Posted on

Make, Show, Repeat: Cross Training for Jewelers with Laura Wood


Laura wood black necklace


Before Laura Wood was a jeweler, she was a dancer. It’s a history that shows in her work—earrings and brooches that flutter and flow, pendants that seem nearly weightless in their volume. In her recent pieces, Laura has been exploring lace-like constructions of delicate metal. Each one calls to mind a certain rhythm and exuberance, as if a spiraling path of movement has been temporarily frozen in three dimensions.

Laura explains that her training in dance led her to “making adornment for the body, activating pleasure and enjoyment through wearing.” As she describes it, “Each piece is very much an effort in creating body-conscious work… I strive to enhance the silhouette of the body and create work to be worn as a celebration of performance and adornment.”

“Celebration” seems like an appropriate word to describe Laura’s approach to her career as a full-time jeweler. Her designs are lively and dynamic, and she is engaged in building and supporting her community of fellow metalsmiths. As a complement to her own work, Laura co-founded Jewelry Edition, an online and pop-up jewelry exhibit that features a rotating selection of emerging jewelry artists and strives to offer “an in-depth view into the process of contemporary jewelry.”


laura wood


For a lucky group of students, Laura will offer an extra in-depth view of that process at Penland this spring. Her 2016 concentration “Make, Show, Repeat: Cross Training for Jewelers” will focus on all stages of creating jewelry, from the idea phase and the technical aspects of making to finishing details and fine-tuning process.

Registration is now open for Make, Show, Repeat, which will run March 13 – May 6, 2016. Scholarships are available for the course. Scholarship applications are due November 28, 2015.


Laura wood jewelry


Make, Show, Repeat: Cross Training for Jewelers

Laura Wood – This workshop will introduce a variety of metalsmithing techniques and material exploration to use as a launching pad for new work or to enrich a jewelry-making vocabulary. We’ll engineer components, embellish surface structures, and hone finishing skills. Other highlights will include mold making, powder coating, etching, stone setting, and idea generation. A progressive timeline will guide the structure of the class to encourage fast development. We’ll share our growth in its various stages through pop-up exhibitions. Basic metalsmithing skills will be helpful, but this workshop is open to all levels. Code S00MB

Studio artist; teaching: Southwest School of Art (TX); visiting artist: Western Michigan University, New Mexico State University; gallery representation: Mora Contemporary Jewelry (NC), Signature Gallery (GA), Quirk Gallery (VA), Society for Contemporary Craft (PA), Gallery 360 (MN), Heidi Lowe Gallery (DE), Gallery Store (OR).


Penland Spring Concentrations, March 13 – May 6, 2016
Books  |  Clay  |  Glass  |  Iron  |  Metals  |  Textiles  |  Wood


Posted on

Core Show Slideshow

Left to right: Tyler Stoll, Meghan Martin, Joshua Kovarik, Elmar Fujita, Daniel Garver, Jamie Karolich, Bryan Parnham, Emily Rogstad, Morgan Hill
Left to right: Tyler Stoll, Meghan Martin, Joshua Kovarik, Elmar Fujita, Daniel Garver, Jamie Karolich, Bryan Parnham, Emily Rogstad, Morgan Hill


The annual October Core Show is a much-anticipated highlight of fall at Penland, and this year was no exception. Our nine core fellows came together to put on a stunning show of pieces from their workshops across the Penland studios. Titled Personal Effects, the show featured furniture, prints, photographs, weaving, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, and much more. It was a great opportunity to see the cumulative talent of this group of young artists, and also to show our appreciation for these people who do so much at the very heart of the Penland community.

View lots more images in the Personal Effects slideshow.


Guests admiring work at the opening reception. The table in the front is by Elmar Fujita.


Posted on

Multiples: Fabrication Through Repetition with Sarah Loertscher


Image courtesy of Sarah Loertscher.

Metalsmith, jeweler, and former Penland core fellow Sarah Loertscher will return to Penland this spring to teach a workshop in the metals studio. Elaine Bleakney corresponded with her about the workshop, her work, and its deep ties to landscape.


I think a lot about the way poems build through repetition, and how when a poet repeats a phrase, the phrase invokes the possibility of a form emerging for the poem at large. Do you have similar feelings about the creation of visual forms in your work?

Yes. Since being a core fellow at Penland, the idea of a starting place (in my case, usually a repeating shape) has been at the heart of my making experience.

It started as a coping mechanism while I was a student Penland–we were exposed to so many new instructors and techniques in such a short time, and I wanted to jump into making, not figuring out what to make. At the time, I would use the triangle and the hexagon–so no matter what class I was in, I would just start making one of those shapes out of metal, clay, paper, glass. It got me working.

It’s still the same experience today–I love the repetition of forms, and some days I just want to build the same building blocks over and over again, and other times I want to build with them. The building part is really organic–the pieces dictate how they want to grow. The hardest part is knowing when I’m done building and when I need to finish it. It’s somehow collaborative–like I help bring a piece into the world, not that I create it.


Image courtesy of Sarah Loertscher.


Using a shape–and getting people working, and building, through repetition–will be the focus of the workshop. We are working on getting out from obsessing over one precious piece. This really stunts learning, because after a point you begin to be scared of taking chances and “ruining” what you started.

I want the workshop to be a really active one, where people are moving through processes and learning through experience. We’ll dive into deeper projects later in the workshop, but the core of the class is going to be experiencing different processes and understanding what you love (or dislike) about each technique.


Sarah Loertscher
Multiples: Fabrication Through Repetition
In the metals studio
This workshop will focus on fabrication using repetition to build familiarity with materials and techniques. We’ll cover the basics—piercing, filing, riveting, cold connections, soldering—and advanced techniques like hollow construction (sheet and wire), inlay (solder, resin, wood, and soft stone), enameling, and steel fabrication. This workshop is perfect for beginners as well as experienced students interested in creating a production line or new body of work. The emphasis will be on honing skills and creating meaningful, well-designed jewelry and objects. All levels.


To find out more and register for this workshop click here.
Spring scholarship deadline is November 29.
Please note: applications need to be at Penland by this date to be considered for scholarship. Overnight service may not deliver to Penland’s campus on time, please plan accordingly.


Image courtesy of Sarah Loertscher.


In your artist statement you talk about the expansive Midwestern landscape you grew up in as providing a backdrop for forms to impress you. Do you miss this, living and working in an urban environment, and do you find forms in the urban landscape that inspire you now?

You know, I do miss it.  The urban environment feeds me in different ways, mainly through interaction and opportunity. The density of Seattle brings together the opportunity of collaboration and exposure, among other things.  For example, this last weekend we pulled off a photo shoot where we had professional make up artists, stylists, models, and a photographer, and mostly from our circle of friends and acquaintances. That would be hard to pull off last minute in a rural setting. Seattle has also helped me expand my studio through interested students and apprentices, and given me teaching opportunities and press.  The social landscape is beautiful, and rich in designers, makers, and people who appreciate those things.  The surrounding physical landscape is also breathtakingly beautiful, but is usually just seen from afar–a beautiful backdrop of mountains and water.


Sarah Loertscher teaches and works out of her West Seattle studio. She has taught at Pratt Fine Art Center in Washington. A former Penland core fellow and American Craft Council AltCraft artist, her exhibitions include Velvet daVinci (CA) and Sienna Gallery (MA). Her runway collaboration with Angel Sanchez appeared at New York Fashion Week 2013 and a collaboration with Mila Hermanovski at Los Angeles Fashion Week 2012. She might be watching this right now:


Posted on

A Glass Maker Escapes to Clay






“As a glass maker I’ve found myself drawn to ceramics more and more. Both mediums have a fluidity that in order to really harness, you have to hone in on the moment. You can’t just let go of molten glass or a spinning potter’s wheel whenever you desire. Sometimes you have to though; sometimes my glass starts cracking and fighting against me and I have to set it down.


This happened to me a few times during my recent study at Penland. When it did, I’d go visit Upper Clay. Then I felt rejuvenated.”




“The clay studio is a safe haven compared to the flameworking studio. There’s a gorgeous light coming in from the windows. The colors of clay and glazes are subdued and easy on the eye. More often than not, a chill tune is playing while wheels hum in the background. It’s the perfect place to see my medium from another maker’s point of view.”


Arlie Trowbridge, glass artist and owner of Urban Revisions, who took a one-week workshop in wearable glass with Rachel Rader in the flameworking studio last week.


Find out more about our hot glass and flameworking workshops.

Find out more about our upcoming workshops in clay.