ni Penland Line Spring 2002
ThreeJace jugs, depicting the three ages ojPinocchio, waitingJor
glazing in the kiln shed. The jugs were a collaboration between
visiting artist Arthur Gonzalez and studio assistant Jon Arsenault.
Editor/Writer: Robin Dreyer
Layout: Robin Dreyer, Leslie Noell, Kristi Pfeffer
Photographs: Robin Dreyer, Dana Moore, True Kelly, Amanda Lee
Contributors: Donna Jean Dreyer, Michelle, Francis, Jean McLaughlin,
Thanks to Barbara Benisch, Dana Moore, Jean McLaughlin, Donna Jean
Dreyer, and Tammy Hitchcock for their help with this issue.
Penland School of Crafts is a national center for craft education located in
western North Carolina. The school offers classes in ten media, artists' resi
dences, a community education program, and a craft gallery open to the
public. The Penland Line is published twice a year to communicate
thoughts about the programs, people, and philosophy of Penland. IVe
invite you to share your news, opinions, and/or photographs with us.
Penland School of Crafts
P. 0. Box 37
Penland, NC 28765-0037
web page: http://penland.org
Penland School of Crafts is a nonprofit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organiza
tion. Penland receives support from the North Carolina Arts Council, an
agency funded by the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment
for the Arts.
Letter From the Director
In 1998 Robin Dreyer interviewed me for the Penland Line just
as I was beginning my work as director. Among many things,
we talked about my plans for Penland. We discussed the ongo
ing strength of the program and the serious needs of the infra
structure. After almost four years, I want to revisit that vision
and share with you some of the accomplishments we have
made happen together. While my understanding of Penland’s
history and its complex relationship to an ever-widening circle
of people has grown deeper and richer, my view of our current
needs, our strengths, and our challenges, remains very much
Penland’s programs were and are second to none. The
learning experience in classes continues to be spontaneous,
stretching, evocative, and supportive. At Penland, you can
learn traditional techniques and put them to use making func
tional and nonfunctional objects. You can see how history is the
foundation for new ideas and forms. Although many books
about craft exist, the learning experience in our field is still
primarily one of oral tradition and demonstrations. Knowledge
is gifted from instructor to student (and vice versa) in class
after class, conversation after conversation. Free association
and playfulness remain essential elements for creative expres
sion. Book artists find the glass studio to make innovative book
covers; clay artists and textile artists collaborate on teapots and
tea cozies; hornet’s nests become the home to pearls.
As we have continued to offer the most intense and
delightful adult workshops imaginable, we have added a spring
and fall visiting artist program, residencies for humanists and
writers interested in linking crafts to diverse fields of study,
winter studio retreat opportunities, community education
classes, and special projects that extend the resources and
imagination of Penland-affiliated artists to broader audiences.
We have made a commitment to the Penland archives and to
building a stronger library. Greater resources have been direct
ed toward the Penland Gallery for special exhibitions and edu
cational opportunities for visitors. We’ve given major emphasis
to the safety needs of those working in studios.
We have taken a serious look at the physical needs of the
school’s buildings and grounds. We asked what needed immedi
ate attention and what were future considerations. This winter
we built a fire pond and addressed some long-standing struc
tural problems at Northlight. We are completing retaining
walls and an exterior work area at the back of the glass studio.
As you all know, we built a new iron studio and renovated the
main floor of Ridgeway, and, with community help, rescued
the Dye Shed (see page 8). We addressed major structural
problems and hundreds of small projects, from handrails to
To make all this happen we have taken a hard look at our
internal operations. We’ve created a stronger infrastructure
with more professional and reliable management practices. We
have carefully assessed our development strategies to create a
stronger base of support for the programs which touch so
many lives. I like to think of Penland as an artist-run, creative
nonprofit, akin to the best studios. We are guided by the same
need to take risks and we succeed by applying the same disci
plines and rigorous standards.
As Penland approaches its seventy-fifth year and I look for
ward to my fifth as its director, I see the school working on
many fronts to become an institution as strong and vital as the
work that happens in its studios. A decade after she retired as
Penland’s director, Lucy Morgan wrote, “Every time I go to
Penland I find new and thrilling changes.” I hope you will have
this experience, too, and will also find that those things we
value most remain unchanged.
—Jean W McLaughlin
Jean McLaughlin saluting the 2001 class of core students at their year-end exhibition. L^t to right: Matthew Thomason, April Franklin, Jeannine
Marchand, Darryl Maleike, Jean McLaughlin, Eric Dekker, Ronan Peterson, Celia Gray, Meredith Brickell, Benares Finan-Eshelman, Kelly O’Briant.