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Sculpture with Fierce Intention

Installation view of “This City, Daily Rising” by Christina Shmigel, Bruno David Gallery

 

There’s a certain fearlessness to Christina Shmigel’s sculpture. Her pieces include traditional materials such as steel, wood, and paint, but they don’t stop there. From bright plastic pinwheels and cardboard to plumbing parts and found furniture, everything is fair game as a building block in her thoughtful, observant tableaus and constructions. Each finished piece is like a reflection of the world around her filtered through her keen eyes, skilled hands, and the particular quirks of her attention. There’s a fearlessness in that attention, too.

Christina comes to her sculpture practice with a particularly broad base of experience to draw on. Her BFA from RISD is in painting, and she followed it with an MFA from Brooklyn College that she describes as “more conceptual.” Later, she returned to school for a second MFA at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, this time with an emphasis on technical skills like blacksmithing and casting.

 

Sculpture by Christina Shmigel
Christina Shmigel, “The City in Which I Love You: Da Shi Jie (Great World Sheathed)”

 

Despite this rigorous training, Christina’s sculptures are anything but precious. “I work in a very crafted, un-crafted way,” she says. “I’m interested in that place where you make something, and you solve the problem with enough elegance so it ‘works’—it’s a little sloppy, but it has beauty, too… How do I bring that incidental beauty into my work?”

A simple answer to that question would be to look at one of Christina’s larger undertakings, A Foreigner’s Cabinet of Chinese Curiosities. The piece is built into the sixty-seven drawers of an old Chinese medicine cabinet and is a visual journal/scrapbook/“memory palace” of the years she has spent living in Shanghai. Each drawer is full of incidental beauty, found humor, and the little puzzles of the everyday in a vibrant, adopted city: discarded trinkets, cardboard reconstructions of Shanghai’s ubiquitous air conditioners, the peculiar packaging of a Chinese detergent. Together, they paint a nuanced portrait of a particular city at a particular point in time, and they give us a view into the mind of the artist as she takes it all in.

 

close-up of drawers filled with mementos
Christina Shmigel, “A Foreigner’s Cabinet of Chinese Curiosities” (detail)

 

This spring, Christina will bring her keen observations and relentless inquiry back to Penland, where she will teach the eight-week concentration Sculpture with Fierce Intention. The workshop is for students with an ongoing studio practice who are eager to uncover the “why?” behind the work they make. It will take place in the Penland iron studio but will welcome a wide range of media based on student interest. Guest instructors Mike Rossi and John Watson will each join the workshop for a week to teach their specialties of steel and wood/plaster.

Sculpture with Fierce Intention will run March 11 – May 4, 2018. Registration is open now for all spring workshops.

 

Three sculptures by Christina Shmigel
Christina Shmigel, “The View in Fragments: Demolish” (left), “The View in Fragments: Nouveau Riche” (middle), “The View in Fragments: Green Sheath” (right)

 

Sculpture with Fierce Intention

Christina Shmigel—Who am I as an artist? What distinguishes me as a maker? How do I work beyond what I know? Develop a serious body of work in sculpture/installation while digging deep into what gives you pleasure, purpose, and meaning. Through a guided series of riddles and playful explorations, you’ll investigate the why. Technical demonstrations (as needed) will assist you with the how. Guest instructors Mike Rossi (steel) and John Watson (wood/plaster) will each join us for a week of material improvisation. Students may work in any medium in object- or space-based sculpture. Penland’s iron studio will be transformed into a sculpture studio for this workshop. For artists with an ongoing studio practice in any material. Studio fee: $275. Code S00I

Christina: Studio artist; former Penland resident artist; teaching: Webster University (St. Louis), frequent Penland instructor; exhibitions: Ukranian Museum (NYC), Duolun Museum of Art (Shanghai), Laumeier Sculpture Park (St. Louis), St. Louis Art Museum. Mike: principal of Rossi Metal Design (Philadelphia) making unique architectural works, furniture, and sculpture; teaching: Ox-Bow (MI), Haystack (ME), Bryn Athyn College (PA), Kalamazoo College (MI); Windgate Artist in Residence at State University of New York-Purchase. John: Studio artist: teaching: Webster University (St. Louis), Belmont University (TN); exhibitions: Vanderbilt University (TN), hemphill Fine Art (DC); co-author of Living the Dream…The Morning After Art School (Kendall Hunt Publishing).

shmigel.com

rossimetaldesign.com

 

REGISTER FOR SPRING CONCENTRATIONS
clay  |  letterpress  |  painting  |  metals  |  textiles  |  wood  |  sculpture
March 11 – May 4, 2018

 

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The Art of Persuading Metal

Penland spring concentrations are coming up this March 11 – May 4, 2018. Registration is now open and scholarships are available. Scholarship applications are due by 11:59 PM EST on November 28, 2017.

 

Stirrup Cups by Adam Whitney
“Sea Monster Stirrup Cups,” Adam Whitney

 

It’s hard to hold one of Adam Whitney’s sea monster stirrup cups without being drawn in by memories of old maps, aquarium trips, and the open sea. They’re exquisite objects with incredible detail—shiny protruding fangs, shadowy eyes, and dimpled, scaly skin that looks as cold and wet as any creature drawn from the ocean’s depths. But seeing the finished projects is only half the story. The other half is seeing how Adam takes a solid silver ingot and transforms it with a hammer and anvil into a raised vessel before adding layers of detail with chasing, repoussé, and great patience and skill. If that sounds like magic, we’d suggest watching Adam’s animation below.

 

animation of silver ingot being raised into a pair of cups

 

This spring, Adam will be sharing his expertise with students at Penland during an eight-week concentration. The workshop is titled, appropriately, Persuading Metal and will introduce students to the process of coaxing silver, copper, and other metals from solid chunks into refined vessels, as well as jewelry techniques, tool making, hydraulic forming, chasing and repoussé, and more. Whether you’re a jeweler who wants to learn some new skills, an experienced metalsmith hoping to hone your work, or a complete beginner interested in gaining proficiency in metals, this workshop has plenty to offer, and Adam is an expert instructor (and former Penland metals studio coordinator!).

Registration is now open, and scholarships are available for all spring concentrations. The scholarship application deadline is November 28, 2017. See below for more details, and see Adam’s website for more images of his incredible work.

 

Adam Whitney working on a silver cup
Adam adding detail to a raised silver cup.

Persuading Metal

Adam Whitney—This workshop will be an exploration of manipulating metal and creating holloware. We’ll begin with the hammer: forging, sinking, and raising samples to establish a foundation in metal forming. Basic metalsmithing and lesser-known (and underappreciated) jewelry skills will be introduced with attention placed on working in a larger scale. Then we’ll move on to chasing and repoussé, basic tool making, and hydraulic press forming. We’ll start with lots of demonstrations and samples. As students become proficient with materials and processes, the emphasis will move to individual guided projects and discussions of historic and contemporary holloware. All levels. Studio fee: $160. Code S00MA

Studio artist; teaching: Center for Metal Arts (NY), Smith Shop (MI), Fritz & Friends (MI), Raffles College (Malaysia); visiting artist: Rhode Island School of Design.

awmetalsmith.com

 

raised cups by Adam Whitney
A selection of raised silver cups by Adam Whitney

 

REGISTER FOR SPRING CONCENTRATIONS
clay  |  letterpress  |  painting  |  metals  |  textiles  |  wood  |  sculpture
Scholarship applications due November 28, 2017

 

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Spring with Sunshine Cobb

Sunshine Cobb’s mugs, jars, and bowls have the sort of effortless personality that can only come through great skill, a highly refined process, and, yes, a good deal of effort. Their soft, matte surfaces play up the textured forms and rich, red clay underneath. They’re quirky, bright, and inviting—much like Sunshine herself. It’s hard to mistake this work for anyone else’s, which is a large portion of its brilliance.

This spring, Sunshine will be returning to Penland to teach our 8-week spring clay concentration March 11 – May 4, 2018. Israel Davis was originally scheduled to teach in the slot, but Sunshine graciously stepped in when he had to cancel. The workshop will be an intensive look at building forms on and off the potter’s wheel and the wide range of surface options to complement them. For beginning students, it will be a guided jump-start into the world of clay. For those with more experience, it will be a valuable opportunity to develop new ideas and refine personal style, as well as get practical advice on the business side of making a living as an artist.

Registration is currently open on a first-come, first-served basis for spring workshops. Scholarships are available for all spring concentrations—apply by November 28!

 

ceramic trays by Sunshine Cobb

 

Wheelthrowing and Handbuilding Techniques

Sunshine Cobb, March 11 – May 4, 2018
This intensive workshop will be explore form and content through functional ceramics by diving deep into a combination of both handbuilding and wheelthrowing techniques. And we will cover a broad range of surface solutions. Participants can also expect creative exercises and critical discussions relative to form, surface, and the balance of both. We’ll also have sessions on developing online and social media content and discussions of business models that working artists are using today. You will delve into your makers’ mind and develop new approaches and ideas to your work. All levels. Studio fee: $245. Code S00CA

Studio artist; teaching: Red Clay Lodge (MT), Santa Fe Clay (NM), Anderson Ranch (CO), Penland; Archie Bray Foundation (MT) long-term residency; named 2013 Emerging Artist by Ceramics Monthly and NCECA; author of the forthcoming Mastering Hand Building: Techniques, Tips, and Tricks for Slabs, Coil, and More (Voyageur Press, 2018).

sunshinecobb.com

 

REGISTER FOR SPRING CONCENTRATIONS
clay  |  letterpress  |  painting  |  metals  |  textiles  |  wood  |  sculpture
Scholarship applications due November 28, 2017

 

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Building a Relationship with Glass

glass sculptures on display by DH McNabb
Glass artist DH McNabb with his pieces “Spherical Horizon(s)” and “Crystal Prism(s)” after JG Ballard’s “The Crystal World.” Both works were made during a residency at the Saint-Louis Crystal Factory in France.

 

Glass is a particularly beguiling material. It’s so common around us, so everyday, and yet very few people have actually worked with glass as the scorching hot, malleable substance it is coming out of a furnace. Even then, an artist can only get to know it through a certain separation, using jacks and blocks and paddles as extensions of the fingers. The work is quick, but it takes years to develop facility and fluidity with it.

DH McNabb knows this slowly-blooming relationship as well as anyone. For nearly two decades, he’s worked with glass as a student, assistant, teacher, artist, and collaborator. It’s taken him to graduate school and around the world—Seattle, New York, Japan, Italy, Istanbul, Prague. Even now, he sees his career in glass as a process. “I am not consumed with immediate success, but instead with a long-term practice and relationship with this material,” he explains. “Glass is a communicative endeavor, at times a struggle. It is not something you master in one year or five or ten.”

 

glass mangrove root sculpture
Detail of “Mangroves” by DH McNabb

 

All questions of mastery aside, DH has developed impressive glass skills. His portfolio of work includes neon signs, delicate stemware, orbs with shifting color gradations, sharply reflective crystal prisms, and the branching roots of a mangrove rendered in barely-green translucent glass. The ideas behind them are as varied as the works themselves: they reference history, explore light and landscape, speak to transience and memory, and investigate our perceptions of value.

This fall, DH will be coming to Penland to teach an 8-week concentration in the hot shop, and the workshop will have loads to offer aspiring and established glass artists alike. Titled (in)between, it will start by establishing a vocabulary of shapes and solid communication as the foundations for a wide range of directions in glass. Students will be encouraged to explore the forms and ideas that interest them, from functional goblets to conceptual sculptures. Nothing could sum it up better than the final line of DH’s course description: “We’ll assist each other, we’ll fail together, and somewhere through this we’ll succeed with our own material voice.”

Registration is currently open for (in)between and Penland’s other fall workshops. A handful of scholarships are also available for concentrations in glass, clay, metals, photography, and wood. Apply now and join us in the studios this September 24 – November 17!

 

glass sculpture
“Phantom Limbs” by DH McNabb

 

(in)between

DH McNabb
September 24 – November 17, 2017

This workshop will be a journey that teeters between art and design. We’ll start by making and replicating basic shapes and then venture into other shapes that will become part of each individual’s voice. We’ll experience making from both sides of the pipe, learning what the assistant can do to better help the maker and what the maker can do to better communicate with the assistant. We’ll cover a range of color applications and discover new ones. Techniques will include cane, murrine, incalmo, and folding. Readings, drawing, walks, and other activities will help you conjure ideas from functional usefulness to thought-provoking concepts. We’ll assist each other, we’ll fail together, and somewhere through this we’ll succeed with our own material voice. All levels. Studio fee: $140. Code F00GA

DH McNabb is a studio artist who has taught at Centre College (KY), Pilchuck Glass School (WA), and the Chrysler Museum (VA). His work has been exhibited in spaces including 12 Gallery (Norway), a space (NYC), and Steel Yard Gallery (RI) and is in the collections of the Corning Museum (NY) and Fondation Hermés (Paris).

dhmcnabb.com

 

 

PENLAND FALL CONCENTRATIONS
clay  |  glass  |  iron  |  metals  |  photography  |  wood  |  mixed media
September 24 – November 17, 2017
Register here

 

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A Concentration in Iteration

colorful wooden bench
“Patterned – A Bench” by Christina Boy, ash, stain, milk paint

 

There’s something special that happens in the wood studio over the course of a workshop. Students find the patience and focus to work intensely on just a few, longer-term projects rather than a large number of clay pots or a collection of forged utensils. Powerful shop saws transform from intimidating blurs of teeth into efficient and flexible tools. And a new level of precision emerges: the 1/8″ and 1/16″ increments that most of us think in now seem hopelessly clumsy to eyes and brains that have re-calibrated to think to at least the nearest 1/64″.

It’s certainly not magic that allows a solid, artfully-proportioned table or chair to emerge from a rough-sawn pile of lumber, but it can seem like it. That’s why this fall, we’re lucky to have Christina Boy coming to Penland to give students in the woodshop an in-depth opportunity to work through the furniture making process—not once, but a few times over. Her eight-week concentration is appropriately titled Design. Build. Repeat. and it will focus on developing woodworking skills through making multiples.

 

woman in woodworking shop
Christina Boy at home in her shop.

 

As the owner of a one-woman furniture studio in Madison, Virginia, Christina is perfectly positioned to teach students not just how to design and build a chair, but how to fine-tune the design/build process so that making a dozen chairs is as efficient as possible. Over her years in the shop, she has perfected a handful of signature designs that she can make, remake, and remix into new pieces. Her Stool 33, for example, has a hexagonal top made from three sections of wood. Christina can alter the stool’s look by changing the finish or the color of the legs, but she can also use it to make new pieces. One top on the wall becomes a coat rack, and six arranged together in a ring become a honeycomb coffee table. It’s a beautiful approach that creates both efficiency and harmony in her designs.

Design. Build. Repeat. is equally well suited to new students who want to try their hands at woodworking and experienced woodworkers who want to focus on their design skills or learn about small batch production. It will run in the Penland wood studio September 24 – November 17, 2017. Registration is currently open to students of all levels. Read the full course description below, and then join us in the shop!

 

wooden stool and table designs that both incorporate a central hexagon of wood.
Christina Boy’s “Stool 33” on the left and “Table 366” on the right.

 

Design. Build. Repeat.

Christina Boy
September 24 – November 17, 2017

While learning the fundamentals of woodworking technique, tools, and safety, we’ll dive into the process of making multiples. Each student will design a limited line of products from concept to completion: sketching, designing, drafting, making the necessary templates and jigs, and building prototypes for the purpose of understanding the steps of small batch production. Demonstrations will cover basic woodworking skills and will continue in depth based on the needs of each student’s designs and projects. All levels. Studio fee: $155. Code F00W

Christina Boy is a studio artist and former Penland core fellow. She has taught at Arrowmont (TN), Chestnut Creek School of the Arts (VA), and Orange County Libraries (VA) and is represented by Troika Contemporary Craft Gallery (VA) and the Penland Gallery. Her work has been exhibited at La Difference (VA), Penland’s Focus Gallery, Southern Highlands Craft Guild (NC), and Crossroads Gallery (VA).

christinaboydesign.com

 

 

PENLAND FALL CONCENTRATIONS
clay  |  glass  |  iron  |  metals  |  photography  |  wood  |  mixed media
September 24 – November 17, 2017
Register here

 

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Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 Workshops

Fall 2017/Spring 2018 Penland catalog cover showing two students blowing glass

Today may be the first full day of Penland summer workshops, but that isn’t stopping us from looking ahead to this fall and spring. Complete Fall 2017/Spring 2018 workshop information is now online, and catalogs will be in the mail this week. Whether you’re looking for an immersive 8-week concentration or a 1-week creative reset, we think you’ll find something of interest—workshop topics range from shoe making and sculpture to digital photography, steel fabrication, floor loom weaving, and everything in between.

Registration is now open for fall and spring workshops. Scholarships are available for all 8-week concentrations; scholarship applications are due by August 1, 2017 for fall and November 28, 2017 for spring.

 

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Clay Goes Big

Nick Schwartz torching the top of a coil-built pot

The spring clay concentration has been busy preparing pieces for their first firing, and they haven’t been holding back on the scale or the drama. Here, instructor Nick Schwartz uses a torch to stiffen the most recent layer of clay on a sizeable pot he’s building. Below, two more large pots look on. They were collaborations between Nick and local potter Courtney Martin, whose signature geometric resist patterns you can see painted on both pieces.

And here, a fun and gratuitous flame close-up, just because:

closeup of a torch and wet clay pot

 

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