Show and Tell
Online Edition, Spring 2020
Ending Penland sessions with a final Show and Tell is a longstanding and beloved tradition. It’s an opportunity for all of us to marvel at the astonishing creative output of each workshop, to be all together one last time, and to celebrate the growth and connection that took place here. And though we are unable to get together in person on May 1, the day scheduled for our Spring Concentration Show and Tell, we’re marking the occasion here with an online version.
The work below was submitted by Spring Concentration students and instructors as a way to share their ideas and creativity with you all. Some of it was made at Penland during the beginning of the session, and other pieces were made before or since. Take a look, read through their comments, and find out more by exploring their websites and Instagram pages!
Click on the + and – symbols to expand and contract the information associated with each piece.
CPR Diptych: Check for Breathlessness & Mouth to Mouth, hand-woven alpaca tapestry, 24 x 24 inches each
My work addresses the vital and fleeting qualities of human contact. It investigates the possibility of immortality, the commemoration of touch, and the thresholds between others and myself. My hand-woven alpaca tapestries depict emergency instruction scenarios from first aid manuals, airline safety cards, and bathroom signs. I weave these symbols to question perceptions about physical interaction, danger, and closeness. These images portray instructions on how to save each other’s lives, how to act rationally in the face of our mortality, and how to behave with our bodies. They address the vulnerability and self-preservation negotiated during human interaction, reminding us of the simultaneous risk and reward of human contact. These two images in particular ask us to listen as well as breathe life into each other.
Green Eggs and Ham Buckle, brass, fine silver, copper, bronze, turquoise
Started at Spring Concentration (2020), Wunderkammer with Suzanne Pugh, finished in my home studio. This was our first “getting to know each other” project. I love food and I wanted to warm up my sweat soldering muscles with this ode to breakfast in miniature form.
Soda-Fired Vases, stoneware, slips, glaze
A group of bottles/vases fired in February 2020. These were from a series of firings I did while learning more about soda kilns; research that was intended to inform my work during the Spring Concentration!
Homebody Textiles Bandana Samples, organic cotton, natural dyes
These are samples and finished bandanas from my new textiles collection, Homebody Textiles. I screenprint my designs with mordants. In the dye bath, the different mordants pick up color in different ways, so I can achieve a range of shades in one dye pot. The dyes here include cochineal, buckthorn, indigo, pomegranate, weld, and madder. I was planning to work with some of these samples to create one-of-a-kind garments during Erika’s concentration this spring. I haven’t finished one yet, but I’ve created muslins to test the pattern and fit!
Double Perspective, polyester fabric, poly-fil
Being a first generation Asian-American, I grew up feeling lost and conflicted without a sense of identity. I was raised by immigrant parents who did their absolute best in raising children in two very different cultures and lifestyles. I now make it a goal to seek out the love and understandings of both perspectives, knowing it’s ok to feel lost and that it is our intentions that make up who we truly are.
Pinus elliottii, or Slash Pine, necklace, sterling silver, fossilized coral
Piece inspired by a neighbor’s tireless efforts to save the 100+ yr old slash pines in our neighborhood. It was made using a combination of techniques: weaving, chasing, engraving, and the hydraulic press.
Reflective Nature, pressure plate print on paper
This was an experimental pressure plate print I did during my short time in the letterpress studio at Penland. I was always reflecting on the scenery while I was there and the trees came out in my work. The trees are dynamically reflecting on themselves.
Contagion, mesh screen, florescent thread, solvy
Constructed during the Penland Spring 2020 concentration, Garment as Identity. Created as a response to the vulnerability and fragility felt as myself and the students around me navigated our responses to the worldwide Covid 19 pandemic announcements. Made with mesh screen, florescent thread, and solvy.
Grasshopper Paper Sculpture, paper
This is an image of an assembled paper sculpture kit. It is letterpress printed from hand carved wood engraving. It is just one in a series of insect and amphibian sculptural kits.
Be Happy, pencil and ink
Since quarantining, the biggest challenge has been facing myself and accepting the kind of life that I lead. Isolating forces us to be honest with ourselves. I’ve understood that a great universal challenge in social situations is to feign cheeriness when we don’t feel up to it, because a positive attitude is more palatable to a greater number of people. Sometimes I wonder if my own preoccupation to depression is a striving to keep up with societal norms, rather than what I need to simply exist within myself. I wonder if depression is a symptom of a rejection of society, or my own mind rejecting me.
Kurinuki teapot, terracotta, grolleg terra sigillata, driftwood
Kurinuki is a Japanese handbuilding technique that involves shaping the outside of a pot, then carving out the inside. It’s a slow process that takes a lot of patience. I dry the piece out very gradually and keep adding to the textures and carvings as it dries, since the clay responds differently at different levels of moisture. One of my goals for the Penland concentration was to make a kurinuki teapot, since I love making kurinuki and love making teapots but had never combined the two. I didn’t end up having time at Penland, but have been making plenty of kurinuki during my post-Penland quarantine. My lack of a wheel but abundance of time has made kurinuki an ideal technique. Handbuilding the teapot allowed me to explore teapot forms that are very different from what I typically make. I’m quarantining on Cape Cod, and decided to incorporate some of the coastal beauty of the landscape here by adding a driftwood handle, which I picked up on one of my many beach walks.