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Photo of the Week: A Clay Circus

Janice Farley and her elephant sculptures

Elephant ceramics by Janice Farley

Winter resident Janice Farley spent six weeks in the clay studio exploring both functional and sculptural forms. The unifying theme? Elephants. Above, Janice poses with a selection of her pieces, including statues of circus elephants ready to be placed on starred pedestals, an elaborate bowl with elephants in low relief, and a mug with an elephant trunk as the handle. Two notable pieces in the second picture include a large blue apothecary jar embellished with the silhouettes of elephants and an ornate champagne holder with pink elephants around the base and rim. Elephant-astic!

 

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Photo of the Week: Clay Studio Friends

Daniel Johnston and Bill Jones at Penland

On the left is North Carolina potter Daniel Johnston. On the right is Bill Jones. In the middle is a pot that Daniel made as a demonstration a couple of weeks ago for the two-month, fall clay concentration taught by Suze Lindsay and Kent McLaughlin. In 2011, Bill was a beginning student in Kent and Suze’s last concentration. He returned in 2012 for a concentration taught by Matt Kelleher. After that, he worked as Daniel’s apprentice for two years. This fall, he’s back in the Penland clay studio as Suze and Kent’s assistant. This is one way to become a potter.

 

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Empty Bowls at the Penland Coffee House

empty-bowls
The bowls were stacking up last week in anticipation of the Empty Bowls event at the Penland Coffee House.

 

Students in the clay concentration with Suze Lindsay and Kent McLaughlin are hosting an Empty Bowls event this week at the Penland Coffee House. Visitors can make a $20 donation to fight hunger, enjoy a simple lunch-time meal of soup prepared by the Penland kitchen, and take home a unique bowl made by a student in the class. The Empty Bowls meal will be available at the Penland Coffee House Monday, November 2 – Friday, November 6 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

The Empty Bowls Project was started twenty-five years ago by Lisa Blackburn and John Hartom, who live nearby in Yancey County. The success of the project spread rapidly, and today communities around the globe join the Empty Bowls Project by offering a simple soup meal served in donated handmade bowls as a reminder of all of the empty bowls in the world. The money raised from each event goes to a hunger-fighting organization chosen by the hosts. The Penland project’s proceeds will go to Mitchell County Shepherd’s Staff, a non-profit organization providing food and heating assistance to Mitchell county residents in need.

With all the rain we’re getting today, it’s a perfect day for some soup!

 

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Core Show Slideshow

Left to right: Tyler Stoll, Meghan Martin, Joshua Kovarik, Elmar Fujita, Daniel Garver, Jamie Karolich, Bryan Parnham, Emily Rogstad, Morgan Hill
Left to right: Tyler Stoll, Meghan Martin, Joshua Kovarik, Elmar Fujita, Daniel Garver, Jamie Karolich, Bryan Parnham, Emily Rogstad, Morgan Hill

 

The annual October Core Show is a much-anticipated highlight of fall at Penland, and this year was no exception. Our nine core fellows came together to put on a stunning show of pieces from their workshops across the Penland studios. Titled Personal Effects, the show featured furniture, prints, photographs, weaving, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, and much more. It was a great opportunity to see the cumulative talent of this group of young artists, and also to show our appreciation for these people who do so much at the very heart of the Penland community.

View lots more images in the Personal Effects slideshow.

 

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Guests admiring work at the opening reception. The table in the front is by Elmar Fujita.

 

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Handbuilding Laboratory with Eric Knoche, November 1-7, 2015

Wood-fired clay sculptures by Eric Knoche

When viewing sculptor Eric Knoche’s work, it’s clear he has a facility with form. And when he describes his forms, it’s clear that he finds a lot of inspiration in the clay he works with. As he recently explained in an interview, “Clay is just such an amazing material, and you can work it so many ways; additive and subtractive processes work equally well, it is both demanding and forgiving, it can be softer than water and as hard as stone, as delicate as an eggshell and more durable than anything else humans have ever made. It changes from second to second as you work with it, which creates a feedback loop or a dialog. For me, the material itself is endlessly fascinating.”

Eric’s clay forms are deceptively simple. Squiggled lines and arcs gain volume and edges to become three-dimensional surfaces that draw the viewer in from multiple angles. His pieces suggest common objects and quick doodles at the same time as they evoke ancient architecture and the earth itself. Some are small enough to hold in a hand, while others stand as tall as person. “I think of my work as one installation stretching through time as space, each piece adding meaning to the others,” Eric writes in his artist statement. “I have been strongly influenced by languages I don’t understand and tools I don’t know how to use, male and female figures, machine parts, shelters, math equations, micro-facial movements, the Argentine tango, alphabets, the spine and other bones, the distortional nature of memory, the limits of ocular perception, plants, running water, and songbirds.”

 

Eric Knoche working on a clay sculpture
Eric at work on a piece in his Asheville studio. Photo by Frank J. Bott.

 

We are looking forward to bringing Eric to Penland this fall to teach a 1-week workshop November 1-7, 2015. The class will focus on using handbuilding techniques to realize sculptural goals, and we expect it to be jam-packed with insights. After all, Eric is the guy who likes to create clay pieces that are as large as he is to challenge himself technically. “I have no proprietary information,” he states. “I’ll tell anybody anything they want to know about anything I do.” In other words, this week will be pure gold for anyone interested in creating forms with clay. To reserve your spot, register here.

 

Handbuilding Laboratory

Eric Knoche
November 1-7, 2015
In this class we’ll blur the lines between pinching, coiling, slab work, and modeling in order to open up more possibilities in the world of handbuilt ceramics. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the clay itself as we establish a paradigm of creative problem solving and develop a personal set of integrated methods that most expeditiously accomplish each student’s artistic goals. We’ll look at various ways to successfully construct large work, intricate work, and multiple-piece sculptures using simple tools and processes such as tarpaper templates and clay armatures. All levels. Code F03CB

Studio artist; presenter at first European Woodfire Conference (Germany), guest lecturer at Australian National University; Ceramics Monthly emerging artist; exhibitions: Blue Spiral 1 (NC), Baltimore Clay Works, AKAR Design Gallery (IA), Mint Museum (NC), Hjorths Fabrik (Denmark), Gallerei Klosterformat (Germany); collections: Mint Museum (NC), Mission Hospital (NC).

ericknoche.com

Sign up for Handbuilding Laboratory.

 

To see more of Eric’s work and his process, watch this video about how he approaches his art.

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When Ceramics and Animation Meet

man working on stop-motion animation
En Iwamura arranges ceramic elements he sculpted for his animation sequence “Mature Table Manner”

 

Many people who have spent time around Penland know Cristina Córdova, a former Penland resident and established ceramic artist whose studio is just down the hill from the Penland Gallery. Cristina’s sought-after sculptures are figurative and expressive, often mesmerizing and sometimes haunting. Once you’ve seen her deft and intuitive approach to clay and the human form, it’s not hard to see why one of her workshops would produce some very compelling art.

But this summer’s Sculpture in Motion class was far more than just remarkable ceramic sculpture. To teach the course, Cristina teamed up with her younger brother Arturo Córdova, an artist in his own right. Arturo trained as an animator and also works out of Brooklyn, NY to build sets and props for commercials and films. Together, they proposed and developed a workshop that combined both of their talents together in the form of stop-motion animation.

Students in Sculpture in Motion first constructed intricate ceramic sculptures, each one articulated to allow for re-positionable movement. Next they built sets for their figures to inhabit. Once these visual pieces were in place, they used digital software to shoot individual frames and compile them into animation sequences. Somehow, all of this work fit into one two-and-a-half week whirlwind, and the results are bursting with the session’s creative energy. From a cartoon rabbit and a blooming flower to curling tentacles and disappearing heads, the animations are as varied as they are awesome. View clips from the workshop here, and prepare to be impressed.

 

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Smash Party

 

Smash party. Definition: a gathering where breakable objects are hurled at the concrete.

Inside a certain coffee house at a certain craft school located in the (usually) tranquil Blue Ridge Mountains, a smash party occurs when a certain Crystal Thomas declares to a certain Loring Taoka: smash party. Then they wait. They wait, their caffeinated hearts pounding, until the aforementioned coffee house is clear of those with more delicate sensibilities.

At this point, a sacred box of chipped or broken mugs and glasses– set tenderly aside for the purpose of the smash party–is brought to the counter.

 

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The first rule of smash party: smash.

Second rule: enlist a certain Y-Sam Ktul to sweep up the pieces.

The third rule of smash party: destruction enables creation. Or something like that.

 

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