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.
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?
Here it is, the summer 2018 workshop catalog!We’re thrilled to share our lineup with you in anticipation of another summer packed with creativity, energy, new friendships, and new ideas. We’re offering 102 unique workshops led by 116 talented artist/instructors, including favorites like encaustic painting and steel sculpture and special classes like brushmaking and skin-on-frame canoe building. Most workshops are open to serious students of all levels (beginners included!), and all give you access to the slide nights, dance parties, movement classes, scholarship auctions, and more that make a Penland session so special.
This year, summer registration will open to all students on January 8 at 9 AM EST on a first-come, first-served basis; we will not be using a lottery system. Applications may be submitted online, by fax, by post, or in person.
Scholarships are available for every summer workshop, including full, partial, and work-study scholarships. Spaces will be held in each workshop for scholarship students. Scholarship applications are due by 11:59 PM EST on February 17.
We hope you find a few minutes over the holidays to pour over the Penland catalog and find the perfect workshop for you, wherever you are in your creative journey. Look out for full course descriptions on the website by the end of December, with printed catalogs to follow in early January.
We’re thrilled to present the Summer 2017 workshop catalog! It includes information about our ninety-seven unique summer workshops, including favorites like wood-fired pottery and letterpress and special offerings like bicycle building and leather inlay. Some workshops are for beginners, some are aimed at intermediate and advanced artists, most are open to students of all levels, and each is taught by knowledgeable artist-instructors. The front and back covers capture the range of our broad Penland community in a series of Penland portraits by resident artist Mercedes Jelinek. Read more about her photographs and all of this summer’s great offerings right here in the catalog.
Registration for summer workshops is open now, and everyone who registers by 5 PM on February 11 will be entered into the early registration lottery. Scholarships are available for all workshops. Apply for scholarships by February 17.
We are currently working on uploading full course information to our website. Look for it online by the end of December, with printed catalogs to follow in early January.
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).
The job of a Penland studio coordinator is a many-faceted one. Our eight coordinators order materials and keep studios clean and equipment running smoothly. They manage budgets and large inventories of supplies. They work with our programming office to plan upcoming workshops, and instructors to provide for specific classes, and individual students to solve problems on the fly. It’s a demanding and unpredictable job, which makes it all the more impressive that these eight individuals are also working artists in their own right. We are thrilled and proud that they have come together to put on a group show of their work at the Asheville Area Arts Council. Appropriately, the exhibition is called Off the Clock.
As curator and Penland friend Elaine Bleakney writes:
OFF THE CLOCK features eight artists, all full-time studio coordinators at Penland School of Crafts in Penland, NC. The work on view here was made in the off-hours by friends and colleagues who see each other daily and exchange interests, affection, knowledge, and regard for each other.
This is not a group show in the traditional sense. These artists are not strangers, and the works are not estranged from each other, despite their singular presences. Rather, looking from artist to artist, the viewer might pick up a magical sense that the works were made on the same set of evenings, in studios closeby. One of these artists might have looked up from her work and gazed out the cool, green window. She might have seen one of the other artists riding by on a bike, and waved.
Off the Clock will be on view at the Refinery Creator Space at 207 Coxe Ave in Asheville through September 16, 2016. It features the work of Daniel T. Beck (iron/sculpture), Betsy DeWitt (photography), Susan Feagin (ceramics), Jay Fox (print), Nick Fruin (glass), Ian Henderson (metals), Ellie Richards (wood/sculpture), and Amanda Thatch (drawing/textiles).
There will be a reception for the show on Friday, September 2 from 5 PM to 8 PM, and the artists will present a public talk on Saturday, September 3 from 4 PM to 6 PM. More information about both events is available on the exhibition’s Facebook event page.