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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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Featured Auction Artist: James Henkel

James Henkel first came to Penland in 1971 with a scholarship that, he says, made him “a photography student and a proud dishwasher.” Since then he has served as studio assistant, core student, resident artist, faculty, and neighbor. At Penland he met Debra Frasier, his wife of 37 years. In 1991 they bought a small cabin near the school where they began spending summers. And their daughter, Calla, now an artist working in Berlin, was a founding member of Penland Kid’s Camp. “That one act of generosity— a Penland scholarship in 1971—has nourished me artistically for fifty years,” Jim said.

“My work begins with finding and collecting objects. These curiosities are then used to generate pictures that touch on the relationship between our ideas about beauty, function, and the meaning of objects in our lives. With the choice of an object for a photograph, I am leaning into a sense of shared familiarity with the viewer, but changing the perspective by introducing the unexpected within the frame.”

Jim is professor emeritus at University of Minnesota and a long-time Penland instructor. He now lives between Asheville and his Penland house/studio.

Learn more about Jim and his work in the short video above.

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THANK YOU: This year’s auction in 7 numbers and 12 images

Now that the confetti has settled, we’re excited to revisit this summer’s 35th Annual Penland Benefit Auction. It was certainly one to remember—we swapped out tents and live bidding for online auctions and livestreams—but the heart and friends and community at the center of it all remained rock solid. And we’re happy to report that it was quite a success, too!

Thanks to you and the many, many artists, volunteers, supporters, and attendees who contributed to this year’s festivities, we raised a whopping $378,518 to support Penland’s creative programming. Here are a few more facts for all you quantitative-leaning number lovers:

  • 177 pieces up for bidding
  • 186 donating artists
  • 363 registrations
  • $193466 raised in art sales
  • $103,235 raised towards our $100,000 Fund-A-Need goal
  • $296,587 in net proceeds!

But we’re artists at heart, you know? And a picture is worth a thousands words, so we thought we’d summarize the fun with a few highlights from our livestream as well. Thanks to all who tuned in and made it such a memorable celebration!

1. A Penland Production—Party clothes on, masks up, and we’re ready to go! (Also please note the “Lost and Found” box painted in The Pines fireplace as part of the set)

2. First piece—We kicked off the bidding with Lauren, a lidded stoneware jar by Dan Finnegan. Look at that expressive eye!

3. Playing with scale—As a fun nod to featured artist Annie Evelyn’s practice of constructing models of her furniture ideas, we auctioned off Annie’s Golden Windsor Flower Chair in miniature.

4. Let’s hear it for our hosts!—Auction co-hosts Jesse Miller and SaraBeth Post led the bidding and kept the energy high all afternoon. Here they are trying out James D.W. Cooper’s Two Wheel Bench.

5. Fund-A-Need—Penland student, studio assistant, former staff member, and neighbor Shae Bishop introduced the fund to support pandemic-related updates to the Penland campus and studios—and quickly helping us surpass our $100,000 goal!

6. A peek into a blacksmith’s studio—During this short video about featured artist Dan Neville, we got a window into his process and the inspirations behind his piece Footing Box.

7. How’s the weather?—The rainbow auction umbrellas made a quick appearance, despite the watertight ceiling at Northlight.

8. “Everyday Jewelry”—After a short video about featured artist Tara Locklear, we got to see a close-up view of her stunning Graduated Golden Teardrop Collet—made from recycled skateboard decks!

9. The final few pieces—We couldn’t resist this shot of Katherine Gray’s blown glass candelabra against the backdrop of Eleanor Anderson’s colorful weaving. These two pieces were followed up by bidding on the final item, an elegant brass and silver container by Adam Whitney and Seth Gould.

10. Clappers and confetti—We pulled out all the celebratory stops at the end of the bidding, including the Penland clappers from last summer’s live auction under the tent!

11. Just kidding, there’s more—We decided to pop a few bottles of champagne to mark the occasion, too! (If you watched the livestream, you may remember this was not quite as easy as we’d anticipated…)

12. That’s all, folks—A big THANK YOU wave to everyone out there watching and supporting and cheering Penland on from afar. You all are the heartbeat that keeps this place alive, and for that we are ever grateful!

And finally, though he was not part of the livestream itself, we can’t finish this post without recognizing longtime auction volunteer and photographer extraordinaire, David Ramsey. In addition to photographing all the work for the catalog, he took on this year’s new challenge of creating 115 short videos to show the 3D pieces in the round.

Want to see more or relive the auction fun? The entire livestream is still available to watch right here.

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Highlights of the 2016 Benefit Auction

 

With concentrations set to start this Sunday, we’re working on wrapping up the last details of summer so we can turn our attention to the fall ahead. But we certainly can’t move on to a new season without mentioning one of the big highlights of every Penland summer: the Annual Benefit Auction!

This year’s was a rousing success, and we owe that success to the hard work and support of so many of you in the Penland community—from our 263 contributing artists and 216 volunteers to the 161 newcomers who joined us this year for their very first auction weekend. Through art sales, ticket sales, gifts, sponsorships, and more, you helped us to raise over $698,000 of income for Penland programs, including $141,810 of Fund-a-Need support for Penland’s new Northlight building. We are beyond grateful. As Kari Rinn said during her art talk over auction weekend, “Just a few days at Penland creates an impact that can be felt for years or even a lifetime.” Your support means Penland can continue to serve as an inspiring and vibrant community for artists well into the future. Thank you.

Auction weekend is also a time to recognize those in our community who have made a particularly lasting and cherished impact on Penland students. This year, we couldn’t have chosen a more deserving soul than Paulus Berensohn to name as our 2016 Outstanding Artist Educator. Paulus is an embodiment of the generosity and creative discovery that make Penland so special, and it was an honor and a joy to celebrate him as an instructor, neighbor, and friend. The tribute to Paulus below was presented under the tent on August 12.

 

 

We hope you can carry forward this summer’s spirit of creativity and celebration into the season ahead. If you need a little help, might we suggest taking a peek at the pictures from the auction photo booth below for inspiration?

Auction Weekend Photo Booth
Volunteer Party Photo Booth

 

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Photo of the Week: The Pines All Dressed Up!

the auction tent on Friday evening as the sun goes down

One week ago today, all of campus was abuzz with activity for day one of Penland’s 31st Annual Benefit Auction. Hundreds of artists, attendees, volunteers, sponsors, staff, and community members came together to make the weekend a truly special and successful event, complete with hand-painted photo booth backdrops, some very festive outfits, incredible art, and people to match! The Pines looks quite celebratory, no?

 

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