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Studio Practices: Penland 9

concrete tiles, clay vases, and photography
Works from “Studio Practices: Penland 9” by Ian Henderson, Susan Feagin, and Betsy DeWitt


Penland’s team of studio coordinators can generally be found working behind the scenes to support the hundreds of artists that come through our studios every year with their knowledge and skill. But they’re also accomplished artists in their own right, and we’re thrilled that their personal work is on display in the Main Gallery of the Turchin Center at Appalachian State University through June. Studio Practices: Penland 9 includes sculptural, functional, and two-dimensional pieces in a variety of media. The artists address a broad range of themes in their work, from secrecy and family memories to language and play. “Working together to support the practices of other artists at Penland has given the talented coordinators a remarkable synergy,” the show’s curator states. “Their artwork is individually strong and compatible with one another – creating a dynamic and moving installation.”

Studio Practices: Penland 9 features Daniel T. Beck (steel sculpture), Betsy DeWitt (photography), Susan Feagin (ceramics), Melanie Finlayson (printmaking), Jay Fox (paper and print), Nick Fruin (glass), Ian Henderson (concrete and metals), Ellie Richards (wood), and Amanda Thatch (textiles and drawing).


wood sculpture, steel and cement sculpture, weavings
Pieces by Ellie Richards, Daniel Beck, and Amanda Thatch


The show is on view Tuesday-Saturday through June 3, 2017. In addition to regular gallery hours, visitors are encouraged to explore the exhibition further through the following events:

Friday, February 3, 6-9 PM: “Fizzy First Friday” Reception
Come view Studio Practices: Penland 9 and the Turchin Center’s three other new exhibitions while enjoying snacks, drinks, and music.

Friday, April 7, 6-10 PM: Spring Exhibition Celebration
Explore the Turchin Center’s galleries and exhibitions, meet the artists, and have a cocktail or a snack.

Wednesday, April 12: TCVA Lecture Series: Penland Coordinators I
Hear Melanie Finlayson, Daniel T. Beck, Nick Fruin, Amanda Thatch, and Susan Feagin discuss their studio practices.

Wednesday, April 19: TCVA Lecture Series: Penland Coordinators II
Listen to Ian Henderson, Ellie Richards, Jay Fox, and Betsy DeWitt as they talk about their studios and work.





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Penland Studio Coordinator Show


Betsy DeWitt, from Upon Closer Examination, archival inkjet print of a 4″ round photomicrograph


Like Batman, Marie Curie, and Wallace Stevens who came before them, our studio coordinators live intense double lives, serving as the veritable rocks for the Penland studios during the day and making their own art (at night? When? How do they do it?)



Dean Allison, Ally, cast and blown glass



Susan Feagin, Square Bowl, mid-range clay, screen printed slips, sgraffito, colored glazes, 2011. Photo by Walker Montgomery.

We’re very excited to announce the opening of the Penland Studio Coordinator show at Green Plum Gallery, 130 Oak Avenue (Upper Street) in Spruce Pine, April 21. A reception will be held on April 25, 5:00-8:00 pm. Artists include:


Amanda Thatch (Textiles, works on paper)

Betsy DeWitt (Photography)

Ian Henderson (Metals)

Daniel T. Beck (Sculpture)

Sean P. Morrissey (Works on paper)

Susan Feagin (Ceramics)

Dean Allison (Cast and blown glass)

Marvin Jensen (Furniture)



Amanda Thatch, detail from Begin Again, textile



Sean P. Morrissey, Pile #2, collage on panel, 60 x 30


The show, dubbed In the Beginning There Was Marvin: 8 Coordinators, 15 Studios, will be on view these dates and hours:

Monday, April 21: 4-7 pm

Tuesday, April 22: 4-7 pm

Wednesday, April 23: 4-7 pm

Thursday, April 24: 4-7 pm

Friday, April 25: 5-8 pm (reception)

Saturday, April 26: 10-5 pm

Sunday, April 27: 11-3 pm 



Ian Henderson, Partum, bronze, gold-plated silver, ash


Some of the works included in this blog post will be on view. Some won’t. Expect the marvelous.


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A Short Story About a Knob

ultrasonic cleaner

A couple of weeks ago, staff member Elaine Bleakney posted this picture on our Instagram feed. It was captioned with an interchange she had with metals coordinator Ian Henderson, which mentioned the missing knob. (If you can’t read it, click on the picture to make it bigger.) Our friend Joe Lee (a.k.a. @clockfeathers on Instagram) suggested that someone could 3D print a new knob.


ian hendrson and daniel beck with printrbot

Joe follows Penland pretty closely, so he probably knew, from this blog or Facebook, that Ian (left) was half owner, with iron coordinator Daniel T. Beck (right), of an assemble-it-yourself 3D printer called a Printrbot.



Here’s the printer, fully assembled.



So Ian, who is quite the tinkerer, designed this knob in the 3D modeling software, which he had learned quite a bit about while working on this excellent project.


ultrasonic cleaner

He sent the file to the printer, and here is the ultrasonic cleaner, made whole again.