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gigapan image by Dan Bailey

This is a very small rendition of a very large photograph made by instructor Dan Bailey during our July 4 celebration. What you are seeing was stitched together from 1.100 images made over a three hour period–that’s why some parts of the picture are dark; those frames were taken after dark. You can see the whole thing at the Gigapan website.

Once you get there, you can zoom in and out and scroll around. Because so many pictures were combined, you can zoom in a long way on any part of the picture, like this:

Oh, that’s cool, I can see all those little people around that picnic table. Wait, who is that in the green shirt, sitting on the left side of the table?

Oh, it’s the famous glass artist Billy Bernstein.

If you were here, you might even find yourself, but in any case you can stay busy for a while looking at this thing.

It’s right here.

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Penland School featured in Ornament Magazine

There’s a nice feature on Penland, written by Glen R. Brown, in the new issue of Ornament Magazine. It begins like this:

“The final mile of the drive to Penland School of Crafts feels appropriately transitional. The curving ascent through a forest of North Carolina pines and hardwoods serves symbolically as a buffer between the outside world and the eclectic mix of cabin-like dwellings, rustic lodge-style buildings and modern glass-fronted constructions that compose the campus. Nestled picturesquely among the trees at the head of a gently sloping meadow, the school recalls memories of summer camp, but, since its founding in 1928, it has been highly effective in the role of a working retreat—a place, something like Thoreau’s Walden, that is removed just far enough from the complications and diversions of everyday life to allow for focus on priorities. Although those who come to study at Penland generally spend only two weeks (far less than Thoreau’s two-year sojourn in the woods), what they learn during that intense period of total immersion can form the basis for a lifetime of exploration.”

Read the whole article here.

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Eight weeks later…

After eight weeks of hard work and constant learning the 2010 Concentration student’s stories might best be told though their hands. Fellow-student Elliot Todd and I spent a little time during the last week of spring getting folks to show us their hands. Below is a photo essay of Elliot’s pictures of the hands of a student in each Concentration class, and also some hardworking dishwashing hands from the work-study program. Enjoy!

–Karen Mahardy

Chris Porcarelli, iron

Sara Basoula, printmaking
Ryan Flory, lower clay
Kathy DeBoy, upper clay
Abby Brock, metals
Abby Brock, metals
Justin Sanz, printmaking
Patrick Lloyd, wood
Karen Mahardy, glass

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Tom Spleth Makes a Plaster Form at Slide Night

When instructor Tom Spleth did his slide night at the beginning of his eight-week class in making ceramics from plaster molds, he projected slides of his work on the wall, then poured plaster on a large piece of masonite, cued some lovely music, and demonstrated his method for making a sculptural form from drying plaster. Staff member Mark Boyd was on hand with a camera and made this beautiful 5-minute video titled Fluid Form.

A technical note on what Tom is doing: The plaster form he makes in the video would be the first step in the creation of a hollow, porcelain sculpture or vase. After the plaster form dries, Tom refines it with scrapers and other tools, then he makes a multipart plaster mold from the form. The next step is to pour clay slip into the mold, let it sit for a bit and then pour it out again, leaving layer of slip clinging to the inside of the mold. The mold is then opened and the clay form inside can be glazed and fired.  –Robin Dreyer