We’ve been holding this one in for a long time, and we’re thrilled to finally be able to announce: Penland is going online!
We are planning a series of online programming for you, including online demonstrations with Q&A sessions and immersive online workshops. Our goal is to give students who have never been to Penland an opportunity to experience our unique approach to teaching and learning in community and to give past students a chance to reconnect with the familiar rhythms and spaces of time at Penland. You’ll be able to enjoy the same studios, same expert instruction, and same generous and engaged peers—now in a new format that makes the Penland experience more accessible than ever!
We are not developing these online programs as stand-ins for our on-campus workshops. Rather, they are a way to seize this moment and bring the skill, creativity, inspiration, energy, and focus of a Penland session right to you. Wherever you are in the world, and wherever you are in your artistic journey, we hope you’ll join us to go a little deeper with Penland Everywhere.
Our first demonstrations and workshops will be available in January. Subscribe to Penland newsletters and follow us on Instagram and Facebook to get the details as we release them.
This project is funded in part by a grant from SouthArts with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Here’s Jack Mauch going over the basics of the the CNC router with print and letterpress coordinator Adam Leestma and metals coordinator Nadia Massoud. This 5-by-5-foot ShopBot router was recently purchased with support from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. It is located in the wood studio, but our hope is it will be used by students working in other studios as well.
Jack is a former core fellow, a designer, and a woodworker who is helping Penland to integrate digital fabrication tools into our studios. He is currently collaborating with glass coordinator Nick Fruin to make wooden glassblowing molds using the router. We’ll share more on that in a future blog post!
The weather is warm, the mountain views are dense with green, and the food is great—but the biggest joy of summer at Penland is welcoming students and instructors to our studios. We’ve really missed getting to foster the creative discoveries and connections that happen regularly in our workshops this summer. Even so, finding new ways to stay inspired and connected with you all has been a highlight of 2020.
We are reaching out to each of our summer 2020 instructors with an invitation to share a bit of their recent creative endeavors with the Penland community. Our hope is that these windows into their studios and explorations will spark something exciting in you, too. Enjoy, stay safe, and keep making! #PenlandEverywhere
Session 2 Metals—Fabrication for Sculptural Jewelry
With shelter-in-place orders in effect in North Carolina, April and May were somewhat challenging months because my jewelry studio is not in my home. I was only able to bring some of my equipment home to continue working. After a bit of discombobulation, I started focusing on work I could make in a reduced capacity studio. I’ve been revisiting old pieces, exploring new ideas and new materials, and (finally!) fixing up my website, things that I don’t normally get to do when I’m busy preparing for craft shows. The sterling silver and paint pieces in the first image are from about 8 or 9 years ago—work I’d forgotten about until recently. The second image contains elements made from brass tube with gold vermeil and some test pieces in enamel. I miss the camaraderie and excitement of craft shows and classrooms, and I find myself thinking a lot about what the future holds for artists and makers, but I also think that the challenges of these bizarre times can be seen as opportunities to consider new ways forward.
It’s been surprisingly hard to concentrate over the last few months. What might have seemed like an ideal opportunity to get work done was in fact a haze of anxiety, attempts at online teaching and dealing with the sadness and turmoil of the students whose last two months of the semester had been torn away from them, heavy-duty parenting and attempting to homeschool my 8-year-old daughter, and latterly, facing up to what has always been here: the pandemic of racism and white supremacy. Having said that, I found working in my shop, when I could get there, to be therapeutic and calming. A chance to be out of myself. I don’t mean to suggest that craft is not connected to the world in all its wonderfulness and awfulness, but that sometimes, its role for an individual can be to allow focus on material and physical being.
1. A wall hung cabinet nearing completion, just a couple of doors to go on. Inspired by the paintings of Nathalie Du Pasquier. Exploring 2 and 3 dimensional conventions of representation, and part of an intermittent ongoing series. Title: Interrupted. The painting is Formagramma by Nathalie Du Pasquier.
2. A small sketch model of a chair. I’m thinking about two coopered shells, one for the back and one side, the other for the seat and the other side.
3. Poignantly, some boxes I had started to prepare for my class at Penland, partially made. I was going to bring them along to various stages of completion when the pandemic restrictions hit and cancelled classes. The finished box is titled Fool’s Gold.
When I was doing my master’s degree at the Corcoran School in DC around 2012, I constantly heard about Penland in the studios and in the hallways, a new word that became stronger as the summer approached. As a Latin American student at that time and today as a Brooklyn-based immigrant artist, my practice has constantly been focused on the search for new learning and experimentation processes through printmaking, a medium that appears not just as a technique but rather an aesthetic; a conceptual medium to study history, memory and trauma through a variety of representation strategies. When I was invited to teach at Penland, I couldn’t believe I was going to try those studios with my own hands to teach, and share some Book Arts concepts, and surrounded by that extensive nature!
During quarantine, far from the shared studios I work in in the city, I was more connected to printmaking than I have ever been before. With the aim of making visible the injustices produced by the pandemic and especially in the most vulnerable sectors of the population, I started to use printmaking as a critical tool to think about the social and political order and its effects throughout the crisis. These relations resonate with printmaking processes as metaphors of resistance between oil and water, the action of carving a surface of wood, and drawing in an etching plate. With the lack of a professional studio/equipment, I explored alternative techniques and materials using what was “in place”: I used a bottle of vodka instead of alcohol, a window instead of a plate, and kitchen food and stuff as solvents.”
Session 2 Glass—Form, Color & Professional Practice
In the past few months we have been working together in our home studio in Seattle. Being in the shop has helped us maintain a positive outlook while allowing us to escape through the creative process; focusing on a bright and cheerful color pallet has been healing. In light of our course cancellation at Penland this summer, we plan to meet with our class virtually this month to get to know each other, talk shop and share the beauty of Penland with them!
Before the lockdown, I was working on the possibility of inserting willow branches in my creations. I was dedicating myself to the realization of some prototypes. Glass and willow jewels, an initial idea, a hint of something that could be interesting and poetic. There was barely time to take some photos and then the project stopped, but not in my mind.
Photo credits: Chiara Nicolosi e Francesca Nicolosi, @pretaphoto
Ben sent us a touching, thought-provoking story about a recent print project he completed and distributed in his community. It was such a lovely example of the power of craft and the written word that we made a whole blog post about it! Read the whole thing here.
Daniel wrote to us about his 20-year history with Penland and his co-intructor Stephen Yusko and the traveling school he started to bring blacksmithing to rural areas of his native Venezuela. His story is craft at its most powerful, and we decided to feature it in its own blog post. Please read about Daniel and LaCaravanaEscuela here.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been thrilled to hear a strong demand for more opportunities for Black artists and students of color at Penland.
This desire has already resulted in the addition of three new summer 2021 scholarships to our list of scholarships for people of color. They were funded by Penland’s staff, team of directors, and Board of Trustees, respectively. Our staff wanted to make these opportunities as accessible as possible, so each scholarship will cover 100% of tuition, room, and board and also include a stipend for travel and materials.
At the same time, we’ve heard from lots of you, our friends and students and instructors, about wanting to donate to a similar scholarship fund. We’re pleased now to give you that opportunity through the new Artists for Equity Scholarship Fund. The goal of this fund is to increase opportunities for artists of color who would otherwise not have access to Penland due to funding.
In a caring and generous community like ours, even small gifts compound to make a big impact. A single scholarship won’t change the face of the craft world, but it can absolutely open up new possibilities for an individual and start creating the momentum we need to reach a more equitable, inclusive community at Penland and beyond. Please join in with a gift and help bring new artists and new voices to our community!
Penland’s studio coordinators are an incredible concentration of knowledge about the different media and processes we teach here. Between them they know, well, just about everything—and they’re learning more all the time!
Last week, the coordinators got together in the letterpress studio for a demo and hands-on workshop led by printmaking and letterpress coordinator Adam Leestma. The goal was for each coordinator to create new safety posters for their studios. And when you have all the tools and artistic skills to make them fancy, then why not? Below, coordinators Daniel Beck, Susan Feagin, Sarita Westrup, and Nick Fruin are carving linoleum blocks to add images to their posters.
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!
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!
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.
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 require two completed reference forms and a $10 Slideroom application fee.
Penland 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.
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!