A couple of weeks ago, we posted a picture of the Penland core fellows, and someone wrote to ask if they could see a picture of the whole staff. As it happened, we had just taken one, so here it is. It’s hard to get the entire staff together in one place ever, so there are a few people missing here (including the person who took the picture), but this is most of us: the people who make the food, run the studios, clean up our housing and offices, raise the money, keep track of the money, plan the workshops, let you know about the workshops, enroll you in the workshops, keep the buildings and grounds trim, greet you at the store and the gallery, plan for the future, and more, and more, and also the core fellows, still in camo (see below).
NOTE: This post contains a nice slideshow, which probably won’t look so good in the e-mail version. So if you are looking at this on e-mail, please click here to see the slideshow.
Every March, Penland hosts a Community Open House that brings about 700 visitors and 100 volunteers to the campus for an afternoon of fun in the Penland studios. Here’s a glimpse of this year’s event.
Thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers, to Mitchell Transport for running shuttles, to The Pizza Shop for the tasty lunch, and to Dr. Taylor Townsend DDS, Burleson Plumbing, and Ledger Ace Hardware who generously donated in support of this event.
Once upon a time, the photographic techniques now known as “alt process” were the most modern options available to capture light and time as images. Today, the powerful little cameras toted everywhere in our pockets mean that alternative photographic processes are no longer employed much for simple documentation. But their unique characteristics—the piercing blue of a cyanotype, the moody contrast and physicality of tintypes and ambrotypes—are as powerful as ever for an artist communicating a vision.
Jill Enfield has spent her entire career exploring that vision behind a camera. As a fine art photographer, a teacher, a successful commercial photographer, and an author of two books on alt process photography, Jill has learned the ins and outs of making a photograph as well as anyone. Her work ranges from architectural street scenes that stand apart from time behind the paned grid of a window to painterly cyanotypes that seem to freeze sunlight into ice. One impressive collection, “New Americans,” documents new immigrants to the United States in a series of wet-plate collodion portraits. Jill employs this process strategically, both as a connection to the countless photographs of immigrants taken in the late 1800s and early 1900s and as a means to inspire today’s viewers to take a second look. She notes that, though the wet-plate process was as standard then as digital photography is now, the “nostalgic, Proustian pull” it exerts today lends her subjects an extra level of heft, romance, heroism.
This spring, we are honored to welcome Jill back to Penland for an eight-week deep dive into all things alternative process. Jill’s workshop, Photography Through the Ages, will run March 10 – May 3. Students will begin by exploring historic techniques like albumen prints and wet-plate negatives, and then they’ll layer and combine them to achieve their own unique photographs. Not to mention that all of this creative experimentation will take place in Penland’s brand new photo studio!
“The new Penland photo studio is an alt process photographer’s dream,” says coordinator Betsy Dewitt. It was designed over years based on needs and wants from our old studio and extensive feedback from some of Penland’s most dedicated photography instructors. “With spacious darkrooms, new exposure units, plenty of table and sink space, and a myriad of tools at your disposal, the studio allows plenty of room for creativity and exploration. And, with the ability to convert the entire studio into an alt process ‘dim room,’ students can practice multiple processes at one time,” Betsy explains. “I’m excited to see Jill’s class take full advantage of the space, learning the greatest hits of alternative process photography and combining them to make pieces that are truly one of a kind.” Jill’s students will also explore ways to use digital photographic methods in combination with the historic processes, and these explorations will be well supported by the studio’s array of computers, scanners, and printers.
If you’ve been wanting to expand your photographic vocabulary or learn new ways to tell stories through images, we hope you’ll join us for Jill’s workshop this spring. There are even a few work-study scholarships available to sweeten the deal!
Jill Enfield, March 10 – May 3, 2019
This concentration will explore the limitless possibilities of working with various photographic media invented during the last three centuries. By first learning each process and then combining them, students will invent their own way of creating work. We’ll have daily demonstrations, discussions of historic and contemporary works through slide shows and videos, and plenty of time for experimentation. We’ll cover tintypes, ambrotypes, wet-plate negatives, albumen, cyanotype, platinum/palladium, printing over inkjet, transfers, and other techniques. This workshop will be exciting for beginning to advanced photographers and artists who want to set aside time to experiment and make new art. All levels. Code S00P
Studio artist; teaching: Parsons (NYC), Rhode Island School of Design, SUNY New Paltz (NY), Anderson Ranch (CO); collections: Amon Carter Museum (TX), Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris), Crocker Art Museum (CA); author of Jill Enfield’s Guide to Photographic Alternative Processes (Routledge Press).
This is printmaker Jun Lee with one copy of the fantastic six-color chicken print she created during winter residency. Jun and fellow printmaker Steven Muñoz assisted each other as they each worked through the high-wire process of making large, multi-color reduction woodcuts. This process involves printing a series of different colors from the same woodblock. The carving is altered between each layer so there’s no going back.
This is Steven and Jun running one of Steven’s prints through the press for the last layer. Jun wrote: “Steven is the director at the Lee Arts Center where I’m the printmaking artist in residence. We’ve been colleagues, friends, and supporters of each other. We are both super stubborn but somehow we work pretty well as a team. Of course, there were some obstacles but we worked them out with laughs after making silly jokes, plus Penland Coffee House cold brew.”
Here’s Steven lifting the print after printing the black layer, which was the last of the four.
Steven and Jun with their blocks at the end of the month (photo by Penland staff member Cami Leisk). Steven wrote: “As I reflect, readjust and return back into my life after being at Penland winter residency for a month, I am heartened to know that I have made new, lasting friendships and strengthened existing ones. Penland School of Craft is that kind of place; one where you can work on your artistic endeavors and ideas but also one where you can connect over lunch or late dinners or during studio visits and find synergies amongst other artists working in different media and collaborate and develop and nurture each other in ways you can’t elsewhere and beyond.”
This steel feather was designed by sculptor Roberto Giordano and created by Roberto and the members of his fourth session workshop in the iron studio. It’s currently sitting on the lawn near The Pines. In a few weeks it will be installed behind the new Northlight building. It will live there until the 2019 auction when some lucky buyer will take it home.
Here’s one of the students working on it during the workshop.