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Weaving Wednesday



We stopped in the textiles studio this morning where Robin Johnston’s weaving class was hard at work at the looms. Robin took some time to show us around the kitchen. A ferrous vat of indigo was stirred, a piece of cloth dipped. Another vat totally slept through our visit. And someone was dyeing with lichen in a silver pot.


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Photo of the Week: Anvil Checking

andrew hayes in the penland iron studio

Visiting artist Andrew “Straightedge” Hayes showing students in the iron concentration how to check the surface of an anvil for irregularities. This was important because the next thing he showed was how to flatten strips of sheet steel that have bends and twists in them. Then he staged a flattening contest to see who could make the flattest piece of steel in 10 minutes. Never a dull moment.

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Photo(s) of the Week: Painted Warps

alke groppel-wegener painting a warp at Penland

Student Alke Groppel-Wegener experimenting with warp painting in the weaving studio. Alke teaches writing to art and design students at the University of Staffordshire in England. The university gave her a term off so she could take Robin Johnston’s weaving Concentration. The class was introduced to painted warps by visiting artist Andrea Donnelly.


painted warp

This is a single warp with a section painted by each member of the class. It will be wound onto a loom and woven into one long piece of cloth.



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Video: Moving Parts

In the summer of 2013, Penland School had an unusual number of workshops that involved motors, switches, gears, Arduino controllers, levers, sensors, mechanical arms, cranks, and other moving parts. Here is a sample of the results.

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Lydia and Megan


I didn’t ask if they had coordinated their outfits. I did ask if they’d met before they came to Penland (they had, at Pilchuck).

Johnny Cash came on and we were about to be enveloped in his sound. “What are you both working on?” I asked Lydia (above, on the right).

“Oh, a piece I’m making–but I need these little pieces for it. So I asked Megan to do them. She’s really good at them.”



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This video (by studio assistant Kyle Durrie) shows a thaumatrope, which a technique presented by instructor Rory Sparks as the first project in her spring workshop combining letterpress and animation.


Or maybe you prefer this GIF version (by Robin Dreyer) featuring Rory herself:



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Kiln to Table


Tableware by Jospeh Pintz. Photo by Mark LaFavor for American Craft.

Tableware by Jospeh Pintz. Photo by Mark LaFavor for American Craft.


Four ceramists and Penland instructors are featured in American Craft ‘s focus on tableware this month. The feature is now online and celebrates, through short interviews, different approaches ceramists have to making functional pieces for the table. Check out responses from:


Jason Bige Burnett (teaching at Penland in Fall 2014 or Spring 2015)
Heather Mae Erickson (teaching at Penland, Summer 2014)
Joseph Pintz (teaching at Penland, Summer 2014)
Tara Wilson (taught at Penland, Fall 2009)

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