Meet Penland’s 2016 Core Fellows!

Five new Core Fellows will be arriving at Penland in February, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome them. They will be joining second-year fellows Elmar Fujita, Daniel Garver, Morgan Hill, and Bryan Parnham in the core house next year—and all of you in the studios!

 

Eleanor Anderson

portrait of Eleanor Anderson and 5 clay vessels

Eleanor graduated in 2012 with a BA in Studio Art from Colorado College in Colorado Springs. She has been a concentration student at Penland and an educational assistant at Arrowmont. Eleanor is a ceramics artist with interests also in textiles and printmaking. eleanoranderson.com

 

Thomas Campbell

brooch by Thomas Campbell, portrait of Thomas

Thomas graduated in 2008 with a BA in History and Africana Studies from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. He has continued to pursue his interests in wood and metalworking at the University of Arkansas while working as a fabricator for his family’s steel business. Thomas will use his time at Penland to focus on making functional furniture and objects in metal and wood. thomascampbellcraft.com

 

Rachel Kedinger

Rachel Kedinger and her screwdriver

Rachel received her BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2012. She has worked at the Smith Shop in Detroit, MI for the last two-and-a-half years as a metalworker, designer, and instructor. Rachel has been a frequent Penland student and was, most recently, the studio assistant for Seth Gould’s fall concentration. At Penland she will continue to hone her skills as a blacksmith and metalsmith, while exploring the addition of wood and ceramics to her designs.

 

Kyle Kulchar

furniture by Kyle Kulchar, portrait of Kyle

Kyle studied at Kendall College of Art and Design before coming to Penland to assist Ashley Eriksmoen’s class this past summer. He was a student in Sylvie Rosenthal’s fall concentration. As a core student, he will continue to pursue his interest in woodworking while incorporating forged ironwork and fine metalworking. kylekulcharcraft.wordpress.com

 

Alexandra McClay

portrait of Alexandra and plexiglass sculpture

Alexandra is a book artist with a BFA from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. Alexandra hopes to use the core fellowship to build skills to expand her conceptual bookmaking as she works towards being a studio artist and teacher. She has been a work-study student and a studio assistant in the Penland book studio, and has worked as an assistant for Penland instructors Dan and Vicki Essig. cargocollective.com/alexmcclay

 

We’ll miss Jamie Karolich, Joshua Kovarik, Meghan Martin, Emily Rogstad, and Tyler Stoll once they finish up their time as core fellows this winter, but we take solace in knowing that they’ll always be part of the Penland family. Come back often, y’all!

 

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Hand in Hand: Books, Paper, and Print from the Top

christopher davenport making books

 

Christopher Davenport is a storyteller. His stories are personal and complex, weaving together ecology, people, place, and lived experience:

“The place and people I grew up with in rural northeastern North Carolina through the lens of time in 7 poems and 7 photographs.”

“A meditation of places beautiful, able, and unable—Utah’s Wasatch Range and Iowa Corn Fields—from 30,000 feet and memory.”

“Acceptance and resignation as contemporary ecological narratives of extinction.”

“Of place, wilderness, what we see, what we collect, and what we keep.”

“A look beyond experience. Photographs from infrared cameras placed on family property in Washington County, North Carolina.”

 

Christopher tells his stories through text and images strung together into artists’ books. When he describes what drew him to the book format, he explains, “I’ve worked with film, video, photography, and other mediums, but none of them could fully touch on the total idea or experience I was trying to relate to other people. Books just seemed to fit that.”

 

wood case, binding, and interior pages of Ease

Details of the case, binding, and interior pages of “Ease out of your skin, Ease out of your ways, Ease out of your mind.”

 

Christopher’s books work in layers to communicate that complete experience. Take Ease out of your skin, Ease out of your ways, Ease out of your mind, a book he made last year while spending time at and around Penland: Christopher describes the book as “an ecological action and visual poem to intersecting place, commitment, and shared space.” Many of its pages are dedicated to a series of cyanotypes of a young male deer that Christopher took while observing from the grass nearby. But the book’s story is much fuller than that, and each of its elements contributes in some way. The handmade abaca spine and reclaimed poplar case speak of human ingenuity as well as our dependence on the natural world. The cotton cover made from a feed sack from nearby Bakersville, NC details a connection to place, while pages bound in from Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac locate this moment within the greater narrative of human and natural history. Even the beeswax used to finish the book—harvested from Penland’s own beehive—adds a layer of meaning.

 

Artist's book by Christopher Davenport

“Twelve Days,” a book Christopher made in 2014 to document the time he spent in wilderness over the year and to mark the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Wilderness Act.

 

As the instructor for our Spring 2016 concentration Hand in Hand: Books, Paper, and Print from the Top, Christopher will spend eight weeks taking his students through the many details that, together, contribute meaning to an artist’s book. From papermaking and binding to strategies for building type, image, and ideas into a narrative, the class will be in-depth process and experimentation at its best.

 

Hand in Hand will run March 13 – May 6, 2016. Registration is currently open.

 

Hand in Hand: Books, Paper, and Print from the Top

Christopher Davenport — This workshop is about making books—with our hands, our tools, our paper, and our ideas. We’ll cover gathering and preparing fibers; constructing molds, deckles, and tools; drying; surface treatment; finishes; Western and Eastern binding and printing techniques; and conceptual considerations of the book, book design, visual narratives, and generating content. We’ll divide our time between the paper and book studios with a week or two spent printing in the letterpress studio as we gain skills, explore possibilities, make essential binding and papermaking tools, and make books. All levels. Code S00B

Studio artist and teacher at University of Alabama; other teaching: Robert C. Williams Museum of Paper Making (Atlanta), Kennesaw State University (PA); Alabama Arts Council Arts in Education Residency; collections: Wesleyan University (CT), School of the Art Institute of Chicago; his Pocket Knife Press books are represented by Vamp and Tramp Booksellers.

pocketknifepress.com

 

Penland Spring Concentrations, March 13 – May 6, 2016
Books  |  Clay  |  Glass  |  Iron  |  Metals  |  Textiles  |  Wood

 

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The Early Days of Studio Glass

In the 1960s and early 1970s, the American studio glass movement was still in its infancy. “Learning to manipulate the glob of hot glass and create the shapes and details we wanted was very experimental,” explained Fritz Dreisbach, a pioneering early glass artist. “In the sixties, we often joked that mentors were glassblowers who had only a few more hours experience than their ‘students.’”

In 1971, a small group of studio glass artists started the Glass Art Society to share information, techniques, and enthusiasm. Their first meeting of nineteen glassblowers took place in Penland’s original glass studio. It was deemed such a success that they arranged a second meeting a year later, also at Penland. Henry Halem, one of the artists who attended the GAS II meeting, recently posted video footage showing Penland, these early glass artists, and the camaraderie of the meeting. “Hopefully this jiggly underexposed film will give you a bit of what it was like in those early days,” he wrote.

Take a look at the video below to see just how far the studio glass movement has come—and also the things about craft at Penland that haven’t changed a bit.
 

 

For more information about the history of the Glass Art Society, read Fritz Dreisbach’s full account on the GAS website.

 

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Make, Show, Repeat: Cross Training for Jewelers with Laura Wood

 

Laura wood black necklace

 

Before Laura Wood was a jeweler, she was a dancer. It’s a history that shows in her work—earrings and brooches that flutter and flow, pendants that seem nearly weightless in their volume. In her recent pieces, Laura has been exploring lace-like constructions of delicate metal. Each one calls to mind a certain rhythm and exuberance, as if a spiraling path of movement has been temporarily frozen in three dimensions.

Laura explains that her training in dance led her to “making adornment for the body, activating pleasure and enjoyment through wearing.” As she describes it, “Each piece is very much an effort in creating body-conscious work… I strive to enhance the silhouette of the body and create work to be worn as a celebration of performance and adornment.”

“Celebration” seems like an appropriate word to describe Laura’s approach to her career as a full-time jeweler. Her designs are lively and dynamic, and she is engaged in building and supporting her community of fellow metalsmiths. As a complement to her own work, Laura co-founded Jewelry Edition, an online and pop-up jewelry exhibit that features a rotating selection of emerging jewelry artists and strives to offer “an in-depth view into the process of contemporary jewelry.”

 

laura wood

 

For a lucky group of students, Laura will offer an extra in-depth view of that process at Penland this spring. Her 2016 concentration “Make, Show, Repeat: Cross Training for Jewelers” will focus on all stages of creating jewelry, from the idea phase and the technical aspects of making to finishing details and fine-tuning process.

Registration is now open for Make, Show, Repeat, which will run March 13 – May 6, 2016. Scholarships are available for the course. Scholarship applications are due November 28, 2015.

 

Laura wood jewelry

 

Make, Show, Repeat: Cross Training for Jewelers

Laura Wood – This workshop will introduce a variety of metalsmithing techniques and material exploration to use as a launching pad for new work or to enrich a jewelry-making vocabulary. We’ll engineer components, embellish surface structures, and hone finishing skills. Other highlights will include mold making, powder coating, etching, stone setting, and idea generation. A progressive timeline will guide the structure of the class to encourage fast development. We’ll share our growth in its various stages through pop-up exhibitions. Basic metalsmithing skills will be helpful, but this workshop is open to all levels. Code S00MB

Studio artist; teaching: Southwest School of Art (TX); visiting artist: Western Michigan University, New Mexico State University; gallery representation: Mora Contemporary Jewelry (NC), Signature Gallery (GA), Quirk Gallery (VA), Society for Contemporary Craft (PA), Gallery 360 (MN), Heidi Lowe Gallery (DE), Gallery Store (OR).

laurawoodstudios.com

 

Penland Spring Concentrations, March 13 – May 6, 2016
Books  |  Clay  |  Glass  |  Iron  |  Metals  |  Textiles  |  Wood

 

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An Artist on the Factory Floor

Tom Shields at Century Furniture

Tom Shields at Century with one of the tables he is working into a project. On the right is a stack of tables in progress on the factory floor.

 

During his time as a resident artist at Penland, Tom Shield’s studio was constantly filled with old, worn furniture. “I collect wood furniture from the trash and let it pile up in my studio until it slowly starts to work itself into groups,” he once explained. “In the course of a few weeks, I constantly move and cluster chairs around my studio in different bunches. Once the groups get narrowed I start letting them talk.” The sculptures that result from this process are marked not only by Tom’s hands, but by the hands of those who used the furniture before him over days and weeks and years.

As interesting as it can be, working with discarded furniture does have obvious limitations. “For me, it’s always been on my list of where I want to go as an artist to up the pedigree of my materials,” Tom told me recently. Thanks to a brand-new collaboration with Century Furniture, he now has the opportunity to do just that.

Tom is the inaugural artist-in-residence at Century’s case goods factory in Hickory, NC. Hickory has long been known as one of the furniture capitals of the world, and Century has established its own reputation as a producer of high-end, heirloom-quality furniture.

During his three-month residency, Tom has free reign over what he creates—and he also has free access to a whole new caliber of raw materials. “I get to use anything that’s a second,” he explains. That means dozens, if not hundreds, of brand new furniture pieces that are only slightly less than perfect. “I’m super thankful for the whole opportunity,” he says.

 

Tom Shield's table sculpture and detail

The beginning of Tom’s first project at Century. As he remarked, “Devil’s in the details.”

 

A quick scroll through Tom’s Instagram gallery shows that he’s already put the time and materials to good use. Since the residency began on October 4, Tom has been working on three different sculptures made from Century tables. Two are crafted from groupings of identical tables, while the third is made from a single piece. This one is a bit of a departure for Tom: he has cut the table in two, dropped one side down three-quarters of an inch, and shifted it over two inches. “Because the pieces are so new and so pristine, I barely have to change them at all to make them into something completely different,” Tom tells me. “Before, I felt like I needed to do more to put my hand in it and have the same impact.”

The new materials are not the only departure from Tom’s individual studio practice. As he describes it, “I’m making work right on the same floor as all the people who are making the furniture for Century.” A lot of those people have been in the furniture industry for thirty or forty years, and Tom wasn’t sure how he’d be received as the first studio artist in their midst. “It’s intense, and it’s definitely working under a microscope, but everybody has been super nice and really helpful,” he says. “I feel like half of my day is spent just talking to people, sharing ideas and approaches.” And, now that he’s getting comfortable with how everything works at Century, “I’m just going to start making crazier and crazier things,” he laughs.

 

Tom reimagined these Century tables as a stack.

From sketch to sculpture, Tom is transforming these five Century tables into a single piece.

 

As a woodworker who has spent so much time with old furniture, Tom is intimately aware of what can bring a piece to the end of its life: the disposable design, planned obsolescence, and shoddy craftsmanship that are so common in much of today’s mass market furniture. Being at Century has provided a reassuring look at the other end of the furniture spectrum. “Every piece of furniture is touched by so many hands and created with such individual care,” Tom states. “I think people have this misconception now that there are CNC machines and other tools and you just put a bunch of wood in one end and it comes out as a piece of furniture at the other end. That’s not the case at all. So many different people are involved in every aspect of creating a piece.”

In fact, Tom revealed that the high level of craftsmanship at Century has actually changed the way he works with furniture. As he describes, “Normally I take everything apart by just banging on the joints. But at Century, I can’t get pieces apart. I’m having to learn to do everything I’ve been doing with all the pieces completely intact. It’s a whole new challenge, but it’s been an amazing opportunity.”

The opportunity was made possible by Ande Maricich, an active friend and supporter of Penland’s. Ande has deep ties to the furniture industry, and her husband served as Century’s CEO for a while. “Ande is really invested in both the craft world and furniture manufacturing,” Tom remarks. She had been excited by the partnership of artists and manufacturing facilities in the Kohler Arts/Industry residency and wanted to create a similar partnership at Century. When she saw Tom’s furniture sculptures a few years ago at the Penland Benefit Auction, she talked to him about the possibility of a residency at Century. Now that it’s become a reality, Ande would like to expand the program to include other artists and other factories and further strengthen the reciprocal ties between art and industry.

Reflecting on those ties, Tom points out that both he and the Century employees he’s working alongside are making things by hand. “I’m an artist, but they’re all artisans working on the floor, too—what’s really the difference?” he asks.

—Sarah Parkinson

 

After completing his residency at Century in December, Tom will be at Penland for the spring as the studio assistant to Raivo Vihman’s timber framing concentration. He was also just selected for a Kohler Arts/Industry residency—congrats, Tom!

 

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Empty Bowls Follow-Up

empty bowls crew at penland

The fall Empty Bowls event was a great success, raising $1350 that went to Shepherd’s Staff, which runs a food bank here in Mitchell County. Instead of the usual dinner, this event took place for a week during lunchtime in the Penland Coffee House. Each participant donated $20 and got tasty soup from the Penland kitchen in a bowl donated by someone in the fall clay workshop. And, of course, they got to keep the bowl. A poster for the event was made in the print studio with contributions from the clay folks and the sign painters. In the front are Shepherd’s Staff director Martha Gordon (with poster) and board chair Bill Sweetser. They are joined by the students and instructors from the clay studio (Pat Nevin was added to the picture later) and, in the back, the folks from the kitchen who made the soup. Bill said the money would go straight to Thanksgiving dinners. Thanks, everyone, for helping to build community through craft. More about Empty Bowls here.

 

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Timber! | Timber Framing Concentration with Raivo Vihman

studio, lincolnville, main

Detail of a timber-framed studio Raivo built in Lincolnville, Maine.

 

“My first frame was raised by hand with a group of a dozen friends, and by the end of the day limitless space was bounded by posts and rafters into the shape of a house. I was bewitched.” So Raivo Vihman describes his first experience constructing a timber frame.

Looking at the many timber frames Raivo has designed and built since, it’s not hard to see the appeal. His structures are at once graceful and solid, intricate and beautifully simple. Together, the wooden beams take the familiar shape of a house or a barn, but individually their knots and exposed grain still speak of nature. His structures are built with wood in the truest sense of the wordeach beam is unique, and each one gives something of itself to the frame as a whole. For Raivo, even after years of building, every new timber frame is an opportunity: “It’s still about the act of creation, the interplay between aesthetic grace and functional design, and the beauty hidden in the wood.”

 

farmhouse, buckwheat blossom farm

Raivo included these curving boards of live edge cherry as the attic collar ties in this farmhouse in Wiscasset, Maine.

 

This spring, Raivo will be here at Penland to share his craft—and his love of his craft—with students in Timber!, an eight-week timber framing concentration. Like all Penland workshops, Timber! will be an opportunity to gain technical skills, a deeper understanding of materials, and exposure to new ideas. What makes it extra special is that students in the workshop will come together to build an enduring structure on campus. The resulting timber frame will reflect each of the students who’s hands worked to build it, as well as the Penland landscape it will become a part of.

In fact, the structure has already been set into motion. In spring of this year, Raivo was at Penland preparing wood. He and his studio assistant (and former Penland resident artist) Tom Shields stacked dozens of fir, pine, and cypress beams under temporary roofs. The beams have been curing so that they will be ready to frame come next spring:

 

Raivo and Tom with timbers

Raivo (left) and his studio assistant Tom Shields with the beams they stacked in preparation for this spring’s class.

 

Raivo also cut a number of beams from the woods right here at Penland. He wanted the structure to include local trees, and he wanted to incorporate pieces into the design that have natural curvature to them. With the help of some eager Penland volunteers, those logs, too, are awaiting next spring:

 

tulip trees

volunteers

Volunteers during last spring’s concentrations pose with the large log they helped Raivo haul out of the woods. This red timber cart was the only one not smiling by the end.

 

“The class will be tailored to student interests,” Raivo says. He has structured it to introduce students of all levels—from complete beginners to experienced builders—to the details of timber framing. The workshop will move through the complete process of designing and raising a frame, from drafting plans and building models to working with hand tools and different species of wood. For anyone like Raivo who is fascinated by the potential for both beauty and function in this type of building, Timber! will be an invaluable eight weeks.

Register now for Timber!, which will run March 13 – May 6, 2016. Scholarships are available for the course. Scholarship applications are due November 28, 2015.

 

Timber!

Raivo Vihman – In this workshop we’ll delve into traditional carpentry as we cut, join, and raise a timber-framed structure that will become a permanent part of the Penland campus. We’ll explore various approaches to timber preparation, layout, joinery design and execution, and compound-angle joinery. We’ll also cover scribing techniques as we incorporate round logs into the structure of the frame. Students will begin by designing and building their own timber sawhorses and will leave the class with the skills needed to design and build their own timber frames. All levels. Code S00W

Carpenter, founder and proprietor of Haystack Joinery (ME); teaching: Waterfall Arts (ME), Miljandi Cultural Academy (Estonia).

haystackjoinery.com

 

Penland Spring Concentrations, March 13 – May 6, 2016
Books  |  Clay  |  Glass  |  Iron  |  Metals  |  Textiles  |  Wood

 

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