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Brim, Bourdain, and Blacksmithing

 

Most folks who have spent any time around the iron studio know Elizabeth Brim. She has been a longtime friend, neighbor, and instructor at Penland and an important shaping force in our iron program. She’s also a wildly skilled and accomplished artist, and we’re proud that her talents were featured on the most recent episode of Raw Craft with Anthony Bourdain.

In the episode, Bourdain visits Elizabeth’s shop and the Penland iron studio where she taught spring concentration. He looks on as she forges an intricate flower and demonstrates the technique she invented for inflating iron. “You have to be awfully tough to make metalwork look this easy,” he comments.

At the end of the epidode, Bourdain concludes, “Elizabeth is a perfect example of somebody who’s chosen to go against the grain, who’s chosen to do a difficult thing, who’s decided to follow a passion. She’s a perfect example of the type of people we’re celebrating: an artist, a professional, an educator, somebody unlike just about everybody else.” We couldn’t agree more, and we couldn’t be luckier to have Elizabeth here at Penland. See for yourself by watching the episode above!

 

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Stories in Clay

Nan Smith, "Twenty Twelve," glazed and painted earthenware, glazed porcelain, concrete, sand, wood

Nan Smith, “Twenty Twelve,” glazed and painted earthenware, glazed porcelain, concrete, sand, wood

 

Sculpting a figure in clay is about far more than trying to recreate recognizable form in three dimensions. That’s why instructor Nan Smith chose Personality Plus as the name of her Penland workshop this November 6-12. “I want students to investigate what transforms figure sculpture into something dynamic and alive,” she explains. “What will make a bust look like it has a story?”

If there’s anyone who can help students answer those questions, it’s probably Nan. She’s had a long and successful career as a sculptor and installation artist. She’s taught ceramics at the University of Florida for over thirty years, and she’s led workshops at universities around the country and as far away as Israel. Her work has been featured in publications like Sculpture magazine and Ceramics Monthly. She has exhibited at dozens of venues like SOFA Chicago, the Red Lodge Clay Center, and the American Museum of Ceramic Art. Perhaps most importantly, “I really do love teaching people at all levels how to sculpt a figure, and I’ve been doing that a really long time,” she says.

 

Nan Smith, "Spill," glazed and painted earthenware, glazed porcelain, metal, rubber, wood

Nan Smith, “Spill,” glazed and painted earthenware, glazed porcelain, metal, rubber, wood

 

Personality Plus will be a hands-on, high-energy week of ceramic figure sculpting that uses the bust format and self portraiture to help students develop their perceptual and conceptual skills. It may be only a one-week class, but it certainly won’t stick to one technique. “We’re going to be building sculpture, but we’re also going to be making life casts and learning to take a mold from a piece,” Nan explains. “I wanted to give the course a twist and allow students to try using molds as another tool to develop perceptual skill.”

Personality Plus is a workshop for the curious beginner and for the experienced sculptor looking for new ideas. It’s a workshop for ceramic artists interested in new ways of working with clay. It’s a workshop for anyone interested in the details of the figure and how to bring them to life. Is it a workshop for you? Registration is open now.

 

Nan Smith, "Mercury" (detail), glazed and painted earthenware, glazed porcelain, photo montages on fabric, metal, wood

Nan Smith, “Mercury” (detail), glazed and painted earthenware, glazed porcelain, photo montages on fabric, metal, wood

 

Personality Plus

Nan Smith, November 6-12, 2016
Who are you? What causes presence in the sculpted human form? By investigating questions of identity in addition to studying anatomy within the bust format, students will create a life-scale self-portrait that reflects their inner personality and self-perception. Demonstrations will cover life-casting techniques, life modeling, photo-documentation, and rendering an expressive and anatomically believable human form. We’ll create solid-built busts over metal armatures. Students will leave with a life cast and a sculpted portrait bust in wet clay. All levels. Code F03CB

Professor at University of Florida; publications: The Figure in Clay, Sculpture, Ceramics: Art and Perception, Ceramics Monthly, CFile Weekly; collections: American Express (NY), Lamar Dodd Art Center (GA), Givat Haviva Art Center (Israel), World Ceramics Exposition Korea International Collection.

nansmith.com

REGISTER NOW FOR FALL WORKSHOPS

 

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Books, Relics, Curiosities

Daniel Essig sculpture

Daniel Essig, “N’Kisi Bricolage Sturgeon,” 13 x 59 x 14 inches

 

Daniel Essig makes book-based sculpture. To be more precise, he makes fantastical, elaborate, majestic book-based sculpture like nothing you’ve seen before.

Books are at the heart of each piece, but it’s as if their contents have left the confines of paper sheets and gained form outside the covers. Fish, birds, bridges, and buildings take shape in wood, and books may be tucked into a beak or studded like fins on the back of a sturgeon. Each book is expertly bound using the centuries-old Ethiopian Coptic binding technique, but many contain only blank pages. Text itself may appear instead as pattern transferred to a wooden figure, individual characters of lead printer’s type, or sheets of pages recycled from 19th-century Bibles. Together with paint, handmade paper, mica, rusted nails, thread, fabric, fossils, and other found objects, Daniel brings it all together into three-dimensional storybooks that are part fantasy, part history, and fully engrossing.

 

Daniel Essig portrait and book piece

Daniel Essig and his piece “Sacred Geometry,” 10 x 14 x 2 inches

 

Daniel describes the small room in his house where he stores his lifetime’s collection of inspiration—rocks, bones, seedpods, shells, and more—as a German Wunderkammern, a “cabinet of curiosities.” And for eight weeks this fall, a portion of that Wunderkammern will make its home in the Penland wood studio for Daniel’s concentration Books, Relics, Curiosities. The workshop, like Daniel’s own pieces, will combine elements of bookbinding and woodworking. Sculptors, woodworkers, book artists, and total beginners are all welcome—the only prerequisite is curiosity.

Books, Relics, Curiosities will run September 25-November 18, 2016. Registration is open now, and a few work-study scholarships are still available. Call the Penland registrar at 828-765-2359 ext. 1306 for more information.

 

two book sculptures by Daniel Essig

Left: “Needle Nose,” 33 x 13 x 8 inches; right: “Fisheye,” 12.5 x 12 x 4.5 inches

Books, Relics, Curiosities

Daniel Essig—This workshop will use wood to explore and honor elements of the book. After learning the basics of woodshop safety and tool use, we’ll investigate the infinite possibilties of book-based sculpture. Techniques will include carving, turning, burning, sanding, altering, distressing, painting, and bookbinding. Students will be encouraged to collaborate and to explore alternative materials. They can expect to complete a series of book sculptures. We’ll have daily demonstrations as well as discussions of historic and contemporary book forms. Everyone is welcome: book artists, woodworkers, curious beginners, etc. All levels. Code F00W

Studio artist; teaching: Anderson Ranch (CO), Arrowmont (TN), University of Georgia Cortona Italy Program, Penland; collections: Renwick Gallery (DC), Mint Museum (NC); representation: Vamp and Tramp Booksellers (GA); publications: The Penland Book of Handmade Books, Masters: Book Arts (both Lark Books).

danielessig.com

REGISTER NOW

 

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Photo of the Week: Hot Shop Action

Penland Hot Shop

Students Patty Yockey and Char Walker know their way around a hot glass studio. This week they are taking a workshop taught by Chuck Lopez that’s focused on cane work.

 

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Creating Beauty with Kristina Glick

enameled pieces by Kristina Glick

 

“Beautiful things have always affected my life, and I believe beauty is a powerful force in the world.” So Kristina Glick introduces her body of jewelry and metalwork. Her pieces are indeed beautiful, but those expecting extravagant gold or jewel-studded creations are imagining the work of the wrong artist. Kristina’s beauty is all about appreciation, interest, and a keen eye. “I am often drawn towards the quiet and the subtle: the texture of a rusty nail, a discarded book, pieces of a magnolia seed, or the curve of a beach stone,” she explains. Her work masterfully combines found objects and traditional metalworking techniques into pieces that are rich with color, texture, and unexpected details.

This fall, Kristina will be bringing her dedication to beauty—and her sizable skills—to the Penland metals studio. From September 25 to November 18, she will be teaching the concentration Counterbalance: Enameling, Electroforming & Found Objects. The course will be eight weeks of exploring techniques, materials, and the qualities that make a piece uniquely beautiful to each of us.

“I hope that what I create may someday slip into someone else’s life and tip the balance of their world a little further in the direction of beauty,” Kristina says. If your world could use a bit more beauty in the everyday (and whose couldn’t?), then Kristina’s workshop might be the perfect thing. Registration is now open, and a couple work-study scholarships are still available. For more information, contact the Penland registrar at 828-765-2359, ext 1306.

 

found object piece by Kristina Glick

Counterbalance: Enameling, Electroforming & Found Objects

Kristina Glick—This workshop will start with the basics of liquid enamels including techniques such as layering, sgraffito, stamping, stenciling, and champlevé. Then we’ll explore electroforming to create organic, textured copper surfaces that will highlight and enhance the enamel. We’ll use found objects as inspiration and incorporate them into finished work. With an emphasis on process and experimentation, we’ll work toward the design and execution of jewelry pieces or wall panels. The workshop will include basic fabrication skills: sawing, soldering, cold connections, etching, and finishing. All levels. Code F00MA

Associate professor at Goshen College (IN); other teaching: Idyllwild (CA), Arizona Designer Craftsmen, Goshen Jewelers Guild (IN); exhibitions: JAS (NC), Touching Mystery (OH); work published in 500 Gemstone Jewels and 500 Enameled Objects (Lark Books); representation: Angelo (VA).

kristinaglick.com

REGISTER NOW

 

enamel work by Kristina Glick

 

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Handrail 2.0

iron class with railing

This summer’s session 5 iron workshop with Hoss Haley and Warren Holzman brought together a talented bunch of students with big ideas and impressive skill. Together, the class designed, constructed, and installed a new bronze and steel handrail on campus. The project included eight custom supports, hours at the power hammer, 44 feet of forged cap rail, and a whole lot of teamwork. We think the results are just stunning.

 

railing-1

Two students prepare a bundle of steel rods to be forged into one of the railing supports.

 

railing-2

Heat, patience, and an eye for detail make all the pieces come together smoothly.

 

railing-4

The new railing is a big improvement over the standard blue railing it replaced. Thanks, team!

 

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Jenni Sorkin, 2016 Resident Writer

jenni sorkin and book

In addition to the talented artists on campus as students and instructors right now, we are lucky to have Jenni Sorkin at Penland. Jenni is an Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art History at the University of California, Santa Barbara and our 2016 Andrew Glasgow Resident Writer. Like everyone else here, Jenni is spending her time at Penland deeply engrossed in craft. Specifically, she will be working on an essay about abstraction and textiles which will be published in the catalog for the exhibition Boundary Markers: Outlier Artists and the Contemporary Mainstream. The exhibition is set to open at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. in 2018.

Just last month, Jenni’s book Live Form: Women, Ceramics and Community was published by the University of Chicago Press. The book investigates the influences of ceramics on the “artistic avant-garde” during the second half of the 20th century. It highlights three women—Marguerite Wildenhain, Mary Caroline (M. C.) Richards, and Susan Peterson—each one a ceramic artist “whose careers throughout the mid-twentieth century expand and enrich our current understanding of what socially engaged artistic practice is today.”

Jenni will present a talk based on Live Form on Sunday, August 21 at 8:15 PM in Northlight. The event is free, and all are welcome and encouraged to join.

Read more about Jenni and the Andrew Glasgow Writers Residency here.

 

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