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Books, Relics, Curiosities

Daniel Essig sculpture
Daniel Essig, “N’Kisi Bricolage Sturgeon,” 13 x 59 x 14 inches

 

Daniel Essig makes book-based sculpture. To be more precise, he makes fantastical, elaborate, majestic book-based sculpture like nothing you’ve seen before.

Books are at the heart of each piece, but it’s as if their contents have left the confines of paper sheets and gained form outside the covers. Fish, birds, bridges, and buildings take shape in wood, and books may be tucked into a beak or studded like fins on the back of a sturgeon. Each book is expertly bound using the centuries-old Ethiopian Coptic binding technique, but many contain only blank pages. Text itself may appear instead as pattern transferred to a wooden figure, individual characters of lead printer’s type, or sheets of pages recycled from 19th-century Bibles. Together with paint, handmade paper, mica, rusted nails, thread, fabric, fossils, and other found objects, Daniel brings it all together into three-dimensional storybooks that are part fantasy, part history, and fully engrossing.

 

Daniel Essig portrait and book piece
Daniel Essig and his piece “Sacred Geometry,” 10 x 14 x 2 inches

 

Daniel describes the small room in his house where he stores his lifetime’s collection of inspiration—rocks, bones, seedpods, shells, and more—as a German Wunderkammern, a “cabinet of curiosities.” And for eight weeks this fall, a portion of that Wunderkammern will make its home in the Penland wood studio for Daniel’s concentration Books, Relics, Curiosities. The workshop, like Daniel’s own pieces, will combine elements of bookbinding and woodworking. Sculptors, woodworkers, book artists, and total beginners are all welcome—the only prerequisite is curiosity.

Books, Relics, Curiosities will run September 25-November 18, 2016. Registration is open now, and a few work-study scholarships are still available. Call the Penland registrar at 828-765-2359 ext. 1306 for more information.

 

two book sculptures by Daniel Essig
Left: “Needle Nose,” 33 x 13 x 8 inches; right: “Fisheye,” 12.5 x 12 x 4.5 inches

Books, Relics, Curiosities

Daniel Essig—This workshop will use wood to explore and honor elements of the book. After learning the basics of woodshop safety and tool use, we’ll investigate the infinite possibilties of book-based sculpture. Techniques will include carving, turning, burning, sanding, altering, distressing, painting, and bookbinding. Students will be encouraged to collaborate and to explore alternative materials. They can expect to complete a series of book sculptures. We’ll have daily demonstrations as well as discussions of historic and contemporary book forms. Everyone is welcome: book artists, woodworkers, curious beginners, etc. All levels. Code F00W

Studio artist; teaching: Anderson Ranch (CO), Arrowmont (TN), University of Georgia Cortona Italy Program, Penland; collections: Renwick Gallery (DC), Mint Museum (NC); representation: Vamp and Tramp Booksellers (GA); publications: The Penland Book of Handmade Books, Masters: Book Arts (both Lark Books).

danielessig.com

REGISTER NOW

 

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Off the Clock: Penland Studio Coordinator Show

art image
Clockwise from top left: Jay Fox, Ellie Richards, Amanda Thatch, Susan Feagin, Betsy DeWitt, Ian Henderson, Daniel T. Beck, Nick Fruin

 

The job of a Penland studio coordinator is a many-faceted one. Our eight coordinators order materials and keep studios clean and equipment running smoothly. They manage budgets and large inventories of supplies. They work with our programming office to plan upcoming workshops, and instructors to provide for specific classes, and individual students to solve problems on the fly. It’s a demanding and unpredictable job, which makes it all the more impressive that these eight individuals are also working artists in their own right. We are thrilled and proud that they have come together to put on a group show of their work at the Asheville Area Arts Council. Appropriately, the exhibition is called Off the Clock.

As curator and Penland friend Elaine Bleakney writes:

OFF THE CLOCK features eight artists, all full-time studio coordinators at Penland School of Crafts in Penland, NC. The work on view here was made in the off-hours by friends and colleagues who see each other daily and exchange interests, affection, knowledge, and regard for each other.

This is not a group show in the traditional sense. These artists are not strangers, and the works are not estranged from each other, despite their singular presences. Rather, looking from artist to artist, the viewer might pick up a magical sense that the works were made on the same set of evenings, in studios closeby. One of these artists might have looked up from her work and gazed out the cool, green window. She might have seen one of the other artists riding by on a bike, and waved.

 

Penland studio coordinators
Penland’s studio coordinators: Jay Fox, Susan Feagin, Nick Fruin, Ian Henderson, Ellie Richards, Amanda Thatch, Betsy DeWitt, Daniel T. Beck

 

Off the Clock will be on view at the Refinery Creator Space at 207 Coxe Ave in Asheville through September 16, 2016. It features the work of Daniel T. Beck (iron/sculpture), Betsy DeWitt (photography), Susan Feagin (ceramics), Jay Fox (print), Nick Fruin (glass), Ian Henderson (metals), Ellie Richards (wood/sculpture), and Amanda Thatch (drawing/textiles).

There will be a reception for the show on Friday, September 2 from 5 PM to 8 PM, and the artists will present a public talk on Saturday, September 3 from 4 PM to 6 PM. More information about both events is available on the exhibition’s Facebook event page.

Visit the Asheville Area Arts Council website to learn more about Off the Clock.

 

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Fall Workshops and Scholarships

Summers at Penland can be seasons of frenetic energy, while winters here have a more independent, reflective mood. Between them, springs and falls are seasons of sustained inquiry, exploration, and growth. The 8-week concentrations that take place during these times combine the length of a college term with the intensity of fully-immersive workshop education. For artists looking to make great strides in their work or dive deeply into new techniques, Penland concentrations are an unmatched opportunity. The application deadline for fall scholarships is August 1, 2016.

 

images of instructor work
Left to right: Birdie Boone, Matt Repsher, Claire Kelly, Jay Burnham-Kidwell

 

This fall, we are thrilled to be offering an exceptional lineup of concentrations led by skilled artist-instructors in a range of media:

Clay
Birdie Boone and Matt Repsher will lead students in their “pot-centric” workshop to develop wheelthrown and handbuilt pieces with stronger connections between form and surface.

Glass
In “The Cane Ladder,” Claire Kelly and her students will dive deep into glassblowing techniques, covering cane and murrine as well as sculpting, hot and cold assemblies, and cold work.

Iron
Blacksmith Jay Burnham-Kidwell will take students through eight weeks of fire and iron: forging, bending, splitting, punching, welding, finishing, and more.

Metals
In Kristina Glick’s workshop “Counterbalance: Enameling, Electroforming & Found Objects,” students will use liquid enamels on metal to produce finished pieces of jewelry, wall panels, and other exquisite objects.

Print
Georgia Deal will lead her students in an exciting mix of monoprinting and hand papermaking to develop layered prints and rich visual vocabularies.

Textiles
Recent resident artist Rachel Meginnes will teach “The Thread Between,” a workshop focused on textiles and artistic development that will include weaving and surface exercises as well as readings, writing, and group discussions.

Wood
In “Books, Relics, Curiosities,” Daniel Essig will lead students in an exploration of wood and bookbinding techniques to create book-based sculptures.

 

images of instructor work
Left to right: Kristina Glick, Georgia Deal, Rachel Meginnes, Daniel Essig

 

Each of our fall concentrations are open to students of all levels, and scholarships are available for every concentration. The deadline to apply for a fall concentration scholarship is August 1, 2016. Read more about Penland’s scholarship program, and then apply online through Penland’s slideroom site.

Join us for eight weeks of creative energy and artistic growth this fall!

 

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Elephants at the Gallery

gallery-maruyama

 

The Penland Gallery proudly presents Wendy Maruyama: the wildLIFE Project, a mixed-media exhibition that draws attention to the plight of elephants. Through a moving installation of large-scale objects, shrine forms, and informational panels, the show creates a powerful aesthetic environment and makes a compelling case for the preservation of animals in the wild. This touring exhibition originated at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and will be on display at the Penland Gallery through September 4. All are welcome to join us for the opening reception on Saturday, July 16, 4:30-6:30 PM, which will celebrate The wildLIFE Project as well as a show of paintings by Kreh Mellick in the Focus Gallery.

Furniture maker, artist, and educator Wendy Maruyama has been making innovative work for forty years. While her earlier work was built around traditional craft objects, in recent years she has moved beyond the boundaries of studio craft and into the realm of installation and social practice. The wildLIFE Project was inspired by a trip to Kenya where she saw elephants and other large animals in the wild and met with wildlife advocates to learn about the impact of poaching.

In this show, the elephant is memorialized in monumental form through a series of masks, eight to twelve feet in height and constructed from wood panels tied together with string. Several shrine forms are also on display, one of which is based on a traditional Buddhist altar. This beautifully crafted furniture piece incorporates an image of an elephant, flowers, a candle, an incense burner, and a handmade bell that rings every fifteen-minutes to memorialize the elephants that are being killed for their ivory. Another piece, titled Sarcophagus, is a wood and glass box that encases a stack of tusks made from blown glass. Maruyama made these objects in collaboration with glass artists Nancy Callan and Dan Friday during a residency at Pilchuck Glass School in Washington. A third shrine incorporates video, and the wall panels complement the artwork with photographs, text, and graphics.

elephant mask
“Orkanyawoi,” Wendy Maruyama

Curator Elizabeth Kozlowski has followed Maruyama’s work for many years. She says the artist views this body of work not only as an art project but as an advocacy tool. “The social-practice component of her artwork is successful in combining art, advocacy, education, and community. Her work manages to pull you in with stirring visuals and keep you engaged with multiple layers of content.”

Wendy Maruyama was a professor of woodworking and furniture design at San Diego State University in California for more than thirty years. Her work has been exhibited in New York City, San Francisco, Tokyo, Seoul, and London and can be found in many museum collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Dallas Museum of Art in Texas, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Japan/US Fellowship, a Fulbright Research Grant and the California Civil Liberties Public Education Grant. She has also been an instructor at Penland School of Crafts several times.

The wildLIFE Project has been shown at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in Texas and the Center for Art in Wood in Philadelphia. After it leaves the Penland Gallery, it will travel to the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, VA and the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design.

This exhibition is a great opportunity to visit the recently renovated and expanded Penland Gallery, which also features paintings by Kreh Mellick in the Focus Gallery beginning July 15. As something special, Kreh’s work not only hangs in frames for the exhibition, but has moved onto the walls themselves in the form of large-scale murals. Come by the opening reception on Saturday, July 16, 4:30-6:30 PM to see the exhibitions, or stop by anytime during gallery hours Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM and Sunday, Noon-5:00 PM.

 

gallery-kreh-1

 

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Photo(s) of the Week: Raising Day!

The timber framing class posing on the frame they raised

Penland’s eight-week concentrations are known for being intense and immersive workshops that leave students with new ideas, new skills, and new friends. This spring’s timber framing concentration was all that, but it also left a permanent mark on the Penland campus. In just eight weeks, the class, led by instructor Raivo Vihman and studio assistant Tom Shields, raised a full timber frame that will become the permanent home of a historical display just behind the Craft House. It took weeks of work to prepare the beams and fit them all together, but the raising took place in just one exhilarating day! Here’s to teamwork, cranes, and careful planning.

 

The first two walls of the frame going up
The two long walls of the structure were assembled on the ground before being raised into place.

 

Lowering a beam into place
A crane helps lower the first cross beam into position. Nice hard hats, all!

 

pounding a peg into place
The raising called for big pegs and big mallets. Unlike standard dimensional lumber frames, the timber frame isn’t held together with metal screws and braces.

 

The frame before the roof beams
With each new beam, the frame took on more and more of its final shape.

 

Thank you, timber framers, for this gorgeous structure! It will be a cherished part of campus for years and years to come.

 

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Photo(s) of the Week: Spring in the Studios

The following post is a photo slideshow. If you’re looking at it in email, we recommend viewing it on the blog.

Students at work in the "Artist and Weaver" concentration
The weaving studio has looked like a veritable Pantone book this spring
Ikat weaving (and party banners!)
A giant frame loom with a radial warp
It takes teamwork to prepare pulp for papermaking
Learning the delicate art of Eastern papermaking
Turning pulp to paper
Handmade sheets of paper show their texture in the sun
The iron class started by forging spoons and other small objects
Products of an iron inflation demo in Elizabeth Brim's workshop
The glow of a coal fire in the iron studio
Taking a closer look at negatives during a 1-week workshop
Nancy Blum came to campus as this spring's visiting artist
This spring's clay concentration includes throwing, decorating, and handbuilding
Wavy clay things
Colorful clay things
Working with image transferring techniques
Students adding soda to a kiln during firing
A few treasures out of the kiln
A rainbow of inks in the letterpress studio
A few of the cloth bags that came out of one week of "Printfest!"
Just a small selection of the plates and prints that came through the studio in one week
Inking wood type to add to a print
Instructor Laura Wood in the studio during her "Make Show Repeat" concentration
Talking metals
For Alicia Keshishian's color theory workshop, the whole drawing studio got a colorful makeover.
Choosing palettes from a table full of color
Everything is scaled up in the wood studio this spring for the timber framing class
Working on site before the whole frame is raised
Wood students with their building-to-be!
Glass bubbles and tubes and twists before the addition of neon
Some glass blowing teamwork.

 

Between seven concentrations and nine 1-week workshops, we’ve had a busy spring at Penland. It’s been exciting to see the progress that long classes make, whether it’s transforming straight beams into a fully-realized timber frame structure or collecting plant material to make into paper to make into books. Scroll through the photos above to get a glimpse of the colorful, experimental, detailed, thoughtful, beautiful things underway in the studios. And, if you’re in the area, please join us on May 5th at 8pm to celebrate the end of the session at the scholarship auction in Northlight!

 

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Photo(s) of the Week: Community Open House 2016

The following blog post is a photo slideshow. We recommend viewing it in an Internet browser.

Learning to blow glass is one of the most popular open house activities.
This blob of hot glass became a juice glass after a few minutes' work.
In the letterpress studio, visitors printed masks on the Vandercook press.
Cutting out eye holes in a freshly-printed mask
If you see one of these creatures around, it's probably been to the letterpress studio!
In the clay studio, visitors learned to throw on the pottery wheel.
All sorts of fun clay creatures being made at the handbuilding tables.
Getting clay pointers from one of our great volunteers
Making a clay mask while wearing a letterpress mask
In the iron studio, everyone got to try their hand at forging a J hook.
These two are adding a decorative twist to finish off the hook.
Visitors to the Ridgeway building decorated paste papers.
Sometimes, fingers are the best brushes!
Hands-on fun!
Who wouldn't want to join in on some whistle mania?
Visitors to the wood studio made their own train whistles.
The whistle process involved some precise sawing and drilling.
These two young visitors made a whistle—and it works!
In the flameworking studio, visitors made glass beads.
Here's a mother-daughter flameworking duo.
Each bead is formed by melting colored glass onto a metal rod.
The photo studio was all about crazy portraits.
This visitor is getting her photo taken as a tiger.
Edwina poses with her gold-sequined portrait.
Resident artist Jaydan Moore demonstrated his printmaking process to visitors.
In the metals studio, visitors learned pewter casting.
After the pewter is melted, it's poured into this two-part mold.
Unmolding the pewter revealed a tiny hammer and anvil!
Visitors to textiles learned to weave at the looms.
Everyone went home with a rag-rug coaster they wove themselves.
Visitors to the school store got to embellish Penland postcards
Thanks to the 700+ people who came out to visit us for the Community Open House!
And a big thanks to all our volunteers and staff!

 

This year’s Penland Community Open House was another big success! Over 700 people from the Penland community came up to try their hand at a new craft. Artists young and old alike were busy forging in the iron studio, flameworking beads in the glass shop, making colorful portraits in the photo studio, creating wooden whistles, and lots more. We’re grateful to all volunteers for helping us to share this fun day with our community, and to all the visitors who join us with such enthusiasm.