ANETHA EVANS COLLABORATED WITH EVERY STUDIO to make this flameworked glass carousel!
She learned about working in clay, risography, papermaking, painting, glassblowing, flameworking, ironworking, jewelry making, hydraulic pressing, cameraless photography, mokuhanga and letterpress printing, weaving, and canoe-building in the process!
During a Penland session, there are so many studios learning so many interesting techniques in so many fascinating media. Collaborations happen all the time… but this piece by Anetha is NEXT LEVEL.
She visited each and every studio. She incorporated original works into her final piece. She met many interesting people, learned a lot of new things, and helped build bridges. The final result…is so cool. Thank you for sharing your work, Anetha, and thank you to everyone who collaborated on this project.
Here are all the workshops that busy Anetha visited during Penland Summer Session 3:
BOOKS Jeffrey Evergreen
“The Mechanical Image: Process, Modularity, and the Distributed Form” -Collab with Rama and Mariana
PAPER Mary Hark
“Immersed in Pulp: A Hand-Papermaking Intensive” -Collab with Derick
Watching skilled hands is a thing of beauty. The clay studio enjoyed a special visit from Penland neighbor Nick Joerling who demonstrated his method for creating stretched and altered pots that begin on the wheel. Nick has been a working studio potter near Penland since the mid-1980’s.
Here are three of the most interesting things that Nick said during the demo:
“I like to make the work, and then catch up to it.”
“Buried inside the skin of good altered pot, there is a good thrown pot.”
“Cynthia Bringle told me to go to grad school.”
Kudos to clay spring concentration instructors Jenny Mendes Ceramics and Caroline Douglas Art for inviting Nick to do this awesome demo!
We are honored to welcome these brilliant guest instructors this fall! Check out the list of workshops being offered in Penland’s Clay, Books, Paper, Drawing, Painting, Glass, Iron, Metals, Photography, Print, Letterpress, Textiles, and Wood studios. Find full descriptions HERE.
Bevelyn Ukah’s journey to becoming an artist and an arts advocate began with an invitation to make art outside her community co-op. In just two years, she has blazed her own path by being open, proactive, and asking for help along the way.
During Penland’s 2022 winter residency, we had the pleasure of meeting Bevelyn Afor Ukah and admiring her powerful work. She is killing it! “Every day I have been getting so much good news around my art practice,” she told us. In addition to participating in winter residency, she is preparing for several upcoming opportunities. (There’s a list at the end of this article.) A self-taught artist who is passionate about the power of art to heal and empower, Bevelyn brings creative expression to others, both through her personal work and through her extensive community outreach.
Bevelyn was kind enough to share the story of how she arrived where she is today, under her own steam and with the enthusiastic support of people she met along the way. We hope this story will remind us all to take on new challenges and to invite others into the spaces and activities that have enriched our own lives, like craft and Penland!
AN ART TABLE OUTSIDE A GROCERY STORE In February of 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic would upend everything, Bevelyn was running errands when she came across Karen Archia, sitting at a table covered in art supplies outside the Deep Roots Community Co-op Market in Greensboro, NC. This was one of 60 free art-making sessions that Karen hosted between September of 2019 and March of 2020 through her project “Public Art Practice,” which seeks to “liberate, encourage and affirm the creative spirit in all people.”
Karen invited Bevelyn to have a seat and create. While she had been excited about art as a child, it had been some time since she had expressed that side of her creativity, and it felt great! “Karen had recently been at Penland,” Bevelyn told us. “It was a huge transformation for her, and she thought everyone should have access to art. She built Public Art Practice out of her imagination.” Bevelyn attended two of these sessions before the pandemic, but the seed was planted. “Whatever I was creating, it was just making me feel better,” she said. She experimented with new media and new ideas. Her roommates encouraged her. “I started liking what I was making, and I just didn’t stop,” she told us.
MAKING HER FIRST SALE Bevelyn began to feel like she could call herself an “artist” about a year into her creative practice when she sold her first piece. “That was so exciting,” she said. “I was like, let me just go ahead and put myself out there.” The person who purchased Bevelyn’s work was Tema Okun. Tema and Bevelyn had met professionally some years before and eventually became friends. Tema, who is a collage artist, had a close-up view of Bevelyn’s artistic awakening. “She was really called to it and took that calling very seriously,” Tema said. “In a short period of time I could see the way her work was developing.” One of the joys of Tema’s life is collecting artwork that speaks to her. “I am someone who likes to look at things on my walls and be moved and feel joy,” she told us. And for Bevelyn, selling her first piece of art felt “glorious.”
BUILDING A TINY HOUSE In the summer of 2021, Bevelyn attended Wild Abundance, a permaculture and homesteading school located in Weaverville, just outside of Asheville, NC. There, she learned the carpentry skills that would allow her to make and sell a tiny house. She also met Ellie Richards, a Penland resident artist and Wild Abundance instructor.
Ellie was struck by Bevelyn’s ability to bring people together. “She was really kind of like the glue,” she said. As the class drew to a close, the group gathered in a circle to consider what they had learned and the challenges they had overcome. Ellie remembers that it was Bevelyn who “got us all in tears.” “She has that sort of vulnerability and way of expressing herself that allowed everyone to open up,” she said.
During the workshop, Ellie talked to the class about Penland. Later on, Bevelyn followed up with Ellie, who was able to put some color on the Penland experience (It’s very rural… You take one class at a time in one of 16 different studios…) and help Bevelyn prepare for next opportunity on the Penland calendar: winter residency, which she had already heard about from her friend Tema! Bevelyn put together a strong proposal and was selected out of hundreds of applicants.
WINTER RESIDENCY AT PENLAND Bevelyn spent two weeks at Penland during winter residency. “I didn’t know what to expect, but it was perfect,” she said. In the drawing and painting studio, she enjoyed working alongside the other winter residents. She was the studio DJ, playing “everything from the nineties to all over the place.”
“We had a really great balance between talking and respecting each other’s space. It was great to be able to talk to my studio mates about what it means to be an artist, to strategize and share ways that we have been successful.” Studio assistant Caryn gave thoughtful feedback, made sure Bevelyn had the supplies she needed, and inspired through her own work. “I felt really cared for,” said Bevelyn.
“I love the work that I made,” she told us. “I started ten pieces and completed eight” A riot of color, Bevelyn’s work deals with body image, body positivity, and her relationship to the natural environment. “Our human-created systems have so many toxic images around body image that isolate people from their bodies and physical experiences, messages of inadequacy. They tell us that you’re not beautiful, that you’re not enough. The natural environment does the exact opposite,” said Bevelyn.
UPCOMING OPPORTUNITIES! Just over two years into her journey as an artist, Bevelyn is on a roll. Her personal work is evolving, she has made wonderful friends and connections, and she is finding innovative ways to connect her climate and food equity work with her art practice, despite the challenges of the pandemic. She is now a member of Public Art Practice, the outreach program that initiated her art journey. She hopes to return to Penland and to help connect others to the experience as well. “I want to learn everything,” she told us. “Woodworking, printmaking, oil painting… I want to make masks. Penland is like Hogwarts for artists!”
While at Penland, she requested a meeting with Yolanda Sommer, Penland’s Manager of Diversity Recruitment and Partnerships. Together, they are looking for ways to collaborate. Said Yolanda, “I look forward to working with Bevelyn in the future because of her energy. The fact that she is new to craft gives her a special, fresh perspective.” When it comes to Bevelyn, we are certain that her openness will continue to bring many and varied opportunities and that she will be a stepping stone for others as they have been for her.
Bevelyn has upcoming exhibitions and residencies with the Durham Art Guild, the Center for Visual Arts Greensboro, Creative Greensboro, and Pink Dog Creative in Asheville.
First: A reminder that the application deadline for summer scholarships is February 17. Details are here.
Second: Penland School is thrilled to announce the Kent McLaughlin Scholarship for Working Potters.
Kent McLaughlin was a wonderful potter, neighbor, human, and friend of the school. He succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2021. Kent had a vision for a Penland scholarship that would meet the needs of studio potters who make their living selling their work, and in five short months, with contributions from 117 donors, Kent’s friends and family have created a $100,000 endowment to fund this scholarship in perpetuity, The first scholarship will be awarded this summer.
The scholarship will cover the full cost of a Penland summer workshop—in any studio—and will grant a stipend of $1,000 per week to offset the artist’s time away from their studio production. The scholarship does not have a work requirement. To be eligible, applicants must have had a full-time studio practice for at least one year and will need to provide a résumé that demonstrates that they have been making their living solely by selling their work. They will also be asked to provide five images of their work.
In announcing the successful fundraising for the scholarship, Kent’s wife and studio mate, Suze Lindsay, said, “I am unable to find the words to say how much this means to me personally and to our family and community as we honor Kent’s legacy as a working potter and workshop instructor. Penland School is near and dear to our hearts. Kent and I both trained there early in our careers and found the experience an invaluable gift.”
Please share this information with anyone who might benefit from the opportunity.
General summer scholarship information and the link to the application form can be found here.
Here’s how to apply for the Kent McLaughlin scholarship.
Open the scholarship application form in Slideroom.
Fill out the first two pages, which are required for all applications.
If you would also like to be considered for non-merit scholarships, fill out page three.
Go to page four, answer Question 1, and upload five images of your work.
Click the button under Question 5. This will open a number of secondary questions.
Check Box 5.7, which applies only to this scholarship.
If you would also like to be considered for other merit scholarships, check any other boxes that apply to you.
Submit your application by 11:59 ET on February 17.
About Kent McLaughlin
In the early 1990s, Kent (a.k.a. Chet, Chester) worked at Penland as services coordinator and then as facilities manager. In 1995, Kent and Suze bought a farmhouse in Bakersville, added a studio, and opened their doors as Fork Mountain Pottery in 1996.
Kent taught at Penland a number of times, sometimes by himself and sometimes with Suze. He also taught at Haystack, Anderson Ranch, Arrowmont, the Curaumilla Art Center in Chile, and the Jingdzhen Ceramic Institute in China. He helped start the Potters of the Roan, Spruce Pine Potters Market, and MICA Gallery.
Kent made functional pots in stoneware and porcelain. He described the look of work as “simple and quietly decorated surfaces made with a wax resist technique, layering glazes while using my own studio-made deer tail brushes.”
But most importantly, he was a funny, warm-hearted, positive person who always had time for other people and welcomed everyone into whatever he was doing. Any day that involved seeing him was a better day.
Apply by February 17. 326 summer scholarships will be selected by application.
Penland scholarships are integral to creating an inclusive and dynamic creative community—one that values the energy that comes from mixing many artistic visions and personal backgrounds. Scholarships help make Penland’s workshops accessible to people who could not otherwise afford them, and they create opportunities for people who have been historically underrepresented in the craft world. Included among our scholarships are 31 specifically reserved for people of color, and an additional 10 that are reserved for people of color, people with disabilities, or veterans. For more information about other scholarships that target specific demographics, please click HERE.
We have other scholarships that are awarded through different selection processes, but 326 will be awarded through the Slideroom application process. We have made some changes to reduce barriers in our scholarship application process:
No images required for most scholarships: Most of our full scholarships no longer require images of the applicant’s work. There are some exceptions: studio assistantship applications require images, and a few scholarship funders have asked that we include artistic ability as a factor in selection. Of the 326 scholarships offered through the Slideroom application, only 71 require images of work. This number includes the 38 studio assistantships available by application.
No letters of recommendation: Letters of recommendation are no longer required. Instead, we just ask applicants to provide contact information for two references, which may be professional, academic, or personal.
Only $5 to apply: The scholarship application fee has been reduced to $5. (If selected for a scholarship, applicants will be charged a non-refundable $25 processing fee.)
Penland offers scholarships in five categories:
Room and Board? -Housing: hostel-style accommodations, accommodating up to 13 students. -Meals: three meals each day provided at The Pines dining hall.
Work Requirement? During the session, work-study students work on a variety of service tasks, usually cleaning, food service support, or dishwashing. Studio assistants have a work assignment within their workshop. Read more details HERE.
We hope you will apply!
Details about scholarships and the application process can be found HERE.
All applications require:
-Nonrefundable $5 Slideroom fee.
-Contact information for two references
-Minimum age of 18
-Statement of need
Some applications require:
-Images of your work
-A statement about your artistic experience and your interest in the particular workshop(s) you are applying for.
Recipients of scholarships:
-Will be notified by April 10 and asked to pay in full by April 15.
-Pay a $25 application fee