Posts tagged ‘North Carolina’

September 11, 2011

Silent Sunday::Reflecting on the River

by heatherkp

Something kind of like this…

…no doubt getting quite muddy but enjoying camping, friends, fires, cool nights, hopefully a canoe ride down the river and reflecting a bit upon that tragedy we all encountered 10 years ago today.  Bless this beautiful country!

September 3, 2011

Slideshow Saturday::NC Crystal Stop

by heatherkp

You will find something far greater in the woods than you will find in books.  Stones and trees will teach you that which you will never learn from masters.– St. Bernard

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I was lucky enough to get to stop and rummage through a quite incredible collection of crystals and rocks at a temporary vendor set up while in NC.  This vendor’s stones and crystals were mostly from Brazil and he had some incredible specimens including an amethyst geode about 6′ tall.  I collect a few crystals and found some pieces to add to my personal collection  including a healing crystal, an amethyst piece and polished quartz.  Crystals, rocks and minerals of all types make me feel so grounded and connected to the earth.  I love to use them in decorating, scattered in various rooms around my home.  Do you collect rocks and crystals?

August 19, 2011

Friday’s Field Trip::Penland Surface Design Class

by heatherkp

I’m finally getting around to sharing the ART part of my experience at Penland.  It was such an inspiring time.  I loved the energy of working in the studio every day with a variety of other artists.  I don’t really have a studio space at home so I often feel guilty if I leave my art supplies out for a long period of time but for me I need to be able to walk away and come back to my work.  I learned a lot about how I like to work while I was there.

Knowing yourself as an artist means knowing how you like to work, for what period of time, when to step away from something and knowing when to push through and let the inspired moment sweep you away.  Being in a class for the first time since some graduate classes I took back in 2004 offered the balance of exploration and structure which also helped me grow as an artist tremendously.  The irony of this is that as a designer I was trying to loosen up and allow myself to be more free and expressive (and abstract).  Each day our instructor began the class with short exercises that allowed us to be gestural, free, expressive and not to over think what we were doing.  These were fantastic and fun.  I didn’t always like the outcome of what I created but that wasn’t the point.  It was about just getting out of my own way and letting whatever creative expression inside the chance to escape.  Some of the works created by the class in these short exercises are below.

Another fun aspect of the class was that our instructor, Jason Pollen (check out his amazing work if you don’t know him!) used Astrology as an inspiration for us to focus our creative energy on.  Each day we discussed a different planet, the corresponding sign and the energy surrounding it.  In this way we were encouraged to channel certain emotions or energy to put into our work.  This class was primarily a surface design class and we began with limited materials and an 8″ x 8″ format using black backgrounds.  The way we see color on black is different and this encouraged each of us to shake free of the “normal” color combinations we might use.  We started with only gesso and color and eventually were encouraged to add stitching, collage or whatever else we wanted to.  I find it tremendously helpful when I’m creatively stuck to really limit my options, within more restricted boundaries I find my self stretching to explore those limitations.  After a few days experimenting and playing in this smaller format most of us began to explore other mediums and formats for our work.  A group of us in the class began raiding the iron departments scrap pile and we began experimenting with rust dying.  There is a good description of this process over here if you want to learn more about the technical aspects.  I loved how as a group we got swept up into this creative process together.

Rusty metal pieces laid out with fabric for rust dying.

Completed pieces of rust dye fabrics.

Another process we began to experiment with was Encaustic painting.  Although this was not a class in Encaustic one of our classmates was using encaustic and there was also a class being taught so those of us interested in experimenting with this process got the chance to give it a try.  As you can tell we covered a lot of ground in this class.  It was so freeing and inspiring, I came home with several new materials, techniques and ideas to work through more thoroughly.  Both Jason and our studio assistant Debra Smith were fantastic about assisting and encouraging each of us in our own directions.

Jason working on one of his stitched pieces for the auction.

Debra’s scarf and a collaborative piece by Jason and Debra, donations for the Penland fundraiser auction.

Debra modeling a purse made by one of the students for the fundraiser auction.

Below are a variety of samples of fellow classmates work and working shots.  My class mates ranged in age from 18 to over 75 and came from both the east and west coasts with all different backgrounds.  Each one of them was an inspiration to me.  I am so glad we all got to meet and work together:)  Thanks to each of you!!One of the final projects I worked on was a collaboration with 3 other students which we donated to the Penland Session 4 fundraiser auction.  I love to collaborate and this piece turned out well.  I wish I knew who bought it…

Next week I will be back to share some of the work I began personally in class.  Some of what I started is still incomplete but hopefully won’t be by the time I post again.

August 5, 2011

Friday Fieldtrip::Penland the Full tour

by heatherkp

It’s Friday and I’m away again on another Field trip, this time up to PA with a couple college girlfriends for a wedding.  While I’m out scratching up more field trip fun I’m going to share with you the first of a few posts over the next couple weeks about Penland School of Crafts.  To start with I’ll show you around the campus so you get an idea of the setting, the views, the buildings, accommodations (for some) etc…I’ll get more into the creative specifics of the class I took with Jason Pollen next week but for now I hope you enjoy the scenery:)

Welcome to Craft House.  This is the first building I was greeted by when I drove up and I quickly found out it would be my home for my 2 weeks at Penland.  I stayed in the 3rd floor dorm, where there were many other work study and “over 30-under 40” students.  They seem to do some divisions by age, probably not a bad idea.

Inside the 3rd floor dorm rooms (above) and a “typical” individual non-private accommodation (below).  Not bad especially with the windows and fans (they provided us with). Below are some of the typical views looking out across Penland road and along the walkways that run across the campus.  Craft House has a fantastic big porch with swings perfect for enjoying sunsets, reading, having a glass of wine and relaxing (although I felt short on relaxation time with all that was crammed into the schedule!).

My next stop upon arrival at Penland was over to the Pines dining hall.  I spent many hours in this building both eating and fulfilling my work study hours.  I worked about 3-4 hours a day in addition to classes from 9:30-4:30.  It was a lot of work but it was fun. Apparently almost 45% of the students attending Penland do so on some sort of Scholarship!  If it wasn’t for these scholarships so many people wouldn’t be able to go, me included!  I definitely plan to go back, if they’ll have me.

Above is an installation sculpture on the porch in front of the coffee house by one of my favorite artists Patrick Dougherty.

The meals were really diverse and always included a vegetarian option and a great salad bar.  They make a fantastic Wasabi salad dressing, man do I miss it and miss not having to cook (but really I love to cook).  Each day the big chalk board in the dining hall told the daily events.

Some of the veggies and herbs are grown at Penland but they feed on average 250 people at lunch and dinner during their 5 summer sessions (each 2 weeks long).

Some of the buildings at Penland are on the National Historic Register (such as the Dye house below) and others are fairly new.  They are also in the process of building a brand new dorm building. 

Print Studio

Clay Studio (outside kilns)

Metals Shop

Glass Studio

Northlight, houses Photography, Book making and a large hall for social gatherings and Yoga:)

Lily Loom, houses textiles-weaving and surface design as well as the Main administrative offices.  Below are a few of my other favorite spots and views I found upon wandering the grounds. 

Porch at the old Dye House

Hydrangeas in bloom by the entrance to the Supply store (back of Craft House)

“Cheryl’s Gate”, named so after a class mate who helped me appreciate the intricate beauty of this old gate (not that it needed much help!)

Old stairs (not in use) covered in Moss on the side of Craft House and the supply store

View at dusk looking out the front door of Lily Loom

Walled garden leading behind metals and clay to Lily Loom, it’s covered in clay tiles and found objects and I could always find something new as I walked past it.

The Red neon box up between the Print studio and Northlight.

View out the side of the Pines on our last morning.

That concludes the walking tour of Penland!  I hope you got a feel for what the campus, grounds and facilities are like.  It’s quite a wonderful experience and I even heard rumors of them installing some Air conditioning sometime in the near future (in the spots that really need it).  Have you visited Penland or another similar school?  What was your experience like?

 

August 2, 2011

Magic Mushroom Tour of Penland

by heatherkp

There were so many mushrooms on and around the grounds of Penland.  There was a stretch of wet weather with afternoon showers almost every day (luckily I came at the tail end of this) which promoted the growth of more kinds of mushrooms than I’ve ever seen in one place.  I can’t begin to identify them but I kept my eye’s peeled on my frequent walks.  The first two images below were the most plentiful and these beauties got to be about 8″ tall and across at times.  They emerged with small domed tops and gradually got larger and larger, lasting a week or so before breaking down.

These golden finger shaped fungus were one of my favorites.  In fact, any of the gold and orange one’s were certain to catch my eye.  Like flowers of the forest floor.

This was another favorite, with it’s upturned edges and smooth velvety surface.  I was taking all these photo’s with out a flash and wish I’d brought along a tripod but didn’t want to be hiking with one most of the time.  Since it’s slightly soft in focus I decided to add a little Kim Klassen Texture magic to it for Texture Tuesday.  This White Mushroom/Fungus looks like coral don’t you think?

Glittering raindrops on a mushroom found inside an old tree log after the rain.  I almost missed this one, there were several like it very well camouflaged but almost 6″ across.  Once I spotted it I saw quite a few of these around.

This one was a bit smelly but there was quite an interesting surface texture on the underside of this partially decomposed mushroom.  These trumpet type (below) were another favorite because they were quite hard to spot and such a beautiful form.  Once I’d be there for a week or so I was able to spot more varieties as my eyes became “trained” to notice the more subtle mushrooms. 

I loved mushroom scouting while at Penland (and I wasn’t the only one!) and was fascinated by the varieties, colors, textures and forms of these beauties which I’m sure were an inspiration to many of the artists there.  When I needed to get away from the studio or needed some quite time to myself I’d often go walk with my camera ready to spot new magic mushrooms (and collect Mica, but I’ll save that for another post). Do you know the names of any of these?