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Welcoming Andrew Meers

We learned recently that ceramic artist Yoonjee Kwak, who was slated to join the Penland resident artist program in a few months, will instead be accepting a long-term residency at the Archie Bray Foundation. We are disappointed that Yoonjee will not be joining us, but we are happy that she will have this great opportunity to be part of a close-knit community of ceramic artists.

Andrew Meers

We are just as happy to announce that metalsmith Andrew Meers will be joining the Penland residency this fall. Andrew currently lives in Philadelphia where he works as a metalsmith and master bladesmith. His work has been shown throughout the US, and he has been a resident artist at the National Ornamental Metals Museum (Memphis) and an instructor/technician at the Appalachian Center for Craft (TN).

He has also taught workshops at several schools and universities including Penland. Andrew has an MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design (Boston). As a resident artist, Andrew wants to advance his knife designs by incorporating innovative locking mechanisms and more intricate hidden compartments. He also plans to explore inlay techniques that merge Western and Japanese engraving styles.

“I am attracted to the challenge of balancing the forging process with machining delicate and precise mechanisms.” Andrew said. “Through one functional object I am able to utilize multiple skills and combine my interests in blacksmithing, metalsmithing, engineering, and chemistry. The result is work that is personal, useful, and treasured.”

Andrew has been to Penland a number of times, and are thrilled to welcome him back as a Penland resident artist.

Andrew Meers, Mouse Folder, steel, silver, gold, 6 inches long

 

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Announcing Penland’s Newest Resident Artists

At long last! Our 2017 Resident Artist Program selection process is complete. We received an outstanding pool of 61 applications from across the United States for the four available positions. Our selection committee did an excellent job reviewing and evaluating applications; it is a thorough process, and we couldn’t do it without the time and energy they give so generously. Thank you to everyone involved in this year’s selection.

We would like to officially announce and welcome four new resident artists who will arrive at Penland September 15, 2017 to begin their three-year residencies.

 

Eleanor Annand

Eleanor Annand

“The expressive qualities of a line and the development of visual history are at the root of my work. I create drawings, paintings and prints that tell the story of my line. Process is at the forefront of this exploration. In a state of deep meditation I search for order and progress amidst a restless mind. Through scribed and abraded surfaces images emerge as representations of this often raw state of mind.”

Eleanor Annand currently lives in Asheville, NC, where she has been co-owner and art director at 7 Ton Design & Letterpress Company since 2015. She maintains a studio practice and exhibits her prints, drawings, and paintings on steel at galleries throughout the US and Canada. She has a Bachelor of Graphic Design from the College of Design at North Carolina State University and was a core fellow at Penland from 2010-2012. In 2016 she taught at Penland for the first time. This winter Ele is a resident at the Jentel Artists Residency Program in Banner, WY. During her residency at Penland, Ele plans to develop innovative uses for the press using printed and folded paper; combine printing, mark making, and design to create new work; and explore new formats for her work at a larger scale.

 

Yoonjee Kwak

Yoonjee Kwak

“In Korea, when people talk about someone’s personality, we often use vessel as a metaphor of one’s spirit of tolerance… When I work with clay, my interactive conversation with the clay is vital to the process. While I slowly build up clay coils from the bottom, my hand marks remain on the surface. It records elements of movement, time and my feelings.”

Originally from South Korea, Yoonjee Kwak currently lives in Rochester, NY, where she is a resident artist at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She exhibits her functional objects and sculpture throughout the US and South Korea. She received a BFA in Ceramics and Glass at Hong-Ik University in Seoul, South Korea before earning her MFA in Ceramics at the School for American Crafts (SAC) at Rochester Institute of Technology in 2014.
She was selected as a 2016 Emerging Artist by Ceramics Monthly and was a summer resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, Montana that same year. Yonjee has spent time at Penland as both a student and a studio assistant. During her residency she intends to expand the scale and scope of her work, experimenting with installation and the relationships created among multiple works presented as a group.

 

Matt Repsher

Matt Repsher

“I draw inspiration from architecture and how repetition is used to create structure and form in buildings. Using pots as my canvas, I carve and paint the surface to appear as if it is built by layers of arches, posts, lintels, and discs… My interest in pattern has moved me towards a long-term investigation of how the layers of carved and painted patterns can optically alter and manipulate the profile of my pots, visually stretching and compressing the vessels.”

Matt lives in Santa Fe, NM where he maintains a studio while teaching occasional workshops and classes. His work is represented by several esteemed craft galleries and has been shown throughout the US in group and solo exhibitions. Matt has a BFA from Pennsylvania State University and an MFA from Indiana University. He was the studio director at Santa Fe Clay from 2005-2008 and a resident artist at the Pocosin Arts Center (NC) from 2015-2016. Matt co-taught a concentration at Penland last fall. He looks forward to his residency at Penland as a way to be surrounded and influenced by the collective energy of artists working in all media. He plans to research pattern, material, and form through both 2D and 3D explorations.

 

Laura Wood

Laura Wood

“I began exploring the human form through dance. When I made the transition from dance to ornamentation to express my creative interests, one common thread emerged: a passion for the body and how this instrument is closely linked with our personal identities. This history of corporeal study will always be a driving force behind the work I create.”

Laura Wood is a jewelry artist living in Asheville, NC. Her work has been selected for many exhibitions throughout the US, most recently as a 2015 SNAG Emerging Jewelry Artist at SOFA Chicago. Her work can be found in select galleries throughout the US and in the permanent collections of the Gregg Museum of Art at North Carolina State University and The Racine Art Museum in Wisconsin. Laura was the founding voice of the annual ECU Symposium and is a co-founder of Jewelry Edition, a creative project to facilitate the growth of jewelry artists. Laura presented at the 2015 Yuma Arts Symposium and taught a spring metals concentration at Penland in 2016. She earned a BFA from the University of Georgia and an MFA from East Carolina University. As a resident artist Laura wants to expand her studio practice, amplify her teaching philosophy, and connect with the Penland community to better understand how artists can sustain and evolve a place in the craft world.

There will be three openings in the Resident Artist Program in 2018. The application deadline is January 15, 2018; artists working in all media will be eligible.

 

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Textile Labyrinth

Katie Wigglesworth at Penland School

Katie Wigglesworth walks slowly and purposefully around and through a series of loosely woven, veil-like panels suspended from the ceiling of Penland’s flex studio. As she walks, her heels click on the concrete floor and the textile walls she is walking through part slightly as she passes. Katie has just completed a textile installation she began at Penland during the 2016 winter residency. “This piece came from a need for calm,” she explains. “I was in a transition time in my life when I began weaving these panels. I started thinking of labyrinths and meditation walks as ways of centering yourself, and the idea grew out of that.”

In 2015 she found out about Penland’s winter residency program from pictures posted on Instagram by a friend of a friend. She applied and was accepted for two weeks of residency in 2016. Katie works for a textile artist in Los Angeles making weavings on a tapestry loom, and this is how she has made most of her own textile work. But the Penland studio would give her access to floor looms, so she decided it was time she learned how to use one.

Katie Wigglesworth at Penland SchoolKatie has a friend whose grandmother is a weaver and belongs to a weaving group that meets every Wednesday night at an adult education center in Covina, California. “They have a group space with 150 looms,” she said. “They call their Wednesday night sessions a ‘class’ and they’ve been going on for eighty years. I was the youngest person there.” The other weavers taught her the basics of the floor loom, and in the 2016 residency she began working on her current project.

The panels are unpatterened plainweave made from white tencel yarn. Katie works the loom with a light touch so the weft threads are not compressed and retain some waviness. Each panel is about three feet wide and eight feet tall. While they are technically simple, their shimmering, diaphanous quality combined with Katie’s imagination makes them capable of transforming space.

After her 2016 residency, Katie continued weaving on Wednesday nights and then – after she got a loom – in her own studio. She used five panels to create an installation in a small gallery show, and as they accumulated, she began to imagine them creating a floor to ceiling labyrinth. “I started looking around for a place where I could set it up long enough to look at it and document it, but space is hard to come by in LA. So I decided to apply for the Penland residency again and bring all the panels with me in the hope that there would be a space I could use here.”

 

Katie Wigglesworth at Penland School

 

In January, she flew back across the country with twenty-one panels in a suitcase and spent most of her two-week residency weaving ten more. At the end of the session, she was able to realize her idea in an undesignated space called the flex studio.

She installed the piece. It was beautiful. She photographed it. Other residents came to look at it and walk through it. She took it down. It all went into a suitcase and back to Los Angeles. Katie says she will probably keep weaving panels until she has a chance to create another installation – with the form likely to change depending on context. Which is to say it will doubtless be seen again.

 

 

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Capturing Change in Cloth

woman holding a panel woven in black and white

Kim Mirus in the textiles studio with the second of her five woven panels depicting the retreat of Alaska’s Muir Glacier.

 

As someone who works on Penland’s digital media, there’s often a computer screen between me and the moment-to-moment happenings in the studios. I experience workshops vicariously through the posts of Penland students, instructors, and residents, and I usually know these people by their Instagram handles before I know their real names.

Until recently, I knew Penland student and winter resident Kim Mirus only through the gorgeous images she shares of her work. I marveled at her ability to capture quiet details at the loom and the way she transformed sunlight, shadow, and fiber into rich visual moments. But it wasn’t until I visited her in the textiles studio this winter that I understood that Kim’s weavings, just like her photographs, are characterized by a thoughtful treatment of materials and a keen attention to the world around her. Many of her pieces address social and environmental topics; recent themes include juvenile incarceration, the near extinction of the American bison, and climate change.

 

weavings

Left: Kim’s five woven panels laid out in the weaving studio. Right: a detail of the third panel showing what is left of Muir Glacier today.

 

Kim used her time as a winter resident this January to weave samples, dye fibers, and explore new ideas. When I visited, she showed me the series of five woven panels she had just completed. The first is a black field with a large area of white woven into it. The second is similar, but the white area has shrunken noticeably and fragmented apart. In the third, only a small fraction of the central white area remains. It’s barely a smudge on the fourth panel, and the fifth is a solid square of black. “It’s the Muir Glacier in Alaska,” Kim tells me. “This is the area it covered in the oldest photographs I could find, over 100 years ago,” she continues, pointing to the first panel. “And this is how much of the glacier is left today.” She points to the third panel, and the pattern from there is clear: accelerated warming hastening glacial retreat until soon, the entire Muir Glacier will exist only in our photographs and memories.

Kim refers to these pieces as “woven data” because, like graphs or charts, they are visual representations of information presented on cloth. “I want to get people thinking about these issues,” she explains, “and I find that weaving is a non-confrontational way to start conversations that can sometimes be uncomfortable or divisive.”

 

Two images of Muir Glacier taken 63 years apart

Two photographs taken from the same spot in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska. The left image was captured August 13, 1941, and the right image was taken August 31, 2004. Muir Glacier retreated over 4.4 miles between the two images. (Image credits: William O. Field, Bruce F. Molnia)

 

Kim’s Muir Glacier series is a beautiful example of how craft can be a powerful tool—not just for its beauty or for the skill inherent in its creation, but for its power to open up new lines of communication. Indeed, it was the graphic pattern and texture that drew me to her work, but it’s the receding glacier and our warming climate that I’m still thinking about two weeks later.

See more of Kim’s work on her website

Read about the USGS’s work to document glacial retreat in Alaska


— Sarah Parkinson

 

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Table in a Day!

Penland’s Table in a Day participants with their (mostly) finished creations.

 

The process of designing and making an object can be a slow and laborious one. Good craft takes time. But once a year in the Penland wood studio, time is in very short supply. For the annual Table in a Day Challenge, now in its third year, wood studio residents have only one day to craft a table from start to finish. Pre-planning and sketching are allowed, but all the cutting and construction must happen between 9 AM and 9 PM.

This year, ten seasoned furniture designers rose to the challenge. Armed with donuts, pump-up tunes, and designs (or not), they quickly spread out around the studio and got to work cutting, planing, jointing, and gluing. Meanwhile, up in Baltimore, Penland session 7 instructor Sarah Marriage was taking part remotely, hard at work on her own speed-table.

 

man shaping a wooden table leg

Core fellow Kyle Kulchar shapes a leg for his table (the black one in the center, above).

 

With this much focus and intensity, pieces take shape quickly. By early afternoon, tabletops had been glued up, legs had been shaped, and the energy was palpable. A few hours later, the parts were starting to come together into three-dimensional forms that looked an awful lot like furniture. By 8:45 PM, the artists were in a final flurry of activity brushing paint, wiping finish, and laying the final boards into place. Somehow by 9 PM (or just a few minutes after), a collection of furniture stood where there had only been open floor at the beginning of the day.

 

two women woodworking

Left: Studio coordinator Ellie Richards adding color to her design. Right: Winter residency studio assistant Christina Boy finishing her table as it nears 9 o’clock.

 

As impressive as the participants’ speed and skill was the variety in the pieces they made. The tables ranged in scale from chihuahua-sized to large enough to seat six for dinner. Some highlighted the grain and natural color of the wood, while others employed bright paint and striking textures. Angela St. Vrain, a winter resident, used a piece of blown and slumped glass she’d made as a tabletop; studio coordinator Ellie Richards covered a whole face of her table with quotes she collected from protest posters at the Women’s Marches over the weekend. The legs on winter resident Zoe Alexa’s table were solidly joined at various non-right angles, and core fellow Elmar Fujita mixed and matched a pair of turned legs with two straight, square ones.

 

woman building a table

Core fellow Elmar Fujita attaching the legs to her Table in a Day creation.

 

All told, it was a day full up with some of the best the studio can bring: camaraderie, creativity, costumes, big skill, and lots of energy. Just don’t ask them to do it again tomorrow.

See more photos from Table in a Day in the slideshow below. (If you are reading this post as an email, we recommend viewing it on the blog.)

 

Intrepid woodworkers about to start at 8:59 AM.
Game faces
Four hours in and going strong!
Ellie inscribing quotes onto one face of her table.
Morgan putting together the pieces (in costume, of course).
Zoe had to work during the middle of the day, but she still made a mini table!
Bob at the table saw
Angela creating the glass and wood top for her table
Resident artist Annie Evelyn chose to make a 12-hour valet stand, which is sort of like a little table combined with a chair and a coat rack.
Yes, Elmar is rocking a wig.
Ellie with the finished word panel for the side of her table.
A 12-hour time limit doesn't mean you can skimp on sanding!
Paint paint paint
Finishing up in the final minutes.
The finished tables!
Not bad for 12 hours, eh?

 

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Photo of the Week: Here There Be Monsters

Adam Whitney is spending the month of January at Penland as a winter residency studio assistant in upper metals. His big project for that time is to make a pair of stirrup cups, the “parting cups” traditionally used to present mounted riders with wine or spirits before they left on a journey. Because stirrup cups were used on horseback instead of around a table, they didn’t need the flat base standard to almost all drinking vessels, and many were shaped like the heads of hounds, foxes, and other animals. Adam is crafting his in the shapes of mythical beasts.

The cups are inspired by fanciful renderings of sea monsters and other creatures on old maps and books. Adam started by making a model in copper, complete with curved teeth, horns, and a scaly chin. Next, he began the methodical work of transforming solid lumps of silver into cups, first by shaping and hollowing them with a hammer and then by adding details with finer tools like punches. The process is no small undertaking, but the results so far are a monstrous success.

 

 

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Resident Artist Applications Due January 15

View of The Barns at Penland

The Barns studios and apartments—home of the Penland resident artists.

 

Penland is excited to be accepting four new artists into our Resident Artist Program for 2017. Residents are full-time artists who spend three years living and working as part of the Penland community. The residency is an opportunity for them to test ideas and processes, develop their studio practice, and explore new directions in a supportive and creatively-charged setting.

We will be selecting residents in all media except glass (our dedicated glass studio is currently occupied). The application deadline is January 15, 2017, and residencies will begin September 15, 2017. Learn more.

 

mixed-media photo by Mercedes Jelinek, cast glass by Dean Allison, metal/book sculpture by Andrew Hayes

Work by current Penland resident artists Mercedes Jelinek (photography), Dean Allison (cast glass), and Andrew Hayes (metal/book sculpture).

 

Though our residents span a wide range of media and interests, many of them appreciate their time at Penland for similar reasons. Hear what a few recent residents have said in reflecting on their three years here:

 

“The Penland residency is about a gift of time. A special growth can take place when you have time to focus life around the studio. For me, the ideas are flowing with confidence and some of them are strong. My perspective on how I want to live life is maturing.”
—Matt Kelleher, resident 2005-2008

“I have been producing more work and larger work than I ever have, getting back into teaching, participating in national and international shows, and really pushing myself to produce and deliver as much as I possibly can. As a result, my work is growing in many different directions all at once and although it feels hard to keep up, I feel this intensity is key to my growth and success.
—Rachel Meginnes, resident 2012-2015

“The open, supportive atmosphere at Penland has encouraged me to move in innovative directions and enabled my daily life with my family to intertwine naturally with my studio life.”
—Robin Johnston, resident 2011-2014

“Three years is a long time, the perfect amount of time to find myself as an artist.”
—Micah Evans, resident 2012-2015

“The Penland residency was a life-changing experience. I went from making a few pieces a year to being a full-time artist. I loved being immersed in a communal studio atmosphere, and I am happy to have become part of the Penland community at large.”
—Anne Lemanski, resident 2004-2007

 

Visit the Resident Artist page to learn more or apply to the program.

 

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