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Summer classes are online now


Penland catalog cover
This is what the cover of the Penland catalog looks like.

The Penland 2013 summer catalog will be mailed on January 3 or 4, but there’s no need to wait–all of our summer workshop information is available online now. You can peruse our one- and two-week summer offerings organized by studio or by session. (The studio listings include everything that’s currently scheduled, beginning with spring classes, so be sure to scroll down a bit to find our summer classes.)

As usual, most workshops are open to students of all skill levels: our generous instructors will meet you wherever you are. With 105 classes in a broad range of media, this summer at Penland covers an extraordinary range of topics, from pewtersmithing, functional pottery, fresco painting, making steel garden tools, and weaving with locally-harvested kudzu fibers to a class that exploring the space between still photography and video, a writing workshop, a class in business for artists, and three classes (two in metals and one in wood) combining craft materials with sensors, motors, sound, light, and microcontrollers.

Here at Penland we are dedicated to helping people live creative lives, and we think one of the best ways to enhance your creative life is to spend a couple of weeks completely immersed in something that inspires you. If you can do that surrounded by other people with a similar passion, and you’ve got someone making nice meals for you, well, it’s hard to think of anything better.

Scholarship application deadline is February 15: We are pleased to be able to offer hundreds of scholarships in several different categories. Complete scholarship information is here.

Lottery deadline is February 11: Although most applicants for Penland classes are enrolled in the class they want, a few very popular classes get a lot more applications than there are spaces available. To give everyone a shot at those classes, we treat all applications received by February 11 equally. After that, spaces are filled on a  first-come, first-served basis. We will start posting a list of open summer classes in April and keep enrolling students right on through the summer.

We hope to see you this summer.

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What summer at Penland looks like

This is another one of the series of 360-degree panoramic photos made at Penland by photographer Christopher Ellenbogen. This one was taken next to the volleyball court, so as you scroll around you can see The Pines, meadow, the Dye Shed, and the clay studios. If you take a class at Penland this summer, it might look just like this. The controller in the upper left corner will let you zoom in and out and scroll horizontally and vertically. You can also click in and out of full-screen view. Here’s a link to the big version on the 360 Cities website where you will find all of Chris’s Penland panoramas.


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Camera Obscura: Pinhole Workshop at Penland

Pinhole camera workshop
Students pose in front of a handmade pinhole camera during a one day photography workshop at Penland School of Crafts, taught by Robin Dreyer. From left to right: Anina van der Vorst, Hope Henson, Priscilla Bonner, Megan Banks, Abbigayle Atkins, David Martinez .

When we take a photograph, we are capturing the light that is reflected off of something. Imagine a person wearing a cap. The sunlight hits the cap in a straight line and bounces off the cap at a 90 degree angle. The light that bounces off is the image that we see. When we take a photograph it is that light that exposes photosensitive chemicals to make an image.  This all might sound very theoretical, but when working with a pinhole camera, the basic functions of photography become exposed (no pun intended). Recently, Mitchell County high school students were invited to participate in a free photography workshop on the Penland School of Crafts campus. The workshop, conducted by Robin Dreyer, focused on pinhole photography. The Penland photography studio was set-up with equipment for students to take, develop, and experiment with pinhole photography.

To make your own camera obscura, follow these simple steps:

1. Cover the inside of a large aluminum can with black spray paint.

2. Drill a ¼ inch hole into the side.

3. Cut a 2 x 2 inch piece of pie tin and poke a tiny hole in it with a needle.

4. Sand the hole to remove any debris.

5. Place the pie tin over the larger drilled hole and secure it with masking tape to ensure light is only coming through the tiny pin hole.

6. Place a removable piece of tape over the pinhole to temporarily block light.

7. Create a top using an opaque material secured with a rubber band.

8. Inside a dark room, Place photo sensitive paper into the can and secure the lid on the can.

9. On a sunny day, find a brightly lit scene and pull back the removable piece of tape for four seconds exposing the pin hole.

10. Find a friend with a dark room to develop the photo.

11. Enjoy your pinhole picture!

Shannon Moon, Community Collaborations

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Announcing Four New Core Students!

New core fellowship students 2013
(L to R) Audrey Bell, Sarah Brown, Angela Eastman, and Will Lentz


It’s time for our favorite blog post of the year, when we get to tell you about the new group of core fellowship students who will be joining us in a few short months. Selected from a pool of over a hundred applicants, these four talented young people will spend the next two years cooking our meals, washing our dishes, weeding our gardens, hosting our dance parties, cleaning our campus, and amazing us with their inimitable energy, verve, and creative output.

Audrey Bell has a BA in Anthropology and Studio Art from Williams College in Massachusetts, and took a class at Penland this summer with resident artist Tom Shields followed by a fall concentration in wood. As a core fellow, she plans to take classes in wood, metals, photography and other 2-D media. Most recently, Audrey was an intern at the Center for Documentary Studies in Durham, North Carolina. Her long-term goal is to be an art and artifact conservator and artist; she’s interested in pursuing graduate studies in material culture and conservation.

Sarah Brown has committed herself to learning on the job, working as a studio assistant for several Seattle metalsmiths including former core fellow Sarah Loertscher. She has expanded her education with classes here at Penland and at Pratt Institute in Seattle. Sarah plans to focus in the metals studios while at Penland and eventually become a studio jeweler and run her own business.

Angela Eastman has a BA in Studio Art from Colorado College. She plans to concentrate in iron, clay, and paper but hopes to take advantage of many studios while a core fellow. Angela has been a studio assistant at Anderson Ranch in Colorado and Odyssey Center for Ceramics in Asheville, North Carolina, and eventually hopes to make a living as a teaching artist and designer with a material focus.

Will Lentz recently earned a BA in Studio Art from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas and is now seeking a flexible learning environment in order to gain technical skills that will help him realize his ideas. He plans to primarily take classes in Penland’s 3-D studios, focusing on iron, metals, glass, and clay.

We can’t wait to meet them!

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Extra Special Bonus Spring Workshops!

Penland's 2013 Extra Spring Workshops
Clockwise from top: work by Paulus Berensohn, Edwina Bringle, Nick Wheeler, Tom Spleth, Lisa Pressman, Marvin Jensen, Neal Rantoul, Steve Rosenthal, and Peter Vanderwarker


We’ve added several extra-special one- and two-week classes to our spring schedule! Workshops include ceramic slip casting, beginning metalwork, encaustic painting, architectural photography, weaving, and an interdisciplinary class on mindfulness and service in the craft arts.

March 10-16, 2013 in the clay studio:

Slow and Savor: Mindfulness and Service in the Craft Arts with Paulus Berensohn and Caverly Morgan

March 24-30, 2013 in the drawing and painting studio:

Exploring Encaustic Painting with Lisa Pressman

April 7-20, 2013 in the clay studio:

Molds for Slipcasting, Press Molding, or Handbuilding with Tom Spleth

April 21-27, 2013

in the metals studio:

Beginning Metals with Marvin Jensen

in the photography studio:

Architectural Photography Master Class with Neal Rantoul, Steve Rosenthal, Nick Wheeler, Peter Vanderwarker

in the weaving studio:

Loom Play with Edwina Bringle


Interested? Click here for complete information about these late additions to our spring 2013 schedule.

And you can click here for information about our complete spring 2013 course offerings.


Questions? Contact the Penland registrar’s office by phone at (828) 765-2359 extension 15, or by email at

Spring is such a lovely time up here on the mountain. We hope you’ll join us for one of these exciting new workshops!