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Cooking Out, Minoan Style

jerolyn morrison minoan dinner at penland

Jerolyn Morrison

 

A few weeks ago, students in Penland’s spring session had a special meal that included lentils, chick peas, and other dishes cooked using methods reconstructed through artifacts from the late Minoan civilization of 1200 – 1500 B.C.E. The dishes were cooked over glowing coals in earthenware pots made by students in Cynthia Bringle’s spring workshop. The project was led by Jerolyn Morrison, who was a guest teacher for two weeks.

Jerolyn’s history with Penland goes back to 1996, when she came as a student just after finishing her B.A. in ceramics at Baylor University. She spent most of the next four years at the school, serving variously as studio assistant, coffee house manager, breakfast cook, and volunteer coordinator for the auction. During this time, she says, she became interested in the “life of the object.” This interest led her to a Masters in anthropology, a Fulbright for study in Greece, and, most recently, a Ph.D in archeology from the University of Leicester in England.

 

jerolyn morrison minoan dinner at Penland

Taste testing

 

The teaching and cooking she did this spring at Penland were based on her Ph.D. project, which involved reproducing both Minoan cookpots and cooking. Drawing on 100 years of archeology, she began reproducing the cookpots using the local clay in Crete. Then, working from studies of charred food remains, burnt seeds, and residue extracted from 3,000-year-old pots, she assembled what she refers to as the Minoan grocery list. “The clay, the pots, the wood that was burned, the food that was being cooked: once you have this,” she said, “then it’s interpretive.” Which is to say, there’s no way to know exactly how Minoan food tasted. She also had to learn, through experimentation, how to cook in the three-legged earthenware pots. Present day residents of Crete, she explained, still cook on open fires, but they have forgotten how to cook in ceramic pots.

Having completed her Ph.D., Jerolyn continues to live part of the year in Crete where she runs a business called Minoan Tastes that caters special events using the pots, techniques, and recipes she developed through this work. A cookbook is in process. “It mixes anthropology and archeology in a way that’s informative rather than academic,” she said.

 

jerolyn morrison minoan dinner at Penland

Flatbread over the coals

 

Her recent stint at Penland was literally a dream come true. “I had this dream, an actual dream,” she said, “ that I was doing this at Penland. So I called Cynthia Bringle to ask her if there was any way I could make this happen. She was, at that moment, planning her spring workshop and invited me to join her for a few weeks.”

“It was great,” she said. “We got to talk about archeology and pottery as we were working. The rest of the workshop was throwing and these pots are all made with handbuilding techniques, so it expanded the scope of the class that way.”

 

jerolyn morrison minoan dinner at penland

There were benefits for Jerolyn as well. She appreciated that her Penland students did not stick to reproducing traditional Minoan cookware. “They decorated the pots, which the Minoans didn’t do,” she explained. “And they had no cultural constraints about what the pots should be. It was freeing, and I’d like to work a little more like that. This was a gift they gave back to me.”

 

jerolyn morrison minoan dinner at penland

And there was consensus that the dinner was delicious.

 

jerolyn morrison minoan dinner at penland

Cynthia Bringle, Jerolyn, and the whole class.

 

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Photo(s) of the Week: Easter Eggs!

Clay
Clay
Paper
Look-through
Muybridge photo eggs
Steel
Glass
Hand-decorated duck egg
Bunny eggs
Metal
Wood
Quilted cloth
Yeah, we got 'em.

Here are a few of the handmade eggs that showed up for our annual Easter egg hunt. It’s possible that a few of them are still out there…

 

 

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Photo(s) of the Week: Community Open House 2015

Mobiles in the school store
Metals (enameling)
Clay
Clay
Letterpress/books
Letterpress/books
Wood
Wood
Blacksmithing
Photo
Photo (in the darkroom)
Hot glass
Flameworking
Flameworking
Pastepaper painting
Weaving

 

Penland’s 2015 community open house was a lovely, lively event. More than 350 visitors and 150 volunteers braved the ice and the cold on February 28 and worked together in Penland’s studios to make enameled buttons, clay pots, glass vessels and beads, rebus mobiles, black and white photographs, wooden train whistles, steel garden stakes, letterpress printed books, woven samples, and more. Here are a few pictures of the fun. Join us for next year’s open house on March 5.

 

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An Unconventional Gift

Jim Adams and Laurie McIntosh, courtesy of The State.

Jim Adams and Laurie McIntosh

Blacksmith and sculptor Jim Adams and mixed media artist Laurie McIntosh took collaboration to another level after meeting at Penland last winter. This fall, they put on Penland Connections, a show of their works at Gallery 80808 in Columbia, South Carolina. (The show closes tomorrow, for those in the area.) In recognition of their memorable Penland experience, Adams and McIntosh decided to do something out of the ordinary: donate a portion of their earnings from gallery sales to Penland’s work-study scholarship program.

“[Penland] is not like any art place I’ve ever been,” said McIntosh in a radio interview with the South Carolina Business Review. “You eat, sleep, everything is art. Every time I’ve ever been [to Penland] has been a complete milestone in my career.”

Almost half of Penland’s students receive financial assistance. Penland’s work-study scholarships serve as a major vehicle in bringing students from diverse economic backgrounds and locations to our studios–a fact not lost on Adams and McIntosh. Students and instructors donate some works they have made during their session at seasonal work-study scholarship auctions. Monies raised go back to the work-study program. The next Penland work-study scholarship auction is Thursday, November 13, beginning at 8:00 pm in the Northlight building.

Thank you to Jim and Laurie for their unconventional gift. To find out more about Penland’s work-study program and how to create a scholarship, go here.

Interested in a scholarship to Penland? Our scholarship deadline for spring 2015 concentration workshops is November 28.

Photograph courtesy of The State newspaper.

 
 

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Penland at SOFA

Photograph of SOFA 2013 by Cheri Eisenberg

Photograph of SOFA 2013 by Cheri Eisenberg

Penland will participate in the always thrilling SOFA Chicago, which runs at Navy Pier, November 7-9. If you’re attending, please stop by our information table and say hello: we will have a preview list of our Summer 2015 workshops available.
 

You will also find us at SOFA 2014 involved in a project with four other craft schools promoting the craft school experience. This group will have a booth with information and a small collection of work by artists connected with the different schools. The group of craft schools will also present a panel discussion about craft workshop education.
 

And, if that’s not enough, Penland’s director Jean W. McLaughlin will moderate a panel discussion titled The Artist’s Perspective on Growth and Change with Penland instructors Raissa Bump, Cristina Cordova, Arthur Gonzalez, and Tom Huang.
 

 

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Congratulations, MCAR

Artists and dogs

These are just a few of the local artists who support Mitchell County Animal Rescue.

Congratulations to Mitchell County Animal Rescue, who have been named the 2014 Nonprofit of the Year by the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce. MCAR operates an animal shelter and offers low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination services. Many Penland staff members and Penland-affiliated artists have been involved with MCAR as volunteers and board members and have also donated their work to numerous MCAR art sales. Thank you, MCAR, for your valuable service to our community.

 

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Photo(s) of the Week: Core Show Slideshow

Penland School of Crafts Core Fellows

Penland’s 2014 Core Fellows at the opening of their wonderful exhibition at Northlight on October 10. Click here for a slideshow with pictures from the opening and a few pieces by each person.

The core fellows (left to right) are Joshua Kovarik, Jamie Karolich, Emily Rogstad, Sarah Rachel Brown, Will Lentz, Tyler Stoll, Meghan Martin, Angela Eastman, Audrey Bell.

 

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