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The Penland Auction Was a Great Success!

We did it! The 37th Annual Penland Benefit Auction is a wrap!

We are proud to say that our biggest fundraiser of the year was a great success! Keep scrolling to see a slideshow of the fun!

We celebrated craft.

The 37th Annual Penland Benefit Auction was a wealth of riches. It is an honor to connect the superb work of contemporary makers with thoughtful, enthusiastic collectors and supporters of craft.

We raised important funds.

The Penland Auction is our most important fundraiser of the year, supporting our mission of making lives meaningful through making.

Here are some preliminary numbers we are excited to share:

  • $394,959.65 has been raised for Penland!
  • We exceeded our Fund-A-Need goal, raising $105,500.

In honor of the United Nations International Year of Glass, this year’s “Fund-A-Need” will fund an upgrade of Penland’s ventilation systems in its glass hot shop and flameworking studios. Thank you so much to everyone who donated!

We honored special folks.

Nancy Blum, David Chatt, Paul S. Briggs, and Mark Peiser were honored at this year’s auction. We are so proud to have had the opportunity to highlight their work! We will be sharing some of the kind words spoken about Mark Peiser with you soon.

We had so much fun!

What a pleasure it was to host our friends on campus last weekend, reconnecting with you in person! Thank you for sharing with us! Please enjoy the slideshow below:


Thank You!

Hundreds of people and organizations come together to create the Penland Benefit Auction. It is a huge undertaking and a labor of love. Thank you so much to everyone who gave of themselves to make it a great success! Thank you…


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Nancy Blum: Exploring Interconnectivity

Drawings by Nancy Blum
Nancy Blum, Black Drawings 31, 72, 28, and 158, colored pencil and graphite, 12 x 9 inches each

Nancy Blum–one of the featured artists in this year’s Penland Benefit Auction–is known primarily for large-scale botanical drawings and her public artworks. These include a remarkable suite of floral tile mosaics at the 28th Street subway station in Manhattan and an installation of monumental, botanically-themed windows at the San Francisco General Hospital. Nancy was first trained in ceramics, and she loves collaborating with the skilled craftspeople who execute these projects.

Her contributions to this year’s auction, however, are entirely the work of her own hands. She describes these “Black Drawings” as “playfully rendered depictions of scientific imaginings and abstractions of the natural world.” This series, she says, explores the interconnectivity of all living beings. Nancy’s drawings and sculptures have been shown in venues across the U.S. and in recent solo exhibitions at Reynolds Gallery in Richmond, VA and Ricco Maresca Gallery in New York City. Her work is found in many private and public collections including the World Ceramic Exposition Foundation in South Korea and the Boise Art Museum in Idaho.

To learn more about Nancy and see more of her work, please watch the video below (videographer: Nikki Appino), or visit her website (but watch the video first).

Penland’s Annual Benefit Auction takes place on August 26-27, 2002 with online bidding on many pieces continuing through September 2. Nancy’s drawings will be sold in the live auction on August 27 and in the online silent auction that runs from August 28 – September 2. Complete auction information here.

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Christina Boy Penland Benefit Auction Piece

This stunning bench was donated to the 2022 Penland Benefit Auction by our dear friend Christina Boy.

Christina is known for her thoughtful furniture pieces, designed and handmade from domestic, locally sourced, and salvaged woods. For each piece, close attention is paid to every detail, using both traditional and modern techniques to craft work that is designed to last for generations.

This bench, made from bleached oak and striking orange cording, was completed at Penland during Christina’s Spring 2022 wood concentration workshop. The beautiful danish cord weaving was created in collaboration with the class.

A great friend of Penland, Christina has been a work-study student, a core fellow, and an instructor. 

This work will be available in the online silent auctions. There is still time to register to bid! The preview will go live this Sunday, August 21st, featuring over 100 unique works. Bidding will begin on August 28th.

Penland’s most important fundraising event of the year, the Penland Benefit Auction is a true celebration of community and contemporary craft. We hope you will join us!

Christina Boy
Woven Bench
Bleached oak, multifilament polypropylene rope, nails
49-1/2 x 19-3/4 x 18 inches


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Paul S. Briggs: Expansive Ceramics

A ceramic vessel by Paul Briggs
Paul S. Briggs, Whorl, Windflower (Geode Series), glazed stoneware, 10 x 8 x 8 inches

Paul S. Briggs, who is one of the featured artists at the 2022 Penland Benefit Auction, has built his ceramic practice around two processes: pinch-formed vessels and slab-built sculptures. “Pinch-forming is what I do to meditate,” he says, “slab building is what I do to think through ideas.” The work featured in this year’s auction is one of his distinctive pinched vessels. “My pinching process,” he explains, “is neither additive nor subtractive but expansive. I grow the form from one chunk of clay using the pinching method to open the chunk and expand it outward and upward.”

Paul’s work has been in numerous exhibitions including Lucy Lacoste Gallery in Concord, Massachusetts, Friedman Benda Gallery in New York City, and The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, and is found in museum collections including the Fuller Craft Museum in Massachusetts, the Columbus Art Museum in Ohio, the Legacy Museum in Alabama, the San Angelo Museum of Art in Texas, the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum in New York, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

He has studied educational theory and policy, art education, theology, sculpture, and ceramics. “After a circuitous and fortuitous journey,” he says,“I am an artist-teacher at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.” He has also taught ceramics at Penland, Anderson Ranch, St. Olaf University, and Harvard University.

To learn more about Paul and see more of his work, please watch the video below (videographer: Darren Cole), or visit his website (but watch the video first).

Penland’s Annual Benefit Auction takes place on August 26-27, 2002 with online bidding on some pieces continuing through September 2. Paul’s work will be sold in the live auction on August 27; absentee bidding is available. Complete auction information here.


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David K. Chatt: Objects of Wonder from Tiny Beads


David K. Chatt, Red Stinger, glass beads, thread, time, 33 inches long

For nearly forty years, I have sewn tiny glass beads, one to the next,” says artist David K. Chatt. During this time David has painstakingly developed methods for creating sculpture and jewelry from sewn beads–beads alone and beads encasing objects–and he is one of a small group of artists who have made a place for beadwork in the world of contemporary art and craft. He is one of three featured artists at Penland’s annual benefit auction where he will be represented by an intriguing wearable piece titled Red Stinger (pictured here).

His work has taken him all over the country as a lecturer and teacher, and it has been chronicled in books and periodicals and recognized with a retrospective exhibition at the Bellevue Arts Museum in Washington. At Penland he has been an instructor, a resident artist, a student, an employee, and a neighbor.

In 2019, David won the Grand Prize at the Irish Glass Biennale. In 2021, one of his pieces was purchased by the Renwick Gallery of the American Art Museum (DC) and is included in its current 50th anniversary show.

“I make art,” David says, “because I want to contribute, discover, understand, inspire, reach for the very edge of my potential, and say something true.”

To learn more about David and see more of his work, please watch the video below, or visit his website (but watch the video first).

Penland’s Annual Benefit Auction takes place on August 26-27, 2002 with online bidding on some pieces continuing through September 2. David’s piece will be sold in the live auction on August 27; absentee bidding is available. Complete auction information here.

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Welcome! Black Women of Print


Welcome, Black Women of Print!

Six members of this dynamic collective are at Penland our two-week Summer Residency Fellowship. We are honored to host members Chloe Alexander, Dr. Deborah Grayson, Delita Martin, Karen J. Revis, Stephanie Santana, and Tanekeya Word in Penland’s print and paper studios. In addition to the two-weeks at Penland, each artist will receive an unrestricted award of $10,000.

Black Women of Print promotes the visibility of Black women printmakers via accessible educational outreach to create an equitable future within the discipline of printmaking.

(NOTE: If you are viewing this post as email, please click here to see this beautiful slideshow.)

Chloe Alexander
Deborah Grayson
Delita Martin
Karen J. Revis
Stephanie Santana
Tenekeya Word


The residency grew out of a conversation between Black Women of Print’s executive director Tanekeya Word and Penland’s creative director Leslie Noell in which Tanekeya mentioned that members of the group had dreamed of doing a residency together. Penland does not program a workshop for each of its 16 studios in every single session, and Leslie was  developing a plan for short-term summer residencies that would use some of those available slots. When funding for six residencies came through, Leslie invited Tanekeya to curate a group to work together in the printmaking studio. At least one of the printmakers was interested in papermaking, and that studio was also available for this session.


We are looking forward to sharing some of the work created during this residency with you. We also welcome 2022 Andrew Glasgow Writer in Residence, Camille Johnson, who will be conducting interviews with each member of the group and doing other documentation of the residency.

The Penland Summer Residency Fellowship is made possible by a grant from the John and Robyn Horn Foundation. The awards are generously provided by the Windgate Foundation.

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Presenting: A Penland Digital Archive!

A frame from the film Penland Summer 1969
This is a frame from the film “Penland Summer 1969,” which included in Penland’s new digital repository. The person falling is sculptor Don Drumm. Next to him is Penland’s second director, Bill Brown, and his wife, Jane Brown.

Penland School of Craft recently unveiled an exciting archival project that will be of use to scholars, historians, and craft enthusiasts for many years to come. The core of the project is the preservation of 250 hours of material contained on at-risk 16mm film and magnetic tape that had accumulated in the school’s Jane Kessler Archives over many years. In addition to several old films, there were audio and video tapes in multiple formats. Included in this material were interviews with Penland artists, instructors, and staff from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.

The earliest material is films made by Allen Eaton in the 1940s that present a decidedly dated view of Appalachian culture while documenting traditional craft in Western North Carolina, including early footage of Penland. A film with no soundtrack captures Penland in the 1950s, and a final 16mm film, shot in 1969, highlights Penland’s second director, Bill Brown, glass artist Billy Bernstein, sculptor Don Drumm, potter Byron Temple, and others.

There is also a collection of artist interviews filmed by Chris Felver in 1985 (complete list of interviewees is here) and a series of videos made in the early 2000s by Joe Murphy, a documentary filmmaker and professor at Appalachian State University. These move through Penland’s teaching studios, recording the activities of students and instructors, including demonstrations and lively interviews.

Reels of 16 millimeter film on a desk
Reels of 16mm film being prepared for digitization. Photo by Leila Hamdan.

Color film and magnetic media are both subject to deterioration, even if they are not actively used, and Penland’s former archivist, Carey Hedlund, saw the need to catalog all of this material and have it transferred to digital formats. A successful proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities brought the funds necessary to execute the project, and Penland hired Leila Hamdan, an experienced archivist and collections manager from Memphis, Tennessee as the project archivist.

Leila began work in early 2000, just as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down most of Penland’s normal operations, creating a challenging and isolated work environment for her. She quickly discovered that many of the tapes were not properly labeled or described, making it difficult to identify the contents.

Enter Sallie Fero, a nearby neighbor of the school who had recently retired after 30 years as a Penland employee. Sallie was hired to watch and listen to hours and hours of material with Leila and identify people and subject matter.

Painter Beverly McIver in a frame from a video interview
Painting instructor Beverly McIver in a frame from one of the many videos made at Penland in the early 2000s by Joe Murphy.

Leila selected a vendor to digitize the tapes and films and created metadata for 350 items. She designed and built a data asset management system, a Linux-based content management system hosted on site, and a digital preservation system. She created industry-standard finding aids for individual items and placed all of the files in cloud-based storage. She worked with Penland’s former IT manager Mark Boyd and website designer Jennifer Drum to create the publicly available digital repository.

The repository was expanded beyond the films and videos to include a collection of historic photographs of eighteen of Penland’s buildings. Most of these buildings contributed to Penland’s campus being designated as a historic district by the National Register of Historic Places.

A historic photograph of the Lily Loom House at Penland School of Craft
An early photograph of the Lily Loom House on the Penland campus.

During the the two years she worked on the project, Leila also created a Penland Archives Instagram account where she posted a treasure trove of photographs owned by the archives along with a few photographs of objects in the archives.

The digital repository, which is linked from the archives page of the school’s website, currently houses 113 historic photographs and 76 videos ranging in length from a few minutes to more than an hour. These were selected based on their copyright status and streaming permission as well as the relevance of the content. More video and audio may be added in the future, and the complete list of digitized audiovisual material can be viewed by contacting

A favorite video of Leila’s is A Penland Story from 1950. “This one was, for me personally, the most impressive to uncover because it brings so many of the old still photos to life and color,” she said. “It has cameos from everyone who was anyone at the school during the time—even Henry Neal cooking in the kitchen, which is remarkable. We see Penland’s founder, Lucy Morgan, in her apartment watching a clown act with friends, work being made in every studio, the list goes on and on.”

We hope you will explore this special resource, and we will continue to highlight parts of the collection on the blog and our social media over the next year.

A frame from the 1950 movie A Penland Story
A frame from “A Penland Story,” made in 1950. This woman is using a yarn winder in the room that is still used as Penland’s weaving studio.


BONUS: Here’s a video of Harvey Littleton, one of the founders of the Studio Glass Movement, blowing glass in 1985.

This project has been made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.