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Photo of the Week: Looking Down by Dan Bailey

Looking Down Dan Bailey Penland

This is Gene Ayscue and Dan Bailey finishing up the installation, in the Penland Gallery lobby, of Dan’s incredible piece called Looking Down: Penland School of Crafts. The piece was constructed from over 15,000 photos taken in July, August, and October 2012 from a tethered balloon. They have been collaged by hand and placed onto the background satellite image to form a chronicle of human activity on the Penland School campus. Magnifying glasses will be available for visitors. This piece is part of the 0 to 60 project, which is a collaboration between Penland School and the North Carolina Museum of Art.



This is Dan’s piece as it appears on the Gigapan website, where you can scroll around and zoom way in and see all of the activity recorded in the collage. It includes bits from July 4, from the auction, a few sequences of groups of people walking through the landscape, people playing with the balloon shadow, and other delights. Click here and say goodbye to the next half-hour.


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0 to 60: The Experience of Time through Contemporary Art

Alison Collins at Penland School

Alison Collins lining the Dye Shed with muslin and Proust.

Penland School will have two events this weekend marking the opening of a group of four art installations on the Penland campus. The installations are the work of Dan Bailey, Alison Collins, Kyoung Ae Cho, and Anne Lemanski, and they are part of a project called 0 to 60: The Experience of Time through Contemporary Art, which is a collaboration between Penland School and the North Carolina Museum of Art. The opening events will include a evening slide lecture on April 19 and an afternoon walking tour on April 20. The installations will be on view until August 31.

On Friday, April 19, the four artists will each make a short slide presentation about their work. They will be joined by Linda Dougherty, the museum’s chief curator and curator of contemporary art, who will give an overview of the project. This event will take place in the Northlight building at Penland at 8:00 PM. On Saturday, April 20 there will be a walking tour of the four installations beginning at 1:30 PM. Penland’s director, Jean McLaughlin, will make some introductory remarks at the Pines Portico and then each of the four artists will speak when the group visits their installation.


Dan Bailey at Penland School

Gene Ayscue and Dan Bailey installing “Looking Down: Penland School of Crafts” in the lobby of the gallery.

Filmmaker, animator, and photographer Dan Bailey has created a two-part work using time-lapse and low-altitude aerial balloon photography. Looking Up is a slow-moving time-lapse video of the sky over Penland. The vantage point is reversed in Looking Down, a large printed wall piece that is a collage of photographs of the campus made over many months using a camera attached to a helium balloon.


Alison Collins at Penland School

Alison Collins working in the Dye Shed.

Alison Collins’s Temps Perdu will fill the Dye Shed, a historic log structure at Penland, with hundreds of yards of muslin and hundreds of muslin leaves. On the yardage is text from Marcel Proust’s novel In Search of Lost Time. On the leaves are words that refer the things the artist herself has lost. The text is written using a dye Alison made from the rust that collected under some of her steel sculptures.


Anne Lemanski at Penland

Anne Lemanski working on the installation of “Extirpated.”

Anne Lemanski’s Extirpated is about animal species that once inhabited this region but have disappeared with no hope of return. The format of Lemanski’s piece is a series of clotheslines suspended between steel supports based on the contour of Kentucky long rifles. Hanging from the lines will be silhouette images of species that have disappeared from Mitchell County.


Kyoung Ae Cho at Penland

Kyoung Ae Cho installing “Shining Ground” on the Northlight porch.

Kyoung Ae Cho’s Shining Ground, memorializes her discovery of mica the first time she visited Penland in 2000. The piece incorporates mica collected from the banks of the Toe River into vertical panels made of cloth, pins, and wood, which will be installed on the outside of the Northlight building. The piece is her attempt to recapture, many years later, the moment of quiet surprise when she first saw the ground covered with the sheen of mica sand.


Tom Shields "Process"

“Process” by Penland resident artist Tom Shields is part of the exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Art.

The other component of the 0 to 60 project is a major exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. The exhibition, which is open now and runs through August 11, includes work by the four installation artists along with twenty-eight other artists, many of whom have connections to Penland. This exhibition engages the viewer in an experiential and conceptual journey through time, looking at how time can be used as form, content, and material, and how art is used to represent, evoke, manipulate, or transform time. The exhibition will continue through August 11.

Here’s an ongoing album of pictures from the project.


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Focus on: Tina Mullen

The Penland Gallery and Visitors Center presents its first Focus exhibition of the year, a new body of  work in drawing and painting by Tina Mullen. This show is on view in the Focus Gallery from Friday, March 22 through Sunday, April 28th, with an opening reception Friday, March 22, from 4:30 – 6pm.


"Carolina Wren," watercolor and graphite on nautical chart, 6 x 6 in.

“Crosshairs,” watercolor and graphite on nautical chart, 14 x 11 in.


“I find that I use it often – the phrase “out of the blue” – to describe events, ideas, and the way things strike me.  I wonder if I use it more than others, or if I’m just less prepared than others and things catch me off guard.  Regardless, I enjoy contemplating the notion that things happen unexpectedly. That some of the best things in life are unplanned, unscheduled, and come to us by chance – out of the blue.  The real beauty for me is what becomes of us because of them.

In my work, “out of the blue” represents migration, journey and the stories that happen along the way. Many of the drawings are done on maps. Maps of places traveled, Maps given to me by friends and Maps that come with their own history. Represented are maps of some of the places that I love – Florida, North Carolina, and Oregon.

Other points of departure for my drawings might be a piece of paper found in an old book that contains the owners’ doodles or handwriting. Those marks, the age of the paper, slight rips or tears bear witness to a past unknown to me.  I enjoy excavating through those marks, setting off on a new path – a new visual adventure.

Here’s to the journey.” – Tina Mullen


"Small Precarious Fate," watercolor, pastel, and colored pencil on vintage paper, 18 x 12 in.

“Small Precarious Fate,” watercolor, pastel, and colored pencil on vintage paper, 18 x 12 in.


Tina Mullen is an artist who lives in Gainesville, Florida. She is also the director of Shands Arts in Medicine – a program that brings the arts to patients and families struggling with serious illness.

“I have painted and drawn pictures my entire life. I believe that the arts are a vehicle for transformation and personal expression, and my passion is to help others bring art into their lives in meaningful ways.”

Tina has been a drawing instructor at Santa Fe Community College and the University of Florida, as well as Interim Director of the University Galleries at UF. Tina is also a working artist who has exhibited her work throughout the United States.  She has received numerous awards including the Individual Artist Fellowship from the Florida Department of Cultural Affairs. She has been a visiting artist at Penland, the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida and the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming.

Tina has a BA from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and has an MFA from the University of Florida.


Tina Mullen

Tina Mullen


Click here to visit Tina’s website, where you can see more of her work.

Click here to visit the Penland Gallery website.

Penland’s Focus Gallery is a space primarily dedicated to single-artist exhibitions. Focusing on individual artists over the course of the year, it presents a larger selection of their work to gallery visitors and patrons.

Click here for more information about the Focus Gallery.


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Open Mic Night


Last Friday in the Pines, Penland’s own supply store clerk Stephanie Ott hosted an Open Mic event organized by Community Collaborations Manager Stacey Lane and spoken-word artist Pierce Freelon (you’ve met Pierce on our blog before) to celebrate the success of Pierce’s week-long artist residency in a local high school. Pierce and his students performed spoken-word pieces individually, and shared a collaborative work as a group. Penland staff members, neighbors, and students rounded out the evening’s lineup, filling a few fabulous hours with wonderful exhibitions of local talent, live-cast worldwide by IT guru Mark Boyd. Thanks to Mark for the video.

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So it begins…


Woodkilns don’t last forever, and this spring, the clay class is building a new one. Guided by Kevin Crowe and Dan Finnegan, the class spending about a month building the kiln and then they will spend the rest of the session firing it several times (this will also involve making pots, of course). The first step was to knock down the old one, which happened just before the session started.



Then onto construction.







This is the front of the pile of bags of vermiculite (1500 pounds) that are waiting for a later stage of construction.

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Winter Works featuring Penland’s Core Fellows


Winter is a relatively quiet time at Penland, but the work of art goes on in our studios all through the months between fall and spring classes. The flame of creativity is kept burning in the cold days by a small community of winter renters, print and letterpress residents, studio coordinators, and of course Penland’s core fellowship students.

Two ambitious projects, each engaging the time and talents of multiple core fellows across multiple studios, had their results publicly debuted at Winter Works, an end-of-season exhibition in Northlight hall on Wednesday evening, February 20th – an outdoor multi-media umbrella installation and a dining table commissioned for the future core house.






January Swim: With assistance from Molly Spadone, Jack Mauch, and Bob Biddlestone, and advice from the Penland community at large, core fellow Rachel Garceau spent the last few weeks in the clay, iron, and wood studios, creating a series of slip-cast porcelain and forged steel umbrellas, which she hung on the Northlight porch and used as a complex surface on which to project video.

Core House Dining Table: Liz Koerner and Jack Mauch spent the winter executing a commission from the school -  a dining room table for the future core house. Beautifully made in wood, it also has a hidden signature; under the lip, Jack inlaid notes on the table’s construction in silver wire.




wire inlay

The event was well attended, and also served as a sort of farewell party for the four core fellows leaving Penland this week: Bob Biddlestone, Rachel Garceau, Seth Gould, and Jack Mauch. We’ll miss them dearly, but given what they’ve shown us, we’re not the least bit worried about them.

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Camera Obscura: Pinhole Workshop at Penland

Pinhole camera workshop

Students pose in front of a handmade pinhole camera during a one day photography workshop at Penland School of Crafts, taught by Robin Dreyer. From left to right: Anina van der Vorst, Hope Henson, Priscilla Bonner, Megan Banks, Abbigayle Atkins, David Martinez .

When we take a photograph, we are capturing the light that is reflected off of something. Imagine a person wearing a cap. The sunlight hits the cap in a straight line and bounces off the cap at a 90 degree angle. The light that bounces off is the image that we see. When we take a photograph it is that light that exposes photosensitive chemicals to make an image.  This all might sound very theoretical, but when working with a pinhole camera, the basic functions of photography become exposed (no pun intended). Recently, Mitchell County high school students were invited to participate in a free photography workshop on the Penland School of Crafts campus. The workshop, conducted by Robin Dreyer, focused on pinhole photography. The Penland photography studio was set-up with equipment for students to take, develop, and experiment with pinhole photography.

To make your own camera obscura, follow these simple steps:

1. Cover the inside of a large aluminum can with black spray paint.

2. Drill a ¼ inch hole into the side.

3. Cut a 2 x 2 inch piece of pie tin and poke a tiny hole in it with a needle.

4. Sand the hole to remove any debris.

5. Place the pie tin over the larger drilled hole and secure it with masking tape to ensure light is only coming through the tiny pin hole.

6. Place a removable piece of tape over the pinhole to temporarily block light.

7. Create a top using an opaque material secured with a rubber band.

8. Inside a dark room, Place photo sensitive paper into the can and secure the lid on the can.

9. On a sunny day, find a brightly lit scene and pull back the removable piece of tape for four seconds exposing the pin hole.

10. Find a friend with a dark room to develop the photo.

11. Enjoy your pinhole picture!

Shannon Moon, Community Collaborations

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