The Penland Sketchbook The official Penland School of Crafts blog Mon, 24 Sep 2018 14:48:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Penland Sketchbook 32 32 Your Penland Mon, 24 Sep 2018 14:48:30 +0000
Two photographs taken by Sarah Banko during her Penland workshop this summer

Well over 1,000 students and instructors passed through Penland’s studios this summer, and each one brought different talents, interests, ideas, and perspectives. That’s why we love seeing the variety of work our students make, browsing their photos, and hearing their stories—each one adds a new richness to the Penland experience.

Below, we share a few recent blog posts written by Penland students that illuminate a bit of that experience.

Sarah Banko

Studio assistant for Sally Van Gorder’s Narrative Photography workshop
“Two whole weeks of learning, teaching, relaxing in the mountains, taking photos, eating incredible food, meeting new people and so much more. It was an absolute blast and I cannot wait to return sometime in the near future, perhaps as a student next time to learn something completely new to me.”
See Sarah’s blog (and her gorgeous photographs!)

Brigitte Boucher

Student in Keith Wallace Smith’s workshop Figuring Out the Figure
“It’s hard to sum up my time there in a neat, simple way. Immersive, intense, transformative. Challenging yet fun. Inspiring and eye-opening. I learned a ton, pushed myself out of my comfort zone, met all kinds of wonderful people, lost track of time, and also got a clearer idea of what I might want to do next with my art.”
Read Brigitte’s thoughtful post and key takeaways

Elizabeth Busey

Student in Andy Rubin’s Monoprinting workshop
Our studio of twelve had artists from seniors in undergrad programs to people who were embracing art in their retirement. I spent almost all of my time in the studio, so I was able to experience the differing energies of the morning printers, and those who found their groove towards midnight. Everyone brought such generous energy and good will to the studio each day.
Read more about Elizabeth’s first time monoprinting

The Printers Speak Mon, 17 Sep 2018 21:01:00 +0000 This past summer we had an unusual number of print and letterpress workshops that focused on posters — a classic format for sending short messages about anything from social justice to next week’s show at the music hall. Although the posters were not documented in any systematic way, we are happy to present a gallery with a somewhat random selection the broadcasts from these workshops.


Mere posters were not enough for Martin Mazzora (left) and his workshop students.

On July 4, between the parade and the fireworks, they set up an outdoor print studio, made a selection of their woodcuts available, in invited one and all to bring a T-shirt and have it turned into art.



Not to be outdone,  the crew in Brad Vetter’s letterpress workshop stayed up very late the last night of Seventh Session and made a poster for everyone on campus.

It expressed a sentiment we can heartily endorse.



Photo of the Week: Japheth Naps Wed, 12 Sep 2018 20:43:52 +0000

Skilled blacksmith, hardworking instructor, and expert napper Japheth Howard getting a wee bit of well-deserved rest during show-and-tell at the end of Sixth Session. Japheth had just finished up another excellent workshop in the Penland iron studio, which he co-taught with his wife and forging partner, Alice James.

Photo of the Week: Dave and Camera Mon, 27 Aug 2018 15:06:51 +0000 dave sommer and view camera

Penland’s director of facilities and grounds, Dave Sommer, preparing to expose a glass-plate negative of the folks who have been working on the Craft House restoration. While he was putting in an incredible amount of work getting the new photo and papermaking studios ready for classes this summer, Dave decided he should to take a workshop in one of those studios. So he signed up for a photo class with perennial Penland instructor Dan Estabrook. He had some fun.


Dave Sommer glass-plate negative of Craft House

Here’s a scan made from Dave’s negative. The process involves a negative that is hand coated and has to be exposed before it’s completely dry. It also means exposure times that are measured in multiple seconds rather than fractions of a second. This one had a few problems, but creates a striking impression nonetheless.


Here’s a scan from another negative Dave did–a portrait of one of the guys who has been finishing up the Northlight building (which is the setting for this picture).


The Craft House at Penland School

And speaking of the Craft House, here’s a little progress report. They are rebuilding on the porch now. A porch, we should add, that Our State Magazine said was one of the greatest porches in North Carolina.

Letterpress Possibilities Thu, 23 Aug 2018 21:06:50 +0000 Slow down. Be still. Pay attention. Take note.
—Beth Schaible

Details of Beth’s studio desk filled with calligraphy, letterpress, book samples, and more.

There’s an attentiveness and quiet that flows through Beth Schaible’s considerable body of work—tonal letterpress prints, meandering and elegant calligraphy, hand-bound leather journals with stitching along the spines. Her hands seem capable of communicating calm presence into her materials.

Beth is a printer and an artist, an adventurer and an observer. She collects the beauty around her in photographs and on paper with paint and ink. Her travels and her art inform each other, with the same winding trails showing up on the mountains she climbs and the lines she draws with her pen. Both are acts of appreciation.

Beth Schaible (third from left) teaching a bookbinding workshop at Penland in 2017.

Beth has a deep connection to Penland and the surrounding mountains—she spent two years here as a core fellow, lived in Asheville for years while doing design and letterpress at 7 Ton Co., and returned to Penland a couple times to teach summer workshops in bookbinding and printing. This fall, we are thrilled to have her back for eight weeks to instruct a Penland concentration.

Beth will teach Letterpress Possibilities this September 23 – November 16. Students will learn to use a wide range of printing techniques, from hand-set type to polymer plates made from drawings, to get their ideas down in ink and paper.

Whether you’re a seasoned printer or you’ve never turned the crank on a Vandercook press, eight weeks in the studio with Beth will get your ideas flowing and your skills sharp. There are a few spaces left in the workshop—register now to discover the letterpress possibilities for your work!

We also have a few work-study scholarships available. Applications are being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Three of Beth’s letterpress printed notecard designs

Letterpress Possibilities

Students in this workshop will learn to translate type and their own hand-drawn imagery into print using hand-set type, carved blocks, polymer plates, and other processes in both monoprints and editions. We’ll discuss the best techniques for each individual’s work. We’ll cover printing-press basics and upkeep and troubleshooting during printing, and we’ll engage in weekly conversations about content, production, and craftsmanship. While the workshop will be mostly print based, we’ll also cover basic book structures. All levels. Code F00L

Beth Schaible—Studio artist and owner of Quill and Arrow (CA); teaching: Pyramid Atlantic Art Center (MD), Asheville Bookworks (NC), North Bay Letterpress Arts (CA), Penland; former Penland core fellow.

Penland Fall Concentrations
September 23 – November 16, 2018
Clay  |  Glass  |  Iron  |  Letterpress  |  Painting  |  Textiles  |  Wood

Photo of the Week: Canoe Launch Wed, 08 Aug 2018 19:05:58 +0000
Thirteen canoes in 2.5 weeks—the class poses on the water in their handmade boats. Photo by Nadia Massoud.

This past session, Gerald Weckesser came to Penland to teach a skin-on-frame canoe building workshop. Over the course of 2.5 weeks, the boats took shape in the wood studio, first as steam-bent ribs, then as fully lashed frames, and finally as Dacron-skinned vessels ready to hit the water. On the final morning of the session, the class strapped their new creations onto their vehicles and headed to the lake for a maiden voyage. The water was calm, dappled sunlight lit up the boats like lanterns, and nobody capsized—a fitting end-of-session celebration, indeed.

Happy paddling, canoe builders!

Penland’s Gary Jobe loads three canoes onto his truck outside the studio.
Each canoe is sized for a single person and is light enough to be maneuvered with ease.
Students made quick double-sided paddles from plywood to use on the lake.
Gerald poses with one of the canoes by the shore of the lake.
Gerald Weckesser, canoe building instructor and A+ canoe model. Photo by Nadia Massoud.
The Penland Workshop Experience in 2-1/2 Minutes Wed, 01 Aug 2018 21:11:38 +0000 We are excited to have a beautiful new short video thanks to the folks at Myriad Media in Raleigh. Last fall, Myriad spent a week at Penland using the campus as a location for a short, scripted piece they are hoping will become the pilot for a web series set in a place kind of like Penland.

Spike Hoban interviewing Kathleen Kennedy
Director Spike Hoban interviewing instructor Kathleen Kennedy.

After the actors left, the crew stayed for a few more days, conducting interviews and shooting activity in the studios. Then with lots of careful editing, sound mixing, music composing, tweaking, and more editing, they produced a lively 2-1/2 minute look at the Penland workshop experience.

Thanks to Sean, Spike, Max, and the whole crew at Myriad for this excellent piece of work. (Full screen recommended.)

YouTube: The Penland Workshop Experience