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Featured Auction Artist: James Henkel

James Henkel first came to Penland in 1971 with a scholarship that, he says, made him “a photography student and a proud dishwasher.” Since then he has served as studio assistant, core student, resident artist, faculty, and neighbor. At Penland he met Debra Frasier, his wife of 37 years. In 1991 they bought a small cabin near the school where they began spending summers. And their daughter, Calla, now an artist working in Berlin, was a founding member of Penland Kid’s Camp. “That one act of generosity— a Penland scholarship in 1971—has nourished me artistically for fifty years,” Jim said.

“My work begins with finding and collecting objects. These curiosities are then used to generate pictures that touch on the relationship between our ideas about beauty, function, and the meaning of objects in our lives. With the choice of an object for a photograph, I am leaning into a sense of shared familiarity with the viewer, but changing the perspective by introducing the unexpected within the frame.”

Jim is professor emeritus at University of Minnesota and a long-time Penland instructor. He now lives between Asheville and his Penland house/studio.

Learn more about Jim and his work in the short video above.

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Clarence Morgan: Outstanding Artist Educator

As part of the 2021 Penland Benefit Auction, we will honor Clarence Morgan as this year’s Penland School of Craft Outstanding Artist Educator. Clarence’s fifty-year career as an artist has encompassed drawing, painting, printmaking, writing, and curatorial projects. His many works are rigorous explorations of line, color, pattern, and form that he describes as, “situated somewhere between figuration and abstraction.”

His work has appeared in over 200 one-person and group exhibitions nationally and internationally and can be found in the permanent collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art among others. He has received grants and fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, the Bush Foundation, Art Matters, Inc., the Minnesota State Arts Board, and a Southern Arts Federation/NEA Artist Fellowship.

Along with his extensive activity as an artist, he has been a teacher of art continuously since 1978, first at East Carolina University and then at the University of Minnesota where he chaired the art department for six years and is currently head of drawing and painting. He taught his first Penland workshop in 1989, and he has taught here a total of nine times, most recently in 2014. At Penland, he was invariably accompanied by his wife of 40 years, the artist Arlene Burke-Morgan (1950–2017), who seemed capable of making friends with everyone on campus.

“The best definition of a teacher” he said in a recent interview, “is not someone who puts information into an individual, but someone that has the capacity to draw the best out of someone. What is really good about them is already in them. A good teacher just brings that out. . . . If there’s a little spark, my job is to fan the spark, to turn it into a big flame, so they can get excited on their own.”

Please watch the video above to learn more about Clarence’s art work and teaching.

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Featured Auction Artist: Yoonmi Nam

Yoonmi Nam is a printmaker and a sculptor who was born in Seoul, Korea and is a featured artist in this year’s Penland Benefit Auction. Her first connection to Penland was being invited to contribute work to a Penland Gallery exhibition in 2009. She taught a drawing/painting workshop the following year. “I remember driving from Kansas and making my way up the final bit of a very narrow road,” she said. “It opened up to a meadow with a cluster of studio buildings in the distance. I remember chatting with people while waiting in line to get food. I remember that my workshop had both the youngest and the oldest participants that week. I remember going back into the studio at night to see several students chatting, laughing, and working together. I remember our class covering the entire wall with their works on the last day when all the workshops came together to display what everyone made.” 

She returned in 2016 as a student in a glass casting workshop taught by Jason Chakravarty. “At that time, I had just started to do some basic mold-making and casting using plaster, wax, and clay in my own studio. My background is in printmaking and painting, and I didn’t have a lot of experience with three-dimensional processes, but my studio practice had evolved. I began making sculptural forms that depicted disposable objects such as styrofoam containers made with porcelain and plastic grocery bags made with Gampi papers. I had an idea that I should make clear deli containers using glass. But how? It was May of that year, and I started to research glass casting workshops. There was a workshop that I was looking for at Penland scheduled for July! And there was one spot left! So that was the second time that I made it back to Penland. The two-week workshop was incredible, and it was such a treat to be a student again.” 

Yoonmi teaches at the University of Kansas. Her recently scheduled Penland printmaking workshop was cancelled because of the pandemic; we hope she will be back to teach in the near future. Check out the video above to learn more about Yoonmi and her work. 

Video by Elizabeth Stehling Snell. 

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Featured Auction Artist: Shoko Teruyama

Ceramic artist Shoko Teruyama, whose work is featured in the 2021 Penland Benefit Auction, was introduced to Penland when she and her husband, Matt Kelleher, were selected as resident artists in 2005. “The hardest I ever worked on my practice,” she remembers, “was during the three years of the residency. When I left Penland, I was confident to step into the real world.” 

Shoko grew up in Mishima, Japan. She taught elementary school before coming to the U.S. to study art at University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1997. She received an MFA in ceramics from Wichita State University in 2005. Shoko and Matt shared a studio at The Barns during their three-year residency, which they completed in 2008, and they have taught several Penland workshops together. These days, they live and work in Alfred, NY. Matt teaches at Alfred University and Shoko continues her studio practice making densely patterned functional ware along with charming narrative work.

“The pottery I make begins with bisque molds, slab construction, and coil building to make thick, heavy forms,” she explains. “White slip is brushed over the red earthenware to create depth and motion. I carve back through the slip exposing the red clay, and I apply multiple layers of translucent glazes. Ornamentation is important to my ideas. I have created motifs called vine patterns to lead your eye around the work. Patterns run continuously to create narrow borders or to fill large amounts of space. They can flow into tight curves just as easily as they can bend around the belly of a form. The patterns create visual movement representing water, wind, and clouds.”

Shoko says that she is 100% a Japanese potter and 100% an American potter. In the video above, by Tyler Bopp, she makes a large platter (similar to the one in the Penland auction) as she talks about how her cultural heritage has influenced her work in ceramics. 

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Bonded by a Bronco

Students Anna Burke and Krisin Grandy with Kristin's Ford Bronco
Anna Burke (left) and Kristin Grandy (right) with Kristin’s Ford Bronco.

Kristin Grandy, who was a student in the third session clay workshop taught by Linda Christianson, is a high school ceramics teacher in Neptune Beach, Florida. In addition to the usual pottery and sculpture, she likes to familiarize her students about other careers that use clay skills. One of these is industrial modeling, including automotive clay sculpting.

Kristin is also the owner of a beautiful, blue-gray, 2020 Ford Bronco.

Anna Burke was a student in David Wolske’s third session letterpress workshop. She has a BFA in ceramics and graphic design from Alfred University in New York. Since graduating in 2017, she has worked as an automotive clay sculptor at Ford in Detroit. The two women met during the session and discovered they had this shared interest in industrial modeling. It also turned out that on Anna’s first day as an intern at Ford she was put to work shaping the full-size clay model of the exact Bronco that Kristin drives.

That should be a good story for the kids.

If you are not familiar with automotive clay sculpting, here’s a nice video introduction. They work with an oil-based plasticine and move from scale to full-size models, which are then laser scanned.

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Photo of the Week: Apparently Imin Was Here

 

During our first summer session, sculptor and paper wizard Imin Yeh taught a beautiful workshop on designing and building forms from sheets of paper, with an emphasis on representing familiar objects. During her stay at Penland, Imin quietly placed several of her astonishing trompe l’oeil pieces in places where only a few people were likely to notice them.

This phone jack, outlet, and charger were on a wall in the paper studio, and were hard to spot even when looking for them. Yes, these are made entirely from cut and folded paper. The little balls above and below each piece are the heads of the push pins that are holding them in place. These pieces are part of an ongoing series called “Paper Power.”

We don’t know if anyone tried to plug anything into them.