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Coming Right Up: Glass

two students at the torch in the Penland flame studio

For those who are new to it, glass is one of the most mysterious and mesmerizing materials we work with at Penland. It’s always thrilling to introduce students to our glass studios and help them transform glass from something rigid and fragile into a material that’s flexible and open to a world of possibilities. And the good news is that the learning just keeps going—there’s always something new to pick up and explore, even for experienced glass artists!

This spring, students in our studios will have the opportunity to approach glass from two different vantages. In the hot shop, glass is fluid and fast, a full-body team effort. Next door in the flame studio, glass is layered, additive, zoomed in. Whichever angle you take, and whether it’s for one week or eight, a Penland glass workshop is a chance to dive in head first and push yourself with new ideas and techniques alongside a studio full of like-minded peers.

Registration for both of the following workshops is open now for students of all levels, including beginners. Sign up today!

two glass sculptures by Ben Elliott
Ben Elliott, “Bandwagon” (left) and “Stitch” (right), both flameworked glass with mixed-media

Ebb & Flow with Ben Elliott
One week – March 22-28, 2020
Join glass artist and instructor Ben Elliott in the flame studio for a week of building stories with borosilicate glass. Students will spend time at the torch learning and refining techniques like creating solid and hollow forms, applying color, using blow molds, and assembling pieces. Together with a class emphasis on narrative and imagery, these techniques will become the building blocks for creating pieces that speak with your own artistic voice. Come see just how much inspiration a single week can spark!

glass sculpture and wine glasses by Dan Mirer
Dan Mirer, “Bubble Orb” (left) and “Burgundies” right, blown glass

Intentions & Inventions with Dan Mirer
Eight weeks – March 8 – May 1, 2020
Go deep with thoughtful design during eight weeks of intensive glass work in the hot shop. Instructor Dan Mirer will use his expertise to guide students in creating considered, refined objects. The workshop will encourage a curious, problem-solving mindset as students blow glass and create a variety of molds to bring their designs to life. Students will also be encouraged to bring cold working, kiln forming, and flame working into their processes. Both beginners and experienced glass artists will discover challenges and possibilities that stretch their work in new directions.

We still have one partial scholarship available for Dan’s workshop!

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Summer Scholarships 101

group photo of a printmaking class all holding up different tools

Every year, roughly half of the students in Penland workshops are here through some type of scholarship. These scholarships are deeply important to our school and our community; they allow hundreds of motivated, talented, dedicated people to be part of Penland who would otherwise not have a chance to learn here. It makes the Penland experience richer for everyone.

Still, with that many scholarships available, we’re the first to admit that it can be a little complicated to find the best fit for you. Read on for clarity!

First, let’s start with the details that all scholarships have in common:

– All scholarship applications will be available beginning January 1 and are due by 11:59 PM Eastern time on February 17.

– All scholarship applications must be made online at penland.slideroom.com.

– All scholarship applications require two completed reference forms and a $10 Slideroom application fee.

Penland scholarships sorted by partial/full and work/no workPenland offers scholarships in four different categories. The two main factors that distinguish these options are:

– Do they have a work requirement or not? Many Penland scholarships involve a work requirement, which is usually about 20 hours per week of work in the Penland kitchen and dish room. For studio assistants, this work takes place in the studio supporting your workshop’s instructor, studio coordinator, and other students.

– Are they full scholarships or partial scholarships? Full scholarships cover 100% of tuition, room, and board for the session. Partial scholarships cover a significant portion of these costs but still require students to contribute some to the cost of their workshop. For example, full-pay students staying in dormitory housing for a 2-week clay session will pay $2,447. A student with a partial scholarship will pay only $681 for the same session.

For all you visual folks, take a look at this nifty rainbow chart to see where our different scholarship offerings fall. You can read full descriptions of each scholarship type on our summer scholarship page. If you’re a teacher or a resident of the local Penland area, please also read about our Standby Program, which is a special type of scholarship that uses a different application process.

woman painting a chair frame in the wood studio; two women at the bench in the hot shop

Now, let’s get down to some different scenarios and figure out what scholarship(s) are right for you…

I have my heart set on a certain workshop, but I need a scholarship in order to attend.

Your best bet is to take advantage of Penland’s Early Decision Scholarships. These scholarships are like our Partial Scholarships with Work Requirement, but applicants are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis and hear back within three working days of submitting their application. We hold one space in every summer workshop for early decision scholarship students, so we’d recommend completing your application as close to January 1 as possible! If the early decision space has already been filled, you can still apply for other Penland scholarships before February 17.

I want to come to Penland, but I’m not able to perform the types of kitchen jobs that the work requirement entails.

Apply for a full scholarship with no work requirement! We offer over 100 of these scholarships every summer to a wide range of students. Most of these scholarships ask students to submit images of their work, but there are also some that do not require images and may be suitable for complete beginners. Many of them also target students from specific geographic areas, age groups, careers, or mediums.

I won’t be able to attend Penland without a full scholarship.

If you apply for full scholarships with AND without a work requirement, you’re more likely to get one. We’d also recommend submitting the best images of your work that you have (it doesn’t have to be work related to the workshops you’re applying for). And, take a look at any open studio assistant positions to see if there might be one that’s a good fit for your skills and expertise!

A bunch of different workshops look exciting to me. I just really want to be at Penland this summer!

Great, being flexible is a big plus. We’d recommend submitting multiple workshop choices with your application and also being open to scholarships with a work requirement. To increase your chances even further, submit your application as early as possible through the early decision option!

I have a lot of different commitments to juggle, and I really need to know before April if I will be coming to Penland.

The Early Decision option was made for you! Because these scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, you’ll hear back within three business days of submitting your completed application. Listing more than one workshop choice and submitting your materials as close to January 1 as possible will help, too.

I want to get into my first choice workshop, but I don’t need a scholarship to come.

Apply as a full-pay student through our online registration portal. All non-scholarship registration begins at noon Eastern time on Monday, January 13. Because this registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, you will have a good chance of scoring a seat in your top choice workshop if you register as close to noon on the 13th as possible! Thank you for helping us to make sure that our scholarships are being awarded to those who would have difficulty attending Penland without them.

If you have further questions about Penland scholarships this summer, please contact our registrar at 828-765-2359. And get started on selecting your top summer 2020 workshops and identifying your references so that you’re ready to go when scholarship applications open January 1!

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Summer 2020 Workshops!

catalog cover showing a woman working at the anvil in the iron studio

We’re thrilled to announce our complete lineup of summer 2020 workshops! We’ve got 104 different offerings for you to choose from, each one an opportunity to learn from experienced makers and explore new materials and dream up new ideas and connect with other folks doing the same. Browse them all by studio, by session, or in our online catalog PDF (paper catalogs are at the printer at this very moment!).

Want a little taste of what you might find?

Books & Paper: large-scale sheet forming, cast paper sculpture, cut paper and pop-up books
Clay: ceramic tile, animated ceramic sculptures, building with paperclay, kurinuki
Drawing & Painting: abstract painting, observational oil painting, sketchbooks
Glass: glass painting, borosilicate sculpture, mold making, hot glass sculpting
Iron: metal furniture, forged utensils and vessels, sculptural steel
Metals: electroforming, Japanese engraving, sand casting, gold fusing
Photo: view cameras, poetic photographs, cameraless photography, hand coloring prints
Print & Letterpress: mokuhanga, screenprinting, typography on the press, lithography
Textiles: block printing with natural dyes, sculptural basketry, boro and indigo, intermediate weaving
Wood: curved forms in wood, timber framing, cork, sculptural spoon carving

…and dozens and dozens of other things, too.

Registration will open for all summer workshops on January 13 at noon Eastern time on a first-come, first-served basis. Scholarships are available for all summer workshops! Scholarship applications open January 1 and are due by February 17. Starting this year, scholarships have a reduced application fee of $10.

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Hello, New Core!

We’re excited to announce and welcome our five newest core fellows—Maria Fernanda Nuñez, Hannah Mitsu Shimabukuro, Molly Bernstein, Tony Santoyo Baptisto, and Sarina Angell —who will begin their two-year fellowships in late February, 2020. They will join returning fellows Mia Kaplan, SaraBeth Post, Erica Schuetz, and Scott Vander Veen.

Portrait of Sarina plus image of one of her garments

Sarina Angell
“I feel joy in transforming fiber into lines, lines into planes, and planes into sculptures, and would like to feel that same intimacy and depth of discovery in different media and the intersections between them.”

Sarina currently lives in Baltimore, MD where she works for Aerothreads fabricating multi-layer insulation blankets for aerospace applications while maintaining a studio practice. Recently, Sarina received a BFA in Fibers from the Maryland Institute College of Art with concentrations in Experimental Fashion and Sustainability & Social Practices. Sarina has worked as a studio assistant for Alex da Corte and has apprenticed at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia. She has volunteered at the Annual Benefit Auction at Penland since she was ten, has been a work-study student for two sessions, and looks forward to returning as a core fellow. She hopes to explore narrative in her work and to explore performance through fiber and its intersection and relationship to other media.

sarinaangell.myportfolio.com
@sarina.angell

portrait of Molly plus a grouping of her ceramic sculptures

Molly Bernstein
“Before I go to grad school or anchor down and build my own studio, I would like to give myself the freedom to absorb the knowledge, wisdom, and magic of the myriad people who visit [Penland] and to be a hand that helps hold it up.”

Molly Bernstein is a potter who currently lives in Philadelphia, PA working for herself and as a studio assistant. She has a BFA in Ceramics from The University of the Arts, PA and has studied at The Kyoei-Gama Ceramics School in Tokoname, Japan. She has been a resident artist at the Chautauqua Institution, NY and Studio 550, NH. This past spring, she was a work-study student in clay at Penland and is excited to have the opportunity to return to be part of the Penland community. During her core fellowship, she is interested in exploring various materials and to see where common threads lie in her practice.

@momo.vesselgarden

portrait of Fernanda, plus one of her drawings of two hands holding braids

Maria Fernanda Nuñez
“As a Core fellow I hope to build on my making skills to produce rigorously fabricated work that is also layered with metaphor and poetic ambiguity.”

After spending her formative years in Bogotá, Colombia, Fernanda relocated to the United States in 2011 to pursue a BFA in Sculpture at the California College of the Arts, which she completed in 2015. Upon graduation, she worked as a furniture apprentice in Houston, Texas and was a Resident Intern at the Headlands Center for the Arts. She is a three-time fellowship recipient at the Vermont Studio Center and has been to Penland twice as a work-study student. Fernanda is currently based in Portland, where she has shown and performed work, and is currently completing a Graduate Certificate in Critical Theory and Creative Research at the Oregon Institute for Creative Research, where she now works as a design and research assistant.

fernandanunez.com
@flotsam0jetsam

portrait of Tony plus one of his handmade paper compositions

Tony Santoyo
“With my craft, I attempt to build self-pride, and also to share with the world my comfort as a person whose identity is defined by living between and within two cultures.”

Tony Santoyo is a painter, papermaker, and ceramicist living and working in St. Paul, MN. He serves his community as a pharmacy technician at a non-profit clinic while also dedicating time to his studio practice. He has received his BA in Studio Arts and minors in Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Minnesota in 2018, and has been a studio assistant at Penland workshops since 2016. Tony is a Mexican-American who comes from immigrant parents; he draws from his experience of identity and environment, his place in the world, and his sense of belonging and acceptance. He is excited to be back as a core fellow and to expand on his craft and further his knowledge.

tonysantoyo.com
@tonz6464

portrait of Hannah, plus one of her woven textile installations

Hannah Mitsu Shimabukuro
“I believe the history of textiles supporting community can be used to help address the inequalities we face today, and I am looking to learn from established institutions like the Penland School of Craft about how craft drives a community’s sense of belonging and identity as well as economic development.”

Hannah Mitsu Shimabukuro is a recent graduate of Haywood Community College’s Professional Crafts Fiber Program in Clyde, NC. Before weaving, Mitsu earned a BA in Studio Art from Yale University, focusing on sculpture and printmaking. They have worked as a printmaking studio technician for the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and as a matting and framing assistant for the Yale University Art Gallery. Mitsu has attended several summer sessions at Penland as a scholarship student and will return this January as a winter resident. They have also completed residencies at the KKV Grafik Studio in Malmö, Sweden and the Studios at MASS MoCA. As a core fellow Mitsu looks forward to exploring new media such as wood and glass, while continuing to work in textiles and installation.

hmshimabukuro.com
@hmitsu_textiles

This year we received 80 applications for the Core Fellowship from across the United States. As always, there were more exceptional candidates than openings in the program. Our selection committee thoroughly reviewed and evaluated applications over a period of six weeks and interviewed applicants at the end of November. A sincere thank you goes out to everyone involved in this year’s selection.

Last but not least, we congratulate our five outgoing core fellows who will leave the program in February: Josh Fredock, L Autumn Gnadinger, Kento Saisho, Katherine Toler, and Devyn Vasquez. We wish you the best and are excited to follow your future successes!

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Crafting the Future

Shanti working on her forged gate in the Penland Iron Studio
Shanti Broom working in the Penland iron studio, summer 2019.

Across the country, there is a plethora of organizations doing incredible work to support underrepresented young people in the arts. In New Orleans, YAYA offers free after-school training to local teens in painting, glass, ceramics, mixed media art, and entrepreneurship. In Los Angeles, HOLA’s extensive visual arts programming connects hundreds of students in grades 1-12 with 115 free classes in twenty different art forms. In Newark, NJ, Glassroots provides glass and entrepreneurship programs to underserved youth and young adults in the area.

Similarly, there are incredible craft schools around the USA like Penland, Haystack, Arrowmont, and others that provide emerging and established artists with new skills, inspiration, and an engaged network of peers and mentors. Often times, workshops or residencies at these schools can be pivotal experiences for artists as they explore and establish their careers.

But between these influential youth programs and adult craft schools, a group of artists saw a gap: the many talented, inspired young people who never pursue careers in the arts. How can we continue to support promising young artists once they have aged out of youth art programs? they wondered. How can we better connect them to the incredible opportunities that craft schools offer? How can we enable more of them to thrive as professional artists?

To tackle these questions, they started Crafting the Future this spring, a fledgling collective of artists interested in addressing the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in the craft world:

The fields of craft, art, and design in the United States do not reflect the full spectrum of people in our country. When groups of artists go unrepresented, an inaccurate and incomplete story is being told, sold, and preserved—and everyone loses.

At Crafting the Future, our goal is to increase representation in these disciplines so that we all can benefit from a richer, more diverse story… Working together and combining our resources, we support the careers of young, underrepresented artists by connecting them to opportunities that will help them thrive.

Tyrik at work on a self-portrait in the Penland Painting Studio
Tyrik Conaler in the Penland painting studio with an in-progress self-portrait behind him.

As a first step, Crafting the Future started a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to send one alum from YAYA in New Orleans to a summer session at Penland. The campaign quickly drew enough support that they doubled the goal to $8,000, which would cover the costs for two YAYA artists to travel to Penland for a workshop. Thanks to the help of 141 backers, they reached that goal within two weeks.

A few short months later, Tyrik Conaler and Shanti Broom, both young alums of the YAYA program, arrived at Penland for session 2. Tyrik enrolled in Michael Dixon’s oil painting workshop, where he fine tuned both the technical and conceptual aspects of painting through the lens of self-portraiture. At the end of the session, a collaboration between Tyrik and the instructor sparked a bidding war at Thursday night’s scholarship auction. Meanwhile, Shanti was learning to work at the forge and anvil in Shawn Lovell’s iron workshop. “I’ve never done any forging before,” Shanti told me, “But I chose this workshop because it’s something that you don’t see a lot of women doing.” Two weeks later, she had gained enough skill to translate her drawings for an art-deco-inspired gate into metal, and she was eager to keep going.

So is Crafting the Future. The organization plans to raise money to send more students to craft school workshops in summer 2020 based on the success of their 2019 pilot. “I can’t emphasize enough the changes we’ve seen in Tyrik since he’s been back from Penland. Shanti, too,” says Meg, YAYA’s executive director. “It’s particularly cool to provide opportunities like Crafting the Future to older artists because the younger kids really look up to them. We’re now offering special Saturday night studio hours for a select group of artists, building on Tyrik and Shanti’s enthusiasm about being able to work any time of day or night at Penland—it’s quickly becoming something that the younger artists are aspiring to be a part of. The ripple effect is incredible!”

As Crafting the Future explained in their first campaign, “One scholarship won’t change the face of the art world, but it just might change the course of a life. It’s the best way we know to kickstart the change we want to see in our community.” Eventually, as the organization becomes more established, they’d like to work with additional craft schools and provide opportunities like internships, mentorships, and college prep to young artists.

Here at Penland, we’ll be cheering them on the whole way. We’re incredibly proud to build our relationship with Crafting the Future and to welcome the energy and perspective that students like Tyrik and Shanti bring to our studios and our community. We hope that many of you take some time to learn more about the Crafting the Future mission and get involved. You can read about the Crafting the Future vision here and follow them on Instagram here.

Shanti, Tyrik, and four friends pose in front of the Penland knoll
Shanti (left) and Tyrik (2nd from left) with friends from their Penland session. Images via Angelique Scott

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Eight (Transformative) Weeks

Two women blowing glass in the Penland School of Craft hot shop

In a recent conversation with a student, she talked about her first time at Penland. “I was in a workshop in upper textiles. It was my introduction to screenprinting, and I was blown away,” she said. “Every time I walked up the stairs to the studio, I passed a poster that said ‘Penland changes lives.’ And every time I saw it, I smiled to myself like ‘Yeah, sure does.'”

It’s something we hear quite a lot, in fact: a workshop at Penland is a transformative experience that opens up new questions, new connections, and new paths.

A woman working at the anvil in the Penland School of Craft iron studio

Why not see for yourself? This March 8 – May 1, 2020 we’ll be offering seven different 8-week concentrations, each one an immersive dive into materials and techniques and ideas.

Clay: Parts Unknown with Jenny Mendes
Glass: Intentions & Inventions with Dan Mirer
Iron: Attention to Detail with Andy Dohner
Metals: Wunderkammer with Suzanne Pugh
Photo: Processing Process with Mercedes Jelinek
Letterpress: Print/Process/Production with Jamie Karolich
Textiles: Inside Out: Garment as Identity with Erika Diamond

Registration is open now, and scholarships are available for all spring concentrations. Scholarship applications must be submitted by November 28, 2019.

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Japanese Metalworking Techniques at the Penland Gallery

Over hundreds or thousands of years, cultures across the globe have developed their own ways of working with basic materials such as clay, fiber, and metal. This global nature of craft is brought to light in a new exhibition at the Penland Gallery, which presents a brilliant exploration of traditional Japanese metalworking as it is practiced today. The show, titled Tradition of Excellence: Japanese Techniques in Contemporary Metal Arts, runs through November 17.

Featuring work by twenty-two Japanese and seven American artists, the exhibition was curated by metalsmith Hiroko Yamada, a jeweler and teacher who divides her time between Wisconsin and Japan. All of the artists make work based in historical techniques and approaches: some of them adhere strictly to tradition, while others reinvent or reinterpret it through contemporary practice. Among the artists are three who have received the highest honor in being designated as Japanese Living Treasures. Also part of the exhibition are three artists who live at or near Penland: Marvin Jensen, a longtime Mitchell County resident and former Penland employee; Seth Gould, a recent Penland resident artist; and Andrew Meers, a current Penland resident artist.

Curator Hiroko Yamada has taught at Penland School regularly since 2005. Over the past five years, she has helped organize several exhibitions and workshops aimed at introducing Japanese metal work to Western audiences and metalsmiths. “My mission,” she says, “is to bring together artistic skills and knowledge that will help both Japanese and American artists grow in their work and achieve new levels of excellence.”

What is hard to convey about this show is the astonishing level of excellence displayed by this work—in technique, design, and sheer artistry. The exhibition includes vessels, jewelry, and small sculpture. All of the work could be called decorative, with each piece creating its own special kind of beauty. Although few people who see this exhibition will arrive familiar with terms such as shakudo, kinkeshi, or mokume-gane, it’s unlikely that anyone will leave unmoved by this display of the incredible work that can be made by artisans committed to the highest levels of craft.

Also currently on view at the Penland Gallery is a small show of glass work by Shane Fero and photographs by Deb Stoner. Around the building are outdoor sculptures by ceramic artist Catherine White and steel sculptors Daniel T. Beck and Hoss Haley and an interactive mixed-media installation by Jeff Goodman.

The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM and Sunday, Noon-5:00 PM; it is closed on Mondays.

Yoshio Ueno | Mokume-gane Kettle | 2018 | Copper, silver, shakudo, gold; mokume-gane, rokusho patina | 8.25 x 6.75 x 5.5 in