Special Workshops at Penland

Workshops are open to serious students of all levels unless specified in course description; beginners welcome.

Enrollment for summer 2016 workshops is currently open. Workshops are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and enrollment remains open until all class spaces are full or the workshop begins.




Spring Eight-Week Concentrations

March 13 - May 6, 2016

Jeremy Bert and Jen Elek, Signal, chromed steel, blown glass,

enamel paint, incandescent lightbulbs, sockets, electric switch,

plug, each panel: 34-1/2 x 18-1/2 x 2-1/2"

Jeremy Bert & Jen Elek
Hot Glass & Electric Light

Most of us live within the glow of electric light—often protected or filtered by glass. This class will empower the nontechnically inclined artist to harness these omnipresent media by exploring the mechanics of glass and light while considering the potential for electric light in sculpture. Jen will teach the fundamentals of glass furnace work for the full eight weeks. Jeremy will join us for four weeks to cover the basic principles, vocabulary, and techniques of neon and other forms of electric light, including LED and incandescent. Artists ready to explore the combination of glass forming and electric light will find this workshop a great fit. All levels. Code S00GA


Collaborating artists; Jen has been a member of Lino Tagliapietra’s team since 2002; Jeremy is a certified welder, crane operator, and sign electrician; teaching: Pilchuck (WA); recent collaborative exhibitions: Museum of Glass (WA), Pittsburgh Glass Center.






Raivo Vihman, Barn Frame with Crooked Ash Struts,

white pine, ash, salvaged structural bolts, cast washers


Raivo Vihman

In this workshop we’ll delve into traditional carpentry as we cut, join, and raise a timber-framed structure that will become a permanent part of the Penland campus. We’ll explore various approaches to timber preparation, layout, joinery design and execution, and compound-angle joinery. We’ll also cover scribing techniques as we incorporate round logs into the structure of the frame. Students will begin by designing and building their own timber sawhorses and will leave the class with the skills needed to design and build their own timber frames. All levels. Code S00W


Carpenter, founder and proprietor of Haystack Joinery (ME); teaching: Waterfall Arts (ME), Miljandi Cultural Academy (Estonia).


More from Raivo about the class





Spring One-Week Session 3

April 24 - 30, 2016

Nick DeFord, Psychological Geology (Underneath It All),

hand-embroidery on photograph, 7.5 x 7.5"


Nick DeFord
The Altered Image: Mixed-Media with Photography

Photographs are perceived to be artifacts of truth – but truth can easily be distorted, embellished, and exaggerated. This class will use embroidery, collage, and drawing/painting techniques to physically manipulate photographs as a metaphor for the psychological dissection of truth, memory, and time. We will work on photos brought from home and found photos (both from the physical world, but also the cyber world). While students are welcome to shoot and print digital photos during the workshop, we will not be using the darkroom, and the emphasis of the class will be on manipulation and embellishment after the photo has been printed. All levels. Code S03P


Studio artist and Program Director at Arrowmont (TN); teaching: University of Tennessee, Arizona State University; exhibitions: William King Museum (VA), Vanderbilt University (TN), University of Mississippi, Coastal Carolina University; collections; City of Phoenix (AZ).







SUMMER session 1

May 29 - June 10, 2016

Amara Hark-Weber, Rose Toe, leather,

ladies size 9


Amara Hark-Weber
The Pegged Sole Code

In this workshop we’ll learn a historic method of shoe construction: the full pegged sole. We’ll cover shoemaking fundamentals, including patterning for an oxford or derby, cutting, skiving, sewing, and finishing. Learning through demonstrations and one-on-one instruction, students will make and finish one pair of full leather shoes. All levels welcome: a good attitude and some hand strength will be necessary. Flex studio. Code 01TB


Bespoke shoemaker at Hark Weber Studio; teaching: School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Quest College (Canada), University of Wisconsin-Madison; awards: Jerome Fellowship (MN), Next Step grant (MN), William Merchant R. French Fellowship (Chicago); exhibitions: Landmark Center (MN), Minnesota Center for the Book Arts, Saint Xavier University (Chicago).







Bill Thomas, Building Fox at Penland, okoume plywood,

mahogany, 175 x 30 inches


Bill Thomas
Building the Fox Canoe

Fox is a decked, double-paddle canoe, a boat intended for protected waters and lakes. Fox boasts two water-tight compartments for storage and flotation and a comfortable seatback and caned seat. She is 14-foot 7-inches long with a beam of 30 inches and a finished weight of just over 40 pounds. Each student will build a boat using CNC-cut parts and the stitch-and-glue method. We’ll have them ready to float at the end of the workshop (paint and varnish will be added at home). We’ll also build simple double paddles. All levels. Wood studio. Code 01W Note: This workshop has a studio fee of $1,400.


Studio artist and small boat designer; teaching: WoodenBoat School (ME), Chewonki (ME), Lowell’s Boat Shop (MA), online course instructor at Craftsy and Off Center Harbor; registered Maine Guide and leader of kayaking and sailing classes.



SUMMER session 2

June 12 - 24, 2016

Lauren Fensterstock, Colorless Field 3, paper, Plexiglass,

charcoal, wood, 264 x 144 x 6 inches


Lauren Fensterstock
Museum of the Self

Inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s Boite en Valise—a suitcase filled with miniatures of his life’s work—students will make a Museum of the Self inside a box, suitcase, or other container. Using simple tools, writing exercises, drawing, collage, map-making exercises, photos of your existing work, and your favorite materials, we’ll mine your artwork for new questions and possibilities. We’ll focus on strengthening your personal voice and developing tools to express your ideas with nuance and clarity. Intermediate/advanced: this workshop is for artists with a dedicated practice who want to push their ideas to the next level. Drawing/Painting studio. Code 02D


Studio artist; guest critic at Rhode Island School of Design; teaching: Maine College of Art, New Hampshire Institute of Art; exhibitions: Kohler Arts Center (WI), Drexel University (Philadelphia), Austin Museum of Art (TX).







SUMMER session 3

June 26 - July 8, 2016

Barbara Cooper, Mantle, wood, burl, 16 x 20 x 20 inches


Barbara Cooper

Drawing on nature as a source of information and inspiration, this workshop will create 3d forms and develop ideas using fiber and sculptural processes. We’ll dissect and reconfigure found objects to understand the relationship between surface and volume. Then we’ll build by layering to create solid volumes that reveal the history of the form’s development. We’ll work with traditional, alternative, and repurposed materials. Our focus will be on experimentation and improvisation and how ideas can be developed. All levels. Second-floor textiles studio. Code 03TB


Studio artist; residencies: City Museum of Copenhagen, Pilchuck (WA), Kohler Arts/Industry Program (WI), Vermont Studio Center, Hafnarborg Institute of Culture and Fine Art (Iceland); collections: Contemporary Museum (Honolulu), Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum (MI), Smithsonian National Museum of American Art (DC), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago).







SUMMER session 5

July 24 - August 9, 2016

Mark Melonas, Angular Sink with Disappearing Drain, fiber

reinforced concrete, 5 x 36 x 24 inches


Mark Melonas
Concrete: Renegade Alchemy

Concrete is an elegant and useful material with a long history but a small representation in the craft and design world. Through individual projects, demonstrations, and a class project, we’ll cover preparation of concrete molds, including wood, plastic, rubber, plaster, and fabric; color and texture; concrete mixes for various applications; and casting techniques including wet-cast and GFRC spray techniques. We’ll discuss design, concrete as a surface material in the home, artists and craftpeople using it today, and practical concerns for using it in your studio. All levels: familiarity with hand tools and power tools for mold making will be helpful. Wood studio. Code 05W


Studio artist; designs and builds custom furniture in concrete, wood, and steel as director of Luke Works Studio (Baltimore); teaching: Baltimore School for the Arts, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.






SUMMER session 7

August 28 - September 3, 2016

Geoffrey Gorman, Occidentalis is Hungry,

mixed-media, found objects, 41 x 41 x 15



Geoffrey Gorman
The Soul of Forgotten Materials

This workshop will cover innovative ways to create structures and forms using organic, found, and recycled materials. Students will learn to use photographs and sketches to design large sculpture. We’ll carve rigid foam to make armatures, use wire for joinery, and create accents with old hardware. Materials might include canvas, bike tires, old metal objects, and anything students bring with them. We’ll consider how to build something interesting while still creating objects with structural integrity. We’ll use simple chemicals to create patinas on a variety of metals. All levels: experience with hand tools and small power tools will be helpful. Flex studio. Code 07TB


Studio artist; workshop teacher for ten years; exhibitions: Craft Alliance (St. Louis), Cheongju International Craft Biennial (Korea), Jane Sauer Gallery (NM); collections: Racine Art Museum (WI), University of Colorado.







Deborah Horrell, Ruby Throated

Hummingbird, glass, vitreous enamel,

5-3/4 x 5-3/4 x 1/2 inches


Tom Spleth, Pull My Finger, slipcast porcelain

cup, 3-3/4 x 3 x 3 inches


Deborah Horrell & Tom Spleth
Small, Smaller

The faces of our phones are windows that look into the universe. Small is a fact of life today and how small makes and affects meaning is the kernel of this workshop. Whatever the medium, intense opportunities for art-making can arise when the first constraint is small. The goal will be to find out what makes an idea big when the modus operandi is small. Printmaking, mold making, and slipcast porcelain will be our methods and materials of choice as we make small objects and images. All levels. Lower clay studio. Code 07CB


Deborah: studio artist, workshop teacher; representation: Elizabeth Leach Gallery (OR); collections: Portland Art Museum (OR), Mint Museum (NC), Racine Art Museum (WI). Tom: studio artist; teaching: Alfred University (NY), Haystack (ME), Anderson Ranch (CO); collections: Kohler Co. (WI), Rhode Island School of Design.