Wood Workshops at Penland
Penland offers 1-, 2-, and 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.
NOTE: Many aspects of Penland workshops will be altered for 2021 because of the pandemic, but we’re moving ahead with optimism and care. Before you apply, please read our COVID-19 Safety Guidelines document so you will know what to expect and what will be expected of you. And know that, if conditions force us to cancel workshops, you’ll get a full refund on your payment.
Wood – Special Session
May 9-15, 2021
Carving and Shaping
Bored with straight lines? This workshop will throw a curve into your creative process! We’ll cover a wide range of tools and techniques for shaping and carving wood. Students will learn to visualize and sketch their designs, rough them out with the bandsaw, angle grinder, or drawknife, and bring them to final form with a variety of hand tools. Possible projects include spoons, utensils, bandsaw boxes, sculpture, or furnitures components. Projects will be customized for each student’s skill level so they will be both challenging and achievable. All levels.
Studio artist, digital processes manager at Penland; teaching: Penland, Arrowmont (TN); fellowships/awards: Society of Arts and Crafts Mineck Fellowship (Boston), Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship; residencies: Windgate ITE Residency at the Center for Art in Wood (Philadelphia), IYRS School of Technology and Trades CFC Studio Fellowship (RI), Penland Core Fellowship; exhibitions: Center for Art in Wood, Penland Gallery.
Wood Summer Session 2
June 6-17, 2021
Right Angles, Wrong Angles
In this workshop we’ll look at various aspects of stepping away from 90 degrees—from slopes, bevels, and facets to compound-angled joinery. We’ll see how this can expand the range of possibilities in making cabinets and boxes, and we’ll have our brains tickled by spatial and geometric problem-solving. Along with daily demonstrations, we’ll look at historic and contemporary pieces and discuss their construction. Expect to practice with two or three sample joints and then make a box or small cabinet that incorporates non-right angles. You’ll also gain insight into 90 degrees—how sometimes it has unique properties and sometimes it’s just a number. Intermediate level: basic woodshop skills required.
Professor and program director at The Krenov School at Mendocino College (CA); collections: National Museum of Ireland; co-author of the forthcoming book Making a Seat at the Table: Women Transform Woodworking.
Wood Summer Session 3
June 20 – July 1, 2021
Think mortise and tenon joinery, but think big. In this collaborative workshop, we’ll delve into the ins and outs of woodworking on a timber scale. Each student will begin by building a pair of splayed leg sawhorses to use as a work station. We’ll spend the rest of the time constructing a small, structural timber frame joined with mortises, tenons, pegs, and wedges while developing skills with hand tools and power tools. Topics will include joinery design, layout strategies, working with green wood, and scribing natural forms. The frame we build will be disassembled and sold in the scholarship auction. All levels.
Founder of Haystack Joinery (ME); teaching: Waterfall Arts (ME), Viljandi Cultural Academy (Estonia), Haystack (ME), Tabonuco (Puerto Rico), Vanaajamaja (Estonia), Penland.
Wood Summer Session 4
July 4-15, 2021
Hybrid Object Laboratory
In this workshop students will learn traditional and alternative processes for making functional and sculptural hybrid objects: objects that present or perform unlikely combinations. The work will be assembled and carved, using both additive and subtractive techniques. We’ll cover lamination, joinery, curved and not-square pieces, and small architectural components, along with safe and appropriate machine tool, hand-held power tool, and hand tool usage as we make objects the world has never imagined. All levels.
Studio artist; teaching: University of Wisconsin-Madison; California College of the Arts, Haystack (ME), Anderson Ranch (CO), Australian National University, Tainan National University (Taiwan); exhibitions: Fuller Craft Museum (MA), Mint Museum (NC), Museum of Arts and Design (NYC).
Wood Summer Session 5
July 18 – August 2, 2021
Yuri Kobayashi and Chelsea Witt
Expedition to Curves
At the heart of this workshop is the transformation of a stick from straight to curved. We’ll focus on wood-bending techniques to stimulate creativity and expand design potential, experimenting directly with the material to drive ideas. We’ll steam- or cold-bend wood to achieve unique organic lines and forms—the possibilities are infinite. The primary goal of this workshop is to learn basic bending techniques and how to play with them. The result may not be finished objects. It’s more likely to be a collection of carefully crafted maquettes filled with the potential to inspire furniture, furniture components, or pure sculpture. All levels.
Yuri: 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 (Philadelphia), Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Gallery NAGA (MA). Chelsea: Facilities assistant and studio artist at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship (ME); teaching: Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, Medomak Family Camp (ME); fellowships/residencies: Circle Square (FL): Center for Furniture Craftsmanship; exhibitions: Nancy Oliver Gallery (FL), 6th Street Studios (FL), Corner Gallery (ME).
Wood Summer Session 6
August 8-19, 2021
This workshop will explore cork and the many possibilities for design and making that can emerge from this wonderful, ecological material. We’ll learn and apply traditional woodworking techniques including machining, hand shaping, lathe turning, and bending, as well as experimental techniques such as cork casting. Cork will be used to achieve structure and visual texture in combination with wood and on its own. We’ll study cork farming, harvesting, and production and make objects that reflect these systems. We’ll start with experiments and then create tabletop accessories and furniture forms in which cork plays a central role. All levels.
Studio artist, product designer, and assistant professor at Parsons School of Design (NYC); other teaching: Central Saint Martins (London), Haystack (ME), Rhode Island School of Design; exhibitions: Renwick Gallery (DC), Fisher Parrish Gallery (NYC), Sight Unseen OFFSITE (NYC).
Wood Summer Session 7
August 22-28, 2021
Brandy Clements and Dave Klingler
Handwoven Chair Caning
This workshop is an introduction to the craft of handwoven chair caning. Beginning students can learn the traditional six-way pattern. Intermediate weavers or ambitious beginners can weave new patterns such as the daisy or star, or they may want to make up their own pattern. We’ll also discuss structural issues, the history of chair caning, contemporary applications, and basically geek out on chairs of all kinds. Warning: if you take this workshop, you may become a chair nerd! All levels.
Note: Students can bring a chair (in good repair with the surface finished) with holes drilled around the seat frame, or instructors can provide chairs with advance notice. Students bringing chairs will be asked to e-mail a chair picture to the instructors ahead of time.
Brandy: studio artist, educator, curator, historian, co-owner of the Silver River Center for Chair Caning (NC); teaching and lectures: Arrowmont (TN), Campbell Folk School (NC), Furniture Society conference, Seat Weavers Guild gatherings, Folk Art Center (NC), William King Museum of Art (VA), Blowing Rock Art and History Museum (NC), American Craft Council “Let’s Make” demonstrator.
Dave: seat weaving expert, process analyst, educator, co-owner of the Silver River Center for Chair Caning (NC); teaching and lectures: Arrowmont (TN), Campbell Folk School (NC), Furniture Society conference, Seat Weavers Guild gatherings, Folk Art Center (NC), William King Museum of Art (VA), Island Farm (NC), American Craft Council “Let’s Make” demonstrator.
Wood Fall Concentration
October 3 – November 12 (six weeks)
Designing in the Woodshop
This workshop will explore processes for generating and refining handbuilt wooden forms. We’ll experiment to discover options, analyze findings, and forge connections between making and designing. Demonstrations will include scale drawing, model-making, milling, joinery, shaping, finishing, and other techniques depending on student interest and needs. We’ll also cover 3-D design fundamentals and strategies for creative problem-solving. Students can expect to make a variety of small wood projects and one or two larger works that may be sculptural or functional. This workshop will provide a solid foundation for those new to woodworking and help experienced students expand their practice. All levels.
Studio artist; teaching: University of Central Arkansas, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, San Diego State University; fellowship/residencies: The Wood Center at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Herekeke Art Center (NM), Warren Wilson College (NC), Penland Core Fellowship; exhibitions: Manifest Gallery (OH), Foundry Art Centre (MO), Vessel Gallery (CA).
NOTE: Participation in fall workshops will require proof of full COVID-19 vaccination.
Wood – Fall One-Week Session
September 19-25, 2021
Beth Ireland and Keun Ho Peter Park
Creating Stringed Instruments
In this workshop you’ll create a beautiful instrument that will wow your friends and bring you years of enjoyment. We’ll focus on making four- or six-string guitars as we cover the basic elements needed to create all stringed instruments, including scale, fretting, bracing, finishing, shaping, and set up. We have developed a method of making instruments based on the bandsaw box, which allows students to create a sculptural form for the guitar body. The instruments will be fun and playable. We’ll have daily demonstrations and lots of studio time in a safe, supportive atmosphere. We’ll cover the safe use of the bandsaw, sander, router, and a variety of hand tools as we complete the project. All levels.
Beth: owner of Beth Ireland Woodworking, specializing in architectural and artistic woodturning; part of the traveling craft project Turning Around America and the instrument project strumfactory.com; teaching: Arrowmont (TN), Port Townsend School of Woodworking (WA), Center for Furniture Craftsmanship (ME); three Windgate fellowships.
Keun Ho Peter: studio artist and teacher at University of the Arts (PA); other teaching: Peter’s Valley (NJ), Arrowmont (TN), Center for Furniture Craftsmanship (ME); Wharton Esherick Award at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show; Windgate artist residency at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
NOTE: Participation in fall workshops will require proof of full COVID-19 vaccination.