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Dance of the Blue Neo Glass

How it begins: a sketch on the studio floor, a plan to make this vessel in two parts.
Brian Corr and assistant Suzie Ririe shaping the body.
Assistant Nick Fruin and Pierre Bowring making the elongated stem of the vessel.
Like a pas de deux, with fire.
Bob Lamontagne with camera prepares to photograph from strange vantages.
Ready for the join. Behind Brian is Izach Hyde.
The pas de quatre in white tee shirts.
More fire, please.
Shaping the top.
Perfection is not just about control. It's also about letting go.--Black Swan.
Yes, we quoted the movie Black Swan in the last slide.
Finale: almost.
And then off to the annealer. Bravo to all.

 

There’s a ballet school in my neighborhood. When the sun hits the glass a certain way, the front window of the studio dims from where I view it from my car, and all I see are legs and feet, sweeping and stuttering together. Walking into the glass studio yesterday I was reminded of the feeling: catching sight of a group of bodies acting and reacting to each other as part of a plan. Students in Brian Corr’s concentration workshop moved in slow and quickening formations: standing, starting, leaning, kneeling, turning, crossing, holding and dropping and wiping off singed tools. Not a fluid dance (is there such a thing?) but a strategic and elliptical choreography as mesmerizing to me as any big-time production of Swan Lake. As Frank Sinatra played in the background, Brian’s students scuffed and stepped, keeping the object–a large, blue vessel composed of two parts to be joined–alive on the punties. Above are some shots of the moment.–Elaine Bleakney

 
 

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Video: Jon Brooks

Our last video from our summer series of video portraits made by Wes Stitt features Penland instructor Jon Brooks, who taught a workshop called Convergence: Forest Meets Muse in our wood studio this past June.

To revisit the entire series of Wes’s videos, please visit Penland Stories.

 
 

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Photo of the Week: Pin Registration!

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Printmaking instructor Amanda Lee demonstrating the wonders of the pin registration system. Yeah, that sounds kind of unexciting — unless you are planning to make multicolor prints and you’d like things to line up really well, in which case you’d be as enthralled as Amanda’s students.

 

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Don’t Fear the Warp


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Beth Ross Johnson returns to Penland to teach a one-week workshop this November called Weaving: The First Layer. The workshop is designed for beginners as well as experienced weavers “who dread the warping process.” Students will learn to warp “with multiple threads, to beam on without tangles, and other tricks of the trade” to “establish a foundation for fabrics that will go where we want them to go.”

Interested? You may also want to check out this illuminating blog post by Hollie Pocsai, who took the photographs above. Hollie was a student in Tali Weinberg’s summer weaving class at Penland. She writes: “I was expecting to be amongst the youngest in the class, but to my surprise I was on the older end of the scale in our class made up of twelve women. And some really extraordinary woman at that.” Hollie writes about the work, magic, and one strange nightmare that happened during her stay–a well-rounded post-game view of a Penland weaving class.

To learn more about Beth Ross Johnson’s workshop (November 2-8, 2014), click here. If you live nearby, don’t forget to check our standby policy if you’re thinking of enrolling.

 

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Back to (Craft) School

 
September 21 marks back-to-school here at Penland when our eight-week concentrations in clay, glass, iron, metals, painting (mixed media), printmaking, and textiles start. Some spaces are available. (Please check on our standby rate policies if you live nearby, too.)

Our first round of fall one-week classes will begin on October 5, and recently we checked in with the three instructors about what they’ve been doing in the studio lately.

 
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Ben Dory, Composition ii, steel, 23.5k gold foil, 24k gold leaf,cubic zirconia, rubies, 4 x 4 x 1/2 inches

 
 
Ben Dory
Surface Adornment on Steel
In the Metals studio

bendory“The Met’s website has been an amazing resource for looking at historical items that represent one of the techniques we will be covering in the class: damascene (metal overlay). The photos on the site are incredible. Users can  zoom way in on many of the pieces ] to take in the details. An Italian pair of gauntlets from the late 1500’s show characteristic chisel marks that prepare the surface for damascene if you zoom in by clicking on the picture. There are many, many more examples to explore by searching for ‘damascene.’

With the addition of of chasing and stone setting skills, I’m incredibly excited to see what my students comes up with. Also, I will bring laser-cut blanks from a jewelry line I’m working on from which each student can make their own brooch. The blanks come in a few shapes and are designed to mount on a stainless back that I will bring as well.”

Surface Adornment on Steel
Using steel as a base, we will explore how to transform the surface of this rigid material with texture, thin layers of precious metals, and gemstones. The result will be compositions based on creating vivid contrast with a darkened steel background. We’ll cover everything from small tool-making to finishing—equipping students to create finished pieces of jewelry and small sculpture with chasing, overlay, and various methods of stonesetting.. All levels. Code F01MB

Register for this workshop here

 


 
 

Amy Lemaire
Other Possible Outcomes: Reexamining Glass Beads
In the Flameworking studio

 

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Amy Lemaire, Kosmos, hollow, flameworked soda-lime glass, 2014. Floating mount by Brigid Mountmaking.

 

“I am currently working on a series called Kosmos, which will be shown at SOFA Chicago in November. I will bring some of these to class for a sneak preview, and will be putting some finishing touches on pieces for the collection.”

 
 

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“Preparing samples for Penland in my studio: lots of textures and color.”

 
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“Collaborating with other artists is a great way to come up with new ideas and have some fun in the studio. In this picture, I am collaborating with Marcela Silva, who is holding the drill. We decided to make wound beads using more power.” At Urban Glass, Brooklyn, NY. Photo by Milo Harper.

 

Other Possible Outcomes: Reexamining Glass Beads
In this workshop we’ll reexamine glass beads as portable sculpture that is both personal and public, and we’ll consider the body as a site for wearable sculpture. We’ll cover traditional and experimental approaches to flameworking as well as cold-working and jewelry fabrication. Workshop information will include material preparation, sculptural and textured beads, surface treatment, jewelry design, and assembly strategies. Beginning and advanced makers will be encouraged to explore new ways of working. All levels. Code F01GB

Register for this workshop here

 


 
 

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Beth Schaible
Nontraditional Longstitch Binding
In the Books studio

“I’m very much looking forward to teaching. Folding paper and designing patterns and sewing books.

At right, a detail of a photograph by Shara Crosby taken for Mountain XPress, which featured Beth’s Asheville venture, 7 Ton Letterpress Collective, in an article last May.

Below: a view of recent books made by Beth Schaible. View more of Beth’s process and inspirations for Quill and Arrow Press on her Instagram account.

 

 

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Nontraditional Longstitch Binding
In this workshop students will create an array of functional longstitch books, starting with basic stitching and moving quickly to nontraditional patterns. Students will learn to plan and sew their own longstitch patterns and designs using cloth, leather, and paper covered boards as cover materials, creating beautifully exposed spines. Some binding experience will be helpful, but this class is for all levels. Code F01B

Register for this workshop here

 
 

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Video: Maleeha, Penland Student

 

 

This July, our friend and former core fellow Wes Stitt returned to Penland to create a few short videos for us. We gave him this task: go into the studios, find an interesting and willing subject, and ask the person to narrate her or his own experience of being in a Penland workshop. Wes created four visual stories, all gems, and we’re proud to premiere the first one today, featuring Penland student Maleeha El Sadr.

We’re also happy to debut the Penland Story Project, a place where readers can explore Penland through the voices of our students, instructors, visitors, and friends. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what Penland is like from the perspective of another, or if you’ve ever tried to explain the Penland experience to someone who hasn’t been here, the Penland Story Project is fine place to start.

 

 

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Dinner Plans

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This August Elisa Di Feo taught Dinner Plans, a clay workshop where students created functional porcelain tableware with culinary expression in mind. The workshop culminated with a dinner at Spruce Pine’s Knife and Fork restaurant, where chef Nate Allen cooked and served a meal that the students had considered, designed, and constructed dinnerware to hold. The evening was documented by Dot Griffith, a student in Alida Fish and Jeannie Pearce’s photography workshop, and Dot shared the photographs above with us.

About the workshop, Elisa wrote:

Our class was so interesting because it allowed each individual to consider the meal designed by Nate, make dishes based on the techniques I presented (simple molds, simple surfaces), and then eat off the dishes. With the direct parameters of The Dinner in mind, it was easy to communicate personal ideas about pottery and eating with each other, while exploring and discovering some new possibilities. The best quote came from my student Irene while in the midst of glazing some pots. She said that she wanted them to be like “super nothing.” This idea of “super nothing,” I think, comes out of suggestions to keep it simple and considered in terms of surface designs and shapes.

Participants in the class included Robert Bell, Stormie Burns, Irene De Watteville, Benjamin Friedman, Betsy Gray, Ted Gross, Maggie Johns, Adria Katz, Marsha Kitowski, studio assistant Rob Kolhouse, Will Lentz, Ann Lynch, Jodie Masterman, Claire McCarty, Elizabeth Mueller-Roemer, Nina Otterness, Laura Schofield, and Sophie Southgate.

 

 

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