Posted on

Steel for Jewelers with Sarah Holden | March 23-29, 2014

Sarah Holden wearing her Do-It-Yourself necklace. Image courtesy of the artist.
Sarah Holden wearing her Do-It-Yourself necklace. Image courtesy of the artist.


I began using steel because of its ability to maintain strength in larger objects as well as its material associations. My workshop will be geared toward incorporating steel with precious metals and looking at steel for jewelry–but it will also cover using patterned steel for larger-scale sculptural objects.


Sarah Holden
Steel for Jewelers
In the metals studio
Students in this workshop will explore steel at the scale of jewelry. We’ll start by welding or soldering wire together to make sheets of patterned steel that will then be formed into spheres, cones, cubes, or your own unique voluminous shapes. We’ll cover pattern development and material behavior as well as patinas, preservation, and incorporating steel into jewelry designs. 
All levels. Code S01MB


Register here for this workshop


I continue to be inspired by historic women who challenge the status quo and impact culture.  I’ve started a new body of work that focuses on Queen Elizabeth I of England and the coded iconography in the system of portraits  created during her reign. She is known for her voluminous lace collars, dresses dripping with pearls, refusing to get married, and ‘ruling with an iron fist.’ I’m creating lace in steel, and drowning myself in images of lace, lace patterns and lace objects.–Sarah Holden



Sarah Holden is a Chicago-based metalsmith and jeweler. She has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Evanston Art Center (IL), and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Her work has been shown in exhibitions at Velvet da Vinci (CA), Brooklyn Metal Works (NY), Kohler Arts Center (WI), and the Society for Contemporary Craft (PA).


Posted on

Winter Studio Visit: Sarah Brown



Opening the freezing door to the upper metals studio last week, we were met by Penland core fellow Sarah Brown and her meticulous landscape of metals, molds, notes, and materials. She was playing Radiohead, which matched the mood exactly; entering Sarah’s work space is to enter an unpredictable and mysterious world of particulars.




During her solo studio time this winter, Sarah is experimenting with the viscosity of rhinestones. In one ring, a set opaque rhinestone with droplets of sterling silver and white rhinestone protrudes like a small undiscovered planet from a band. (The line between setting and stone wonderfully eroded.) The rhinestone is frozen in a semi-molten state, the facets overwhelmed by encroaching droplets. The whole thing seems doomed to devour itself (Sarah is calling it the “exploded rhinestone ring.”) Many of Sarah Brown’s pieces instantly project the dramas of matter.

And there’s an intense method to her magic. Sarah’s using her winter to focus on the grounding elements of jewelry production—perfecting prototypes for her pieces and her own molds—and giving time to this process before moving on to replication. She gives credit and thanks to Penlander and metalsmith Adam Whitney for helping her create a strategy for the winter. One need only to take a look at the whiteboard above her work space to know: Sarah Brown is an artist who means business.




Photographs by Robin Dreyer, writing by Elaine Bleakney

Posted on

An Expansive Vision


Dan Gottlieb, Bosphorus Ferry Terminal, Istanbul, archival inkjet print, 21 x 21 inches, 2010


On February 2, a special exhibition will open in support of Penland’s new photography studio.  An Expansive Vision: Photographers Working for Penland will culminate in a live auction of a wide-range of works by photographers with Penland connections and affinities. Absentee bids are encouraged.


Dan Gottlieb’s photograph taken in a terminal ferry in Istanbul (above), is one of the works included in An Expansive Vision. About the photograph, Dan writes:

This piece is part of a long series of (non)documentation of places of deep immersion—in this case, Istanbul. Small cameras act as an extension of my body’s movement, recording not conventional information but my own presence moving through time and place. Light, like memory and time is bent and blurred. The frame is my own design (patent pending), as a way to ‘preserve’ the immaterial in a sort of Riker Box.–Dan Gottlieb


The exhibition and auction will be hosted by Ellen Cassilly and Frank Konhaus at their Chapel Hill, NC residence, gallery and residency space, Cassilhaus. If you’re in the Triangle area, an opening reception featuring a gallery talk by Robin Dreyer (whose work is included in the show) will take place on Sunday, February 2, at 2:00 pm. If you would like to attend, please contact Frank Konhaus directly at to RSVP.

The exhibition is also open by appointment leading up to the auction, February 2-March 2. Cassilhaus will host a live auction on Sunday, March 2, and absentee bids are encouraged. Please take a look at the full details for how to place bids from afar and an auction catalog, here.

Below are a few more of the works (and statements about these works) provided by the artists for An Expansive Vision:


Alida Fish, Nautilus with Bug, gelatin silver print with hand painting, 16 x 20 inches, 1985


This piece was shot in the summer while I was teaching a workshop at Penland. I had Morgan house to myself one afternoon and looked around for inspiration. The nautilus shell was borrowed from Evon Streetman, the pods and the beetle I found near the porch steps. For me this work symbolizes the beauty and inspiration I often find at Penland. It was printed in the darkroom: it is a black and white silver print. The insect is hand-painted with enamel paint.–Alida Fish


John Pfahl, Big Dipper (Charlotte, North Carolina), archival inkjet print, 8 x 10 inches, 1976


This photograph is part of the Altered Landscape series. About a dozen workshop participants helped set up sparklers in a cornfield near the home of photographer Martha Strawn.–John Pfahl


David Spear, Juana Paloma, Mexico, 1998, gelatin silver print, 18 x 18 inches, 1998


This photograph was made in the desert along Highway 59, the main North/South highway in Mexico near the city of Matahuala. I saw this young girl with the raven lying on the ground sleeping, the raven tied to a stick next to her. I asked her mother if I could make a photograph and she agreed. Juana stood up and held the raven. I made several photographs. Later in the darkroom, I could see that the resulting photograph was quite startling. Innocence and innocence lost all at the same moment, the heroic face set against a hard world. She touches people in ways that they have not plumbed. She brings out the goodness in people here.–David Spear


An Expansive Vision: Photographs Working for Penland’s Future features work by Kyle Bajakian, Courtney Dodd, Chris Peregoy, David Spear, Ralph Burns, James Henkel, Benjamin Porter, Jim Stone, Shane Darwent, Russell Jeffcoat, John Pfahl, Evon Streetman, Robin Dreyer, Keith Johnson, Brook Reynolds, Harry Taylor, Dan Estabrook, Naima Merella, Holly Roberts, Sarah Van Keuren, Alida Fish, E. Vincent Martinez, Linda Foard Roberts, Caroline Hickman Vaughan, Lisa A. Frank, Elizabeth Matheson, Alyssa C. Salomon, David H. Wells, Dan Gottlieb, John Menapace, MJ Sharp, John Woodin, David Graham, Jeannie Pearce, and Jerry Spagnoli–and is sponsored by Ellen Cassilly and Frank Konhaus, Jefferson Holt, Light Art+Design, Barbara McFadyen and Douglass Phillips, Kaola and Frank Phoenix, and Allen Thomas.


Posted on 3 Comments

Introducing Penland’s 2014 Core Fellows

Beginning in February, five new core fellows will spend the next two years (2014-2016) living and working at Penland, pursuing skills and new directions. They will join returning fellows Audrey Bell, Sarah Brown, Angela Eastman, and Will Lentz. A warm welcome to:


Jamie Karolich


Jamie Karolich 

Jamie currently operates a small neighborhood press in Lexington, Kentucky. A winter print resident at Penland in 2010, Jamie has also served as a studio assistant for Penland resident artist Rachel Meginnes and as an intern in Penland’s print and letterpress studios.  As a core fellow, Jamie is hoping to develop skills in printmaking, letterpress, and bookbinding and learn as much as she can about properly running a studio. She also plans to experiment in textiles, metals, and ceramics. Jamie earned a BFA from East Kentucky University in 2010. For more about Jamie, visit her website:



Josh Kovarik

Joshua Kovarik

Originally from North Carolina, Josh has spent the past several years in Portland, Oregon working as a ceramics tech and studio assistant. In 2007 he was a resident artist at Odyssey Center for Ceramics Arts in Asheville. At Penland, Josh is planning on splitting his time between both two- and three-dimensional classes, with a focus on drawing, painting, and ceramics. Josh combines a technical interest in glazes and harvested materials with an intuitive, sculptural approach to both drawing and handbuilt ceramics. He earned a BFA in drawing and ceramics from Oregon College of Art and Craft in 2011. More about Josh:




Meghan Martin

Meghan Martin

Meghan will make the move to Penland from Vermont. Last spring, she was a student in LeeAnn Mitchell’s iron workshop at Penland. As a core fellow, Meghan is hoping to develop both traditional and contemporary craft skills; she’s interested in both functional and sculptural metalworking. Meghan has held several apprenticeships and assistantships working in professional blacksmith shops and studios. In addition to Penland, she has taken workshops at Haystack and John C. Campbell Folk School.




Emily Rogstad


Emily Rogstad 

Also making the move from Vermont to Penland is Emily Rogstad. With a focus in metals, Emily hopes to continue strengthening her work, pick up new skills, and have “an expansive, integrative experience.” Emily’s work combines a range of materials—both traditional and non-traditional—with a strong understanding of metalsmithing techniques to make evocative objects and wearable sculpture about memory, intuition, and value. Emily received a BFA in metals from Maine College of Art in 2013.





Tyler StollTyler Stoll

Tyler will relocate to Penland from Durham, NC. He recently completed a fall eight-week workshop in Penland’s clay studio with Karen Newgard and Liz Sparks. As a core fellow, Tyler plans to continue a focus in clay and also explore wood and iron. His number one reason to come to Penland: “To be around developing artists with focus, energy, and passion to create and explore.” Tyler completed an ABA in Environmental Studies and a Bachelor of Music from Oberlin College in 2011. And, we’d like to add, he’s a member of our hands-down absolute favorite Talking Heads cover band.



To our soon-to-depart core fellows Zee Boudreaux, Molly Spadone, Mike Krupiarz, Liz Koerner, and Rachel Mauser: we’re not ready to say goodbye just yet!



Posted on

Goodbye, Polar Vortex. Hello, Summer at Penland.



From a deep freeze, Penland’s 2014 summer catalog has arrived. Workshop descriptions are now online: by studio and by session.

The cover (a photograph by Wes Stitt) features core fellow Angela Eastman. Last summer, Angela decided to braid the tall grasses along the edge of a mowed circle in the Penland meadow. The circle surrounds a pear tree. It’s hard to imagine, in this winter frame of mind, doing something as carefree and intentional.

But open the Penland summer catalog: here are 107 chances for making something new and experiencing carefree intentions. Ralph Waldo Emerson probably described it best–the feeling of what can happen when you’re creating, inside the studio and out. This is from his great essay “Circles”:


The one thing which we seek with insatiable desire is to forget ourselves, to be surprised out of our propriety, to lose our sempiternal memory and to do something without knowing how or why; in short to draw a new circle. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. The way of life is wonderful. It is by abandonment.

Download the catalog here.