Wood Workshops at Penland
Penland offers 1 to 8-week workshops taught by visiting instructors in our well-equipped studios. Class topics include furniture design and construction, wood sculpture, joinery, boat building, wooden instruments, wood carving, and more. Workshops are open to serious students of all levels unless specified in course description; beginners welcome.
Register for Workshops
Workshops are open to serious students of all levels unless specified in course description; beginners welcome.
Summer scholarship information; summer scholarship application deadline is February 15.
Please read this note about our session schedules.
Wood Spring Concentration
March 5 – April 28, 2023 (8 Weeks)
Design with Curvature
Making curved shapes from flat wood is like making s’mores: it’s messy and fun and requires a bit of strategy. Sometimes it even takes a village, as it is often a collaborative team effort. We’ll first get up to speed on basic woodworking—from hand-cut joinery to coopering, steam bending, and lamination. Through daily demonstrations, exercises, and hands-on instruction, students will tackle design challenges to create utilitarian objects such as trays, containers, wall shelves, small tables, form studies, or other projects that incorporate curved wood. We’ll have weekly design discussions and group critiques. Our goal will be to explore and experiment with ideas expressed in wood. All levels.
Studio artist; teaching: Rhode Island School of Design, Center for Furniture Craftsmanship (ME), recent exhibitions: Arizona State University Art Museum, Center for Art in Wood (PA), Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Fuller Craft Museum; residencies: State University of New York Purchase, University of Wisconsin Madison, Arizona State University.
Wood – Spring Short Session
April 30 – May 5, 2023 (4 studio days)
Sculptural Form and Surface
We’ll start this workshop by designing and developing small sculptural shapes using the bandsaw, carving tools (including chisels and grinders), and sanding equipment. These forms will then serve as canvases for surface embellishment techniques, including relief and textural carving with hand and rotary tools, burning/branding, and the use of acrylic and milk paints. These pieces could be finished works or experimental maquettes for later development into larger pieces. Those who wish to focus entirely on surface embellishment are welcome to bring turned/carved/fabricated/found wood objects to work on. All levels.
Woodturner, sculptor, workshop teacher known for his sculptural turnings/carvings reflecting the environments of his native New Zealand; teaching: Penland, Arrowmont (TN), Appalachian Center for Craft (TN), Campbell Folk School (NC), Johannes Michelsen School of Woodturning (VT); collections: Wood Turning Center (Philadelphia), Detroit Institute of Arts, Museum of Arts and Design (NYC), Renwick Gallery (DC).
WOOD SUMMER SESSION 1
MAY 28–June 2, 2023
The Sculptural Lamp
Let’s spend time exploring the powerful connection between light and form! This workshop will center on the interplay between the physical qualities of wood and light. Expand your knowledge of woodworking and sculpture and further your creative path as we cover lamp-construction techniques and the fundamentals of design. Technical information will include machine tool use, carving, and basic lamp wiring. Come as an total beginner or an advanced woodworker and use the sculptural lamp to light up new ways of making. All levels.
Penland resident artist; teaching: Haystack (ME), Yestermorrow Design/Build School (VT); exhibitions: Mint Museum (NC), Center for Craft (NC), SOFA Chicago.
WOOD SUMMER SESSION 2
JUNE 4–16, 2023
Paint, Patterns, and Palimpsests
Wood is an incredible material for surface decoration because it can be dyed, painted, drawn on, burned, carved, stamped, and added to with a million different materials. However, because woodworking can be labor intensive and time consuming, this part of designing a piece can get overlooked. We’ll approach a wide range of surface decoration possibilities, blending traditional and contemporary processes to develop unique visual languages. The goal is for each student to produce sample panels of different surface techniques: a rich library of ideas and processes to help with future works. From the basics of surface preparation to paints, dyes, drawing, carving, and clear finishing, this demo-heavy experimental workshop will look at surface decoration from many different angles. All levels.
Associate professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison; exhibitions: Crafting a Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft at Arizona State University Art Museum, Making a Seat at the Table: Women Transform Woodworking at Center of Art in Wood (Philadelphia), This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World at Renwick Gallery (DC); collections: Arizona State University Art Museum, Center for Art in Wood (Philadelphia), Renwick Gallery (DC).
WOOD SUMMER SESSION 3
JUNE 18–30, 2023
Ling-lin Ku and R. Eric McMaster
Digital Fabrication in Wood: Intro to ShopBot
This workshop will combine hand skills and digital technologies in woodworking. We’ll cover Rhino 2D and 3D design, V Carve Pro and ShopBot settings, the use of machine and hand tools, and finishing techniques. Whether you have experience or you are just beginning, this workshop will deepen your knowledge of 3D design and CNC routing, and help you develop a more comprehensive understanding of the capabilities of digital fabrication. Each student will design and fabricate two projects: a directed technical exercise followed by a self-directed project based on each their own interests. All levels.
Note: Students should bring a computer if they can; contact the studio operations manager if you are enrolled and are unable to bring a computer. email@example.com
Ling-lin: assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh); exhibitions: Kunstquartier (Austria), Zona Franca (Barcelona), CICA Museum (South Korea), 18th Street Art Center ( Los Angeles), Umlauf Museum and Sculpture Garden (TX), Wayfarers Gallery (NYC).
Eric: Associate professor of practice at University of Texas-Austin; other teaching: Virginia Commonwealth University; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship, Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant; exhibitions: Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art (Japan), Blanton Museum of Art (TX), Contemporary Austin (TX), Blue Start Contemporary (TX), Locust Projects (Miami), Antenna Gallery (New Orleans), Vox Populi (Philadelphia).
WOOD SUMMER SESSION 4
JULY 2–14, 2023
A la Carte
Through technical instruction in the fundamentals of design and woodworking, students will learn basic design and construction drawing skills along with woodworking and joinery skills. Students will work toward designing and building a small “a la carte” piece (maybe a side or accent table) that will strive to metaphorically and literally heighten the margins of our experience. The workshop will be geared toward novices in furniture making and design, but experienced makers from all backgrounds are welcome to join us as we explore both subject matters. All levels.
Notes on “a la carte”: In the culinary world, this term refers to menu items that can be ordered outside of a planned meal. It also suggests that these smaller items are worthy of attention and consideration. We’ll explore this idea in direct correlation to furniture making and also as a metaphor that encapsulates what we are all experiencing as conversations evolve to heighten awareness and understanding of identities that have traditionally been marginalized.
Associate professor at University of Kansas; Center for Furniture Craftsmanship Fellowship (ME); has exhibited nationally including Delaware Center for Contemporary Art; publications: American Craft, Bespoke: Furniture from 101 International Artists by E. Ashley Rooney, Bamboo Design Guide and 59 Case Studies by Eduard Broto, and Booming Bamboo by Pablo van der Lugt.
WOOD SUMMER SESSION 5
JULY 16–28, 2023
Elia Bizzarri and Eric Cannizzaro
Starting with a log, you’ll split and shave parts for a ladderback side-chair in the style of Jennie Alexander, who coined the term “green woodworking.” Then you’ll assemble the chair relying on the natural swelling of super-dried rungs to help lock the chair together. We’ll use hand tools, including the draw knife, the spokeshave, and the shaving horse. This workshop is open to students of all levels who enjoy long hours and physical work.
Note: the studio fee for this workshop is estimated at $250-325 per student.
Elia: chairmaker, teaching: The Woodwright’s School (NC), Elia Bizzarri Studio (NC); produced numerous woodworking videos including DVDs for Popular Woodworking; featured on PBS’s The Woodwright’s Shop; work and articles published in Fine Woodworking, Popular Woodworking, Woodcraft, NC Travel Guide, Mortise and Tenon.
Eric: chairmaker: teaching: Arrowmont (TN), Campbell Folk School (NC), Arbutus Folk School (WA); residencies: Arrowmont (NC), Arbutus Folk School (WA); exhibitions: Wayne Art Center (PA), Bascom (NC), Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (NY), Blue Line Arts (CA) Master Woodworkers Show (TN); representation: Grovewood Inn Gallery (NC), Frog Hollow (VT).
WOOD SUMMER SESSION 6
JULY 30–AUGUST 11, 2023
Joinery for Wood Sculpture
Build, craft, create, and learn in this workshop focused on making small sculptural objects and using wood as a medium for creative expression. Working with kiln-dried lumber, students will become familiar with a wide variety of hand and power tools as well as heavy woodworking machinery. Although our main focus will be traditional joinery, we’ll also cover wood selection and preparation, carving, shaping, and finishing. This workshop will offer a nurturing and welcoming environment for students to grasp the basics or brush up on old skills. Beginning level; experienced students welcome.
Studio artist, adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University; American Craft Council Emerging Artists Cohort 2022, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship; residencies: Haystack (ME), Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (NE), Anderson Ranch (CO), Sculpture Space (NY), Houston Center for Contemporary Arts, Penland Winter Residency; recent exhibition at Penland Gallery; collection: Center for Art in Wood; representation: FLXST Contemporary (IL).
WOOD SUMMER SESSION 7
August 13–18, 2023
Hand Tools First
The goal of this workshop will be to strike a balance between the use of machines and hand tools while creating aesthetically pleasing small wall cabinets. The practice of using hand tools—planes, dovetail saws, chisels, marking gauges, etc.—brings a certain joy to woodworking as you master the use and care of these tools. We’ll pay special attention to hand-cut dovetails, mortise and tenon joints, sharpening, and the adjustment and use of hand planes. All levels.
Furniture designer/builder, founding member and teacher at Angels Gate Cultural Center (CA); exhibitions: City of Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Craft Contemporary (Los Angeles); several public art projects on the Los Angeles waterfront; work published in Fine Woodworking.