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Penland Summer 2023!

Co-instructors Sofia Hagstrӧm Møller and Marianne Fairbanks rest in the sun with studio assistant Maia Therese Rauh

Thank you to everyone who made this Penland summer special. We learned so much from each other, peeking in on and collaborating with workshops in different media, gaining fresh perspectives from beginners, and putting hard-won advice from instructors and advanced students to use.

In a world of distractions and diversions, students who come to Penland for an intensive workshop often describe a transformative experience, gaining not only skills but a deep connection with others and with themselves. Here at Penland, we work hard to create an environment that fosters this alchemy.

That said, we know that it is the open hearts and curious minds of our students and guest instructors that truly cast the spell. May your Penland summer pay dividends for you throughout the year and may you return soon to share with us once more. 

Tomorrow is the first day of fall. On Sunday, we will begin our Fall Short Session. As we prepare for the autumn season and all the good things it will bring, now feels like the perfect time to reflect back upon the special time and place that was Penland Summer 2023!

Summer Stats

Workshops- 103
Students- 1,139
Instructors- 124
New Instructors– 46%
Students receiving financial assistance– 51%
States– 49 and 2 US territories
Countries– 13
Kids camps– 9
Money raised for scholarships– $83,420

Workshops in 16 Studios

We ran workshops in the clay, books, paper, drawing, painting, glass, iron, metals, photography, print, letterpress, textiles, and wood studios! Sarita Westrup’s “Sculptural Basketry” workshop is seen here with some impressive finished work.

124 Amazing Guest Instructors

Instructor Paige Davis taught us forging techniques with a focus on sculpture in the iron studio.

Instructor Gasali Adeyemo’s workshop focused on traditional Yoruba dyeing techniques with indigo.

Instructor Kelly O’Dell worked with students to create this impressive piece in her hot glass workshop, “Rewilding,” which she cotaught with her partner Raven Skyriver.

Students of All Levels

Student Peter Renzetti demonstrated his tiny trip hammer during a raising workshop with Douglas Pryor. A well-known blacksmith with a lot of experience using big power hammers, Peter decided to build a version of that for very small work. Watching are iron instructor Shingo Furukawa and students from various workshops.

Student Sofia Klimkowski Arango created an inflated steel piece in Mike Rossi’s iron workshop, Forged By Design.”

Studio assistant Michelle Solorzano made this large sculpture during Cristina Córdova’s clay workshop,Build Big: Essential Methods for Large-Scale Success.”


Photography students found some excellent subjects on the clay kiln pad.

Students in Paulo Arao’s “Behind the Seams” workshop worked together to make this quilt, which they generously donated to help raise funds for Penland scholarships.

Better Together Residency

In collaboration with Crafting the Future, Better Together residents spent two weeks working on personal project and collaborating in the Penland clay and glass studios. 

Better Together resident Murjoni Merriweather was prolific in clay studio.


Many families shared a Penland experience this summer. Glass instructor Sayaka Suzuki invited her mom, who lives in Japan, to join her at Penland for a two-week workshop in the paper studio with instructor Jaz Graf.


We made friends! This lunchtime photo was captured by student Becca Martinez.

Furry Friends

We shared our campus with some interesting creatures this summer. This skunk print was created by student Kelsey Gruber during Jenny Schmid’s print workshop, “Intense Color Intaglio Intensive.”

Summer Interns

Working in studios, offices, classrooms, and events, our summer interns brought curiosity, intent, and enthusiasm to their work and play. They helped us raise money for scholarships, keep the kilns going, tell our story, and pull off the Penland Benefit Auction. They helped kids fall in love with craft and they made our summers more interesting. Thank you to studio interns Kai Samuels, Abigail Leonard, and Kris Powell, development interns Ethan Helow, Mindy Yi, and Astrid Guerrero, and kids camp intern Greta Lapp Klassen for a wonderful summer.

Penland Staff

Penland staff worked tirelessly to pull off over 100 workshops. Here glass and clay studio coordinators Nick Fruin and Susan Feagin as captured by summer intern Kris Powell

Area Studio Visits

Students visited many of the artists who live and work nearby, like studio potter and former Penland Resident Artist Michael Kline.

Exhibitions at the Penland Gallery

We enjoyed thoughtful exhibitions in Penland’s John and Robyn Horn and Focus galleries. “wild and precious life” featured works from artists Nancy Blum, Kim Cridler, and Lisa A. Frank.

Open Studios at the Barns

Over the summer, many students enjoyed visiting The Barns, where the Penland Resident Artists have their studios.

Colorful, slipcast ceramics were on display in Penland Resident Artist Daniel Garver’s studio.

Slide Nights

From 8:15 to 9:00 PM during most sessions, we gathered to enjoy slide presentations from visiting instructors and studio assistants. We learned a lot!

Summer in the Mountains

Summer in the mountains means walks in the woods, campfires, Blue Ridge Mountain views, and trips to the cool river. Photo by student Konrad Sanders.

Show and Tell

At the end of each session, we gathered in Northlight to view the work created by each workshop.

These tables were created by students during Tom Huang’s workshop, “A la Carte.”

Students in Leeah Joo’s workshop, “Trompe L’oeil Oil Painting” displayed their impressive work.

Scholarship Auctions

Over the summer, we enjoyed five amazing scholarship auctions, in which work created and donate by students and instructors was auctioned to support Penland’s robust scholarship program. Not only were these affairs a ton of raucous fun, they also raised a total of $83,420 to support Penland’ scholarships. We are so grateful to everyone who made these events a success, from the generous donors to the lucky winners to the wonderful development interns, dedicated staff members, and volunteer auctioneers. Thank you for paying it forward!

Kids Camp

Our community collaborations team put on nine wonderful camps for kids this summer, exploring crafts from woodworking to creating their own butterfly wings for the annual Handmade Parade. 

Handmade Parade and Fireworks

This annual event put a lot of smiles on our faces. Click HERE for more photos of the fun!

Annual Penland Benefit Auction Auction

We closed out our summer with the 38th Annual Penland Benefit Auction, raising over $500,000 to support our mission of making lives meaningful through making. Thank you to our patrons, contributing artists, sponsors, volunteers, interns, and staff. Our annual auction is a labor of love, from the creation of unique artwork to that special weekend when we gather to celebrate craft, Penland, and each other. Read more HERE.

This piece by student Alison Rosen, created during Aurélie Guillaume’s “Telling Stories in Cloisonné” workshop, really sums up our summer.

Interested in joining us next year?

Thank you to each and every person who join us this summer. We hope you will return soon, and here are some important dates to keep in mind!

  • Registration for spring workshops begins on October 2.
  • Summer 2024 workshop information will be posted on October 15th.
  • Summer scholarship applications will open on October 15th with a November 15 deadline.
  • Regular summer registration will begin on January 15th.

Sign up for our newsletter to keep up with important dates.

Find more photos from summer 2023 HERE!

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Welcome, New Core Fellows!


We’re excited to announce and welcome our five newest Penland Core Fellows—Kimberly Jo, Brandon Lopez, Nicholas McDonald, Grace Anne Odom, and Amal Tamari. They will join returning fellows Lisa Nguyen, Celia Shaheen, and Lily Wilkins. For one or two years, they will share a house, take classes, expand their practices, and help run the school. We are so excited to welcome them to our community. Meet the new core!

Kimberly Jo is a cross-disciplinary artist working primarily in printmaking, ceramics, and textiles. They received a BFA in printmaking and enjoyed a post-baccalaureate position in ceramics at the Hartford Art School. In addition to pursuing arts education, Kimberly has worked on small-scale farms across northwestern Connecticut. Their dual passions are at the heart of their practice, which draws parallels between different materials and honors the ways in which they diverge.


Brandon Lopez is a Mexican-American artist creating functional and sculptural work with glass. He first began working with glass at Penland in 2013. He then attended Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia where he received a BFA in glass. Brandon has assisted for individual artists as well as for workshops at Penland, Ox-Bow, and Pilchuck. His work combines traditional glassblowing techniques with the aesthetics of objects made by ancient civilizations to create sculpture and design objects. Brandon is currently living in Asheville, focusing on his studio practice and assisting area artists.



Nicholas McDonald received their BA in political science and art from Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. Nicholas’s practice focuses on the power of process and the exploration of their complex identity as a black person, “with one foot in inescapable history and the other in the drive of [their] contemporary environment.” At Penland, they plan to continue to investigate ties between blackness, culture, and craft.

Grace Anne Odom is a metalsmith and photographer in Fayetteville, Arkansas where she works as a bench jeweler and maintains a studio practice. Before focusing on craft, she served her community through social work and earned a BA in psychology at Hendrix College. With the goal of making craft more accessible in her community, she is eager to strengthen and diversify her skills as a core fellow.


Amal Tamari is a recent graduate from Earlham College where she received a BA in studio arts with a focus on ceramics. Since completing her degree, she has been studying at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as a post-baccalaureate student. Amal apprenticed for ceramicists Kelsie Rudolph and Sunshine Cobb in Helena, Montana. Amal is excited to explore different mediums that will help to develop her artistic voice.

Selection Panel

Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to apply. Penland received 130+ applications to the core fellowship this year. The selection process was thoughtfully overseen by the following panel, in conjunction with Penland staff.

(Left to right): Ben Blount, studio artist, Mellanee Goodman, grant program manager at Center for Craft, Critz Campbell, professor at Mississippi State University, Althea Murphy-Price, professor at University of Tennessee

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Penland School on the Artsville Podcast

Artsville is a new podcast series that highlights contemporary art and craft from Asheville (a.k.a. Artsville) and the surrounding area. We’re honored that the first episode is all about Penland School of Craft. Podcast host Scott Power hosts a lively conversation with Penland’s director Mia Hall and communications manager Robin Dreyer. 

In just under an hour, they cover a lot of ground, including information about Penland’s workshops, the importance of the setting, how Mia sees the school progressing over the next few years, the gallery and visitors center, and even a few thoughts on the difference between art and craft (and whether there really is one). 

Artsville released its first six episodes at the same time. The other five episodes cover some of Asheville’s greatest hits: The Center for Craft, Momentum Gallery, The Village Potters, Blue Spiral I Gallery, Black Mountain College, and Grovewood Village and Gallery. 

The podcast is a co-production of Sand Hill Artists Collective (Asheville) and Crewest Studio (Los Angeles). 

You can download all of the episodes wherever you get podcasts, or you can listen on the Artsville website.