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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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Photo of the Week: Glass Shop Tux

Amy Young in Penland glass shop

Student Amy Young in regalia while working in the hot glass shop, assisted by instructor DH McNabb.

 

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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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Spring with Sunshine Cobb

Sunshine Cobb’s mugs, jars, and bowls have the sort of effortless personality that can only come through great skill, a highly refined process, and, yes, a good deal of effort. Their soft, matte surfaces play up the textured forms and rich, red clay underneath. They’re quirky, bright, and inviting—much like Sunshine herself. It’s hard to mistake this work for anyone else’s, which is a large portion of its brilliance.

This spring, Sunshine will be returning to Penland to teach our 8-week spring clay concentration March 11 – May 4, 2018. Israel Davis was originally scheduled to teach in the slot, but Sunshine graciously stepped in when he had to cancel. The workshop will be an intensive look at building forms on and off the potter’s wheel and the wide range of surface options to complement them. For beginning students, it will be a guided jump-start into the world of clay. For those with more experience, it will be a valuable opportunity to develop new ideas and refine personal style, as well as get practical advice on the business side of making a living as an artist.

Registration is currently open on a first-come, first-served basis for spring workshops. Scholarships are available for all spring concentrations—apply by November 28!

 

ceramic trays by Sunshine Cobb

 

Wheelthrowing and Handbuilding Techniques

Sunshine Cobb, March 11 – May 4, 2018
This intensive workshop will be explore form and content through functional ceramics by diving deep into a combination of both handbuilding and wheelthrowing techniques. And we will cover a broad range of surface solutions. Participants can also expect creative exercises and critical discussions relative to form, surface, and the balance of both. We’ll also have sessions on developing online and social media content and discussions of business models that working artists are using today. You will delve into your makers’ mind and develop new approaches and ideas to your work. All levels. Studio fee: $245. Code S00CA

Studio artist; teaching: Red Clay Lodge (MT), Santa Fe Clay (NM), Anderson Ranch (CO), Penland; Archie Bray Foundation (MT) long-term residency; named 2013 Emerging Artist by Ceramics Monthly and NCECA; author of the forthcoming Mastering Hand Building: Techniques, Tips, and Tricks for Slabs, Coil, and More (Voyageur Press, 2018).

sunshinecobb.com

 

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

 

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Photo of the Week: Dovetails

Christina Boy at Penland

Instructor Christina Boy demonstrating hand-cut dovetail joints. During the demo we learned that there were dovetail joints in furniture entombed with mummies during the first Egyptian dynasty and also in the tombs of Chinese emperors. Thanks, Wikipedia.

 

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Photo of the Week: Abstraction

Sheridan Davenport at Penland School

Sheridan Davenport was a student this summer in an abstract painting workshop taught by Tonya D. Lee. Sheridan is a student at Xavier University in Ohio, where her advisor is Kelly Phelps, a regular instructor at Penland. Kelly encouraged her to apply for a scholarship to attend Penland. “I haven’t done much abstract work,” Sheridan said. “But I loved Tonya’s work so much that I had to take this class. It’s definitely opened things up for me.”

 

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Imagine. Typeset. Print.

Typesetting generally involves putting one letter after another, making sentences and that sort of thing. This fall, however, you have an opportunity to expand your understanding of this age-old craft, or–depending on how you look at things–to learn the basics of letterpress printing without getting bogged down in pesky proofreading.

Ornamental Letterpress, a rollicking one-week fall workshop (October 22-28) taught by Jennifer Farrell, will explore the tradition of using type ornaments to create pictorial images and large letterforms. Open to beginners and experienced printers alike, this workshop will cover printing and typesetting basics and expand your concept of what can be done with metal type on a press.

 

Jennifer Farrell

 

Jennifer is the owner of Starshaped Press in Chicago where she makes posters, prints, business cards, invitations, music packaging, stationery, greeting cards, of course, intriguing images made from type ornaments. “Since 1999 we’ve stayed true to the original craft of letterpress disregarding the naysayers that claim antique metal and wood type is too limiting for quality design,” her website proclaims. “As an old fashioned shop with solid presswork and hard working midwestern gumption, we buck popular trends in modern, ‘couture’ printing. We are proudly one of the very few shops in the country working to preserve, promote and print entirely like it’s 1929.”

Jennifer has taught at the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum and the Wells College Book Arts Center, and conducted workshops at Western New York Book Arts Center and Columbia College Chicago Book and Paper Arts Center. Her print work has won numerous awards and has been featured repeatedly in How magazine. Jennifer also appears in the new film Pressing On: The Letterpress Film, currently screening all over the place.

You can see lots of Jennifer’s work on her website and read about her adventures on her blog. Here’s a little interview with her as well.

 

Fall 1-Week Session 2
October 22 – 28, 2017

Jennifer Farrell
 – Ornamental Letterpress
The best way to understand type and printer’s ornaments is to study them in their metal form. This workshop will improve your understanding of typography so your letterpress work (whether you are a beginner or a seasoned veteran) can improve and move beyond initial experimentation. We’ll explore the tradition of using ornaments to create pictorial images and letterforms. All students will create images that, depending on ability, may be simple one-color pieces or more intricate multicolored prints. We’ll address common problems in hand composition as well as type that presents aesthetic challenges. We’ll look at tips and tricks to get the best results from both new and old metal type. All levels. Studio fee: $55. Code F02L

Registration and fee information here. If you have questions, call 828-765-2359.
All upcoming print and letterpress workshops are here.

 

 

Yup, that’s made from type ornaments.

 

 

 

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