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Photo of the Week: After All, We’re Neighbors

"We will get through this together. After all, we're neighbors."

As part of our #PenlandEverywhere series, session 2 instructor Ben Blount sent us the following words and images on June 16. Ben was scheduled to teach “The Collaborative Printer,” a letterpress workshop focused on the community-building potential of letterpress printing. And, as much as we would have loved to have Ben and his expertise in our studio this summer, this story of print-based community building is the next best thing. Thank you, Ben, for sharing the power of craft and the written word!

The first things I started to print after the stay in place order were in response to being separated from people in a way that I’d never been before. The longer that we were isolated, the more I thought about ways to make a connection with people. I realized that the people that I passed on the street or in the grocery store aisles were no longer just strangers—they were people I relied on to keep their distance, wear their masks, and wash their hands. We were in community together and they were, in fact, my neighbors.

I printed 250 copies of this poster and passed them out to the neighbors in the block surrounding my studio and the neighbors on the street where I live—4 blocks up, on each side of the street. I included a note with each print introducing myself and the project. The note ended with “At times like these, it’s more apparent that we’re all intrinsically connected, and this print is an acknowledgment of that connection. Consider it a token of my regard, a faith in our perseverance, and a welcome to the neighborhood. Stay safe, and I’ll see you outside.”

Many of my neighbors placed the poster on their windows and doors. But what’s really been interesting to me is how in a matter of weeks, as our attention has turned from COVID to police violence and the Black Lives Matter movement, perhaps the print has another reading. As we approach the 21st day of protests in our streets, we have seen people across the spectrum in support of their Black friends, coworkers, neighbors, and fellow citizens. There is a lot of work to do to live up to our ideals. Enough work for every neighbor. I’m happy to be a part of a print community that has raised their voice during this time of change.

See more of Ben’s work:
benblount.com
@blountben

Posters printed by Ben Blount and hung around his community

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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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Scholarships to Join Us Fall 2019!

Concentrations are Penland’s signature eight-week sessions. They’re a singular experience—almost as long as a college semester, with the intensity of a total-immersion workshop. Whether you’re new to the material or a regular in the studio, they’re an opportunity to focus, experiment, connect, and make enormous strides in your work.

Scholarships are available for the Concentrations below! If you have a desire for creative exploration in a supportive, energizing community, please apply to join us. There’s really nothing like it.

All Outward Appearances
with Jack Mauch and guest instructor Ellen Kaspern
September 22 – November 15, 2019

Experienced instructor Jack Mauch will lead students through an in-depth exploration of surface decoration techniques and the wooden structures beneath. Students will start small, applying processes like veneering, marquetry, parquetry, and wood and metal inlay to handmade frames and boxes. From there, they’ll quickly move on to building wall cabinets and small tables that incorporate their surface patterning. Students of all levels, from those who have never before touched a chisel to seasoned woodworkers, will end the course by designing and building a furniture or sculpture project that expands their skills and visual vocabularies in wood. As Jack explains, “We’ll value process and discovery over product, keep a steady but contemplative pace, and mine the veins of our aesthetic curiosity—especially when that takes us deep below the surface.” Expect to challenge yourself, learn a whole lot, and meet folks doing the same. All levels.

 

Paper & the Unique Print
with Georgia Deal and guest instructor Helen Hiebert
September 22 – November 15, 2019

Students in this intensive workshop will move between Penland’s paper and printmaking studios to explore the endless possibilities for combining handmade paper and monoprinting. The class will begin in the paper studio, where instructor Georgia Deal will introduce fibers and processes from both Eastern and Western papermaking traditions. Students will experiment with stenciling, inclusions, embedments, pigmenting, pulp transfers, and more to create expressive sheets tailored to their individual visions. Over in the printmaking studio, they will use these sheets as substrates for printing, using a wide range of monoprint and monotype processes to create imagery. The back-and-forth of working in both media will expand your visual vocabulary and encourage you to own every aspect of the process, from paper to print! All levels.

 

Focus on Fabrication
with Andrew Hayes and guest instructor Mike Rossi
September 22 – November 15, 2019

Penland instructor and former resident artist Andrew Hayes will guide students as they transform stock steel into a wide variety of functional and sculptural objects of their own design. Students will get their ideas flowing and solidify their skills as they cut, form, weld, and finish their way through a series of short projects. Then they’ll move on to more independent work, focusing the whole time on concept, design, and execution. “The goal of this workshop is for you to find your aesthetic in steel,” says Andrew. Skills including measuring; layout; cutting with torches, saws, cutoff wheels, and shears; gas, MIG, and TIG welding; finishing; grinding; sanding; filing; patina; paint; and presentation will help you get there. All levels.

 

 

 

 

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Photo(s) of the Week: Chickens, Bees, and Woodcuts

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.”

BONUS: Jun’s post on Instagram that shows how she built the print, layer by layer.

 

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Photo(s) of the Week: Hands On Press

This is Chelsea LaBate (a.k.a. Ten Cent Poetry) printing a series of short poems on a Vandercook printing press in the Fall Concentration taught by Beth Schaible (a.k.a. Quill and Arrow). Chelsea is a singer, songwriter, poet, and traveler, but she says, “letterpress is my new love.”

 

This is is the workshop’s studio assistant Celia Jailer (a.k.a. Afterschool Detective) making a pressure print onto a vellum press sheet. Pressure printing is an image-making technique in which a textured, flexible sheet is placed between the press sheet and the drum and then passed over a smooth, inked surface in the bed of the press. The image is transferred to the press sheet because it gets inked more heavily where there is pressure created by the textured sheet. It’s one of the many ways to work with these presses that Beth is covering in the workshop.

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Your Penland

Two photographs taken by Sarah Banko during her Penland workshop this summer

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.

Sarah Banko

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!)

Brigitte Boucher

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

Elizabeth Busey

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

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Photo of the Week: Koichi Takes Flight

Instructor Koichi Yamamoto "flying" with one of his kites in the printmaking studio

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?