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Friends in American Craft



Fabulous felter, friend, and textiles instructor Lisa Klakulak gets a writeup in the most recent American Craft.

“Lisa Klakulak’s rustic cabin in Asheville, North Carolina, is in many ways more workspace than home. Her living room is not a cozy den laden with creature comforts; instead it holds several tall work tables, shelves of craft books, bundles of wool, leaves, natural pigment dyes, seedpods, and embroidered textiles collected on various travels.

“This is where Klakulak sculpts felt into textured body adornment and sculptural works. But it’s her time away from home, teaching and touring in far-flung locales around the globe, that’s given rise to her aesthetic..”

You can click here to read the full article.




And (exaggeratedly) identical twin sculpture instructors Kyle and Kelly Phelps are profiled in the same issue.

“…The Phelps twins share a very personal artistic vision. Together they make art that puts a human face on a growing statistic – workers displaced by downsizing, outsourcing, automation, and hard times. Reminiscent of the WPA art of the 1930s, their wall-mounted, relief-style work shows men and women in moments of struggle: laid off, cast out, down but not always entirely without hope…”

You can click here to read the complete article at American Craft.


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Penlanders: Myron Cochran



“I’m from Anderson, Indiana, about half an hour north of Indianapolis. I’m the chair of the art department at Pike High School in Indianapolis; it’s a large high school, about 3000 students.

“The Eli Lily Company-they’re a drug company, best known for insulin and penicillin-has a granting program for teachers, called the Lily Teacher Creativity Grant, which focuses on teachers being renewed as people. In that renewal process, which takes place over the summer, they hope that teachers will also return as better teachers. It’s usually a $10,000 grant. The goal is to provide whatever the teacher might need for their renewal process.

“The ceramics teacher in my department wanted to study figurative sculpture; he’d hoped to go to the Kansas City Art Institute for college, because they’re known for that, but he had to stay in Indiana to afford college. He went to Herron, which has a good sculpture program, but the focus wasn’t what he was looking for. When he became a teacher, he found out about the Lily grant, so now he’s going to use it to study figurative sculpture. He applied for a workshop in Italy, which he leaves for soon, and then he’s going to be working at a foundry in South Bend, putting some more pieces of work together.  The grant is paying for all of that. I’m sure that in the sculpture and 3D classes he teaches, he’s going to be a better teacher for it.

“In my case, I wanted to do a project representing the insects of Indiana. I originally wanted to sculpt these insects, but when I saw Charity Hall’s class here at Penland (Enamel It, Set It!, 1st Session in the Metals studio), I thought that since she was representing insects in enamel applied to metal, it sounded close enough, and at the same time I received a bunch of enamels from other teachers, and I thought “Hmm, I’ve gotten all these free materials that fit a Penland class about insects… this might be too much of a coincidence to pass up.” So I had to come.

“I teach jewelry and photography. I’ve never taught metals in much depth, but this year I have an intermediate jewelry class. So as I’ve taken notes in class, I’ve made two columns: assignments for myself and assignments for my students.

“My wife, Stephanie, introduced me to Penland. She just graduated with a degree in glass from Anderson University. It was recommended to her to take classes at Penland because of the glass facilities here. She first came two years ago, and she recommended that I come, too.

“This class has been tremendous. I’ve loved it here. I had to go back home over the weekend, to attend my niece’s graduation, and I was sad when I left; it felt like I was leaving forever or something. I was just so happy to be here, with all the instruction and all the techniques that I was learning so quickly, so many that I haven’t yet had a chance to practice them all.

“The class has been a key component in my renewal project. The other students in the class – most of them are around my age, 54ish – they’re very helpful, very talented, they’re very competent, and they’ve been here more than once. A lot of times when I was stuck with a particular technique, they would jump in and say “You could finish this class a lot better if you used this,” or “I took a workshop two years ago in this technique and I think you could use it in your process.” So just being here with this high caliber of students, you learn from being around them, and from them being so helpful and engaged in the work.

“I’ll spend the rest of the summer making my insects of Indiana. I feel sort of guilty; I spent the first week here making test cells, trying out drawing with the enamel, but it wasn’t jewelry. So when I came back from my trip, I decided, “This is a jewelry class and I need to make some jewelry.” When I get home, I’ll go to the Indianapolis Arts Center which has a lot of workshops and great programming there for artists, and I’ll be making those test tiles into metal boxes. It’s going to be a good thing.

“The things that I think are really great about Penland are:

* Limited cell phone reception, so you’re not getting called by your kids or work; you can get a connection, and you can get wi-fi, but it’s a little bit harder, so you’re concentrating instead on the work that’s here.

* The slide shows. I teach photography too, so I’ve talked to the photo instructor, and I liked her presentation. It’s a good chance for someone, even if it’s not their medium, to see what others are doing and increase their vocabulary about other mediums. I think that’s been really helpful.

* Being here in the mountains, on top of a mountain, far away, being this reclusive is really great. You can’t just do a little bit and then run away, come back, and then run away again. You are actually here. This is the experience. I think it’s a life-changing program for me. My wife said it was a life-changing program for her, and I believed her. It was true; she didn’t exaggerate. So I’m very pleased to be her.

* And the food is great”

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Christmas in July: the 2013 Penland Ornament

2013 Penland School of Crafts Ornament of the Year
Created by Stacey Lane




This is the 5th in our series of annual Penland School of Crafts ornaments. We hope that each of these ornaments will capture and share the spirit of creativity that lives within the school’s community of artists and friends. So far we have had two ceramic ornaments, one glass, and one book. This year we are proud to offer the perfect ornament to represent our small metals studios!

Stacey Lane is a studio jeweler living in Bakersville, North Carolina. In addition to creating a beautiful collection of jewelry, she also works for Penland School as the Manager of Community Collaboration.  She shares her life and home with husband/potter Michael Kline, two daughters, and assorted chickens and pets.

“I have a small studio in North Carolina where I create one-of-a-kind jewelry and production work. I make custom pieces for clients incorporating their stones, metal, and personal imagery and show my work in galleries.

“I have always loved making things and thinking about art. I studied Art History at the University of Georgia in Athens. While there, I took a jewelry course with Gary Noffke and was hooked. After college, my metals education continued at Arrowmont and Penland School of Crafts. I moved to Penland in 1997 to be the metals studio coordinator, and I am still here! I now work part-time at Penland as Manager of Community Collaboration, which provides perfect balance to my studio days. I love making jewelry and continue to find magic in converting wax to metal. When I began to make my living in jewelry, I started to pay closer attention to material sources and didn’t like what I found. I looked for ways to continue working while feeling good about the process and materials, and it has been quite a journey.

“I hope that my work conveys a sense of humor, warmth and elegance. I believe in jewelry’s potential to be symbolic, sentimental, superfluous, necessary, and even hopeful. In much of my jewelry, I use the remarkable lost-wax casting process. It enables me to transform soft, pliable wax into intricate metal objects. It also makes recycling metal a natural part of the process. I leave marks on my pieces that emphasize that they are made by hands. I work primarily in silver and gold, but have been using jeweler’s bronze more lately. I am inspired by Dutch still life paintings, children’s book illustrations, poetry, ancient jewelry, food garnishes, animals, and shiny things.”

Click here to visit Stacey’s website.

If you are a fan of Stacey’s jewelry, you will immediately recognize her signature use of cast elements, pearls, and semi-precious stones.



The bird ornament is cast bronze, champagne pearls, and a faceted red drop stone.



The floral bud ornament is cast bronze, white pearls, and a faceted drop jade stone.

The ornament is approximately 4-1/4 inches high by 1-1/2 inches wide x 1/4 inches deep. They cost $50 each, plus tax (when applicable), which includes gift box packaging.
Shipping is via USPS, $5.80 for one ornament (shipping cost adjusted for more than one).
To order: Please call the gallery at 828-765-6211 or email We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards. You may also purchase an ornament in person at the Penland Gallery.

Click here to visit the Penland Gallery website.


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Why we cancelled the parade


Today is July 4. It’s the end of session three and we have an auction tonight, so we planned our annual July 4 parade, ice cream social, and fireworks extravaganza for yesterday. But yesterday was like this, pretty much all day.



This is what the Pines Portico looked like at lunch time.



Here’s the glass studio, modified with tarps after water streamed in through the front doors during a deluge last week. We’ve been having rain punctuated by thunderstorms for days on end. So we called off the parade and the fireworks and put out the word to the community telling people not to come.



But a bunch of the classes had already made costumes, so everyone reconvened after supper for ice cream and a very short indoor parade (with prizes).



These metalsmiths had spent part of the day bailing water from the back of the lower metals studio, so they paddled through the Pines wearing mop wigs.



Patriotic glassblowers.



Dancing potters.



Printmakers: inked and feathered.



And the biggest Hello Kitty we’ve ever seen.