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Print Collaboration

two women examining prints that have just come off a Vandercook press

Penland instructor and former resident Eileen Wallace and Penland programs director Leslie Noell spent the second week of winter residencies hard at work in the letterpress studio. The two were continuing a collaborative series of prints that explore transparency, composition, and the graphic potential of wood type. There was a lot of play involved, too.

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A Note from the Director

2019 summer catalog cover
Front cover for the summer 2019 Penland workshop catalog

If you are familiar with Penland, you probably noticed that the graphics on the catalog covers have a new look. For this we thank graphic designer and current Penland resident artist Ele Annand; we asked her to shake things up a bit. You may also have noticed a small, but important, alteration to the name of our school.

In 1969, Penland’s second director, Bill Brown, changed the name of the Penland School of Handicrafts to Penland School of Crafts. He did this to more accurately reflect the vision he had for Penland and to position the school as an institution at the forefront of the emerging studio craft movement. This fall we made a smaller change for similar reasons when we became Penland School of Craft.

The word craft suggests process, skill, commitment, and, as the poet Robert Kelly said, perfected attention. In other words, it describes some of the basic values this school promotes in the world. It suggests an ideal rather than something specific. It points to skilled making that is not tied to particular materials and is inclusive of creative processes outside of those traditionally labeled as craft. It accurately reflects the mission and vision of Penland today.

Please enjoy perusing our exciting workshop offerings for the summer of 2019. I hope to see you at Penland School of Craft next summer!

—Mia Hall, director

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Penland University

group photo standing in front of Hannah's paintings
Rachel Meginnes with Earlham College/Penland students Thomas Hill, Hannah Roman, and Johanna Marie at their final exhibition.

What would it look like if the Penland experience were a full college semester? For the three students who were part of the first-ever Earlham College Penland Program this fall, it looked like two different Penland workshops and countless hours in the studios, plus a giant stack of readings, a deep look at the history of craft in this area, and an opportunity to focus on the professional and entrepreneurial skills of being an artist—all under the guidance and mentorship of Rachel Meginnes, former Penland resident artist and director of the Earlham/Penland program.

Thomas Hill, Johanna Marie Monson Geerts, and Hannah Roman joined us from Earlham College just in time for the start of Penland’s 7th summer session. They kicked off their semester with one-week workshops in brushmaking, daguerreotype photography, and weaving, getting a feel for the studios and the pace of life at Penland.

Next, during the three weeks between Penland’s summer and fall sessions, the students embarked on an ambitious course called Craft in Context taught by Rachel Meginnes and Penland archivist Carey Hedlund. Through over 700 pages of reading, local field trips to places like Cherokee, NC, and a road trip up the East Coast to take in sites such as the National Museum of the American Indian, the students gained an appreciation for the history of craft in Appalachia.

Left: Thomas Hill working on a teapot form. Right: Johanna Marie cutting a linoleum block for the press.

Back on campus in mid-September, they started in on eight weeks of Penland concentrations. Thomas studied pottery and surface decoration with Maggie and Tom Jasczcak, Johanna learned letterpress and bookbinding techniques with Beth Schaible, and Hannah immersed herself in shape and color in Tonya D. Lee’s abstract painting workshop.

The final three weeks of the semester were reserved for a course taught by Rachel called Art & Entrepreneurship. It focused on essentials like writing artist statements, building a website, learning photo editing skills, designing business cards, and crafting slide presentations. (Speaking of websites, take a look at their shiny new ones—thomashillpots.com, johannamarieart.com, and chromacowboy.com!)

Hannah at work in the painting studio.

On December 13, Thomas, Johanna, and Hannah got the opportunity to show off all their hard work over the past sixteen weeks with the opening reception for their exhibition On the Road to Heavens Above. They curated and installed the show themselves in the new Gallery North space at Northlight and invited the entire Penland community to come. From Hannah’s bold and surprising color compositions to Johanna’s delicate words printed on her photographs to Thomas’s layered ceramic surfaces, it was a beautiful presentation of an extraordinary artistic effort.

“I couldn’t even have imagined how much growing and discovering I would do here,” Hannah remarked at the close of her Penland semester. For her part, Rachel said, “I could not be more proud of the students’ hard work and dedication to their work and studies.” We couldn’t agree more—congrats Thomas, Johanna, and Hannah! We can’t wait to see where your ideas take you.

Two views of the exhibition “On the Road to Heavens Above” featuring pottery by Thomas Hill, letterpress prints and photographs by Johanna Marie, and paintings by Hannah Roman.

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Early Decision Scholarships

work-study students at Penland during their shift in the dish room

Penland is pleased to offer a new scholarship option for summer 2019—early decision! These partial scholarships with a work requirement are similar to our general work-study scholarships from previous years, with a few important updates:

  1. If you apply for an early decision scholarship, your application will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. You will be notified about whether or not you got into your workshop within three business days of the completion of your application (including two of your references completing a short reference form).
  2. We are holding two spaces in each workshop for early decision scholarship applicants, so your chances of getting into your first-choice workshop are improved if you apply early.
  3. Instead of the standard $50 processing fee, you pay only a $10 processing fee with your application.
  4. All early decision scholarship applicants will be assigned jobs in the dining hall (washing dishes, preparing food, etc.) that will total roughly 20 hours of work per week.

So who are these scholarships for, anyway?
We are offering this new option for eager students who would like to know the outcome of their scholarship applications sooner, want a better chance of getting into their first-choice workshop, and are willing to commit to a dining hall work assignment. Trying to squeeze a month-long internship, a family reunion, a Penland workshop, and a research trip into one summer? Get your dates locked down with early decision. Have your heart absolutely set on that session 3 iron workshop? Apply ASAP with early decision.

And what’s in it for Penland?
Every session, we need an energetic and diligent crew of work-study students in The Pines to make meal times run smoothly. We’re hoping that, by offering some incentives with our early decision option, we can fill those spots in The Pines and make a whole bunch of you happy, too!

How do I apply early decision?
All scholarship applications, including early-decision applications, must be submitted online through Slideroom. Scholarship applications will open January 1 and must be complete and submitted by 11:59 PM EST on February 18. Applications for early decision partial scholarships do not require images, but they do require two references to fill out and submit a short form via email. These applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis once complete, so submitting your application as soon as possible is to your advantage.

What if I need a full scholarship or can’t work in the dining hall?
In addition to the partial scholarships with work requirements that are eligible for early decision, Penland also awards full scholarships with work requirements, full scholarships with no work requirement, and studio assistantships. Spaces are held in each of our workshops for recipients of these scholarships. See complete information about our full range of summer 2019 scholarship options here.

View all of our summer 2019 workshop offerings!

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Announcing Our 2019 Penland Core Fellows!

We’re excited to welcome four new artists into Penland’s Core Fellowship—Mia Kaplan, SaraBeth Post, Erica Schuetz, and Scott Vander Veen! They will join returning fellows Joshua Fredock, L Gnadinger, Kento Saisho, Katherine Toler, and Devyn Vasquez in late February 2019 to begin their two-year fellowships.

Mia Kaplan

“I have learned that the life of an artist can be beautiful and rewarding, but also complicated and discouraging…I have been most creative and productive while in an immersive and collaborative environment.”

brooch by Mia Kaplan, portrait of Mia Kaplan

Mia currently works in Indianapolis, IN and is a recent graduate of Earlham College, where she received a BA in Visual Arts. While at Earlham Mia worked for three years in exhibit and education development at the Joseph Moore Museum, an interactive science museum, and as a studio tech in the Earlham metals department. She has also interned at Brooklyn Metal Works (NY) and Liberty Arts Sculpture Studio & Foundry (NC). Mia received a work-study scholarship for a summer metals workshop at Penland in 2017 and is excited to return as a core fellow to expand her technical and professional knowledge in metals as well as explore other media, specifically her interest in textiles. Mia is a North Carolina native who grew up in Durham.

Visit Mia’s website
Follow Mia on Instagram

SaraBeth Post

“A strong sense of community is absolutely essential for me. I have been propelled by the generosity and encouragement of my community.”

 

SaraBeth headshot and glass pillow

SaraBeth lives and works in the Penland area, dividing her time between two jobs and her studio practice. As Enrichment Coordinator for the Rural Education Partners of Mitchell County, she works mainly with middle school students to make art an integral and accessible part of their lives. She is also the Program Development Coordinator at the North Carolina Glass Center in Asheville. SaraBeth has a BFA with a concentration in glass from the University of Louisville (KY) and has been a student and studio assistant in several Penland workshops since 2014. She has also worked as cold shop coordinator at Pilchuck Glass School (WA) and as an assistant and studio tech at The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass (NY).

Visit SaraBeth’s website
Follow SaraBeth on Instagram

Erica Schuetz

“I’m inspired by people unafraid to take risks and step off the path of least resistance, and who want to learn forever.”

Chair by Erica Schuetz and portrait of Erica

Erica recently transitioned out of her 5-year role as Adult Education & Family Literacy Instructor and Coordinator at Briya Public Charter School in Washington, DC to work and travel abroad for a year; she is currently volunteering as a teacher for refugees in Greece. After years as an educator who teaches “through a lens of social justice,” Erica is excited to devote time and attention to making, experimenting, and exploring new craft skills, ideas, and connections. Erica holds a BA from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She has been to Penland twice as a work-study student in wood; has taken classes at the Corcoran College of Art & Design (MD) and Haystack School of Crafts (ME); and has been a volunteer and part-time letterpress instructor at Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center (MD).

Follow Erica on Instagram

Scott Vander Veen

“I find that creative practice flourishes when it is shared closely with others, and I aim to create relationships as much as I aim to push my work.”

 Portrait of Scott next to a piece of Scott's work

Scott currently works in New York City as a fabricator and art handler at Novo Arts. He has also worked as a muralist, studio intern, and studio assistant at the Freehand Hotel, Dieu Donne Papermill, and Jeffrey Gill Studio respectively. Scott earned a BA from Bard College with a combined focus in studio arts, literature, history, art history, and writing. Having never been to Penland, Scott is excited to explore new processes, materials, and potential interactions between materials. He is interested in the balance between experimentation and technical skill and an “urge to connect more deeply with creative tradition.”

Visit Scott’s website
Follow Scott on Instagram

This year we received 72 applications from across the United States for the Core Fellowship Program. As always, there were many more fantastic candidates than openings. Our selection committee did an excellent job reviewing and evaluating applications, putting in many hours and lively conversations. A sincere thank you to everyone involved in this year’s selection.

And last but not least, we congratulate five outstanding core fellows who will leave the program in early 2019: Stormie Burns, Elliot Earl Keeley, Sarah Rose Lejeune, and Corey Pemberton. We wish them the best of everything ahead and will follow their inevitable successes with pride.

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Photo(s) of the Week: King Tufter

This is Decarlo Logan, studio assistant in the fall drawing and painting Concentration. In this picture he’s in the textiles studio wielding a rug tufting machine, which is a bit like a hand-held sewing machine that makes U-shaped loops of yarn (tufts) rather than stitches. Tim Eads, who taught the fall textiles Concentration, has been promoting these machines as way to create innovative, dimensional textiles. He brought a few of them along for his workshop (which covered many aspects of surface design) but generously invited everyone on campus to play around making tufted rug samples.

This is what the front side of the tufting looks like.  Lots of people tried it out, but nobody was more obsessed than Decarlo, who spent so much time messing around with the machine that he dubbed himself King Tufter.

When he’s not tufting, Decarlo is a painter. Here is a pair of encaustic pieces he made in the fall workshop, which was taught by Tonya D. Lee.

And thanks again to Tim Eads for the excellent workshop and for personifying Penland generosity.

 

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Behind Fall Photos

Eight weeks of Penland fall concentrations have come and gone. We’ve shared lots of studio photos and show-and-tell photos and photos of the goofy moments in between. But there’s a lot that’s constantly happening during concentrations that is harder to pin down—the messy, beautiful, confusing, triumphant work of learning and connecting and growing.

As we’ve heard again and again from students, time at Penland is not just about a handmade mug; it’s about the transformational power of learning to make a mug with your hands. Below, we illustrate some of the less tangible aspects of creative immersion with a photo from each of our recent concentrations.

Focus
Clay student Brian Chen adds surface decoration to a run of tumblers using a masking technique he learned from instructor Tom Jaszczak. Freedom from distractions is one thing that leads to such leaps in student work in just eight weeks.

adding surface decoration to a run of bisqued pots

Teamwork
Studio assistant Eric Meeker uses a drop or two of water to break his piece from the punty while core fellow Joshua Fredock stands ready to grab it. The nature of glassblowing is a team effort, but students in all studios benefit from the feedback, energy, and expertise of their peers.

working with a partner to remove a glass disc from the punty

Process
Textiles student Emily Parkinson builds up pattern on a length of printed yardage through the careful spacing and layering of screens. The sketches, calculations, and in-betweens aren’t always readily apparent in a finished piece, but that step-by-step process is integral to the outcome.

pulling a screen in the textiles studio

Repetition
Henry Rogers heats a length of steel in the iron studio. Over the course of eight weeks, students move between the forge and the anvil and back again hundreds of times. Each heat builds intuition and muscle memory, and every swing of the hammer builds accuracy and control and confidence. It’s the hours of practice that transform a beginner into an experienced maker.

heating at the forge in the iron studio

Inspiration
Hannah Roman works on a painting in her Color & Abstraction workshop surrounded by sketches, previous work, and a giant collaborative still life for reference. Ideas can crop up in the most unexpected places, be it something a fellow student is trying, a process in another studio, the landscape of the Penland campus outside, or maybe just the shadow your water bottle casts across your desk.

concentrating on a painting at the easel

Growth
First-time woodworker Ann Ritter glues tenons into the aprons of her table with instructor Wyatt Severs. Even students who have never touched wood or metal or clay can become proficient over eight weeks of immersive studio time, and this growth sometimes opens up entire new futures and dreams.

working together to glue up tenon joints in the wood studio

Attention
Core fellow Stormie Burns pulls a run of prints on the Vandercook press. Like a lot of making, it’s a repetitive process that benefits from quiet attention and an ability to be present in the moment. There’s a joy that comes from being immersed in the details.

pulling prints on the vandercook press

And a few things not pictured above:
The Penland friendships each student will carry with them. The newfound confidence and sense of belonging. The deeper appreciation for hands and material and time. The ideas that started here as mere sparks and are now burning brightly across the web of our community.

To all our fall concentration students and instructors, thank you for reminding us about the importance and beauty of what we do here. And to all those who would like to be students, we hope you will be! Registration is currently open for Spring 2019 concentrations and 1-week workshops.