Thursday, July 1, 2010

Penland Summary

So much has happened during my two weeks at Penland. I made a lot of strong bonds with craftspeople from all over the US, enjoying conversations over meals, finding inspiration in the many different studios with many talented people working in them, and making things without ever having to stop.

The gift of uninterrupted time in the studio was incredible. I never had to think about the responsibilities of everyday life that consume so much of the day. My schedule revolved around studio time and meals.

My favorite part of the 24 hour cycle was the time after dinner: since it was the last meal of the day, I didn't have to ever get up from my workstation and could stay as late as I wanted. One night, I left the studio around midnight to get some inspirations and came back at 3am and worked for a few hours because I felt that I needed to! There was nothing that held me back from doing so!

At first, before I arriving, I was hesitant about the idea of being so isolated from the world outside of Penland, but after arriving, I realized how important it was to become so involved with the small community that is carved in to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. It is extremely important to preserve the idea that in this isolated mountainous region, a community of craftspeople emerge from all corners of the world to become a part of this intensive studio retreat.

Waking up every morning and seeing the mountains and hay bales gave me a sense of the sublime and helped me focus on what is important. I realize that my craft and my projects are my first true love and to stay loyal to them.

I had forgotten what it was like to be so involved in projects that you lose a sense of time - devoting all of your energy into making something. Which was just what the doctor ordered, especially since I haven't had a proper studio since I've graduated from school and now I am in a place where I'll be starting graduate school in the Fall. This is perfect timing.

Everyday, you are surrounded with so many talented people with so many ideas! There was a puppetry class that had an amazing performance (in the blazing hot sun!) on the knoll. People emerged from their studios to watch.

I loved that this class was performance and craft married together.

My class, Fashion, Art and Silhouette was led by Vincent Martinez, a life long Penlander - He started here as a work-study student, then became a core student, and now an instructor. He guided the class in making wonderful creations, which culminated into a fashion show before the auction. This picture is of Vincent and my model, Craig Usher, wearing my so-called monster suit, which was inspired by a romp in the woods behind the wood studio. After feeling a bit frightened, I decided I should make a disguise!

I had a lot of fun making this garment. It is a compilation of many many many strips of black fabric sewn onto the base garment with a bright red lining. When you lift your arms, you look like you have bat wings!

My last photograph of Penland is of the water tower - I spent my last night on top of the water tower at 2am, reflecting about the previous two weeks. I did not want to leave all of the people I had met, who were all amazing, and I was afraid of forgetting any of the details of my experience.

It was a truly emotional experience that has opened my eyes to new opportunities in life. I am excited to start making things at home, have better studio practices, and start new projects.

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

Sounds AMAZING! Grad school?! where?