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.
Temperatures are warming, the knoll is very green once more, and summer workshops are on the horizon. There are still dozens of offerings across our studios with available space, including a few session 1 workshops. Why not start your summer off with a concentrated dose of creative energy and inspiration? Registration is open now, and a handful of workshops even have work-study scholarships available!
This workshop will be an exciting opportunity for intermediate and advanced glass artists to explore glass as a sculptural material. Students will learn torch techniques that will enable a greater level of detail in hot-sculpted forms and will use sketches and drawings to help visualize finished pieces.
Instructor Ross Richmond has been working with glass for over twenty-five years and is known for his involved narrative pieces. Many of his figures measure a full two feet tall, yet they project a serenity and ease that is hard to reconcile with the fast, hot work of the glass studio. The Corning Museum describes him as “one of the top glass sculptors in the field today.” UrbanGlass.org praised his astounding technical skill, saying, “The realization that these forms were hot-sculpted and not mold-blown, or cast into a carefully prepared mold, is to appreciate the skills that went into them.”
For any glassblowers looking to take their work to the next level of detail and expression, this workshop is the perfect opportunity for focused practice, skill building, and expert instruction. Read the full course description.
Letterpress newbies and experts alike will get the chance to play with words on the press and on paper in Lynda Sherman’s workshop. The class will focus on hand-setting type and the power and potential of the alphabet as a visual language. Students will be encouraged to experiment and to adapt their designs on the go to explore printing as analog communication.
“To know the history of analog printing is to keep the global continuum of collaboration and friendship uninterrupted,” Lynda explains. “Analog is the gift of our past, and by practicing in the present, it is the promise to the future. Where we go, we go together. Analog doesn’t leave anyone behind.”
Students who have already gotten their feet wet in the wood studio will get the chance to take their work further in this workshop with Reuben Foat. Geared towards intermediate and advanced woodworkers, this class will explore tambour doors and the sinuous movement they can introduce into a material that is more often rigid and static. The two weeks will cover design, solid-wood joinery, and efficient studio practices and will culminate in the construction of an original wall-hung cabinet that incorporates a tambour door.
Reuben is an experienced teacher and an accomplished woodworker who often uses the tambour door format in his own furniture and sculpture. It’s one thing to see still images of his work, but it’s another to see the pieces as they move. We highly recommend taking a look at these short videos of his pieces in action!
When we say “Craft School Experience,” we’re referring to the total immersion workshops offered at Penland and our sister schools Arrowmont, Haystack, Peters Valley, and Pilchuck. We’re referring to the beautiful and often isolated environments of these schools, their deep history, their shared eating and living spaces, and of course their well-equipped studios that support top-notch instruction. The craft school experience means the special community atmosphere that inspires creativity and motivates new discoveries, new ideas, and new connections. It’s common to all these schools, but it’s also an experience that looks different for every individual who sets foot on our campuses.
Over at CraftSchools.us, the Craft School Consortium has been collecting stories and anecdotes to illustrate the craft school experience. Two recent ones on their blog are particularly near to our hearts. The first is by Robin Dreyer, who wrote a beautiful piece about a recent trip to Haystack from his perspective as a Penland staff member, instructor, and student of nearly twenty years. “Getting to the end of the road before I could see the school was a good indication that, while Haystack and Penland may be sisters, they are not twins,” Robin writes. He goes on to describe Haystack’s campus and facilities, its historical connections to Penland, and the little delights and surprises he experienced at this place that felt at once so familiar and entirely new.
In another post, clay artist Bill Griffith describes the unexpected roads that opened up for him after a one-week workshop at Arrowmont in the summer of 1983. We won’t spoil the details of his journey, but we can give you a few hints by saying that he has spent many years at Arrowmont as the assistant director, program director, and now the outreach and partnership liaison. In addition, he’s a working studio artist and clay instructor. In fact, he’ll be teaching a slab-built pottery workshop at Penland during session 7 this summer!
If you haven’t had a craft school experience of your own yet, signing up for a workshop is the best way to start. We can’t be sure where it will take you, but it’s likely to be an intense and creative burst that you won’t soon forget.
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:
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.
On a crisp and sunny afternoon, there may be nowhere on campus that gets better light than the weaving studio in Lily Loom. This fall, it is home to Rachel Meginnes’s concentration The Thread Between. Students in the workshop are learning to deepen their studio practices and develop a serious body of work through exercises with textiles, readings, writing assignments, discussions, presentations, and individual consultations. Here, studio assistant Jessica Green works on a cross stitch sample (above), and instructor Rachel Meginnes talks with studio assistant Marie Fornaro about her sewn paper samples (below).
It can be a bit mind-boggling how much information we communicate digitally these days, from online news outlets and blogs to the social media profiles that announce the engagements of friends, the arrival of new babies, or simply what we had for dinner last night. When done right, social media can be a powerful tool for connection, for communicating a message, for sharing ideas and triggering inspiration. But it’s not the only way we can accomplish these goals.
For a week this fall, social media will go analogue with Bryce McCloud of Nasheville’s letterpress/public art studio Isle of Printing. As Bryce elaborates in his course description, “This workshop will tap into the power of printmaking as a handmade social medium. Working with relief printing’s ability to create multiple images, our mission will be to find novel ways to work together and interact with a community.”
To really understand what this week will be about, it helps to have glimpsed some of the pieces that Bryce and his team have put together. Take, for example, his yearlong Our Town public portraiture project, which encouraged thousands of Nashville residents to create self portraits using stamps. In exchange for their finished portraits, each person got to take home a letterpress print of someone else’s portrait. “We want people to look at this as a conversation that they’re having with each other, not through words, but through pictures,” Bryce explains. “A big part of this project was to get people to actively look and actively be engaged with the world.”
The Our Town project didn’t stop there, either. Instead, Bryce and his co-conspirators turned the project into a large-scale demonstration of the creative process and how a team—or a city—can come together to create. They constructed giant stamps and used them piece by piece to print enormous portraits in public spaces like the downtown library and Nashville’s Riverfront Park (image above).
Another recent project was the Can Wall at Pinewood Social, a popular Nashville restaurant/bowling alley/hangout spot. “The mural is made of thousands of quart cans which can be viewed up close as products or far away as pixels in a larger design,” Bryce explains. Every month, the cans get rearranged into a new image or pattern. “We wanted the world to be an active participant in the project AND we wanted the art to feel alive,” he says. “Change is inevitable and that is the point.”
Or, there’s the “optically/digitally enhanced” letterpress mural adorning the main wall of Nashville’s Barista Parlor. It’s an image of a sailing ship made up of individually-printed square letterpress plates, but Bryce says it’s also a reflection of how we see the world around us today: “beginning with a real ship painted by an artist which was photographed and turned into a picture on a computer which I reengineered as a plate on a press to assemble onto a wall in my city for people to see in person which they then share on the internet for others to see. Here to there and back again.”
The human interaction and the call for engagement is central in each of these projects and, in fact, to all of Bryce’s art projects at Isle of Printing. As he explains to visitors on his website, “We specialize in making the unusual happen and thrive on giving novelty a place at or above the mundane… We truly believe in the power of public art and positive thought.”
We certainly can’t tell you what a week of Analogue Social Media at Penland this fall will look like, but we’re pretty sure what it will feel like: teamwork, exploration, experimentation, and lots of good vibes. The workshop runs November 6-12, 2016. Register now.
Analogue Social Media
Bryce McCloud —This workshop will tap into the power of printmaking as a handmade social medium. Working with relief printing’s ability to create multiple images, our mission will be to find novel ways to work together and interact with a community. Like playful scientists we’ll create socially-driven printmaking experiments, imagine ways to involve people outside of our studio, and then use the community at Penland as our testing ground. We’ll brainstorm and refine ideas that may be realized during the session or at other times and places. We’ll cover relief printmaking skills and discuss other tactics for engaging the public with your work when you head home. Printmaking or letterpress experience will be helpful, but this workshop is open to all levels. Code F03L
Studio/public artist, founder of Isle of Printing, a letterpress and fabrication shop (Nashville); teaching: Watkins College of Art (TN), Brighton College of Art (UK); public art: Our Town Nashville (TN), Pinewood Social (TN), Invasion UK (Brighton, UK), South by Southwest (TX).