Last night we celebrated the end of fall concentrations in the traditional way—by coming together with friends and community members for an end-of-session scholarship auction. Last night’s was a rousing one, thanks to the incredible work donated by Penland’s students, instructors, residents, staff, and more and the generous bidding of the audience members. At the end of it all, we had raised an astonishing $24,000+ towards Penland’s scholarship funds!
To make the evening even more special was the fact that last night’s auction was the final one to take place in this space. Starting in December, demolitions will begin on the Northlight building, including Gorelick Social Hall and the photo and paper studios. In their place we will build a new Northlight complex that will include social gathering spaces and upgraded studios.
Thank you to everyone who donated, bid, volunteered, and attended to make this final auction a fitting sendoff for our well-loved Northlight. We look forward to welcoming you all into the new building soon for many more years of good art, good friends, and good fun.
Penland’s resident artists spend three years living on campus and working as self-supporting artists in their field. Their time at Penland is designed as an opportunity for them to deepen their studio practice, push technical and conceptual boundaries, or explore entirely new directions in their work.
We’re continually amazed by the pieces that come out of each of the resident studios at The Barns, and we’re proud to have such talented artists calling Penland home. Recently, three residents were recognized for their outstanding work with prestigious (and, in our opinion, well-deserved) fellowships.
Furniture designer Annie Evelyn was just awarded the 2016 John D. Mineck Fellowship by the Society of Arts and Crafts. The $25,000 award is presented “to encourage and support a young-in-career furniture artist… who demonstrates skill and commitment to their craft.” Annie plans to use the award to purchase tools to outfit her shop post-Penland. She envisions the space as a well-equipped communal studio that will also serve as a venue for community workshops, exhibitions, and events. “Annie’s spirit of community, generosity, and mentorship shined in her application, and will serve her well as she leaves the Penland community and establishes her studio,” the Society of Arts and Crafts stated. Annie is known for her explorations into hard/soft surfaces and applying traditional upholstery techniques to materials like wood, concrete, and metal.
Andrew Hayes was honored as one of seventeen recipients of $10,000 Artist Fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council for 2017. The fellows are chosen every two years from a talented pool of choreographers and visual, craft, and film/video artists. The Arts Council describes Andrew’s singular book and steel sculptures as “improbable objects of beauty.” They elaborate: “Formally, his sculpture has the spare elegance of mid-century modernism, each one an icon of untold meaning. But as much as his work may recall past styles and forms, it also boldly writes its own history and engages the viewer on its own terms.”
Jaydan Moore was also awarded one of this year’s North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowships. He works in metals, primarily with found silver-plated platters and other serviceware that he carefully deconstructs, recombines, and reassembles into new forms. As the Arts Council explains, these pieces “gain a protean quality as they transition to the next stage in their evolution, one that honors their past purpose and history and, at the same time, looks forward to the possibility of something unexpected.”
The Penland resident artists will hold an open studio tomorrow, October 21 at The Barns. Come by between 7-9 PM to meet the residents, see their spaces, and get a feel for their recent work.
On a crisp and sunny afternoon, there may be nowhere on campus that gets better light than the weaving studio in Lily Loom. This fall, it is home to Rachel Meginnes’s concentration The Thread Between. Students in the workshop are learning to deepen their studio practices and develop a serious body of work through exercises with textiles, readings, writing assignments, discussions, presentations, and individual consultations. Here, studio assistant Jessica Green works on a cross stitch sample (above), and instructor Rachel Meginnes talks with studio assistant Marie Fornaro about her sewn paper samples (below).
It can be a bit mind-boggling how much information we communicate digitally these days, from online news outlets and blogs to the social media profiles that announce the engagements of friends, the arrival of new babies, or simply what we had for dinner last night. When done right, social media can be a powerful tool for connection, for communicating a message, for sharing ideas and triggering inspiration. But it’s not the only way we can accomplish these goals.
For a week this fall, social media will go analogue with Bryce McCloud of Nasheville’s letterpress/public art studio Isle of Printing. As Bryce elaborates in his course description, “This workshop will tap into the power of printmaking as a handmade social medium. Working with relief printing’s ability to create multiple images, our mission will be to find novel ways to work together and interact with a community.”
To really understand what this week will be about, it helps to have glimpsed some of the pieces that Bryce and his team have put together. Take, for example, his yearlong Our Town public portraiture project, which encouraged thousands of Nashville residents to create self portraits using stamps. In exchange for their finished portraits, each person got to take home a letterpress print of someone else’s portrait. “We want people to look at this as a conversation that they’re having with each other, not through words, but through pictures,” Bryce explains. “A big part of this project was to get people to actively look and actively be engaged with the world.”
The Our Town project didn’t stop there, either. Instead, Bryce and his co-conspirators turned the project into a large-scale demonstration of the creative process and how a team—or a city—can come together to create. They constructed giant stamps and used them piece by piece to print enormous portraits in public spaces like the downtown library and Nashville’s Riverfront Park (image above).
Another recent project was the Can Wall at Pinewood Social, a popular Nashville restaurant/bowling alley/hangout spot. “The mural is made of thousands of quart cans which can be viewed up close as products or far away as pixels in a larger design,” Bryce explains. Every month, the cans get rearranged into a new image or pattern. “We wanted the world to be an active participant in the project AND we wanted the art to feel alive,” he says. “Change is inevitable and that is the point.”
Or, there’s the “optically/digitally enhanced” letterpress mural adorning the main wall of Nashville’s Barista Parlor. It’s an image of a sailing ship made up of individually-printed square letterpress plates, but Bryce says it’s also a reflection of how we see the world around us today: “beginning with a real ship painted by an artist which was photographed and turned into a picture on a computer which I reengineered as a plate on a press to assemble onto a wall in my city for people to see in person which they then share on the internet for others to see. Here to there and back again.”
The human interaction and the call for engagement is central in each of these projects and, in fact, to all of Bryce’s art projects at Isle of Printing. As he explains to visitors on his website, “We specialize in making the unusual happen and thrive on giving novelty a place at or above the mundane… We truly believe in the power of public art and positive thought.”
We certainly can’t tell you what a week of Analogue Social Media at Penland this fall will look like, but we’re pretty sure what it will feel like: teamwork, exploration, experimentation, and lots of good vibes. The workshop runs November 6-12, 2016. Register now.
Analogue Social Media
Bryce McCloud —This workshop will tap into the power of printmaking as a handmade social medium. Working with relief printing’s ability to create multiple images, our mission will be to find novel ways to work together and interact with a community. Like playful scientists we’ll create socially-driven printmaking experiments, imagine ways to involve people outside of our studio, and then use the community at Penland as our testing ground. We’ll brainstorm and refine ideas that may be realized during the session or at other times and places. We’ll cover relief printmaking skills and discuss other tactics for engaging the public with your work when you head home. Printmaking or letterpress experience will be helpful, but this workshop is open to all levels. Code F03L
Studio/public artist, founder of Isle of Printing, a letterpress and fabrication shop (Nashville); teaching: Watkins College of Art (TN), Brighton College of Art (UK); public art: Our Town Nashville (TN), Pinewood Social (TN), Invasion UK (Brighton, UK), South by Southwest (TX).
Every year, the annual core show is a highlight of fall at Penland. It’s a remarkable event: nine core fellows come together to put on an exhibition, and they do all the parts themselves, from creating the work and designing publicity materials to preparing the space and curating the pieces within it.
This year’s show is titled NINE: 2016 Core Fellowship Exhibition. The work will span the range of Penland’s studios, from weaving and wooden furniture to objects in clay and concrete. In many ways, it’s a visual chronicle of one year in the lives of nine emerging artists—their ideas and explorations, their time, their energy, their passion.
Please join us on Friday, October 7th at 8 PM in Northlight to celebrate our core fellows as artists and as vital members of the Penland community. NINE will also be open for viewing October 8 and 9 from noon-6 PM and October 10 from 4-6 PM.
While the pieces below are just a small sampling of what will be up during the exhibition, they are absolutely representative of the creativity and skill that will be on display.
If you’ve been to Penland in the past four decades, you’ve probably met a Penland core fellow. At any given moment, they might be learning new techniques in workshops, helping cook in the kitchen, checking students into meals at the Pines, making work in their own studios, or spending time at their communal house on campus. Core fellows are emerging artists at the very nexus of the Penland community, and the two years they spend living, working, and learning here can be as intense as they are rewarding. Here’s how former core fellows from across the years have reflected on their time in the program:
“During those two years, I met remarkable people and learned tons… There was a steady stream of extraordinary artists passing through the school, teaching, giving demonstrations, and making presentations on their work. There was an informality that made learning an integral part of our daily existence there. It was a life-changing experience.” —Alida Fish, core fellow 1971-1973
“Being a core student was such an important link in my career that it’s hard to imagine how I would have gotten from point A to point B otherwise.” —Critz Campbell, core fellow 1994-1996
“I took advantage of the collective wealth of knowledge that is Penland at any given time—all the instructors and staff and students. Coming out of that program, I had a completely altered understanding of material and process—both what I can do personally and what is possible.” —Jack Mauch, core fellow 2011-2013
“You pick your friends, but this group is just handed to you. You’re thrown together by chance, and then these people become your closest friends for a lifetime.” —Daniel Essig, core fellow 1992-1994
“At Penland, I learned the many ways there are to be an artist: you can be a studio artist, you can teach, you can help other artists. The program exceeded every expectation. Being a core fellow changed my life: the experience gave me the how-to knowledge to make things and the confidence to know that I was good at it.” —Amy Jacobs, core fellow 2004-2006
Penland will be accepting four new students into the Core Fellowship Program for 2017. Applications are due October 15, 2016.For more information, visit the Core Fellowship page.
The reflections above are excerpts of interviews from Inspired: Life in Penland’s Resident Artist and Core Fellowship Programs. This new book includes a history of the core program and interviews with sixteen former core fellows. To purchase a copy of Inspired, call the Penland Supply Store at 828-765-2359 ext. 1321.