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Photo(s) of the Week: Community Open House 2017

learning to cast with pewter

Hands-on craft activities, a legion of wonderful volunteers, hundreds of eager visitors, and some beautiful spring weather all came together this past Saturday to make the 2017 Penland Community Open House a rousing success. Visitors tried their hands at perennial favorites like glassblowing and wheel throwing, as well as new additions like origami, sewn tote bags, and a letterpress scavenger hunt. We look forward to the open house every year as a way to welcome spring and bring together community members of all ages and skill levels. Thanks to all who participated for making it such a fun day!

In the photograph above, metals studio coordinator Ian Henderson guides two young visitors through the process of casting a spoon out of pewter. It took mere minutes to transform the hot, pourable metal into a spoon to take home and enjoy.


two people get their portrait taken

Meanwhile, in the photo activity, Penland resident artist Mercedes Jelinek was busy taking hundreds of portraits of open house attendees. Everyone who sat for a portrait was able to take home their own black-and-white print.


learning to make a glass bead

Visitors to the flameworking studio got to work up close with torches and glass. Here, one attendee learns how to melt the colored glass and shape it around a metal rod to make a unique bead.

To see dozens more photos from the day’s activities, take a look at our complete album of Community Open House 2017 pictures. We hope they inspire you to join us for Community Day 2018!




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Summer 2017 Workshop Catalog

Penland summer 2017 catalog cover with portraits of Penland students, instructors, staff, etc

We’re thrilled to present the Summer 2017 workshop catalog! It includes information about our ninety-seven unique summer workshops, including favorites like wood-fired pottery and letterpress and special offerings like bicycle building and leather inlay. Some workshops are for beginners, some are aimed at intermediate and advanced artists, most are open to students of all levels, and each is taught by knowledgeable artist-instructors. The front and back covers capture the range of our broad Penland community in a series of Penland portraits by resident artist Mercedes Jelinek. Read more about her photographs and all of this summer’s great offerings right here in the catalog.


Registration for summer workshops is open now, and everyone who registers by 5 PM on February 11 will be entered into the early registration lottery. Scholarships are available for all workshops. Apply for scholarships by February 17.


We are currently working on uploading full course information to our website. Look for it online by the end of December, with printed catalogs to follow in early January.









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From iPhone to I, Photographer

Mercedes Jelinek teaching at Mitchell High
Mercedes Jelinek explains to her Art 1 students how to edit images on their phones.


“Photography is not like painting. There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative.”

—Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1957


Although darkroom photography is no longer part of many high school art programs, photography itself is more prevalent than ever. These days, most high school students walk around with camera phones in their back pockets, and snapping photos is almost second nature. As a visiting artist at Mitchell High School in Spruce Pine, NC, Mercedes Jelinek’s goal was to show students that these photos could be more than just a way to record and share—they could be a form of creative expression.

“Photos can mean a lot more than just representing likeness,” Mercedes tells her students at the beginning of class on a Wednesday morning. The students are seated in bright yellow chairs around a projector in Jennifer Robinson’s Art 1 class. On the screen, Mercedes is advancing through portraits they took of each other yesterday, each original photograph shown next to an edited version. “What makes this one so good?” she asks. Her students respond with their thoughts about composition, lighting, framing. Despite being taken with simple cellphone cameras, the photos do look good—really good. There’s personality coming through in each one.


black and white portraits of three Mitchell High School students
Three of the many portraits Mitchell High students took of each other during their photo classes with Mercedes. From left, images by Tanner, Kassie, and Billy.


As a resident artist here at Penland, Mercedes has years of professional photography experience—both film and digital—to share with her students. Her three-day visit to Mitchell High was part of the Professional Craft Study for High School Students, one of Penland’s Community Collaborations programs to bring creative experiences to students in the surrounding counties. During her lessons, Mercedes started with basics such as camera controls and simple editing, but her students were soon talking about how to interact with subjects to make them comfortable and relaxed and how to set up a shot to lead the viewer’s eye.


Mercedes photographs a student
During her class, Mercedes set up a photo booth to take portraits of all her students.


On her final day of teaching, Mercedes used the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson as an inspiration for her students. Cartier-Bresson is known for The Decisive Moment, a book of black-and-white street photography. “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression,” he wrote.

In asking her students to take photographs of “decisive moments” as their final assignment, Mercedes enabled them to bring together the technical concepts they had practiced such as lighting and exposure time with their own view of the world. “Go set up the shot absolutely perfectly, then have somebody walk through it,” she instructed them. “You decide the perfect moment to take your shot.”

There was nothing uncommon about the laughter that followed, or the knots of two or three teens talking in groups, or the students wandering on the grassy stretch in front of the school. What was uncommon was the particular care and attention taken to document it all.

—Sarah Parkinson


black and white photographs by Mitchell High students
A few of the “decisive moment” photographs taken during Mercedes’s class. Clockwise from top left, images by Rylie, Madison, and Devlin.


See more photographs from Mitchell High School Art 1 students on the MHS Art Instagram.

All of Penland’s Community Collaborations programs are funded by grants and donations. The Professional Craft Study for High School Students is able to bring artists like Mercedes to Mitchell High School thanks to the generous support of the Samuel L. Phillips Family Foundation Education Partnership Endowment.


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Introducing Penland’s 2014-2017 Resident Artists


Four artists have been selected as Penland resident artists who will live and work in Penland’s close-knit community for the next three years. The incoming artists will arrive in September, 2014 and join returning Penland resident artists Micah Evans, Dustin Farnsworth, and Rachel Meginnes. They include:


Annie Evelyn

annieevelynAnnie Evelyn received her BFA and MFA in furniture design at the Rhode Island School of Design. She has taught classes in furniture design, woodworking, and upholstery at The New School (NY), Anderson Ranch, RISD, Penland, and others. A recipient of the Windgate Fellowship in 2010, Annie spent a year as an artist in residence at Indiana University Center for Turning and Furniture Design. Her work has been shown throughout the US and abroad, most recently at the 2013 International Contemporary Furniture Fair. From 2010 to 2011, she worked in New Orleans as set decorator, assistant casting director, and associate producer on the award-winning film Beasts of the Southern Wild, all the while maintaining New Colony Furniture, her design/build business specializing in furniture design and upholstery.

As a Penland resident artist, Annie wants to regain the experimental and conceptual side of her process, something that has been sidelined by the practicalities of making a living as a designer. She hopes three years of studio exploration will help her “establish a way of working and a way of life where [art and design] are working together, informing and strengthening each other.” Annie will relocate to Penland from Brooklyn, New York.


Andrew Hayes

andrewhayesAndrew Hayes studied art at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and arrived at Penland as a core fellow in 2007. For four years during and following his core fellowship, Andrew worked as a studio assistant to former Penland resident artist Hoss Haley, while beginning to exhibit his altered books throughout the US. In 2013, Andrew established his own studio in Asheville, NC, and began work as a full-time artist. He is now represented by galleries in California, Oregon, North Carolina, Ohio, and Canada. In 2012, Andrew was an Emerging Artist Spotlight presenter at the national Society of North American Goldsmiths conference.

Andrew’s residency at Penland comes at a pivotal moment as he develops new work, new professional relationships, and new markets. About his continued connection to Penland, Andrew says: “Penland has shaped my life as an artist. I am eternally grateful for all the breakthroughs and positive experiences I’ve received directly or indirectly through the school… I want to give back to the community that has supported me in countless ways.” More about Andrew and his work can be found on his website.


Mercedes Jelinek

mercedesjelinekMercedes Jelinek earned a BFA from SUNY Purchase in 2007 and an MFA from Louisiana State University in 2012. Her work has been shown nationally and has recently been included in exhibits at the Ogden Museum (Louisiana) and Cuchifritos Gallery (NYC). Mercedes  has built a  freelance career working in several genres of commercial photography— architecture, fashion, events, and journalism. She is one of the first photographers to be granted access to the top of the new World Trade Center building, and is currently photographing its final construction. Mercedes has taught in several universities and photo centers, run professional and community photo studios, and assisted several elite photographers.

As a Penland resident artist, Mercedes hopes to continue a neighborhood photo booth portrait project with individuals from the Penland community, and challenge her work through increased scale and research into non-toxic photo processes. She will be moving to Penland from Brooklyn, New York. Her work can be viewed on her website.


Jaydan Moore

jaydanmooreJaydan Moore earned his BFA in jewelry/metal arts from California College of the Arts in 2008 and an MA and MFA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2011 and 2012. He has taught at several esteemed metals programs throughout the country and has studied under and/or assisted master metalsmiths including Richard Mawdsley, Fred Fenster, Bob Coogan, and Marilyn da Silva. Jaydan was a university fellow at UW/Madison in 2009; a resident artist at the Houston Contemporary Craft Center in 2012; and is currently the Fountainhead Fellow at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Craft and Material Studies. He is also teaching in the metals department at VCU.

Through the Penland Resident Artist program Jaydan will dedicate three years to his own studio work in complement to his established academic teaching path. View Jaydan’s work and learn more on his website.


For more information about the Penland resident artist program, please click here.