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40 Candles


Photo above courtesy of Dan Price. Photos below by Elaine Bleakney.


This month, former core fellow Dan Price returned to Penland as a winter resident to make forty candles in the iron studio. Of course, we needed to know why.



Dan, would you tell us about the piece you’re making? 

It’s part of a series of sculptures I am making that involve contingencies. In the works, the components are all interconnected–tied together, stacked, leaning and interdependent–and the components are lifted from memorable moments in my life. This one is about my wild 40th birthday party.


How did Penland fit into your plans for making this piece? 

I actually do have a forge in Chicago, but no power hammer, so I needed to use the smithy at Penland to make the candles.



What are the next steps in your process with the sculpture? 

I am going to a manufacturer in Chicago to have a bunch of plate glass cut with a water jet cutter for the next part of the piece: a cake.


Okay, we have to ask: what was “wild” about your 40th birthday party?

It was two years ago. My neighbors roasted a lamb in the backyard. They built up a fire pit out of firebricks, and I made a steel spit in the smithy at school. We roasted the lamb and invited about 80 people. It was generally a kind of a wild party. The craziest guest shot off fireworks, throwing lit bottle rockets with her bare hands–that kind of thing. My brother was good enough to drive her home, and returned with a funny look. “Never again,” he said.


Dan Price lives and works in Chicago, where he is Chair and Assistant Professor of Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Read more about Dan and his work here.