Studio Practices: Penland 9

concrete tiles, clay vases, and photography

Works from “Studio Practices: Penland 9” by Ian Henderson, Susan Feagin, and Betsy DeWitt

 

Penland’s team of studio coordinators can generally be found working behind the scenes to support the hundreds of artists that come through our studios every year with their knowledge and skill. But they’re also accomplished artists in their own right, and we’re thrilled that their personal work is on display in the Main Gallery of the Turchin Center at Appalachian State University through June. Studio Practices: Penland 9 includes sculptural, functional, and two-dimensional pieces in a variety of media. The artists address a broad range of themes in their work, from secrecy and family memories to language and play. “Working together to support the practices of other artists at Penland has given the talented coordinators a remarkable synergy,” the show’s curator states. “Their artwork is individually strong and compatible with one another – creating a dynamic and moving installation.”

Studio Practices: Penland 9 features Daniel T. Beck (steel sculpture), Betsy DeWitt (photography), Susan Feagin (ceramics), Melanie Finlayson (printmaking), Jay Fox (paper and print), Nick Fruin (glass), Ian Henderson (concrete and metals), Ellie Richards (wood), and Amanda Thatch (textiles and drawing).

 

wood sculpture, steel and cement sculpture, weavings

Pieces by Ellie Richards, Daniel Beck, and Amanda Thatch

 

The show is on view Tuesday-Saturday through June 3, 2017. In addition to regular gallery hours, visitors are encouraged to explore the exhibition further through the following events:

Friday, February 3, 6-9 PM: “Fizzy First Friday” Reception
Come view Studio Practices: Penland 9 and the Turchin Center’s three other new exhibitions while enjoying snacks, drinks, and music.

Friday, April 7, 6-10 PM: Spring Exhibition Celebration
Explore the Turchin Center’s galleries and exhibitions, meet the artists, and have a cocktail or a snack.

Wednesday, April 12: TCVA Lecture Series: Penland Coordinators I
Hear Melanie Finlayson, Daniel T. Beck, Nick Fruin, Amanda Thatch, and Susan Feagin discuss their studio practices.

Wednesday, April 19: TCVA Lecture Series: Penland Coordinators II
Listen to Ian Henderson, Ellie Richards, Jay Fox, and Betsy DeWitt as they talk about their studios and work.

 

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The Craft School Experience: Outcomes and Revelations

Anyone who has spent time at Penland or a similar school will likely understand what the “Craft School Experience” is all about. But for everyone else, it can be difficult to put into words. Time living and working at a craft school is intense and uniquely focused. It’s a rare opportunity to be fully immersed in a place, a community, and a creative process, one that many find thought provoking, inspiring, and often transformational.

Penland has teamed up with four of our sister schools—Arrowmont (TN), Haystack (ME), Peters Valley (NJ), and Pilchuck (WA)—to celebrate craft and promote the immersive workshop experience our schools offer artists of all levels. This winter, we are thrilled to be working with the Craft in America Center in Los Angeles to put on the exhibition The Craft School Experience: Revelations and Outcomes. The show strives to capture the essence of the craft school experience by featuring the work of master teachers, resident artists, and students who have studied or taught at these craft schools alongside personal narratives, quotes, and videos. Penland instructors and residents including Cynthia Bringle, Nancy Callan, Susie Ganch, Marc Maiorana, and Jaydan Moore will be among those featured in the exhibition.

In conjunction with Revelations and Outcomes, Penland Director Jean McLaughlin will present a talk entitled “Make/Time: The Craft School Experience” at the Craft in America Center on Saturday, January 28 at 4 PM. She will draw on her eighteen years at Penland to share stories about the joys and impacts that schools like Penland, Arrowmont, Haystack, Peters Valley, and Pilchuck offer individuals and the broader craft community.

We hope that everyone who is able to attend the exhibition and/or Jean’s talk comes away with a deeper understanding of the power and inspiration that is the craft school experience. And when they’re ready to experience it for themselves, we’re here with workshops and open studio doors.

 

glass work and a student making a clay piece

Left to right: exhibition piece by Nancy Callan; a student working in clay at Haystack School; exhibition piece by Lino Tagliapietra.

 

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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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Photo of the Week: Evidence of Sledding

This time one week ago, a storm was rolling in. By midday Saturday, it had dumped over six inches of fresh snow, leaving the knoll and the Penland campus blanketed in white. Winter residents wasted no time enjoying the sudden appearance of winter, and some even took advantage of our mountainous location for some just-out-the-studio-door sledding. These compacted sledding trails on the knoll were one of the last things to go as the snow melted away, like sweet memories that linger after the thrill of the runs themselves.

 

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Summer 2017 Workshop Catalog

Penland summer 2017 catalog cover with portraits of Penland students, instructors, staff, etc

We’re thrilled to present the Summer 2017 workshop catalog! It includes information about our ninety-seven unique summer workshops, including favorites like wood-fired pottery and letterpress and special offerings like bicycle building and leather inlay. Some workshops are for beginners, some are aimed at intermediate and advanced artists, most are open to students of all levels, and each is taught by knowledgeable artist-instructors. The front and back covers capture the range of our broad Penland community in a series of Penland portraits by resident artist Mercedes Jelinek. Read more about her photographs and all of this summer’s great offerings right here in the catalog.

 

Registration for summer workshops is open now, and everyone who registers by 5 PM on February 11 will be entered into the early registration lottery. Scholarships are available for all workshops. Apply for scholarships by February 17.

 

We are currently working on uploading full course information to our website. Look for it online by the end of December, with printed catalogs to follow in early January.

 

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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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