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Copper lobster

Andrew Mears
Metals student Andrew Mears, with the copper lobster he made in the sixth-session chasing and repoussé class taught by Richard Elaver and Hiroko Yamada. Andrew is an MFA candidate in blacksmithing at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, however this was his first experience with chasing and repoussé. He made a small piece on the first day and then saw a lobster like this one in a book that Hiroko had about Japanese articulated metal animals. Hiroko found a pattern for him to work from, and Andrew spent the rest of the session making this remarkable piece.

copper lobster

Here’s the lobster at show-and-tell on a table with other work from the class. Although he was able to finish it at Penland, Andrew is planning to redo the legs when he gets home, so he can add texture to them.

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Pierce Freelon: Under the Tent

One of the highlights of this year’s benefit auction was spoken-word artist Pierce Freelon’s performance of his poetry about craft and education, specially commissioned for the event. Here are some videos:

Glass Flowers:


African Seamstress:




You can click here to read an interview we did with Pierce earlier this summer, and here to watch a video of another of his pieces on our Facebook page.

Thanks, Pierce. You were fantastic.

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Going once! Going twice!

Here are some of our most favorite people: the 2011 auction volunteers.

Click here for a lavish auction slideshow.

YouTube version of slideshow here.

Penland’s 26th Annual Benefit Auction was a record-breaker, with the highest attendance, the highest total income, and the highest net income in the event’s history. The auction also set records for centerpiece sales and donations to the Fund-A-Need request. Held on August 12 and 13, 2011, the auction drew a total income (including ticket sales, art sales, donations, advertising, and corporate sponsorship) of $614,405, for a net income of approximately $456,405. This year’s Fund-A-Need, which invites patrons to make direct contributions to a particular project, raised $84,100 for a new house for Penland’s core fellows. This project is in the design phase and the school is actively raising funds for its construction.

The auction was attended by 612 patrons and artists. One hundred and ninety-nine volunteers worked with Penland’s staff to run the event. Two hundred and fifty-six current and former Penland instructors, resident artists, and core fellows contributed a total of 247 works in books, clay, drawing, glass, iron, metals, painting, paper, photography, printmaking, textiles, wood, and mixed media. The 48 steel candleholders made by sculptor Hoss Haley that were the centerpieces on the auction tables sold out immediately and the school took orders for 40 more.

Fred Fenster, metalsmith and professor emeritus from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was honored during the weekend as Penland’s 2011 Outstanding Artist Educator. Fred also led an excellent metals workshop for Penland donors on Friday afternoon. Penland’s gallery director Kathryn Gremley and the director of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art Mark Leach along with several contributing artists presented a gallery talk previewing a number of the auction pieces.

Auctioneer Mark Oliver in action.

Penland’s resident artists welcomed patrons to their studios on Saturday morning for the ever-popular Coffee at the Barns event. Former Penland core fellow Brian McGee, along with his band, provided musical entertainment on Friday afternoon and evening. Just before the live auction on Saturday, hip hop poet Pierce Freelon delivered an outstanding performance of four short pieces inspired by a visit he made to Penland earlier this year. The weather was relatively cool, although it rained hard twice during the weekend. Nobody seemed to mind too much.

The board and staff of Penland School thanks everyone who came together to make our largest fundraising event of the year such a great success. We hope to do great things with your support.

Click here for the auction slideshow.

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Saturday at the Auction is Sold Out!

A limited number of tickets are still available for Friday, August 12th. If you want to come and have been waiting to buy your ticket, now’s the time! You can download a reservation form here, or buy your ticket by phone at 828.765.2359 ext. 40. Or, if you want in on the auction action, but can’t make the trip, you can bid absentee or by phone; you can find out all about that here.

We’ve got a slide show of the work in the auction up on our website for you to enjoy. Click here to start perusing. Or, if you prefer to size up your potential bids in a more traditional fashion, you can click here to read the online version of the complete auction catalog.


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Go Fly a Kite!

Helen Hiebert & Alyssa Salomon‘s 5th session combined papermaking and photography class, From Pulp to Print, got their studies in 19th century photographic printing on handmade paper off the ground this week with some make-your-own kite kits and a stiff breeze.

The kites were constructed of cyanotype images printed on the first batch of paper the students made in class.

The wind was strong but inconsistent, leading the class to explore the effectiveness of a running start.