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Paul S. Briggs: Expansive Ceramics

A ceramic vessel by Paul Briggs
Paul S. Briggs, Whorl, Windflower (Geode Series), glazed stoneware, 10 x 8 x 8 inches

Paul S. Briggs, who is one of the featured artists at the 2022 Penland Benefit Auction, has built his ceramic practice around two processes: pinch-formed vessels and slab-built sculptures. “Pinch-forming is what I do to meditate,” he says, “slab building is what I do to think through ideas.” The work featured in this year’s auction is one of his distinctive pinched vessels. “My pinching process,” he explains, “is neither additive nor subtractive but expansive. I grow the form from one chunk of clay using the pinching method to open the chunk and expand it outward and upward.”

Paul’s work has been in numerous exhibitions including Lucy Lacoste Gallery in Concord, Massachusetts, Friedman Benda Gallery in New York City, and The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, and is found in museum collections including the Fuller Craft Museum in Massachusetts, the Columbus Art Museum in Ohio, the Legacy Museum in Alabama, the San Angelo Museum of Art in Texas, the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum in New York, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

He has studied educational theory and policy, art education, theology, sculpture, and ceramics. “After a circuitous and fortuitous journey,” he says,“I am an artist-teacher at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.” He has also taught ceramics at Penland, Anderson Ranch, St. Olaf University, and Harvard University.

To learn more about Paul and see more of his work, please watch the video below (videographer: Darren Cole), or visit his website (but watch the video first).

Penland’s Annual Benefit Auction takes place on August 26-27, 2002 with online bidding on some pieces continuing through September 2. Paul’s work will be sold in the live auction on August 27; absentee bidding is available. Complete auction information here.


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David K. Chatt: Objects of Wonder from Tiny Beads


David K. Chatt, Red Stinger, glass beads, thread, time, 33 inches long

For nearly forty years, I have sewn tiny glass beads, one to the next,” says artist David K. Chatt. During this time David has painstakingly developed methods for creating sculpture and jewelry from sewn beads–beads alone and beads encasing objects–and he is one of a small group of artists who have made a place for beadwork in the world of contemporary art and craft. He is one of three featured artists at Penland’s annual benefit auction where he will be represented by an intriguing wearable piece titled Red Stinger (pictured here).

His work has taken him all over the country as a lecturer and teacher, and it has been chronicled in books and periodicals and recognized with a retrospective exhibition at the Bellevue Arts Museum in Washington. At Penland he has been an instructor, a resident artist, a student, an employee, and a neighbor.

In 2019, David won the Grand Prize at the Irish Glass Biennale. In 2021, one of his pieces was purchased by the Renwick Gallery of the American Art Museum (DC) and is included in its current 50th anniversary show.

“I make art,” David says, “because I want to contribute, discover, understand, inspire, reach for the very edge of my potential, and say something true.”

To learn more about David and see more of his work, please watch the video below, or visit his website (but watch the video first).

Penland’s Annual Benefit Auction takes place on August 26-27, 2002 with online bidding on some pieces continuing through September 2. David’s piece will be sold in the live auction on August 27; absentee bidding is available. Complete auction information here.

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Welcome! Black Women of Print


Welcome, Black Women of Print!

Six members of this dynamic collective are at Penland our two-week Summer Residency Fellowship. We are honored to host members Chloe Alexander, Dr. Deborah Grayson, Delita Martin, Karen J. Revis, Stephanie Santana, and Tanekeya Word in Penland’s print and paper studios. In addition to the two-weeks at Penland, each artist will receive an unrestricted award of $10,000.

Black Women of Print promotes the visibility of Black women printmakers via accessible educational outreach to create an equitable future within the discipline of printmaking.

(NOTE: If you are viewing this post as email, please click here to see this beautiful slideshow.)

Chloe Alexander
Deborah Grayson
Delita Martin
Karen J. Revis
Stephanie Santana
Tenekeya Word


The residency grew out of a conversation between Black Women of Print’s executive director Tanekeya Word and Penland’s creative director Leslie Noell in which Tanekeya mentioned that members of the group had dreamed of doing a residency together. Penland does not program a workshop for each of its 16 studios in every single session, and Leslie was  developing a plan for short-term summer residencies that would use some of those available slots. When funding for six residencies came through, Leslie invited Tanekeya to curate a group to work together in the printmaking studio. At least one of the printmakers was interested in papermaking, and that studio was also available for this session.


We are looking forward to sharing some of the work created during this residency with you. We also welcome 2022 Andrew Glasgow Writer in Residence, Camille Johnson, who will be conducting interviews with each member of the group and doing other documentation of the residency.

The Penland Summer Residency Fellowship is made possible by a grant from the John and Robyn Horn Foundation. The awards are generously provided by the Windgate Foundation.

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Presenting: A Penland Digital Archive!

A frame from the film Penland Summer 1969
This is a frame from the film “Penland Summer 1969,” which included in Penland’s new digital repository. The person falling is sculptor Don Drumm. Next to him is Penland’s second director, Bill Brown, and his wife, Jane Brown.

Penland School of Craft recently unveiled an exciting archival project that will be of use to scholars, historians, and craft enthusiasts for many years to come. The core of the project is the preservation of 250 hours of material contained on at-risk 16mm film and magnetic tape that had accumulated in the school’s Jane Kessler Archives over many years. In addition to several old films, there were audio and video tapes in multiple formats. Included in this material were interviews with Penland artists, instructors, and staff from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.

The earliest material is films made by Allen Eaton in the 1940s that present a decidedly dated view of Appalachian culture while documenting traditional craft in Western North Carolina, including early footage of Penland. A film with no soundtrack captures Penland in the 1950s, and a final 16mm film, shot in 1969, highlights Penland’s second director, Bill Brown, glass artist Billy Bernstein, sculptor Don Drumm, potter Byron Temple, and others.

There is also a collection of artist interviews filmed by Chris Felver in 1985 (complete list of interviewees is here) and a series of videos made in the early 2000s by Joe Murphy, a documentary filmmaker and professor at Appalachian State University. These move through Penland’s teaching studios, recording the activities of students and instructors, including demonstrations and lively interviews.

Reels of 16 millimeter film on a desk
Reels of 16mm film being prepared for digitization. Photo by Leila Hamdan.

Color film and magnetic media are both subject to deterioration, even if they are not actively used, and Penland’s former archivist, Carey Hedlund, saw the need to catalog all of this material and have it transferred to digital formats. A successful proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities brought the funds necessary to execute the project, and Penland hired Leila Hamdan, an experienced archivist and collections manager from Memphis, Tennessee as the project archivist.

Leila began work in early 2000, just as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down most of Penland’s normal operations, creating a challenging and isolated work environment for her. She quickly discovered that many of the tapes were not properly labeled or described, making it difficult to identify the contents.

Enter Sallie Fero, a nearby neighbor of the school who had recently retired after 30 years as a Penland employee. Sallie was hired to watch and listen to hours and hours of material with Leila and identify people and subject matter.

Painter Beverly McIver in a frame from a video interview
Painting instructor Beverly McIver in a frame from one of the many videos made at Penland in the early 2000s by Joe Murphy.

Leila selected a vendor to digitize the tapes and films and created metadata for 350 items. She designed and built a data asset management system, a Linux-based content management system hosted on site, and a digital preservation system. She created industry-standard finding aids for individual items and placed all of the files in cloud-based storage. She worked with Penland’s former IT manager Mark Boyd and website designer Jennifer Drum to create the publicly available digital repository.

The repository was expanded beyond the films and videos to include a collection of historic photographs of eighteen of Penland’s buildings. Most of these buildings contributed to Penland’s campus being designated as a historic district by the National Register of Historic Places.

A historic photograph of the Lily Loom House at Penland School of Craft
An early photograph of the Lily Loom House on the Penland campus.

During the the two years she worked on the project, Leila also created a Penland Archives Instagram account where she posted a treasure trove of photographs owned by the archives along with a few photographs of objects in the archives.

The digital repository, which is linked from the archives page of the school’s website, currently houses 113 historic photographs and 76 videos ranging in length from a few minutes to more than an hour. These were selected based on their copyright status and streaming permission as well as the relevance of the content. More video and audio may be added in the future, and the complete list of digitized audiovisual material can be viewed by contacting

A favorite video of Leila’s is A Penland Story from 1950. “This one was, for me personally, the most impressive to uncover because it brings so many of the old still photos to life and color,” she said. “It has cameos from everyone who was anyone at the school during the time—even Henry Neal cooking in the kitchen, which is remarkable. We see Penland’s founder, Lucy Morgan, in her apartment watching a clown act with friends, work being made in every studio, the list goes on and on.”

We hope you will explore this special resource, and we will continue to highlight parts of the collection on the blog and our social media over the next year.

A frame from the 1950 movie A Penland Story
A frame from “A Penland Story,” made in 1950. This woman is using a yarn winder in the room that is still used as Penland’s weaving studio.


BONUS: Here’s a video of Harvey Littleton, one of the founders of the Studio Glass Movement, blowing glass in 1985.

This project has been made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.

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Handmade Parade and Fireworks!

The famous Handmade Parade! After a 2-year hiatus and a 1-day postponement, we were so happy to bring it back, in style!

The Penland upper clay studio “Kiln’ It” team won the glass award for Most Industrious/Inventive!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated:

Ledger Fire Department, Mitchell Medics, Penland Facilities and Grounds “F & G Bang Bang”, Penland Upper Clay Studio “Kiln’ It”, Treats Studios, Lower Clay “Donkey Lady,” “Mushroom Stilt Walker,” 2D, Penland Lower Metals Studio “Sad Girls,” and “Animal Parade.” We were also very pleased to welcome Pelican’s SnoBalls with some sweet treats.

Of course, the evening would not have been complete without Penland’s beloved, over-the-top fireworks show! Our facilities and grounds team did an amazing job this year, with a lot of new folks running the show since the last time we produced this event in 2019. There were many hours of training and hard work, as well as frequent checks of the forecast. Special thanks to Jim Berkoben, Director of Facilities & Grounds, and Grounds Manager Casara Logan for their stellar leadership and to the entire Facilities and Grounds crew for pulling off a jaw-dropping display much to our joy and delight.


The rain cleared out just in time for the event!


Treats Studios took home a “Most Industrious/Inventive” award.


What cute marshmallows (Treats Studios)! The Donkey Lady won an award for “Sweetest.”


Everyone loved the Mushroom Stilt Walker. She won the prize for “Most Far Out.”


Amazing display by Georgina Treviño’s lower metals workshop!


Penland lower metals studio Sad Girls won “Most Studio Spirit.”


Such a sweet entry! The Animal Parade won “Most Poppin.”


Representing 4 studios! The 2D”team won the award for “Cheesiest.”


The Penland facilities and grounds crew won “Loudest/Most Successfully Annoying.” And yes, this is a gorgeous display of bottle rockets in the shape of a dinosaur and a chicken!


Getting ready for those long-awaited fireworks!


Boom! Such a wonderful evening!

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A 16-Studio Collaboration!

ANETHA EVANS COLLABORATED WITH EVERY STUDIO to make this flameworked glass carousel!

She learned about working in clay, risography, papermaking, painting, glassblowing, flameworking, ironworking, jewelry making, hydraulic pressing, cameraless photography, mokuhanga and letterpress printing, weaving, and canoe-building in the process!

During a Penland session, there are so many studios learning so many interesting techniques in so many fascinating media. Collaborations happen all the time… but this piece by Anetha is NEXT LEVEL.

She visited each and every studio. She incorporated original works into her final piece. She met many interesting people, learned a lot of new things, and helped build bridges. The final result…is so cool. Thank you for sharing your work, Anetha, and thank you to everyone who collaborated on this project.

Here are all the workshops that busy Anetha visited during Penland Summer Session 3:

Jeffrey Evergreen
“The Mechanical Image: Process, Modularity, and the Distributed Form”
-Collab with Rama and Mariana

Mary Hark
“Immersed in Pulp: A Hand-Papermaking Intensive”
-Collab with Derick

Courtney Martin
“Slab, Coil, Decorate, Fire”
-Collab with Paige

Ashley Kim
“Intimate and Colorful Clay”
-Collab with A. Adams

Clarence Morgan
“Cultivating Aesthetic Instincts: Process, Systems, and New Forms”
-Collab with Tyler, Brett, and Mary Anne

Kim Harty
Glass Somatics
-Collab with Bre’Annah

 FLAMEWORKING (Anetha’s studio!)
Sally Prasch
“Sum of the Parts”
-Collaborative flower by Sally, Miles, Jennifer, Daniel, Brianna, Alana, and Anetha!

Daniel Souto and Stephen Yusko
“Material Studies”
-Collab with Stephen Yusko

Laurel Fulton
“The Narrative Body”
-Collab with Cynthia

Lauren Kalman
“Hydraulic Press: Symbols and Specimens”
-Collab with Angela and Mango

Bridget Conn
“Lightwork: Exploring Cameraless Photography”
-Collab with Bridget

Yoonmi Nam
“All About Mokuhanga”
-Collab with Peri

Chandler O’Leary and Jessica Spring
“All-You-Can-Eat Letterpress Smorgasbord”
-Collab with Ella and Mackenzie

Ann B. Coddington
“Sculptural Basketry Plus”
-Collab with Ann

Andrea Donnelly
“Woven Cloth, Raw Material”
-Collab with Andrea

Gerald Weckesser
“Building a Skin-on-Frame Canoe”
-Collab with Gerald

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Can’t Stay, Won’t Stay, Inside


It’s summertime, it’s nice out, and some Penland workshops just won’t be confined to the inside of a studio. Shown here is Gerald Weckesser’s “Skin-On-Frame Canoes” on the porch of the wood studio.



Here’s another angle on that.


And this is Ann Coddington’s “Sculptural Basketry” working outside the Lily Loom House.