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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Salt Kiln Firing

Me loading the Penland Salt kiln
We has enough pots to load the big salt kiln at Penland.  This kiln is really huge but we didn't have any problem finding pots to put in it.  Everyone in the class has been working like crazy, many long hours, little sleep. A little beer and wine fun have been added to the mix too, just to make it worth the effort.
The firing got off to a rough start as we found a small leak in a gas line.  We were able to repair the leak and light up all four (yes, four) burners.  The temperature rise was slow, around 160 to 180 degrees per hour, needless to say we fired late into the next evening.  Because of the volume of pots and Elisa's wishes to show us the differences between salt and soda we loaded up two more kilns while the big salt (Trusty ol' Rusty) was firing we loaded up two other kilns, Lucille and Julia and got them started.  Of course being the workaholics that we are we had too many pots which means another kiln will need to be fired.
These days with little or no sleep make people lose track of what day it is but everyone took a shift and we all had a good time.  The kiln has not been opened yet.  I'm excited to see the results.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Weaving The Penland Community

Weaving student Katie _ asked some of the people from Penland to help her with a project. What she was trying to do was to create a human weaving. As we lay there in the field with our bodies all linked together we realized that this was yet another way that Penland creates community. If more people were willing and able to take the time to join together with friends and strangers helping others I think we would have more and stronger communities throughout the world. We are not just creating art here.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Peeping Into The Soda Kiln

We had the first glaze firing this weekend.  It was a soda firing that was somewhat problematic.  We had difficulty getting the kiln up to temperature.  We made balls of soda ash, sodium bicarbonate, and sawdust that we dropped into the kiln but they didn't vaporize due to the high humidity, so we needed to spray the soda into the kiln.  Some of the test rings had fallen down making is difficult to check for good coverage of the vapors.  But after 17 hours we called it done.  The two teacher's assistants really worked long and hard to get this firing done and done well.  We peaked into the kiln this afternoon, I think they were successful.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Student Life at Penland School of Crafts

Penland staff know how to keep people busy, which is why I've not been very active on this blog lately.  I've been in the studio by about 7:30 then down to a huge breakfast, back to the studio to work and be taught.  Elisa Helland-Hanson is a great teacher, we are all learning so much from her, she's very good about taking time with each individual or repeating demos if requested.  I've taken a lot of video so I'll have notes of the class.  At five we can go to a relaxation yoga class before dinner, slide shows of teacher's work at 8, back to the studio and maybe somewhere around midnight a beer in the studio porch.  We all figure we can sleep at home.
I took this picture at breakfast the other morning.  The views are spectacular here.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Friday, August 20, 2010

Volunteering at Penland Auction

Friday, Saturday and half of Sunday were filled with auction volunteer events, parties and getting to know some people around here.  The volunteer work did not seem very difficult or strenuous but by Sunday I was pretty exhausted, and not from staying up late or drinking too much at the volunteer party.  It's just tiring to be "on" all of the time, even if you're just standing around waiting to do something it still takes it's toll.  I'm going to have to get used to it again because I have a pretty heavy show schedule coming up this fall.
I did get some time to walk around the campus and take pictures.  I found this really interesting art truck just sitting in a parking area.  It's not a permanent exhibit nor was it auctioned but I do find these things fun.


Sunday evening was orientation and our first class.  Orientation was interesting as we got to see a video explaining the Penland experience and Cynthia Bringle shared some of the amazing history of Penland with us.  One thing that I like is the emphasis on it being ok to take risks and make mistakes.  I think a lot of learning and growing comes from risking and mistakes, it's good to know that this is a safe place to do both.
Part of my Penland experience has been in the form of the people I have met and the connections that have occurred quickly but naturally.  I'm not just referring too casual chats with well known artists like Cynthia and Edwina Bringle but having in depth conversations about art and life with my roommates and really bonding.  I tend to be a rather introverted person who finds conversation with new people can sometimes be a bit strained, most likely due to my social lacking more than theirs.  But by the end of the weekend I felt a closeness that doesn't normally happen quickly.  I'm curious to see what bonds will be created after two weeks.  I'll keep you posted and send more pictures as I can.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Friday, August 13, 2010

Arriving At Penland

The trip to Penland School of Crafts was mostly uneventful.  Despite being told that GPS doesn't know how to find this place I still brought Shirley (Shirley she knows how to get there) with me to help lead the way.  Please know, I can get lost in my bathroom without direction.  I think that comes from so many years of people telling me where to go.  Anyway, I was able to find the place with little difficulty by just plugging in an intersection that was mentioned in the printed instructions of how to get here.
Once I got here it was a different story but after hiking a few mountains I finally found someone who gave me directions to the volunteer check-in.  This is where the Penland experience started.  As I went through the process I met some very helpful, friendly, appreciative people.  I think my stay here is going to be fun.
I had a chance to explore the campus a little bit and have found some really fun things to capture with my camera.  These are little joys that I want to share but I don't want to spoil the surprises for my readers.  What to do?
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Off To Penland

This morning I'm heading to Penland School of Crafts .  I've volunteered to work at the auction which I think could be great fun, unless of course they put me in food service.  I think I'd be better a dropping food onto people than actually serving them properly.  Anyway, it's always nice to volunteer for stuff.  I'm also going to be attending a two week workshop with Elisa Helland-Hansen.  The laptop is coming along for the ride which should be an inspiration to post stories from Penland.  Stay tuned.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Forgot to Share

Oops, I had one more picture to share with you, it shows the skylight and the back window in the studio.  The skylight is right over the wheel which is nice for light, it's filtered because of a huge old oak tree that shades the studio.  The back and front have large triangular windows thanks to Dixie Glass Hoppers.
One day the carpenter (me) might try to hide the seams in the ceiling, but not this week.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Studio is Complete

Here are the pictures of the studio, I've not started working in it yet, that will happen as soon as I'm done posting this.  It's clean for now which seemed the best time to take these pictures.




Here's the wedging table with a shelf above for the scale and storage space below.



My wheel and some storage shelves, I can add more shelves if I need them but I'll see how this works for now.  The shelves where a gift from a friend and I really like the way they look.



This kick wheel will be used for trimming mostly.  It's quite the antique being from the '70's...I wonder what that makes me being from the '60's.



The work table with another shelf above it, I imagine I'll be adding more shelves here too.

The kiln room is not complete, that will wait for the temperatures to drop below 90 degrees.  The outside still needs to be painted, I've been working on that a little at a time because I have to wait for days when it's not likely to rain.  That should keep a drought at bay.



Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery