It’s pretty common for family members to attend Penland together. But last session we had an unusual number of family groups, so we got them all together for a picture. From top to bottom: Scott Woskoff (father, clay), Zev Woskoff (son, books); Mary Fout (sister, clay), Monroe Moore (brother, clay); Sabiha Mujtaba (mother, wood instructor), Aalia Mujtaba (daughter, metals); Forrest Bacigalupi (son, brother, metals), Lori Bacigalupi (mother, drawing), Serene Bacigalupi (daughter, sister, books); Ruth Martin (mother, books), Ben Martin (son, clay). Thanks to long-time Penland student K.C. Wagner, who figured all this out and instigated this picture.
It wouldn’t be August at Penland without our biggest event of the year: the Annual Penland Benefit Auction! This year’s on August 11-12 was another rousing success and a beautiful illustration of just how vital Penland’s community is to our many programs. We owe everyone involved a giant THANK YOU—from the Penland staff, interns, core fellows, and resident artists to the event sponsors, advertisers, and donors. Hundreds of artists gave exquisite works of art, hundreds of volunteers came to clean the campus and move furniture and prepare the displays and pour the drinks, and hundreds of guests came to enjoy it all and support our programs. We couldn’t pull off the auction without the love and generosity of each and every one of these people, but together, they helped us do something incredible. Together, we raised $638,390 for Penland! This money goes to support so many aspects of our campus, from maintenance and renovations to beloved buildings like the Craft House to purchasing supplies for our studios and paying the salaries of our dedicated staff.
The benefit auction is also a time to recognize some very special people at Penland. We were lucky this year to have featured artist Vivian Beer on campus to share her work as a furniture designer, and we welcomed incoming Penland director Mia Hall under the tent with her husband David Clemons and their daughter Fiona. We also got to recognize two incredible women as our 2017 Outstanding Artist Educators: potter Cynthia Bringle and weaver Edwina Bringle. Both have been pillars of our creative community for decades, sharing their expertise, critical eye, and encouragement with generations of aspiring artists. The impact they have made on Penland is impossible to quantify, and it was truly a joy to thank them for their dedication to this place and the work that we do.
We hope the slideshow below is a fitting tribute to all the fun, the hard work, the beauty, and the camaraderie that went into this year’s auction. We’re already looking forward to doing it again with you all next year on August 10-11, 2018!
Glass is a particularly beguiling material. It’s so common around us, so everyday, and yet very few people have actually worked with glass as the scorching hot, malleable substance it is coming out of a furnace. Even then, an artist can only get to know it through a certain separation, using jacks and blocks and paddles as extensions of the fingers. The work is quick, but it takes years to develop facility and fluidity with it.
DH McNabb knows this slowly-blooming relationship as well as anyone. For nearly two decades, he’s worked with glass as a student, assistant, teacher, artist, and collaborator. It’s taken him to graduate school and around the world—Seattle, New York, Japan, Italy, Istanbul, Prague. Even now, he sees his career in glass as a process. “I am not consumed with immediate success, but instead with a long-term practice and relationship with this material,” he explains. “Glass is a communicative endeavor, at times a struggle. It is not something you master in one year or five or ten.”
All questions of mastery aside, DH has developed impressive glass skills. His portfolio of work includes neon signs, delicate stemware, orbs with shifting color gradations, sharply reflective crystal prisms, and the branching roots of a mangrove rendered in barely-green translucent glass. The ideas behind them are as varied as the works themselves: they reference history, explore light and landscape, speak to transience and memory, and investigate our perceptions of value.
This fall, DH will be coming to Penland to teach an 8-week concentration in the hot shop, and the workshop will have loads to offer aspiring and established glass artists alike. Titled (in)between, it will start by establishing a vocabulary of shapes and solid communication as the foundations for a wide range of directions in glass. Students will be encouraged to explore the forms and ideas that interest them, from functional goblets to conceptual sculptures. Nothing could sum it up better than the final line of DH’s course description: “We’ll assist each other, we’ll fail together, and somewhere through this we’ll succeed with our own material voice.”
Registration is currently open for (in)between and Penland’s other fall workshops. A handful of scholarships are also available for concentrations in glass, clay, metals, photography, and wood. Apply now and join us in the studios this September 24 – November 17!
DH McNabb September 24 – November 17, 2017
This workshop will be a journey that teeters between art and design. We’ll start by making and replicating basic shapes and then venture into other shapes that will become part of each individual’s voice. We’ll experience making from both sides of the pipe, learning what the assistant can do to better help the maker and what the maker can do to better communicate with the assistant. We’ll cover a range of color applications and discover new ones. Techniques will include cane, murrine, incalmo, and folding. Readings, drawing, walks, and other activities will help you conjure ideas from functional usefulness to thought-provoking concepts. We’ll assist each other, we’ll fail together, and somewhere through this we’ll succeed with our own material voice. All levels. Studio fee: $140. Code F00GA
DH McNabb is a studio artist who has taught at Centre College (KY), Pilchuck Glass School (WA), and the Chrysler Museum (VA). His work has been exhibited in spaces including 12 Gallery (Norway), a space (NYC), and Steel Yard Gallery (RI) and is in the collections of the Corning Museum (NY) and Fondation Hermés (Paris).
There’s something special that happens in the wood studio over the course of a workshop. Students find the patience and focus to work intensely on just a few, longer-term projects rather than a large number of clay pots or a collection of forged utensils. Powerful shop saws transform from intimidating blurs of teeth into efficient and flexible tools. And a new level of precision emerges: the 1/8″ and 1/16″ increments that most of us think in now seem hopelessly clumsy to eyes and brains that have re-calibrated to think to at least the nearest 1/64″.
It’s certainly not magic that allows a solid, artfully-proportioned table or chair to emerge from a rough-sawn pile of lumber, but it can seem like it. That’s why this fall, we’re lucky to have Christina Boy coming to Penland to give students in the woodshop an in-depth opportunity to work through the furniture making process—not once, but a few times over. Her eight-week concentration is appropriately titled Design. Build. Repeat. and it will focus on developing woodworking skills through making multiples.
As the owner of a one-woman furniture studio in Madison, Virginia, Christina is perfectly positioned to teach students not just how to design and build a chair, but how to fine-tune the design/build process so that making a dozen chairs is as efficient as possible. Over her years in the shop, she has perfected a handful of signature designs that she can make, remake, and remix into new pieces. Her Stool 33, for example, has a hexagonal top made from three sections of wood. Christina can alter the stool’s look by changing the finish or the color of the legs, but she can also use it to make new pieces. One top on the wall becomes a coat rack, and six arranged together in a ring become a honeycomb coffee table. It’s a beautiful approach that creates both efficiency and harmony in her designs.
Design. Build. Repeat. is equally well suited to new students who want to try their hands at woodworking and experienced woodworkers who want to focus on their design skills or learn about small batch production. It will run in the Penland wood studio September 24 – November 17, 2017. Registration is currently open to students of all levels. Read the full course description below, and then join us in the shop!
Design. Build. Repeat.
Christina Boy September 24 – November 17, 2017
While learning the fundamentals of woodworking technique, tools, and safety, we’ll dive into the process of making multiples. Each student will design a limited line of products from concept to completion: sketching, designing, drafting, making the necessary templates and jigs, and building prototypes for the purpose of understanding the steps of small batch production. Demonstrations will cover basic woodworking skills and will continue in depth based on the needs of each student’s designs and projects. All levels. Studio fee: $155. Code F00W
Christina Boy is a studio artist and former Penland core fellow. She has taught at Arrowmont (TN), Chestnut Creek School of the Arts (VA), and Orange County Libraries (VA) and is represented by Troika Contemporary Craft Gallery (VA) and the Penland Gallery. Her work has been exhibited at La Difference (VA), Penland’s Focus Gallery, Southern Highlands Craft Guild (NC), and Crossroads Gallery (VA).