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Photo of the Week: Steel Collars

Andy Dohner at Penland School of Crafts

Instructor Andy Dohner demonstrating the use of collars, a component of blacksmithing joinery. “This doesn’t look like much, me just holding it like this,” Andy said, “but there’s a lot going on here.”



Andy Dohner at Penland School of Crafts

Let’s just take a closer look at what’s going on here (not the least of which is Andy’s stylin’ safety glasses).


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Photo of the Week: Mug Lottery

Penland Mug Lottery

Students in Cynthia Bringle’s fall clay workshop have been making a lot of mugs. So today they had a mug lottery. You pay $10 and pull a number out of a bowl. Then you look through all the mugs on the desk and find the one that has your number; that’s your new mug. Cynthia and the class are encouraging everyone to take their mugs when they go to the coffee house so they can cut down on paper cup consumption. This is staff member Yolanda Walker finding her mug. As it happened the guy at the wheel behind her made one with her number on it.


Penland mug lottery

Happy days.


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Auction Heat


It may only be February but we’re busy planning for the 2015 Penland Benefit Auction–our 30th–to be held August 7 and 8th at Penland. Tickets can be purchased online here.


This year, glass artist and Penland trustee Tim Tate will be leading a collecting group from the Alliance for Contemporary Glass to the Benefit Auction–and glass will be centerstage with works commissioned by glass artists Susan Taylor Glasgow and one-of-a-kind table centerpieces by Sally Prasch. For previews of these works and many more in the coming months, please sign up for our auction e-newsletters here or join our auction event page on Facebook here.



Tim Tate, Maybe She Dreams of Rivers, cast glass, video, 18 x 24 inches. Featured work of the 2015 Penland Benefit Auction. Retail value: $12,000.00


For those of you who may not receive our auction e-newsletters, we wanted to share this month’s edition featuring Tim Tate’s glass and video work Maybe She Dreams of Rivers, seen above.  Glenn Adamson, director of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, writes about Tate and this particular work in the essay below. (We’ve also included the video component of the work following the essay.)


Tim Tate by Glenn Adamson

“Last year, I attended my first Penland auction. Of the many great pleasures involved in the event, none was greater than meeting Tim Tate. A figure of Falstaffian charisma, Tate lit up the tent with his humor and heart. I was glad to discover that his work lives up to the man. He is that rare artist who combines true generosity of spirit with a razor-sharp intellectual acuity. By putting glass together with video, one of the art world’s most apparently traditional media with its most apparently progressive, he shows that such oppositions are in fact groundless. Any medium has the potential to support new ideas – and Tim Tate has plenty of new ideas to go around.


In the case of Maybe She Dreams of Rivers, he offers an interpretation of a classic artistic theme, Shakespeare’s Ophelia. One thinks immediately of John Everett Millais’ Pre-Raphaelite treatment of the subject, a fragile maiden floating face-up in the weeds, her hands spread in a gesture of eternal prayer. Tate’s version is less sentimental, yet I find it even more haunting. Ophelia floats slowly from side to side, doubled as if caught in the slippery slide from life into death.


Interestingly, Tate has imagined the doomed heroine dreaming of her own fate–captured permanently in a virtual state. As he notes, our relationship to technology is just as destabilizing today as it was in Victorian times, when the skies filled with industrial smoke and trains first churned their way across the landscape. Our encounters with technology are more private, often occurring within the small dimensions of a touch screen. Yet they are no less unsettling, conveying us across time and space in a constant frictionless glide. In Ophelia, he has found an ideal personification of this state of perpetual drift. Shimmering in her ornate surroundings, viewed as if through a glass darkly, she holds a mirror up twenty-first-century life, lived all too often at one remove.”


Dreaming Of Ophelia from Tim Tate on Vimeo.


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Photo of the Week: Glass-Furnace Builders


This is the gang that just finished building a new furnace for the glass shop. The furnace-building workshop was lead by Mac Metz, Pablo Soto, and Jasen Johnsen.



Here’s what they built. The new furnace incorporates a number of energy-efficiency improvements, allowing it operate with a significantly smaller burner than the furnace it is replacing.



Action shot from Dave Somers, Penland’s director of facilities.

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Penland Down Under

Jemima Parker, Undefined (wearable) object, hand-printed calico, sewing thread, 2012


This June, Penland will turn Australian for two weeks when seventeen artists and educators from Australian National University’s School of Art in Canberra take over our fifteen studios–all during the same summer session, June 7-19, 2015.


Richard Whiteley, head of the glass at Australian National University, and Ashley Jameson Eriksmoen, ANU’s head of furniture, developed the all-Aussie session with Penland programs director Leslie Noell. Both schools share an innovative, practice-centered philosophy, and the session presents an unprecedented chance for makers to study with ANU faculty in the U.S.


Students who attend the session will work with Australian artist-educators at the height of their craft. These artists include Richard Whiteley, gold- and silversmith Simon Cottrell, textile and installation artist Jemima Parker, book and multimedia artist Nicci Haynes, and the artists listed in the teaching studios below.


“There is always an easy, open conversation between studios at Penland, and I hear from students and instructors all the time that this creative exchange across media is one of the things that, in addition to the daily focused classroom experience, makes their time at Penland even more rich, said Leslie Noell.


“Now imagine what this conversation will be like with seventeen vibrant instructors who have all known and worked together for years. (Not to mention the accents!) I expect the entire campus to crackle,” Noell said.

Ashley Eriksmoen, who ​previously ​taught at Penland​ ​and will teach woodworking during the 2015 session, sees a progressive synergy between ANU’s ​hands-on ​approach to​ teaching​ craft in the academy and Penland’s intensive workshop context.


“[ANU’s] ​undergraduate and graduate programs​ are centered on thinking through a material,” said Eriksmoen. “Our workshop discipline​​s​ involve art, craft, and design–and​ are closely aligned with those at Penland. We offer a high-caliber program Down Under. At Penland, we’ll offer it to students who wouldn’t otherwise make the antipodal journey.”

Among the Australia-based artist/educators who will be teaching during the session are:


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Simon Cottrell’s jewellery and objects have been extensively published and exhibited worldwide since 1996. He is currently a researcher and professor in the Gold and Silversmithing Workshop, School of Art, at ANU. Metalsmith magazine published an 8-page feature article on his work and practice, which can be read here.









Nicci Haynes stretches the definition of book arts to include prints, costumes and performance, video, projection, and spoken word collaboration. Her work explores the idea of the inner world being described physically. Nicci teaches in the Print Media and Drawing discipline at ANU. Nicci’s work was included in the 2014 exhibition Behind the Personal Library: Collectors Creating the Canon at the Center for Book Arts, NYC.







Jemima Parker, whose wearable work is shown at the top of this blog post, is a Canberra-based artist and screenprinter using traditional textile materials and methods, along with drawing and printmaking processes to create work that moves between disciplines and blurs boundaries of creative practice. She teaches textiles at ANU and more of her work can be seen here.





Richard Whiteley is a glass artist renowned for his restrained yet monumental cast glass sculpture. Employing mass, negative space, transparency and translucency, Richard’s work and teaching career have helped shape the current state of contemporary glass. After several years of teaching and studio-based work, he is back in Canberra as Head of the Glass Workshop at the School of Art at ANU. He also maintains his own practice from his studio in Queanbeyan.






Apply for a scholarship or assistantship by February 17.

Not applying for a scholarship? Register in our summer lottery by February 11.




All-Aussie Penland Session 2: June 7-19, 2015

Click here for full course information.

Click on the names below for websites of the artists.


Books: Nicci Haynes

Printmaking: John Pratt

Letterpress: Caren Florance

Upper Clay studio: Greg Daly

Lower Clay studio: Michael Keighery 

Painting: Ruth Waller

Glass: Nadege Desgenetez

Glass casting: Richard Whiteley

Upper metals studio: Simon Cottrell

Lower metals studio (3-D design): Gilbert Riedelbauch

Iron: Suzie Bleach & Andy Townsend

Photography: Matt Higgins & Denise Ferris

Upper textiles studio: Jemima Parker

Lower textiles studio: Valerie Kirk

Wood: Ashley Eriksmoen 


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Summer 2015 Workshops


Our Summer 2015 workshop descriptions are now online so that you can begin to plot Penland into your summer. Search by session or studio. If you are planning on applying, the summer lottery deadline is February 11.

Scholarship applications are processed differently, and this year we’ve moved to an online process, so please take a look at the new guidelines. Scholarship applications are due February 17.

The print catalogue, featuring an image by Robin Dreyer of letterpressed leaves made by former core fellow Beth Schaible (see above), will be available in the coming weeks.


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Photo of the Week: Tiny Shiny Sale


Aran Galligan’s fall metals class hosted an open house and sale on Thursday afternoon. For a few hours, the Tiny Shiny Sale turned the upper metals studio into a delightful jewelry store, and everyone was delighted.


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