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.

Registration is currently open for all Summer 2020 workshops. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Scholarships are available for all summer workshops; scholarship applications are due by February 17.

Register here

Wood Spring One-Week Session II
April 5-11, 2020
Jenna Goldberg
The Art of the Bandsaw Box

Due to the current risks associated with bringing a large group of people together on our campus, we have decided to cancel all spring 2020 one-week workshops. Please see our COVID-19 Response page for more information. Thank you for your understanding and support as we navigate this evolving situation.

Wood Spring One-Week Session III
April 19-25, 2020
Beth Ireland & Keunho Peter Park
Creating Stringed Instruments

Due to the current risks associated with bringing a large group of people together on our campus, we have decided to cancel all spring 2020 one-week workshops. Please see our COVID-19 Response page for more information. Thank you for your understanding and support as we navigate this evolving situation.

Wood Summer Session 1
May 24 – June 5, 2020
Yuri Kobayashi
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. Code 01W

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).


chair and small table, both with many curved details
Yuri Kobayashi, "Lin & Sui," ash, chair: 29 x 25 x 25 inches, table: 27 x 16 x 16 inches
Wood Summer Session 2
June 7-19, 2020
Laura Mays
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 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. Code 02W

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.


wooden box with non-90 degree angles
Laura Mays, "Skew Box," Irish oak, 4-3/4 x 18 x 4 inches
Wood Summer Session 3
June 21 – July 3, 2020
Adrien Segal
Carve, Bend, Shape

Both rigid and flexible, wood is an ideal material for creating curvaceous shapes, yet it is often made to be flat, straight, and square. We’ll cover many ways to transform wood into sculptural forms and furniture through additive and subtractive carving, bent and stack laminations, and dynamic joinery. Demonstrations will emphasize the safe use of power tools for rough shaping and hand-held tools for achieving detailed shapes, patterns, textures, and refining smooth forms into finished pieces of furniture or sculpture. A process of quick iteration will facilitate design and experimentation with various methods for creating organic shapes in wood. Students of all levels of woodworking will gain new skills. Code 03W

Studio artist; teaching: California College of the Arts, University of San Francisco; residencies: Benchspace Cork (Ireland), Center for Art in Wood (Philadelphia); publications: American Craft, 500 Tables, Data Flow 2.


bench carved into smooth, organic curves
Adrien Segal, "Strata Bench," carved plywood, 29 x 96 x 31 inches
Wood Summer Session 4
July 5-17, 2020
Sylvie Rosenthal
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. Code 04W

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).


black moped front with a large cat's legs and tail in back
Sylvie Rosenthal, "Battle Cat (possible futures)," bass, steel, epoxy, paint, half a moped, 
33 x 22 x 90 inches
Wood Summer Session 5
July 19 – August 4, 2020
Raivo Vihman
Timber Vernacular

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. Code 05W

Founder of Haystack Joinery (ME); teaching: Waterfall Arts (ME), Viljandi Cultural Academy (Estonia), Haystack (ME), Tabonuco (Puerto Rico), Vanaajamaja (Estonia), Penland.


triangular forms of a timber framed roof
Raivo Vihman, "Cabin Roof Framing," cedar, pine, red oak, 16 x 24 feet
Wood Summer Session 6
August 9-21, 2020
Daniel Michalik

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. Code 06W

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).


two textured cork stools, one light and one darker
Daniel Michalik, "Rook Stools," recycled cork, 20 x 15 x 15 inches each
Wood Summer Session 7
August 23-29, 2020
Aspen Golann & Julian Watts
Sculptural Carving: Spoons

Explore the potential of woodcarving by transforming the wooden spoon into an abstract, sculptural object. We’ll discuss the intersection of craft, design, and art, and challenge our preconceptions about the role that form and function play in the everyday objects around us. Each student will design and carve a sculptural wooden spoon that subverts, exaggerates, or illuminates something new about this familiar utensil. We’ll survey historic and contemporary designs and cover traditional and modern carving techniques, essential power tools, wood species selection, wood grain, sanding, and finishing. All levels. Code 07W

Aspen: studio artist, Penland wood studio coordinator; teaching: Lie Nielsen Toolworks (ME), Haystack (ME). Julian: studio artist; teaching: California College of the Arts, Anderson Ranch (CO), Haystack (ME); representation: Patrick Parrish Gallery (NYC).


view of the carved arm of an elaborate pink velvet chair
Aspen Golann, detail of "Pink Throne," mahogany carving, ash structure, silk, velvet
grouping of carved, non-functional spoon objects
Julian Watts, "Maple Utensil Collection," bleached maple, dimensions variable