Summer at Penland is serious studio time, but it’s also so much more—the views, the people, the porch sits and volleyball games, the new ideas, the focus, the late nights, the energy, the community. The entire experience can be hard to put into words, so we were honored to have a crew from Charlotte here last summer to distill some of it into a short TV segment.
We’re in the final week of clay winter residencies, which means a flurry of glazing and firing and a lot of full tables. A quick visit to the upper clay studio yesterday revealed two very different approaches to surface decoration. Above, core fellow Eleanor Anderson goes big with color and pattern and waxes and underglaze. Below, winter resident Irvin Carsten keeps his cleanly angled forms a bit more muted.
If you’ll be around campus this Friday, February 16, stop by the clay studio at 5 PM for the final show and tell of ceramic work—this year’s residents have been prodigious!
Will Maguire, from Elderslie, Australia, and Sven Bauer, from Womrath, Germany, spent the last two weeks of January in the Penland iron shop as part of this year’s winter residency. They met a decade ago when they worked for a time in the same blacksmith’s shop in England. After returning to their respective countries and being out of touch for a few years, they reconnected through their mutual friend Rick Smith, who is a Penland instructor and a former resident artist. Rick had told both of them about Penland, and they decided to use the winter residency as a chance to work together again.
“We work in small shops by ourselves, and this was a good chance to do some work around other people,” Will said. Their plan was to make collaborative work, but the projects they set up for themselves didn’t really gel. The attempt did result, however, in great conversations and useful critiques. And everyone who passed through the studio could attest to the fact that they each made some beautiful work.
Asked why they wanted to have this reunion at Penland, Sven answered, “I don’t know of any place in Europe where we could do this—to be able to do an artist residency of a few weeks in a shop with this kind of equipment. This does not exist for blacksmithing. There are programs like this for musicians, writers, and painters, but not for what we do. It’s also been great to visit the other shops, see what everyone else is doing, and talk to people working on other mediums with a similar intent.”
They expect to meet up at Penland again, and we hope they will.
On December 31, 2017, Jean McLaughlin retired as Penland’s executive director, a position she had held since May, 1998. During her two decades at Penland School of Crafts, Jean led the school through a remarkable time of change, growth, and stabilization.
This is a slideshow assembled as part of a tribute to Jean at her last board of trustees meeting in November, 2017.
You can read more about Jean here and about her successor, Mia Hall, here.
Update, March 14. Here is a piece that Jean wrote about her time at Penland, published on the Craftschools.us blog.