Wood Workshops at Penland

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



SUMMER session 5

July 19 - August 4, 2015

Abir Ali and Andre Sandifer, Mag Coffee Table, American

walnut, 18 x 60 x 18"

Abir Ali & Andre Sandifer
Table Stories

This workshop will investigate the connection between design, craft, and story through furniture, specifically the small table. Each student will share a personal story with the class that will inspire and direct the creation of a table. We’ll bridge concept and execution at large scale—the overall piece—and small scale—the construction details. Students will design through thought, conversation, hand sketches, and full-scale prototyping. We’ll work with American hardwoods and natural finishes. At the end of the workshop, each student will have some version(s) of their prototype and a finished table. All levels. Code 05W


Co-owners of Ali Sandifer, a design studio and workshop producing handcrafted furniture and art; publications: American Craft, Canadian Architect, Detroit Home, Modern Midwest; exhibitions: International Contemporary Furniture Fair (NYC), Detroit Artists Market, Detroit Design Fair, Urban Institute for Contemporary Art (MI).





SUMMER session 6

August 9 - 21, 2015

Joel Eckhaus Sputnik Tenor

Ukulele, ash, curly maple,

ebony, pearloid, 28 x 9 x 2"


Joel Eckhaus
Free-Form Ukulele Construction

The ukulele arrived on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1879 from the Portuguese island of Madeira and spread like an invasive species throughout the islands and, eventually, the world. Builders immediately took an “anything goes” attitude: pineapple, coconut, cigar box, tricorner, round, and teardrop ukuleles appeared, decorated with cartoons, bright colors, and decals of all kinds. This workshop will present traditional lutherie techniques and designs as well as a more free-form approach that will encourage novel designs. Each student will design and build a ukulele while learning hand and machine woodworking and lutherie skills. Some woodworking experience will be helpful, but the workshop is open to all levels. Code 06W


Luthier, musician, ukulele instructor, proprietor of Earnest Uncommon Instruments; clients: Eddie Vedder, Will Patton, Neko Case, Elliott Sharpe; teaching: Maine College of Art; exhibitions: Museum of Making Music (CA), San Francisco Folk Art Museum.


SUMMER session 7

August 23 - 29, 2015

Miriam Carpenter, Feathers 11,901, 11,900, 11,899,

carved white oak, burnished with graphite powder,

1-1/4 x 17/8 x 4"



Miriam Carpenter
The Zen of Carving

Students will practice carving as meditation and will be encouraged to explore the natural environment to find inspiration through observation, pattern recognition, and structure. The workshop will include an introduction to the properties of different wood species, and we’ll identify appropriate material for individual projects. Students will experiment with techniques and tools for shaping, surface design, and finishing. Final pieces will be small in scale and may be functional or objects d’art. A basic understanding of tools and wood will be helpful, but this workshop is open to all levels. Code 07W

Studio artist, former assistant designer to Mira Nakashima; ITE residency in Australia sponsored by the Center for Art in Wood (PA); exhibitions: Wharton Esherick Museum (PA), Center for Art in Wood, Cooroora Institute (Australia), Sakatchewan Craft Council (Canada), Wayne Art Center (PA).



Fall Eight-Week Concentrations

September 20- November 13, 2015

Sylvie Rosenthal, Ganda 1514, basswood,

plywood, paint, rice and sack, gilding,

43 x 72 x 21”

Sylvie Rosenthal
Going Deep: Sculpture & Furniture Laboratory

In this fun and fast-paced workshop, we’ll work in and out of the studio as we make furniture and sculpture for interior and exterior settings. While exploring experimental and traditional construction techniques–including lap, mortise and tenon, and dovetail joints–we’ll make forms, structures, masses to carve, and literal and metaphorical frameworks to support your ideas. Our main material will be wood, but we’ll use other materials—plaster, metal, ceramic, found objects—as projects necessitate. Thinking creatively, solving problems, and keeping safety in mind, we’ll use additive and subtractive processes as we cut, glue, join, shape, break, and fix. Risk taking will be encouraged. All levels. Code F00W

Studio artist; teaching: Haystack (ME), Anderson Ranch (CO), University of Wisconsin-Madison; exhibitions: del Mano Gallery (CA), Museum of Arts and Design (NYC), Mint Museum (NC); collections: Museum of Arts and Design (NYC), Fuller Craft Museum (MA), Kamm Teapot Foundation (CA).








Spring Eight-Week Concentrations

March 13 - May 6, 2016

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).