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Photo(s) of the Week: Drama in the Glass Shop

The Penland Glass studio

A component of the fall glass Concentration, taught by Matthew Szösz, was an exploration of the material properties of glass, which include, in its molten state, light, heat, and fluidity. During the workshop’s final critique, studio assistant Leana Quade, with help from the instructor and several of her studiomates, did a performance based on these properties.

 

Penland School Glass Studio

With the lights doused and using the last bit of glass in the furnace, Quade and Matthew slowly poured ribbons of glass into a tall, water-filled box with one transparent side, creating fleeting vertical patterns that changed in character as the water heated up. (Photos by Robin Dreyer)

 

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A Boat Story

Rachel Mauser, We Will Find the Sea, cut paper, modified coptic binding, pewter, walnut
Rachel Mauser, We Will Find the Sea, cut paper, modified coptic binding, pewter, walnut

Once upon a time there was an artist named Rachel. She grew up going to camp during the summers, where she learned to sail, kayak and canoe. No boat was unknown to her. Young Rachel carried the image of boats with her into adult life.

Last summer, Adult Rachel found herself in a one-week pewtersmithing class as part of her core fellowship at Penland. Pewter? she thought. The instructors were two of the most well-known pewtersmiths in the land. Rachel had no experience with pewter–or much metal experience at all, for that matter. She was uncertain. Her uncertainty reminds this writer of a line from another story: “It was dark in the woods and she had to be brave.”

Others in the class were metalsmiths. They were well on their way toward making pewter cups. Candlestick holders. Salt shakers. Rachel closed her eyes. It was then that she saw it: a pewter rowboat floating in a book. She worked all week on the boat, its two tiny oars.

Later, back in the familiar kingdom of paper, Rachel made a book for the boat. The boat in the book: what Rachel made reminds this writer of magical books, childhood, the great big endless sea.

The moral of this story is a quotation from the artist herself: “Our ideas are not limited by the materials we know.”

 THE END

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Glass Smorgasbord with Amy Rueffert

Glass artist Amy Rueffert will be at Penland for the first time this spring to teach an eight-week workshop. We corresponded briefly about food, glass, and the movies.

 

Amy Rueffert, Apple (Patchwork Variety), blown and fused glass, decals, found glass
Amy Rueffert, Apple (Patchwork Variety), blown and fused glass, decals, found glass

Thinking about the food metaphor for your workshop, do you feel like there’s a connection between culinary presentation and the presentation of Victorian curios that attracts you as an artist?

Yes! I love the food metaphor because it pertains to this class in so many ways. I think the most relevant connection is through the idea of the smorgasbord, and that moment when you realize there are all these beautifully presented options for you to choose from. You can fill your plate with a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, and go back for more of your favorites. That’s what we’ll be doing in this workshop, filling our plates with different techniques to make sculptural glass.

I’m really looking forward to students digging deep within their inspirations and connecting to their sources through research, class dialogue and exploring the material. Teaching is a great source of inspiration for me, so I’m looking forward to spending eight weeks getting to know everyone and making great things along the way.

 
 
 
 

Amy Rueffert at work (courtesy of the artist)
Amy Rueffert at work (photo courtesy of the artist)

 

Amy Rueffert – Glass Smorgasbord
March 9-May 2, 2014
Hungry? This workshop will be a smorgasbord of traditional and alternative glass techniques beginning with blowing, cutting, grinding, gluing, smashing, building, and fusing. Through experimentation, exploration, and teamwork mixed with practice, patience, and hard work, we’ll find personal connections to the visual and physical properties of glass as we realize our ideas. The balance of skill and concept will be a theme throughout, with demonstration and discussions of my process and those of visiting artists. In the words of Auntie Mame, “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.” Let’s eat! All levels, but some hot glass experience will be helpful.


To find out more and register for this workshop click here.
Spring scholarship deadline is November 29.
Please note: applications need to be at Penland by this date to be considered for scholarship. Overnight service may not deliver to Penland’s campus on time, please plan accordingly.

 
 

Just curious: is Auntie Mame one of your favorite movies?

I’ve loved the movie Auntie Mame since I was a little girl! I can remember flipping through the channels on a Saturday afternoon and seeing bits and pieces of this movie over and over again and being so intrigued by the aesthetics of the film, and of course, Rosalind Russell. It took me a while to figure out the name of the movie, and finally I did, and it’s been a favorite ever since.

I’m still searching for a specific Barbra Streisand movie that had a similar effect. The scene I can remember goes like this: Barbra is in a city apartment, sitting in a bed. She’s dressed in floral printed pajamas that match the bed sheets that match the fabric-upholstered headboard. It is like she’s lost in a field of floral fabric and it’s amazing. Any ideas?

 

 

Amy Rueffert has taught at The Studio at Corning, Pilchuck, The Glass Lab at MIT, Haystack, and San Jose State University. Her work is included in collections of the Corning Museum, Tacoma Museum of Glass and Glasmuseet Ebeltoft. She currently lectures in the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

 

 

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Don’t Burn Up: Interview with Iron Instructor Jay Burnham-Kidwell

What’s your philosophy of teaching?
Unprintable but I’ll tell you. I didn’t plan any of this. I joined the military, got out of the war and couldn’t get a job. I went to college on the G.I. Bill. I kind of think that I was born to be a teacher; I can’t explain it more than that.

I’ve always liked teachers. Particularly in art and craft, everybody’s going to be a teacher because we’re dinosaurs–it’s not all in the books, it’s not all written down, and you won’t see every lecture. So we need to share knowledge. The internet is full of information but not necessarily knowledge. So I got into teaching–I’ve been teaching now since 1973.

 

jay-1

 

How long have you been teaching at Penland?

I’ve taught three concentrations, two summer classes, three guest artist [visits], and I did an instructor retreat. I would have done the first instructor retreat but I was in intensive care so I couldn’t come. Which pissed me off–I really wanted to go (give me a bunch of Demerol!) I’d like to do another sixty-seven years; I’ve had a great time.

Each group I teach tends to be a little different. They tend to bond together. The tighter they are the better it runs. Building what we call in the military “unit effing integrity:” if they’re good enough to die with they’re good enough to eat, drink and sleep with. Well here, take out the ‘dying’ part: if they’re good enough to make art with then it should become a community. You can be as individual as you want at Penland and people will respect your privacy. But you work better when you’re together. I learn more from them too.

This group is very hard working–all of them, in all the areas. I tend to trek around and see what they’re up to. And this is grueling: they’re trying to pack about a year’s work into two months.

 

Which reminds me. I saw a note on the chalkboard in the iron studio: DON’T BURN UP.

Yeah, or out! [My students] have been ’embellishing,’ let us say, up there. I encourage them to do that. My favorite one up there is ‘The more you complain the longer God makes you live.’ Favorite Jewish proverb. I love that one. No drama, no sniveling, no whining. And talk to me when you’ve got a problem, if you can.

 

Does that feel critical to your experience as a teacher here, knowing people more personally?

I think so, as much as you can know someone in a couple of months. But it’s intense. It’s not for the weak of spirit, heart, mind, body.

 

Fair enough.

The energy is here is infectious. I’m running on a twenty-two year old’s energy and the minute I drive down the hill it’s all just going to go away. That’s the not so salutary effect of adrenaline wearing off when you leave Neverland.

This a a singular place. I really wish that the rest of the world ran like this. The greatest thing about Penland besides the food, the art, the people, the place is that nobody cares up here; it all comes down to what Dr. King says: ‘it’s the content of your character.’ Everything else is just like wearing a different shirt–nobody gives a rat’s ass. And I really like that.–Elaine Bleakney

 

jaybk

 

Jay Burnham-Kidwell currently teaches the concentration  Smokin’ Hot Iron at Penland. He is professor emeritus from Mohave Community College in Arizona. His work is held in collections at the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Tennessee, the University of Georgia, and West Dean College in the United Kingdom.

 

 

 

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Moving Pictures: Animated Letterpress with Rory Sparks

rorysparks

 

Oregon-based book artist Rory Sparks will teach an eight-week concentration in animated letterpress at Penland this spring. Rory cites the useless machines of Bruno Munari and Marcel Duchamp’s film Anémic Cinéma as two sources of inspiration for the workshop. Below, she talks more about why these two artists and works animate her thinking about motion and letterpress.

 

 

 

 

“As a bookbinder, I’m often thinking about how text is read, and how the experience and act of reading can change with movement and environment. To me, Munari’s useless machines reference words in a graphic way. Sentences, or poems floating in three dimensional space. Here is my favorite useless machine (Maccine Inutilli):

Bruno Munari, Maccine Inutilli, via instenseminimalism.com
Bruno Munari, Maccine Inutilli, via instenseminimalism.com

 

 

 

Marcel Duchamp, Disques Avec Spirales (Rotorelief), via mfranck.com
Marcel Duchamp, Disques Avec Spirales (Rotorelief), via mfranck.com

“In Duchamp’s Anémic Cinéma, the optical illusions that are produced are incredible. Especially that moment when your brain clicks and your vision shifts, and you see the depth and protrusions within the illusion. But I’m actually more excited about the concept than anything–the idea behind the project–prints meant to be viewed in motion. I’m looking forward to exploring with my students what other types of imagery would be best viewed in motion.”

(At right: rotorelief discs that were placed on a record and filmed in Anémic Cinéma. Duchamp included this note: “The disc should turn at an approximate speed of 331/ 3 revolutions per minute, this will give an impression of depth, and the optical illusion will be more intense with one eye than with two!”)
 

 
Rory Sparks
Moving Pictures: Animated Letterpress
March 9-May 2, 2014
In the letterpress studio
Let’s get things moving! We’ll explore various methods of incorporating kinetic design and animation into our letterpress work, including flip books, thaumotropes, zoopraxiscopes, red/cyan 3d anaglyphs, mobiles, and combinations of all of the above. We’ll cover the fundamentals of letterpress including press operation, typesetting, and polymer plates, and we’ll use various low-tech methods for getting images onto paper. We’ll sharpen skills and employ the letterpress as a perfect modular system for stop-frame animation. Inspiration will come from Marcel Duchamp’s film, Anémic Cinéma, Bruno Munari’s useless machines, and, of course, Eadweard Muybridge. All levels.
 

To find out more and register for this workshop click here.
Spring scholarship deadline is November 29.
Please note: applications need to be at Penland by this date to be considered for scholarship. Overnight service may not deliver to Penland’s campus on time, please plan accordingly.

 

Rory Sparks, Live Specimen: 4 Line French Clarendon, thread, paper, letterpress-printed type
Rory Sparks, Live Specimen: 4 Line French
Clarendon, thread, paper, letterpress-printed type

Rory Sparks is a book artist and founder of Em Space Book Arts Center in Portland, Oregon, a membership-based studio. She specializes in letterpress printing and limited edition books for artists and photographers. She teaches at various institutions including Oregon College of Art and Craft, Pacific Northwest College of Art, and Em Space. She produced all three Orchard Editions for the Silas Finch Foundation, as well other projects and editions for them. In 2013, she was a master printer at Penland’s Winter Letterpress and Print Residency. Right now, she’s probably listening to Willy Mason sing “Talk Me Down.”

 

 

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Personal Cartography: Weaving with Robin Johnston

Robin Johnston, 143 Walnuts, handwoven cotton, 2013
Robin Johnston, 143 Walnuts, handwoven cotton, 2013

“Above all else show the data,” wrote Edward Tufte, the trailblazing philosopher of quantitative information and how humans present it. Weaver Robin Johnston takes Tufte to heart in her practice. One of Johnston’s recent woven works, above, involves hand-dyeing yarn by wrapping it around individual walnuts. If you look closely at the image above, you’ll see walnuts meticulously placed below the finished work.

Considering her taste for slow, mysterious processes, it might be no surprise that Johnston’s favorite music to listen to in the studio is “sort of melancholy Americana: slow, sad music. Gillian Welch, M. Ward, Iron & Wine, Billie Holiday.”

Johnston will teach an eight-week weaving workshop for all levels in spring 2014 with an exploration of processes in mind, inviting her students to come to the studio with their own ideas about personal patterns and the documentation of these patterns as sources for art making.

 

 

 

Robin Johnston, Full Worm Moon, handwoven and embroidered cotton
Robin Johnston, Full Worm Moon, handwoven and embroidered cotton

Robin Johnston – Personal Cartography
March 9-May 2, 2014
In the textiles studio

This workshop will use weaving to delve into students’ individual interpretations of mapmaking. We’ll explore basic weaving and dyeing techniques that lend themselves to charting, plotting, and coding information—including pattern weaves, inlay, tapestry, painted warps, and ikat dyeing. Through daily sketchbook exercises we’ll envision woven surfaces that emphasize color, pattern, image, and texture to create maps of all kinds. Whether we are describing geographic or conceptual spaces, we’ll apply personal cartography to the art of weaving. All levels. 

 

 

 

For more information about this workshop and registration information please click here.
Spring scholarship deadline is November 29.

 

 

 

robinjohnston
Photograph of Robin Johnston by gwendolyn yoppolo

Robin Johnston is currently a resident artist at Penland School of Crafts. Her work deals with measuring time, capturing moments as they pass, and the sense of loss that accompanies their passing. Information such as light, temperature and heart rate is collected and tracked during the making, creating real-time maps of her physical experience weaving.  The levels of translation involved in the charting and integration of various data into the woven structure add to the slowness of the process, illustrating a personal reaction to fast-paced society.  Since moving to the mountains of North Carolina, Robin has been researching colonial weave drafts commonly used in the early days of Lucy Morgan’s Penland Weavers.  She is combining these traditional woven patterns with data, such as sleep patterns and moon cycles, gathered from her daily life.

 

 

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A Glass Maker Escapes to Clay

fallbowl

 

 

 

 

“As a glass maker I’ve found myself drawn to ceramics more and more. Both mediums have a fluidity that in order to really harness, you have to hone in on the moment. You can’t just let go of molten glass or a spinning potter’s wheel whenever you desire. Sometimes you have to though; sometimes my glass starts cracking and fighting against me and I have to set it down.

 

This happened to me a few times during my recent study at Penland. When it did, I’d go visit Upper Clay. Then I felt rejuvenated.”

 

clayhands

 

“The clay studio is a safe haven compared to the flameworking studio. There’s a gorgeous light coming in from the windows. The colors of clay and glazes are subdued and easy on the eye. More often than not, a chill tune is playing while wheels hum in the background. It’s the perfect place to see my medium from another maker’s point of view.”

 

Arlie Trowbridge, glass artist and owner of Urban Revisions, who took a one-week workshop in wearable glass with Rachel Rader in the flameworking studio last week.

 

Find out more about our hot glass and flameworking workshops.

Find out more about our upcoming workshops in clay.

 

 

sunlightupperclay