 20″

 

“I love narratives,” says Aimee Joyaux. “Life is full of stories.”

As a mixed-media artist and educator for the past 30 years, Aimee’s life is certainly rich with stories—her childhood on the island of Maui, her time as a photographer for a local newspaper, the eleven years she and her husband spent renovating the historic Virginia cotton warehouse they now call home.

“My work examines contradiction and bias, situating a personal experience within a grand narrative through language, iconography, and gestural fields of color,” Aimee explains. “This engagement with cultural memory explores ideas of power and place.” All that, and Aimee manages to do it with a bit of fun and whimsy.

 

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When Aimee was able to salvage hundreds of printing plates from a seed and feed bag company in Richmond, VA in 2011, the plates and their history quickly worked their way into her explorations of narrative. Through Cornmeal Press, Aimee’s co-op community print factory, she and others have been telling stories of agriculture, local production, and the southern United States—with a personal twist. The prints draw on historical imagery but add new layers through color, text, paper, and composition so that each one also speaks of its maker.

 

letterpress print on old wallpaper

Aimee Joyaux, “Don’t Postpone Joy,” letterpress on hand-printed wallpaper, 24″ x 30″ (1 of 15)

 

This spring, Aimee will bring Cornmeal Press and her love of stories to Penland for a week-long printing spree appropriately titled Printfest. “It’ll be crafty and fun—perfect for those new to printing (we’ll cover lots of basics) and the old pros (they can crank out a bunch of work),” Aimee says. “Come on down to North Carolina and put a pig on it!”

Registration is currently open for Printfest, which will take place April 10-16, 2016. If you’d still like more information after reading the course description below, take a look at the Cornmeal Press page on Aimee’s website.

 

Three women working at a printing press

 

Printfest

Aimee Joyaux — This workshop will be a fun week of introductory printmaking using dozens of plates salvaged from a seed and feedbag company in Richmond, Virginia. We’ll mix and match chickens, pigs, cows, and horses to make unique posters and simple broadsides. We’ll review basic printmaking processes with an equal emphasis on fun and exploration. We’ll cover ink application, color mixing, and printing on paper and fabric (tea towels!). We’ll print with a press or by hand using oil-based inks. Students will leave with a shared portfolio of prints and will contribute to the collective work of Cornmeal Press.

Aimee: Studio artist; teaching: Visual Arts Center (VA), Ball State University (IN); exhibitions: Catherine Edelman Gallery (Chicago), National Museum of Women in the Arts (DC), Melanee Cooper Gallery (Chicago), Center for Book and Paper Arts (Chicago); representation: Quirk Gallery (VA), Walton Gallery (VA).

Register to be part of Printfest.

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Aimee Joyaux, “5 O’Clock Somewhere,” letterpress on Atlas Sheets, 11″ x 15″

 

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Black-and-White Photorama with Robin Dreyer

Robin Dreyer, "Wave Runner," silver gelatin print, 11 x 14 inches.

Robin Dreyer, “Wave Runner,” silver gelatin print, 11 x 14 inches.

 

Photography is alive and well at Penland—all kinds of photography. Photography dates back to 1839 and, in the years since then, it has undergone repeated technical evolution, beginning with daguerreotypes and early paper processes and ending up with today’s digital technologies. Along the way, many fascinating and beautiful methods of image-making have come and not quite gone. Not quite, because artists and craftspeople are in the habit of taking an out-of-date technology (like the potter’s wheel or the letterpress) and adopting it for purely creative purposes.

This is exactly what’s happened in photography, and Penland’s photo workshops cover almost every kind of photography that has ever been practiced: salt printing, cyanotype, platinum, color processes, digital processes, and, of course, gelatin silver photography. What is gelatin silver, you might ask? That’s the technical name for black-and-white darkroom photography, which dominated both art and commercial photography during much of the twentieth century. It’s the kind of photography people used to do in their basements using their dad’s camera. It’s the kind of photography that used to be part of high school and college art programs. The profession of photojournalism and the photography collection of the Museum of Modern Art were built on gelatin silver photography.

If you’ve always wanted to explore the potential of these materials or you are nostalgic for that little darkroom you used to have in your bathroom, or if you are a photographer interested in trying out some different ways of working, we have a one-week workshop this spring that may just be for you: Black-and-White Photorama with Robin Dreyer March 27 – April 2.

 

black and white image of oak tree hung with prayer flags

Robin Dreyer, “Prayer Flags,” silver gelatin print, 10 x 10 inches.

 

Robin has been Penland’s communications manager for twenty years, and for much of that time he’s been the school’s main photographer. Although today he makes pictures for the school using digital cameras and a computer, he shot a lot of Penland’s earlier promotional photographs on black-and-white film and printed them in his darkroom. Black and white was his first photographic love, and he’s never lost that interest. His silver gelatin photographs have been shown in galleries in Asheville, Durham, Greensboro, Raleigh, Atlanta, and New York City. One of his prints won Best in Show at The Art of the Auction, a juried show/auction at the North Carolina Museum of Art. He’s taught two previous Penland workshops and is looking forward to sharing his enthusiasm for this still-great method of making pictures.

“It’s kind of cliché,” Robin says, “but darkroom photography can be magical. You imagine something as you take the picture, you have some meditative time processing the film, and somehow these strange, translucent, negative images appear on your film. Then you take that film into this room, dimly lit in orange, that has cool optical devices and trays full of liquids, and, after a little fussing, you stand and watch a picture emerge on an apparently blank piece of paper. Often it’s not quite what you were imagining when you pressed the shutter; sometimes it’s much better.”

 

black and white image of chickens in a tree

Robin Dreyer, “Dawn Patrol,” silver gelatin print.

 

“My idea for this class,” he continued, “is to streamline the technical parts as much as possible so we can focus on the excitement of creating gelatin silver pictures. We’ll make our own pinhole cameras from tin cans to get grounded in the basics of the process. We’ll use them to make paper negatives and positives. Then we’ll expose film negatives using large-format cameras and plastic cameras. Large-format cameras can be intimidating, but they aren’t that hard to use, and the results can be amazing. Plastic cameras are quite easy to use; they give you very little control, and the results tend to be surprising and sometimes great. So we’ll get negatives a few different ways.

“With those negatives, we’ll make beautiful prints using Penland’s excellent enlargers. At the end of the week, everyone will have a little portfolio of new images—maybe wonderful, maybe weird—along with a deeper understanding of photography, black and white materials, and the mysteries of light and time.”

More information about Black-and-White Photorama with Robin Dreyer (March 27 – April 2)

Register for Black-and-White Photorama

 

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The Potential Energy of One Week

samples of shibori-dyed fabrics

Paisley’s fabric samples from her week-long shibori workshop in October make up a rainbow of colors and patterns. (Photo: Paisley Holloway)

 

As a block of time, a week is most suited to building, developing, progressing. It is long enough to see forward movement, yet large progress tends to happen on the scale of months or years. Most weeks blend together with those on either side of them, more marked by variations to routine than by anything truly out of the ordinary.

But what about the rare, uncommon week? For Jackie Dering and Paisley Holloway, a 1-week workshop at Penland this fall was the ideal opportunity to step away from the general flow of life and immerse themselves in a week of something totally different. The result was more than just a set of new craft skills.

Jackie and Paisley work at Valdese Weavers, a North Carolina company that has created jacquard fabrics for over 100 years. When the opportunity arose for two of the company’s employees to take a Penland workshop thanks to the generous support of Penland friend Laura Levinson, Jackie says, “We both jumped at the chance!”

The workshop, taught in October by textile artist Carol LeBaron, focused on shibori techniques with acid dyes. “Carol really brought a new perspective to the class,” Paisley explained. “It wasn’t traditional shibori, and she really let us go wild with what kind of techniques we wanted to use.”

 

textile artist applying pattern to fabric

Instructor Carol LeBaron demonstrating a screened technique. (Photo: Jackie Dering)

 

At Valdese Weavers, Jackie works with patterns as a designer, and Paisley is a colorist. “It was funny,” Paisley tells me, “she and I went in different directions that were very related to our jobs, but we didn’t do it on purpose.” Paisley focused on the play of colors on fabric, experimenting with color mixing and overdyeing in her pieces. Jackie, meanwhile, found herself exploring patterns and design techniques. She tells me how she got excited about clothespins as a way to create resist patterns: “I thought I knew what they would look like before I prepared the fabric, but it came out totally different from what I expected. It was a cool, happy accident, and so exciting!”

Both Paisley and Jackie returned to Valdese Weavers the next week with lots of samples to pin on their walls. “I have some really cool patterns that I want to try as woven fabric,” Jackie says. Paisley adds, “I look at my pieces all the time for inspiration.”

 

Woman holding a clamped fabric; dyed fabric sample

Jackie with one of her intricately-clamped pieces ready for the dye pot. To the right is one of her finished pieces, the pattern created totally with clothespins. (Photos: left by Amanda Thatch, right by Jackie Dering)

 

A wealth of inspiration is a solid result from a week’s work, but I was surprised to hear just how much more both Jackie and Paisley got out of their workshop. Both of them commented on how creatively rejuvenated and refreshed they felt by Friday afternoon. “When you’re designing for a client every day, you can start to feel a little stagnant,” Jackie explained. “It was great to feel so engaged in something new and to know that I’m still a creative individual.”

The class quickly developed a sense of community, too. “There were so many people from different backgrounds who were there for different reasons,” notes Paisley. Jackie commented on how rare that feeling of rapid community can be. “By the end of the week, you feel like you’ve made all these friends. As you get farther along in your career, that doesn’t happen as much,” she explained. “For me, that was a really nice reminder, just feeling like ‘I’m still a human being; I can still make a new friend who’s older than me, who’s different than me.’”

It’s a tall order for one week to serve up personal connections, intense focus, new skills, freedom to experiment, and creative validation. But on those rare weeks when the pieces all come together, surely the only thing to do is to embrace it all.

—Sarah Parkinson

 

 

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The Complete Summer 2016 Lineup!

Woodworking student building a table

 

This summer our 104 workshops, taught by 118 artist-instructors, will span the world of craft. You will be able to make paper using tree bark for site-specific installations, learn the complex structures of pop-up books, create your own designs for decals to transfer onto ceramics, or investigate light and shadow in glass. Perhaps learning to forge copper and brass or making your own cutlery or linking digital photographic techniques with traditional hands-on processes will pique your interest. Our sixteen well-equipped studios await your ideas, questions, and creativity.

—Jean W. McLaughlin, Penland director

 

Complete workshop listings for summer 2016 are now online! Browse workshops by session or by studio to see full course descriptions, dates, instructor bios, links to instructor websites, images, and more. Registration is currently open for all summer workshops, and scholarship applications will be available January 1.

 

Here’s to filling 2016 with creative exploration. See you this summer!

 

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Summer 2016 Workshop Catalog

Three men working together at the anvil

We are working right now to update the website with complete summer information. Meanwhile, we have just posted a PDF of the summer catalog, which features some of our favorite blacksmiths on the cover. Left to right: studio coordinator Daniel Beck, instructor Andrew Dohner, studio assistant Eric Smith. In the background is student Don Walker.

View the Summer 2016 Catalog PDF here.

 

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Hot Glass & Electric Light with Jeremy Bart and Jen Elek

Image of "Look! See?" installation by Jeremy Bart and Jen Elek

A view of Jeremy Bart and Jen Elek’s installation “Look! See?” at The Museum of Glass.

 

In the 200 years since the first electric light was invented, the light bulb has become a common household object. It has also come to symbolize new ideas and innovation, a spark of creativity, a sudden leap of understanding. Taken separately, a light bulb’s component parts are a simple glass globe, a wire filament, and an electrical current, but together, they open up whole new possibilities. Glass lends light form and volume, while light brings glass assertively to life.

This spring, the Penland glass studio will be all about exploring the possibilities and ideas that open when glass and light combine. It’s an area that collaborating artists Jen Elek and Jeremy Bart are already quite familiar with. In their recent exhibition Look! See? at The Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA, the two created a dynamic and interactive landscape of forms, colors, reflections, and luminescence. Just as with a single light bulb, their pairing of glass and light combines to make more than the sum of its parts.

 

glass and neon installation by Jen Elek and Jeremy Bart

“Believe,” part of Jen and Jeremy’s installation “Look! See?”

 

For students interested in ways to take glass sculpture a step further, Jen and Jeremy’s spring concentration Hot Glass & Electric Light will be the ideal opportunity to do just that. During the eight-week workshop, which runs March 13-May 6, Jen will lead students through a strong base of hot glass techniques—and Jeremy will added instruction in the fundamentals of incorporating various forms of light into glass, from neon to LEDs.

Register for Hot Glass & Electric Light to give your work a literal jolt of electricity, and discover the potential for striking, communicative, and even humorous sculpture that the combination offers. Unlike the white creature below, we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

 

Glass and neon head sculptures

“Human Heads,” a collaboration by Jeremy and Jen. (Notice the little switches like individual hairs on the very top of each head!)

 

Hot Glass & Electric Light

Jeremy Bert & Jen Elek — Most of us live within the glow of electric light—often protected or filtered by glass. This class will empower the nontechnically inclined artist to harness these omnipresent media by exploring the mechanics of glass and light while considering the potential for electric light in sculpture. Jen will teach the fundamentals of glass furnace work for the full eight weeks. Jeremy will join us for four weeks to cover the basic principles, vocabulary, and techniques of neon and other forms of electric light, including LED and incandescent. Artists ready to explore the combination of glass forming and electric light will find this workshop a great fit. All levels. Code S00GA

Jen has been a member of glass artist Lino Tagliapietra’s team since 2002; Jeremy is a certified welder, crane operator, and sign electrician. The two have previously taught at Pilchuck (WA) and have exhibited their work at Museum of Glass (WA) and Pittsburgh Glass Center.

jenelek.com

 

Penland Spring Concentrations, March 13 – May 6, 2016
Books  |  Clay  |  Glass  |  Iron  |  Metals  |  Textiles  |  Wood

 

 

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Hand in Hand: Books, Paper, and Print from the Top

christopher davenport making books

 

Christopher Davenport is a storyteller. His stories are personal and complex, weaving together ecology, people, place, and lived experience:

“The place and people I grew up with in rural northeastern North Carolina through the lens of time in 7 poems and 7 photographs.”

“A meditation of places beautiful, able, and unable—Utah’s Wasatch Range and Iowa Corn Fields—from 30,000 feet and memory.”

“Acceptance and resignation as contemporary ecological narratives of extinction.”

“Of place, wilderness, what we see, what we collect, and what we keep.”

“A look beyond experience. Photographs from infrared cameras placed on family property in Washington County, North Carolina.”

 

Christopher tells his stories through text and images strung together into artists’ books. When he describes what drew him to the book format, he explains, “I’ve worked with film, video, photography, and other mediums, but none of them could fully touch on the total idea or experience I was trying to relate to other people. Books just seemed to fit that.”

 

wood case, binding, and interior pages of Ease

Details of the case, binding, and interior pages of “Ease out of your skin, Ease out of your ways, Ease out of your mind.”

 

Christopher’s books work in layers to communicate that complete experience. Take Ease out of your skin, Ease out of your ways, Ease out of your mind, a book he made last year while spending time at and around Penland: Christopher describes the book as “an ecological action and visual poem to intersecting place, commitment, and shared space.” Many of its pages are dedicated to a series of cyanotypes of a young male deer that Christopher took while observing from the grass nearby. But the book’s story is much fuller than that, and each of its elements contributes in some way. The handmade abaca spine and reclaimed poplar case speak of human ingenuity as well as our dependence on the natural world. The cotton cover made from a feed sack from nearby Bakersville, NC details a connection to place, while pages bound in from Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac locate this moment within the greater narrative of human and natural history. Even the beeswax used to finish the book—harvested from Penland’s own beehive—adds a layer of meaning.

 

Artist's book by Christopher Davenport

“Twelve Days,” a book Christopher made in 2014 to document the time he spent in wilderness over the year and to mark the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Wilderness Act.

 

As the instructor for our Spring 2016 concentration Hand in Hand: Books, Paper, and Print from the Top, Christopher will spend eight weeks taking his students through the many details that, together, contribute meaning to an artist’s book. From papermaking and binding to strategies for building type, image, and ideas into a narrative, the class will be in-depth process and experimentation at its best.

 

Hand in Hand will run March 13 – May 6, 2016. Registration is currently open.

 

Hand in Hand: Books, Paper, and Print from the Top

Christopher Davenport — This workshop is about making books—with our hands, our tools, our paper, and our ideas. We’ll cover gathering and preparing fibers; constructing molds, deckles, and tools; drying; surface treatment; finishes; Western and Eastern binding and printing techniques; and conceptual considerations of the book, book design, visual narratives, and generating content. We’ll divide our time between the paper and book studios with a week or two spent printing in the letterpress studio as we gain skills, explore possibilities, make essential binding and papermaking tools, and make books. All levels. Code S00B

Studio artist and teacher at University of Alabama; other teaching: Robert C. Williams Museum of Paper Making (Atlanta), Kennesaw State University (PA); Alabama Arts Council Arts in Education Residency; collections: Wesleyan University (CT), School of the Art Institute of Chicago; his Pocket Knife Press books are represented by Vamp and Tramp Booksellers.

pocketknifepress.com

 

Penland Spring Concentrations, March 13 – May 6, 2016
Books  |  Clay  |  Glass  |  Iron  |  Metals  |  Textiles  |  Wood

 

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