Posts Tagged ‘Penland School of Crafts’

Since Jessica and I got back from teaching at the Penland School of Crafts, I’ve been struggling to put the experience into words. But no matter how I go on about how beautiful the Blue Ridge Mountains are; or how unique Penland’s creative culture is; or how amazingly talented each and every one of our students were; or how seriously delicious a hot bowl of cheese grits is after a walk in the chilly morning fog; or how many wonderful people we met; or how much we loved the challenge of basically teaching two classes in one intense week—well, I get a little incoherent. So I’ll let my sketchbook do the talking. (I kept a little notebook in my apron pocket all week, and every time I had a second to spare, I was scribbling away.)















In short: we can’t wait to go back. Huge thanks to the lovely folks at Penland for hosting us and creating such a wonderful place to learn and make things; to our seven fabulous students for their enthusiasm and willingness to dive right in; and to our angelic friend Mary-Alice for being the absolute hands-down best teaching assistant the world has ever seen. Hope to see y’all again soon!


When Jessica and I were in North Carolina last summer, we had just enough sightseeing time to squeeze in a short trip along the aptly-named Blue Ridge Parkway.


Between the dappled sunlight,


the lush Southern greenery,


and the unexpected splashes of color,


we were enchanted in an instant.

(I, for one, was tempted to do a little Katniss Everdeen impression—just run away from it all and head for the hills.)


It wasn’t hard to imagine sitting down and breaking out the paper and paints, with all that blue haze as inspiration.


Photo from Wikipedia

The folks at the nearby Penland School of Craft certainly agree. Since Lucy Morgan founded it in 1929, Penland has become a national center for craft education. Widely respected for its preservation of handcraft traditions, Penland is centered on total-immersion study and both traditional and experimental techniques. Settled in a quiet pocket of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s an inspiring setting for focused work. Thanks to its reputation and location, the school attracts some of the country’s best artists and fine craftspeople to study and teach in the Penland studios.

So you can imagine how thrilled and honored Jessica and I were when they asked us to come and teach a letterpress workshop there this summer.

We’ll be teaching a one-week printing intensive, and doing our very best to turn the printshop upside down. This ain’t your grandpa’s letterpress. Here are the details:

Letterpress: Old Dog, New Tricks

A printmaking intensive with Chandler O’Leary and Jessica Spring
Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC

Summer Session 7: Aug. 26 to Sept. 1, 2012 (scroll down the listings to find our class)


In the class, we’ll work with both hand-set type (don’t worry, we won’t monkey with any linotype machines…) and photopolymer plates to produce editioned prints that combine the two techniques.


We’re going to get pretty technical, pretty fast, but don’t worry—the workshop is open to all levels of experience. That way we can bring letterpress newbies up to speed quickly, and give more experienced printers the chance to go nuts and geek out with us.


Unnatural Light by Jessica Spring

You’ll be doing some death-defying typesetting by hand, using Jessica’s acrobatic techniques,


On a Mission Dead Feminist print

and I’ll teach you the ropes of designing for photopolymer, so you can throw a three-ring hand-drawn circus into the mix.


So get thee to the mountains and join us! Registration is open now, but don’t wait too long—the class is capped at 12 students.

See you in North Carolina! Save me some grits, will you?