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.
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.
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.
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
If you could design a garment that perfectly fit your unique body, that worked with your lifestyle, that reflected your values—what would it look like? That’s the question that Design Your Own Uniform instructors Libby O’Bryan and Giovanni Daina-Palermo posed to their session 5 textiles students. The answer, in process, is above.
These are the folks in Design Your Own Uniform posing in their uniform muslins. Each muslin has been carefully designed, patterned, and tweaked repeatedly to fit its wearer’s body, aesthetic, and needs. Some of them are prototypes for clothes that could go hiking and biking, while others are garments with pockets in specific locations or jumpsuits that could go from the couch to a fancy dinner out.
Once the patterns were perfected in this stage, the next step was to create them in their final fabric, from chambray and linen to denim and jersey. A few finished garments even made appearances at Show & Tell at the end of the session!
Big thanks to photo studio assistant Greg Jundanian for generously taking this portrait and sharing it with us. We love a good cross-studio collaboration!
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).
Well over 1,000 students and instructors passed through Penland’s studios this summer, and each one brought different talents, interests, ideas, and perspectives. That’s why we love seeing the variety of work our students make, browsing their photos, and hearing their stories—each one adds a new richness to the Penland experience.
Below, we share a few recent blog posts written by Penland students that illuminate a bit of that experience.
Studio assistant for Sally Van Gorder’s Narrative Photography workshop
“Two whole weeks of learning, teaching, relaxing in the mountains, taking photos, eating incredible food, meeting new people and so much more. It was an absolute blast and I cannot wait to return sometime in the near future, perhaps as a student next time to learn something completely new to me.” See Sarah’s blog (and her gorgeous photographs!)
Student in Keith Wallace Smith’s workshop Figuring Out the Figure “It’s hard to sum up my time there in a neat, simple way. Immersive, intense, transformative. Challenging yet fun. Inspiring and eye-opening. I learned a ton, pushed myself out of my comfort zone, met all kinds of wonderful people, lost track of time, and also got a clearer idea of what I might want to do next with my art.” Read Brigitte’s thoughtful post and key takeaways
Student in Andy Rubin’s Monoprinting workshop
“Our studio of twelve had artists from seniors in undergrad programs to people who were embracing art in their retirement. I spent almost all of my time in the studio, so I was able to experience the differing energies of the morning printers, and those who found their groove towards midnight. Everyone brought such generous energy and good will to the studio each day.” Read more about Elizabeth’s first time monoprinting
We kicked off Penland’s 2018 summer sessions with fourteen high-energy workshops across our studios. And here in this photo by student Gregory Jundanian, two of them came together in a wonderfully surprising way. Gregory was in the Word & Image workshop with Christopher Benfey and Neal Rantoul, and he created this image of printmaking/kitemaking instructor Koichi Yamamoto in flight in the printmaking studio. There may or may not have been a little Photoshop involved, but who are we to reveal an artist’s secrets?