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Penland Everywhere: Session 1

The hardest thing about not holding workshops this summer is knowing that so many of you are missing out on the incredible interactions and relationships and skill building that time at Penland fosters. We believe there’s no substitute for this intense, in-person learning. But we also know that, wherever they are, our instructors are a generous group with a lot to teach and share. So, in that spirit, we’re checking in with a handful of them who would have been here teaching at the start of our summer sessions. We hope their words, images, and short videos light a creative spark in you—may you nourish it until the next time we can be together in the studios again! #PenlandEverywhere

Susan Goethel Campbell

Session 1 Drawing—Investigations in Materiality


I miss being part of the creative community at Penland this year. Since the pandemic I have been printing, making short videos and bending branches around the corners of my studio. There is something about a stick at 90-degree angle that feels so wrong and unnatural that somehow feels right. Some days I am completely focused in the studio and know where I am headed. On other days I am restless, totally lost and wander from one project to the next.

Sometimes being stuck, however frustrating, is a good thing. I have been reflective about my work, humanity and how we are all connected. My agitation has kept me moving and I have gotten back in touch with what really drives my creative practice. Exploring new materials with no particular outcome in mind is one of those places. With exhibitions postponed and projects cancelled having time to play has been a gift.

Wishing everyone good health and abundant creativity.

Andrea Donnelly

Session 1 Textiles—Woven Cloth, Raw Material

Andrea Donnelly's studio

Right now I’m working on a series of three large-scale collages made from cloth I wove and dyed by hand. These works combine the slow, methodical and thoroughly planned process of weaving, which I use to create raw material for collage with the spontaneous and playful puzzle-like creation of the final piece. Because the handwoven cloth is so dense it has a real weight and presence as a material, and putting the cut pieces together truly feels like building or sculpting.

When I started this series (still working on the title), I had a few things in mind that have been guiding the work: landscape, mountains, language, atmosphere, air, ice and water, chaos and order. I began this work a few months before quarantine, with seven huge panels of handwoven cloth in whites and creams of seven different materials (cotton warp woven with: linen, alpaca, bleached cotton, natural cotton, mohair, silk, and merino), which I overdyed in seven colors. Those cloths were then divided for the three large collages: the one you see on the wall is the largest and only vertical of the three, the other two are landscape orientation. The second one is finished and partially rolled up on the table, and I’m about to start on the third from the remaining pieces!

Lynn Duryea

Session 1 Clay—Stretch the Limit

sculptural ceramics in Lynn Duryea's studio

This is an image of my work space at Sawyer Street Studios in South Portland ME, a ceramics facility I purchased and renovated with three other women artists in 1988. We’re still going strong after all these years! The work you see here is from my most recent firing. All of my pieces are slab constructed with glazes and slips applied in layers, fired to 04 in oxidation. My reference is to various kinds of structures, some as small as letters of the alphabet, others large scale architectural and industrial forms. The idea is to refer rather than replicate. Tarpaper is an integral part of my idea generation and working process, used as maquette, template and mold. The patterns you see in the back left help me to envision 3-D form. A visit to my website will show you closer images of pieces, most of which are primarily clay, but some incorporate other materials.

Christoph Friedrich

Session 1 Iron—From Technique to Ideas

In German usage, a metal designer is also called an artist blacksmith—that means blacksmith and art, or craft and design, or hand and head, or art and skill.

As an artisan, it is very important to me personally that I first make sure that I have the techniques to realize my ideas with my hands. So, on the drawing board, I already have certain steps of realization in mind. However, this is not always possible, especially if the idea is completely new. I first try to create the idea in a different, softer material and then use a metal model to get closer to the original. Many of my works were created as models before I made the original in the workshop.

I would have liked to follow this approach in my workshop at Penland: Get to know techniques and then create an idea from head to hand.

Jeana Eve Klein

Session 1 Textiles—Say It Softly

weavings with household objects by Jeana Eve Klein

In an alternate reality, right now I would be immersed in the intensity of studio practice, the richness of relationships, and the abundance of fantastic food that is Penland. I would be teaching Say It Softly, a workshop driven by my own studio work of the last three years. We would be translating words into physical textile forms with processes like appliqué, reverse appliqué, piecing, embroidery, and embellishment (with loads of sequins). Instead, I am making masks and preparing to teach weaving at Appalachian State University as it was never intended: online.

I can only mentally justify my creative practice right now if it in some way gives something to others. Part of that drive has resulted in masks to give away (though certainly not at the same mass scale as so many artists right now), but a larger part has been modeling for my weaving students that the woven world is bigger than looms.

When my students at Appalachian State University left for spring break, their first major projects were almost finished on their looms. They had just started learning the language of weaving in January, and were ready to start speaking in visual sentences when their progress was halted. I promised to show them that weaving can happen anywhere and with anything, and so—in the last two months of the semester—I wove patterns (both complex and simple) throughout my home, using the obvious choices of fabric and yarn, but also things like tights, exercise equipment, spaghetti, and toilet paper in temporary installations. This practice was incredibly cathartic for me. It challenged that side of my brain that craves problem-solving and physical making, while providing what feels like meaningful examples to my students.

Now, I am preparing for the next iteration of weaving instruction, this time 100% online in a condensed five-week summer session. After teaching weaving on treadle looms for years, I am rethinking the entire woven world, and—for the first time—preparing instructional videos for my students. I am also considering how to respond to the incredible limitations of teaching and learning in this format: there is no direct physical interaction, there is no studio community, there is no yarn inventory. I am certain that the class will not be perfect, but I am also certain that my thinking and teaching about weaving will be forever changed.

My studio is a hot mess right now, with half-finished projects scattered everywhere and finished work layered on the walls, as daily reminders of canceled exhibitions. Fabric from my extensive stash is washed, ironed, cut, and/or sewn as it makes the slow transformation into masks. Yarn—from the scrap bin of the ASU fibers studio—blocks my path through the room as I obsessively, painstakingly disentangle and organize it to send off to my summer weaving students. I have no idea when “normal” will return, nor what my “real” studio work will look like when it does. For now, though, I am content to make a tiny contribution toward simply surviving this time, and am grateful to have the space and resources to do so.

Yuri Kobayashi

Session 1 Clay—Expedition to Curves

in-process and completed chair by Yuri Kobayashi

Music and chocolate keep spirits uplifted.
Muse and stupidity approach in the wee hours.
All the cards are held in my hand.
Playing with the game helps to shape the quality of my life.

Born and raised in Japan and now resident in the U.S., I am fascinated by the universality of human nature, on the one hand, and its unique individuality, on the other. My work inevitably reflects on my own personality, experiences, feelings, and beliefs. The discipline of Japanese ethics, aesthetics, and culture was embedded in me before I recognized it. Drawing on these cultural roots, my technical training, and decades of making, I seek to bridge the structure of the traditional craft and the freedom of contemporary art and design.

Whether I am channeling my inner chaos into an abstract sculptural form or a functional decorative object, the challenge is how to embed poetic qualities in work. Fabricating in wood with my own two hands is as essential to me as breathing. It is how I think, how I shape my life, how I relate to the world. In the hope of sharing compassion, encouragement, and inspiration, I play my hand as best I can.

Lindsay Oesterritter

Session 1 Clay—Innovation: One Pot at a Time

two pots by Lindsay Oesteritter, one with apples and one with her child inside

Recently my studio practice has slowed down as I ramped up watching my two kids full time. Catching a few hours each day has changed the way I have approached my creative time. Reading more poetry, working on pots for the garden, visiting ideas that have been on the back burner, and enjoying my kitchen pots even more. Unlike a lot of my colleagues, I am finding that because of the kids, I am away from the computer way more than usual. This means my emails take a little longer to get responded to and I am not synced into all the zoom possibilities, but I am engaging in my home space in a way that I have not since we moved here 5 years ago. Anyways, all this to say- I miss you and look forward to face to face connections soon. Be well. Lindsay

Holly Walker

Session 1 Clay—Stretch the Limit

Holly Walker in her studio

It’s so easy to assume that life will continue as we imagine it will. Maybe the challenge of our changing lives is to become more comfortable with the unknown. After a bit of a roller coaster ride, I feel my equilibrium and buoyancy returning. I seek solace in my studio, and feel so fortunate to have this life of clay already established, and a safe place to explore and imagine. Seeking beauty and working with color is especially uplifting. Daily rambles outside have led me to explore some of the old cemeteries in the area. I find the strolls peaceful, cementing relationships between the past, the present and the future. The two jars fronting this image are the first in a series responding to the grace and simplicity of grave monuments. The new memory I’m adopting is that this space between us all can hold humor, delight, surprise, new solutions, and thinking before action or words.

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Naming the Clay Studio

For decades, Bobby Kadis has been one of Penland’s greatest friends: a donor, an advisor, a board member (four terms!), and, above all, a student. Bobby has taken clay workshops at Penland every year for the past 43 years. After he made a substantial gift to the studio during the Preserve Penland Campaign in 2001, a decision was made to name the clay studio in his honor. However, he didn’t want his name on the studio while he was still taking workshops.

Following a number of years of treatment for gradually advancing cancer, Bobby recently decided that he no longer had the energy for clay workshops. Everyone at Penland was saddened by this news, and it also meant the time had come to formally name the Bobby Kadis Clay Studio. The naming was held on March 14, just before we all stopped traveling or gathering. It was attended by Bobby and his wife Claudia and their immediate family, plus a small group of Penland staff and neighbors.

After brief remarks, director Mia Hall removed a clay-stained towel to reveal a beautiful mosaic sign made by Penland’s clay studio coordinator Susan Feagin. The sign incorporates pieces from some of Bobby’s pots, including one with his signature. Many of Bobby’s friends were not able to be there, so we made this video to share the special afternoon with everyone who missed it.

To the Kadis family, thank you for your unending support for Penland. And to Bobby, a giant hug and a giant thank you for your wise counsel, for the time and energy you have invested in Penland and the whole North Carolina arts community, and for giving us all an example of how to live a creative life. We’re proud and delighted that our clay studio now wears your name.

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Coming Right Up: Glass

two students at the torch in the Penland flame studio

For those who are new to it, glass is one of the most mysterious and mesmerizing materials we work with at Penland. It’s always thrilling to introduce students to our glass studios and help them transform glass from something rigid and fragile into a material that’s flexible and open to a world of possibilities. And the good news is that the learning just keeps going—there’s always something new to pick up and explore, even for experienced glass artists!

This spring, students in our studios will have the opportunity to approach glass from two different vantages. In the hot shop, glass is fluid and fast, a full-body team effort. Next door in the flame studio, glass is layered, additive, zoomed in. Whichever angle you take, and whether it’s for one week or eight, a Penland glass workshop is a chance to dive in head first and push yourself with new ideas and techniques alongside a studio full of like-minded peers.

Registration for both of the following workshops is open now for students of all levels, including beginners. Sign up today!

two glass sculptures by Ben Elliott
Ben Elliott, “Bandwagon” (left) and “Stitch” (right), both flameworked glass with mixed-media

Ebb & Flow with Ben Elliott
One week – March 22-28, 2020
Join glass artist and instructor Ben Elliott in the flame studio for a week of building stories with borosilicate glass. Students will spend time at the torch learning and refining techniques like creating solid and hollow forms, applying color, using blow molds, and assembling pieces. Together with a class emphasis on narrative and imagery, these techniques will become the building blocks for creating pieces that speak with your own artistic voice. Come see just how much inspiration a single week can spark!

glass sculpture and wine glasses by Dan Mirer
Dan Mirer, “Bubble Orb” (left) and “Burgundies” right, blown glass

Intentions & Inventions with Dan Mirer
Eight weeks – March 8 – May 1, 2020
Go deep with thoughtful design during eight weeks of intensive glass work in the hot shop. Instructor Dan Mirer will use his expertise to guide students in creating considered, refined objects. The workshop will encourage a curious, problem-solving mindset as students blow glass and create a variety of molds to bring their designs to life. Students will also be encouraged to bring cold working, kiln forming, and flame working into their processes. Both beginners and experienced glass artists will discover challenges and possibilities that stretch their work in new directions.

We still have one partial scholarship available for Dan’s workshop!

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Photo of the Week: It’s in the Mail!

penland summer catalogs on a table

The Penland summer catalog was mailed late last week. If you are on our mailing list and haven’t gotten yours yet, it should be landing in your mailbox very soon. If you want to peruse all of our summer offerings right now, you can do that right here (listed by studio) or here (listed by session).

Regular registration begins at noon EST on Monday, January 13. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, and must be done using our online registration system. Registration information is here.

The scholarship application is available now, with a February 17 deadline. Scholarship information is here.

If you are not on our mailing list and would like to request a catalog, call 828-765-2359 or send an e-mail to info@penland.org.

See you this summer!

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Summer Scholarships 101

group photo of a printmaking class all holding up different tools

Every year, roughly half of the students in Penland workshops are here through some type of scholarship. These scholarships are deeply important to our school and our community; they allow hundreds of motivated, talented, dedicated people to be part of Penland who would otherwise not have a chance to learn here. It makes the Penland experience richer for everyone.

Still, with that many scholarships available, we’re the first to admit that it can be a little complicated to find the best fit for you. Read on for clarity!

First, let’s start with the details that all scholarships have in common:

– All scholarship applications will be available beginning January 1 and are due by 11:59 PM Eastern time on February 17.

– All scholarship applications must be made online at penland.slideroom.com.

– All scholarship applications require two completed reference forms and a $10 Slideroom application fee.

Penland scholarships sorted by partial/full and work/no workPenland offers scholarships in four different categories. The two main factors that distinguish these options are:

– Do they have a work requirement or not? Many Penland scholarships involve a work requirement, which is usually about 20 hours per week of work in the Penland kitchen and dish room. For studio assistants, this work takes place in the studio supporting your workshop’s instructor, studio coordinator, and other students.

– Are they full scholarships or partial scholarships? Full scholarships cover 100% of tuition, room, and board for the session. Partial scholarships cover a significant portion of these costs but still require students to contribute some to the cost of their workshop. For example, full-pay students staying in dormitory housing for a 2-week clay session will pay $2,447. A student with a partial scholarship will pay only $681 for the same session.

For all you visual folks, take a look at this nifty rainbow chart to see where our different scholarship offerings fall. You can read full descriptions of each scholarship type on our summer scholarship page. If you’re a teacher or a resident of the local Penland area, please also read about our Standby Program, which is a special type of scholarship that uses a different application process.

woman painting a chair frame in the wood studio; two women at the bench in the hot shop

Now, let’s get down to some different scenarios and figure out what scholarship(s) are right for you…

I have my heart set on a certain workshop, but I need a scholarship in order to attend.

Your best bet is to take advantage of Penland’s Early Decision Scholarships. These scholarships are like our Partial Scholarships with Work Requirement, but applicants are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis and hear back within three working days of submitting their application. We hold one space in every summer workshop for early decision scholarship students, so we’d recommend completing your application as close to January 1 as possible! If the early decision space has already been filled, you can still apply for other Penland scholarships before February 17.

I want to come to Penland, but I’m not able to perform the types of kitchen jobs that the work requirement entails.

Apply for a full scholarship with no work requirement! We offer over 100 of these scholarships every summer to a wide range of students. Most of these scholarships ask students to submit images of their work, but there are also some that do not require images and may be suitable for complete beginners. Many of them also target students from specific geographic areas, age groups, careers, or mediums.

I won’t be able to attend Penland without a full scholarship.

If you apply for full scholarships with AND without a work requirement, you’re more likely to get one. We’d also recommend submitting the best images of your work that you have (it doesn’t have to be work related to the workshops you’re applying for). And, take a look at any open studio assistant positions to see if there might be one that’s a good fit for your skills and expertise!

A bunch of different workshops look exciting to me. I just really want to be at Penland this summer!

Great, being flexible is a big plus. We’d recommend submitting multiple workshop choices with your application and also being open to scholarships with a work requirement. To increase your chances even further, submit your application as early as possible through the early decision option!

I have a lot of different commitments to juggle, and I really need to know before April if I will be coming to Penland.

The Early Decision option was made for you! Because these scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, you’ll hear back within three business days of submitting your completed application. Listing more than one workshop choice and submitting your materials as close to January 1 as possible will help, too.

I want to get into my first choice workshop, but I don’t need a scholarship to come.

Apply as a full-pay student through our online registration portal. All non-scholarship registration begins at noon Eastern time on Monday, January 13. Because this registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, you will have a good chance of scoring a seat in your top choice workshop if you register as close to noon on the 13th as possible! Thank you for helping us to make sure that our scholarships are being awarded to those who would have difficulty attending Penland without them.

If you have further questions about Penland scholarships this summer, please contact our registrar at 828-765-2359. And get started on selecting your top summer 2020 workshops and identifying your references so that you’re ready to go when scholarship applications open January 1!

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Summer 2020 Workshops!

catalog cover showing a woman working at the anvil in the iron studio

We’re thrilled to announce our complete lineup of summer 2020 workshops! We’ve got 104 different offerings for you to choose from, each one an opportunity to learn from experienced makers and explore new materials and dream up new ideas and connect with other folks doing the same. Browse them all by studio, by session, or in our online catalog PDF (paper catalogs are at the printer at this very moment!).

Want a little taste of what you might find?

Books & Paper: large-scale sheet forming, cast paper sculpture, cut paper and pop-up books
Clay: ceramic tile, animated ceramic sculptures, building with paperclay, kurinuki
Drawing & Painting: abstract painting, observational oil painting, sketchbooks
Glass: glass painting, borosilicate sculpture, mold making, hot glass sculpting
Iron: metal furniture, forged utensils and vessels, sculptural steel
Metals: electroforming, Japanese engraving, sand casting, gold fusing
Photo: view cameras, poetic photographs, cameraless photography, hand coloring prints
Print & Letterpress: mokuhanga, screenprinting, typography on the press, lithography
Textiles: block printing with natural dyes, sculptural basketry, boro and indigo, intermediate weaving
Wood: curved forms in wood, timber framing, cork, sculptural spoon carving

…and dozens and dozens of other things, too.

Registration will open for all summer workshops on January 13 at noon Eastern time on a first-come, first-served basis. Scholarships are available for all summer workshops! Scholarship applications open January 1 and are due by February 17. Starting this year, scholarships have a reduced application fee of $10.

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Photo of the Week: Mighty Katherine Gray

Glassblower Katherine Gray demonstrating in the Penland glass shop.

We were thrilled to have glass artist Katherine Gray here for a week as a visiting artist this fall. Gray is a brilliant glassblower who works calmly, smoothly, and with what appears to be complete control of the material. Her work is in prominent collections including the Corning Museum of Glass and the Tacoma Museum of Glass, she’s a professor at California State University San Bernardino, and she was recently featured as the resident judge on the Netfilx reality series Blown Away.

Katherine has taught at Penland several times, but it’s been a few years, so it was great to have a chance to watch her work again. We were kind of blown away.

Glassblower Katherine Gray demonstrating in the Penland glass shop.