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.
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.
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
Clay studio coordinator Susan Feagin getting the kiln furniture ready for six weeks of clay studio residents starting in January. This is just one of the many, many tasks that goes on behind the scenes between the end of fall concentrations and the beginning of winter residencies at Penland.
We’re thrilled to welcome four new artists to the Core Fellowship Program for 2017-2019! This new crew will join us on campus March 1 and will take up residence in Morgan Hall with second-year core fellows Eleanor Anderson, Thomas Campbell, Rachel Kedinger, Kyle Kulchar, and Alex McClay. We’re pretty sure they have great things in store.
Stormie is a familiar face to anyone in the Penland area. For the past year and a half she’s been working as a barista in the Penland Coffee House while also working for local potter Courtney Martin (among others) and coordinating Roan Readers, a Rural Education Partners program. Stormie has created her own education path and has taken classes at the Morean Arts Center, Arrowmont, Odyssey Ceramic Arts, and Penland. As a core fellow, she wants to generate momentum for her work while developing skills in printmaking and ceramics and experimenting in other studios. stormieburns.com
Elliot is a recent graduate from the Appalachian State University metals program. He has worked as a gallery assistant, studio tech, and bench jeweler and, most recently, completed an internship at Elsewhere, a living museum in a converted three-story thrift store in Greensboro, NC. Elliot has been a frequent work-study scholarship student at Penland in iron and metals classes and has volunteered at the Annual Benefit Auction. He is excited to take creative strides in his work through a myriad of metals classes as well as complementary media. eekeeley.com
Sarah Rose Lejeune
Sarah Rose will be coming to Penland from an internship at the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY, where she has been working since this summer. She has also been an intern and studio assistant at Dieu Donné, a non-profit paper studio and art center in New York City. Sarah Rose is a graduate of Oberlin College, where she studied studio art and comparative American studies, and though she has never been to Penland, she has taken classes at Ox-Bow, Haystack, and the Robert Blackburn Print Shop. As a core fellow Sarah Rose wants to learn new processes and develop skills in textiles, printmaking, metals, and paper. sarahroselejeune.com
Corey has been part of the Penland community for several years and has lived in the area for the past two years while working as a studio assistant for local glassblower John Geci. Corey is a graduate of the Virginia Commonwealth University Craft and Material Studies program and has been a frequent and favorite studio assistant in Penland’s glass studio, as well as glass studios all over the US including Pittsburgh Glass, Corning Museum of Glass, Haystack, and Pilchuck. Corey now wants to explore new directions in his work, pushing beyond his current skill set to try new studios, new media, and new ideas. coreyhpemberton.com
Of course, welcoming new core fellows also means that we’ll be saying goodbye to some of our incredible current core fellows at the end of the winter: Elmar Fujita, Daniel Garver, Morgan Hill, and Bryan Parnham. They’ll sure be missed, but we can’t wait to see where their creative energies take them next—hopefully back to Penland at some point down the road!
Penland’s resident artists spend three years living on campus and working as self-supporting artists in their field. Their time at Penland is designed as an opportunity for them to deepen their studio practice, push technical and conceptual boundaries, or explore entirely new directions in their work.
We’re continually amazed by the pieces that come out of each of the resident studios at The Barns, and we’re proud to have such talented artists calling Penland home. Recently, three residents were recognized for their outstanding work with prestigious (and, in our opinion, well-deserved) fellowships.
Furniture designer Annie Evelyn was just awarded the 2016 John D. Mineck Fellowship by the Society of Arts and Crafts. The $25,000 award is presented “to encourage and support a young-in-career furniture artist… who demonstrates skill and commitment to their craft.” Annie plans to use the award to purchase tools to outfit her shop post-Penland. She envisions the space as a well-equipped communal studio that will also serve as a venue for community workshops, exhibitions, and events. “Annie’s spirit of community, generosity, and mentorship shined in her application, and will serve her well as she leaves the Penland community and establishes her studio,” the Society of Arts and Crafts stated. Annie is known for her explorations into hard/soft surfaces and applying traditional upholstery techniques to materials like wood, concrete, and metal.
Andrew Hayes was honored as one of seventeen recipients of $10,000 Artist Fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council for 2017. The fellows are chosen every two years from a talented pool of choreographers and visual, craft, and film/video artists. The Arts Council describes Andrew’s singular book and steel sculptures as “improbable objects of beauty.” They elaborate: “Formally, his sculpture has the spare elegance of mid-century modernism, each one an icon of untold meaning. But as much as his work may recall past styles and forms, it also boldly writes its own history and engages the viewer on its own terms.”
Jaydan Moore was also awarded one of this year’s North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowships. He works in metals, primarily with found silver-plated platters and other serviceware that he carefully deconstructs, recombines, and reassembles into new forms. As the Arts Council explains, these pieces “gain a protean quality as they transition to the next stage in their evolution, one that honors their past purpose and history and, at the same time, looks forward to the possibility of something unexpected.”
The Penland resident artists will hold an open studio tomorrow, October 21 at The Barns. Come by between 7-9 PM to meet the residents, see their spaces, and get a feel for their recent work.
If you’ve been to Penland in the past four decades, you’ve probably met a Penland core fellow. At any given moment, they might be learning new techniques in workshops, helping cook in the kitchen, checking students into meals at the Pines, making work in their own studios, or spending time at their communal house on campus. Core fellows are emerging artists at the very nexus of the Penland community, and the two years they spend living, working, and learning here can be as intense as they are rewarding. Here’s how former core fellows from across the years have reflected on their time in the program:
“During those two years, I met remarkable people and learned tons… There was a steady stream of extraordinary artists passing through the school, teaching, giving demonstrations, and making presentations on their work. There was an informality that made learning an integral part of our daily existence there. It was a life-changing experience.” —Alida Fish, core fellow 1971-1973
“Being a core student was such an important link in my career that it’s hard to imagine how I would have gotten from point A to point B otherwise.” —Critz Campbell, core fellow 1994-1996
“I took advantage of the collective wealth of knowledge that is Penland at any given time—all the instructors and staff and students. Coming out of that program, I had a completely altered understanding of material and process—both what I can do personally and what is possible.” —Jack Mauch, core fellow 2011-2013
“You pick your friends, but this group is just handed to you. You’re thrown together by chance, and then these people become your closest friends for a lifetime.” —Daniel Essig, core fellow 1992-1994
“At Penland, I learned the many ways there are to be an artist: you can be a studio artist, you can teach, you can help other artists. The program exceeded every expectation. Being a core fellow changed my life: the experience gave me the how-to knowledge to make things and the confidence to know that I was good at it.” —Amy Jacobs, core fellow 2004-2006
Penland will be accepting four new students into the Core Fellowship Program for 2017. Applications are due October 15, 2016.For more information, visit the Core Fellowship page.
The reflections above are excerpts of interviews from Inspired: Life in Penland’s Resident Artist and Core Fellowship Programs. This new book includes a history of the core program and interviews with sixteen former core fellows. To purchase a copy of Inspired, call the Penland Supply Store at 828-765-2359 ext. 1321.
“Photography is not like painting. There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative.”
—Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1957
Although darkroom photography is no longer part of many high school art programs, photography itself is more prevalent than ever. These days, most high school students walk around with camera phones in their back pockets, and snapping photos is almost second nature. As a visiting artist at Mitchell High School in Spruce Pine, NC, Mercedes Jelinek’s goal was to show students that these photos could be more than just a way to record and share—they could be a form of creative expression.
“Photos can mean a lot more than just representing likeness,” Mercedes tells her students at the beginning of class on a Wednesday morning. The students are seated in bright yellow chairs around a projector in Jennifer Robinson’s Art 1 class. On the screen, Mercedes is advancing through portraits they took of each other yesterday, each original photograph shown next to an edited version. “What makes this one so good?” she asks. Her students respond with their thoughts about composition, lighting, framing. Despite being taken with simple cellphone cameras, the photos do look good—really good. There’s personality coming through in each one.
As a resident artist here at Penland, Mercedes has years of professional photography experience—both film and digital—to share with her students. Her three-day visit to Mitchell High was part of the Professional Craft Study for High School Students, one of Penland’s Community Collaborations programs to bring creative experiences to students in the surrounding counties. During her lessons, Mercedes started with basics such as camera controls and simple editing, but her students were soon talking about how to interact with subjects to make them comfortable and relaxed and how to set up a shot to lead the viewer’s eye.
On her final day of teaching, Mercedes used the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson as an inspiration for her students. Cartier-Bresson is known for The Decisive Moment, a book of black-and-white street photography. “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression,” he wrote.
In asking her students to take photographs of “decisive moments” as their final assignment, Mercedes enabled them to bring together the technical concepts they had practiced such as lighting and exposure time with their own view of the world. “Go set up the shot absolutely perfectly, then have somebody walk through it,” she instructed them. “You decide the perfect moment to take your shot.”
There was nothing uncommon about the laughter that followed, or the knots of two or three teens talking in groups, or the students wandering on the grassy stretch in front of the school. What was uncommon was the particular care and attention taken to document it all.
All of Penland’s Community Collaborations programs are funded by grants and donations. The Professional Craft Study for High School Students is able to bring artists like Mercedes to Mitchell High School thanks to the generous support of the Samuel L. Phillips Family Foundation Education Partnership Endowment.