PENLAND B LINE
DIFFERENT TIMES, DIFFERENT APROAFHES
PENLAND FACTS & FACTOIDS
A MAMA BEAR AND THREE CUBS WERE SIGHTED BY A
NUMBER OF PEOPLE JUST OFF CONLEY RIDGE ROAD!
IN THE LAST PENLAND LINE WE REPORTED THAT
Helen Cate, our hard-working accountant, would
BE WORKING AT HOME DURING HER MATERNITY LEAVE,
HOOKED UP TO PENLAND BY THE ULTIMATE UMBILICAL
CORD: THE MODEM! HELEN AND LARRY ARE HAPPY TO
REPORT THAT HANNAH NICOLE CATE WAS BORN ON
OCTOBER 11,1992. HELEN HAS MANAGED BABY AND
BUDGET WITHOUT MISSING A BEAT!
Word from Wilcox world travel and tours is
THAT Jane Andersen who for many years has done
YEOMAN SERVICE IN GETTING THE BEST FARES AND
SCHEDULES FOR PENLAND INSTRUCTORS AND STUDENTS,
HAS DECIDED TO BECOME A STUDENT AT WESTERN
CAROLINA AND FINISH HER INTERRUPTED EDUCATION.
TERESA McCombs is taking over from her and is
AVAILABLE TO HELP US ALL AT 1-800-722-5828.
The ceramics invitational at Furman University
DURING THE MONTH OF JANUARY WILL CELEBRATE THE
BEGINNING OF THE YEAR OF AMERICAN CRAFT IN AN
EXHIBITION WHICH SHOWS THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF
WESTERN North Carolina and upstate South
Carolina ceramic artists. The north Carolina
ARTISTS ARE GERI CAMARDA, CLARA COUCH, DON
Davis, George Handy, Jane peiser, Ken sedberry,
Michael Sherrill and Kathy Triplett.
Jim Lawton has accepted a tenure-track teaching
POSITION IN CERAMICS AT CHICAGO ART INSTITUTE WHICH
STARTED IN SEPTEMBER. HiS NEW ADDRESS IS 2301
NORTH Oakley #l R, Chicago, !L 60647. peter Adams
RECEIVED ONE OF AUSTRALIA’S HIGHEST GRANT AWARDS
IN THE ARTS, IN FURNITURE DESIGN CONSISTENT WITH
deep ecology principles. The award is for over
$32,000. He is returning to Tasmania to accept the
AWARD AND COMMENCE A DESIGN PROJECT AFTER A YEAR
OF TRAVELING WHICH INCLUDED STUDIES IN ENGLAND
AND VISITS WITH MANY PENLAND ALUMNI.
TIM VENESS WOULD WELCOME GIFTS OF OLD TABLE LINENS
FOR THE Pines (but nothing too tacky, he says).
The Penland Residents Program, established by Bill Brown,
has provided nearly 100 crafts people a period of transi
tion from student to studio artist. Through this program,
emerging artists are enabled to spend two or three years as
a part of an arts community, while they take needed steps
toward the establishment of a career.
Although there have been-constant aspects to the pro
gram, it has changed in both flavor and philosophy over
the years. These changes reflect both the differing ap
proaches of Penland's directors and the expanding envi
ronment in this country for crafts. At the time the program
was founded the idea of craft as an artistic profession was
not well established. Bill Brown brought to Penland a
vision of how a school and a community could nurture
both individual artists and the crafts in America.
Now the future that Bill envisioned is here. Residents
who come to Penland School in 1992 become a part of a
community that numbers over a hundred practicing crafts
professionals, representing most, if not all, disciplines.
The networks of support which earlier residents helped to
establish are in place, but so is the competition for the
markets, gallery representation and exhibits.
The many letters which former residents wrote in support
of Bill Brown’s nomination for the 1991 North Carolina
Award in Fine Arts described a program which combined
a great deal of personal nurturing and mentoring with
generous amounts of learning by making do. Penland was
able to provide both a shelter in a time of transition and an
environment which fostered artistic development with
out the fear of failure.
These impressions contrast with the comments of today s
Penland Residents, who feel that the so-called "real world
that they are preparing for is with them from the moment
they set up their studios and begin to pay utilities. Resi
dents still live in housing and work in studios that are
substantially subsidized, but pay all other expenses. The
program continues to assist residents in the transition to
full-time crafts professionals, but there is less satisfaction
about the quality of the relationship with the school.
The present residents are Valerie and Rick Beck, glass
artists; Deborah Groover and Suze Lindsay, ceramists,
Alice Carroll and Doug Harling, jewelers; Julie
Leonard, book artist; and Rick Smith, blacksmith/sculp
tor. Conversations with them highlighted both dilem
mas and an abundance of appreciation for the program's
strengths. Clearly, the experience for people is different
if they have a specific function at the school. Julie, Rick
and Doug are studio coordinators, which provides regular
interaction with Penland's staff, students and instructors.
But the others feel a sense of separation from the school.
During each summer and concentration session, students
and instructors are invited to "The Barns" where the
residents work, to tour their studios, see their work in
progress, and to share food and chat. In addition to these
Open House events, there is a surprising flow of visitors.
The reputation of the program accrues to anyone who is
part of it, and many visitors to the area drop by The Barns.
There are individual differences in what the residents
want. Some view this as a time to accomplish a lot of work
and do not welcome interruptions. Others find that the
comments visitors make and the sharing of ideas with
students and instructors makes up for lost work time.
Some feel they could use the nurturing style of a Bill
Brown, while others feel that a hands-off approach works
as long as "I'm here if you need me” is part of the equation.
The support available from artists in the area varies with
the medium. Those working in glass and clay have a rich
resource and social milieu to assist with artistic, technical
and business problems. For Jewelers, blacksmiths, book
artists and woodworkers, there are few or no nearby art
ists to share advice. For them, interaction with instructors
can be an important aspect of their time at Penland. The
residents value living in an arts community and working
in a situation with other crafts people. They all take an
interest in each other's work and exchange information,
but there is a lack of structure for this interchange. The
residents feel they are on their own to extract whatever
good they can from the program.
The problems which have been identified are keenly felt,
but probably easy to rectify. The strongest suggestion
from residents is that there should be clarification of the
relationship between the residents and the school. In
particular, they feel that they should not be left to find
their own way, but that expectations should be mutually
understood. We invite your suggestions and comments,
especially from those who have been a part of the Penland
or any other craft school residency.
just as the residents recognize and appreciate how much
it means to be a part of Penland as they build their careers,
the school, in turn, recognizes how it benefits from this
program. Former residents continue to support Penland as
instructors, auction donors. Board members and in count
less other ways. At first "Penland Resident" on a resume
helps the artists, but as time goes on and they become well
known, it helps the school even more. The Residents
Program is indeed Bill Brown's finest legacy. E]