Penland School of Craft

Penland is a national center for craft education located in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Penland’s focus on excellence, its long history, and its inspiring, retreat setting have made it a model of experiential education. The school offers workshops in books and paper, clay, drawing and painting, glass, iron, metals, photography, printmaking and letterpress, textiles, wood, and other media. Penland sponsors artist residencies, a gallery and visitors center, and community education programs.

Each year approximately 1,400 people come to Penland for instruction and another 14,000 pass through as visitors. Penland has no standing faculty; its instructors include full-time studio artists as well as teachers from colleges and universities. Students live at Penland and take only one class at a time allowing them to learn by total immersion–the ideas and information gained in a two-week session might take a year to absorb and process.

Penland Wood StudioThe school has also become the focal point for a lively community of craft artists, thanks in part to the resident program which has encouraged many artists to settle in the area. The student experience is greatly enhanced by the presence of so many nearby studios.

Students come from all walks of life. They range from 18 to 80+ years of age and from absolute beginners to professional craftspeople. Some see Penland as a productive retreat, some as a source of inspiration for their personal creative lives, and others as a place to exchange vital information about material, technique, and process. What brings them all together is a love of materials and making, and the often transformative experience of working with intensity and focus in a supportive community atmosphere.

Penland School began out of a strong belief in a few simple values. Penland’s founder, Lucy Morgan summarized these as “the joy of creative occupation and a certain togetherness-working with one another in creating the good and the beautiful.” For more than seventy-five years, these principles have guided a remarkable institution which has had a pervasive influence on American craft and touched the lives of thousands of individuals.

Penland School of Craft is a nonprofit, tax-exempt institution.