Friday, 15 June 2012

Bye Bye Penland

This is for my good friend GS who really wants to know how this thing ends!!
My last two weeks at Penland were just crazy busy and I think that my mind was so full that it was having a hard time keeping up.We had so much work to get finished and then get it fired 2 or three times depending on if you added dee-cals (decals in Canada). There were definitely a few late nights spent getting things done.
I had my first experience with fireflies!! I had never seen them before and Tal and I went for a walk one evening and there they were, glowing away.  The whole meadow in front of the school was full of all these little tiny lights moving around in the quiet darkness. It was amazingly cool. It was  one of those moments when you realize that there is so much more going on in the world than the 10 feet (or less)surrounding you. Maybe we are all little fireflies just buzzing around, our lights shining, brightening up a dark place. ok..enough of that mushy stuff.

I had my 41st(shudder) birthday while I was at Penalnd. I thought it would go down quietly as it is April 30, classes were almost over and everyone was so busy getting their work done. Well my roommate Tal and my classmates had a bit of a surprise party for me on the porch. It was so awesome!! The really funny thing was that I was working in the other room while they were setting it all up and I didn't even notice. When they finally dragged me outside all these people were out there from other classes and I had no idea it was all going on.  Sometimes i really do think I have blonde roots!!lol

mmmm...bacon lipgloss

Along with home made pineapple upside down cake, I had my favourite meal of chips and beer and got to open presents!! I really don't know how they all figured out my affinity for bacon(wink wink) but I received some truly innovative bacon inspired gifts such as bacon lipgloss and  bacon mints. mmmm bacon!! And thank you George Bowes for the wooden penis bottle opener...every well stocked kitchen should have one!! there really is nothing better in life than good food and good friends, unless you have some good beer of course.

We went on many field trips during the 8 weeks but the ones the stood out it my mind the most was Suzy Lindsay and Kent McLaughlin's place and Lisa Clague's place.
Suzy and Kent had such an amazing studio and home. they let us see their pottery collection that was just incredible!! it was like being in a pottery museum! So much inspiring work of great people.

Shopping again...

Lisa Clague's studio was the cleanest and whitest one we saw, and her work is out of this world.

Kathy also brought in a few other instructors to demonstrate techniques and read from the trashy, pirate  romance novel. George Bowes was the last one to visit and he was so great. He was so generous with his time and he critiqued the work we had done so far if we so chose. He is critique really made me think about where my work was and should be going and that was really helpful because after 8 weeks of being in such an environment I wondered what I was going to do when I got home and what was I going to make? was I going to just go back to making the same old shit or figure out how to utilize what I had learned and add it to my portfolio of ideas?  Talking with him really made me think and sometimes that is a hard thing to do!! I miss George!
James Davis, Me and George Bowes

George Bowes and Kathy King(my faves and I miss them!!)

Because we had an art history course built into the surface design class, we had an assignment to make a place setting of a person in history.  During the last week of class we had a dinner party of all the historical people chosen and we got to use the place setting that we made for it, we also had to dress up like that person. it was so fabulous!! We set up tables and a barbecue on the patio of lower clay(the studio beneath ours) and had a fabulous dinner.
April Franklin, the iron instructor, who is also a chef, cooked our supper(I helped prepare) and it was so delicious and not just because it didn't come out of the Pines, she is an awesome cook. I need to talk to her and get the recipe for the Texas Caviar...mmmmm so good.
Some of the "guests" at the dinner party were Judy Chicago(me), Ruth Duckworth, Lucy Rie, Bernard Pallisay, George Ohr, Clarice Cliff and the Bizzarre Girls, Beatrice Wood, Celadon, Isamu Noguchi, and a russian propaganda artist whose name seems to have evaded my memory. It was a great way to wrap up all our hard work and see what everyone had been working on while enjoying a wonderful dinner with great friends.

After the dinner party was the dance party!! the boys had turned the studio in to a dance club and it was awesome!!! It is too bad that not too many people showed up, everyone around campus was trying to cram in one more night of work. It was still fun tho. 
The next night was the concentration auction where people from the classes, students and teacher all donated items to be auctioned off. The money went to the scholarship funds. I donated my De-motivational Jar. Everyone should have one, don't you think? Kathy King does!!
I bought a wooden platter made by the wood instructor Mark Gardener. It is pretty awesome, I guess the outside of it was made on the lathe with a chainsaw and a grinder. Those guys in wood were crazy with their tool combos. I bet Occupational Health andSafety would have a heyday at Penland!!lol

I couldn't believe it when Friday was the last day, 8 weeks over already. The student show and tell was amazing. Everyone hauled their best stuff up to Northlight and checked out what had been happening in the other concentration classes. 
The best thing that happened to me, that just made the whole Penland experience one step higher was meeting Paulus Berensohn(finding one's way with clay) at the student show. He had so many wonderful things to say about my Judy Chicago place setting. He also told me that he almost worked on The Dinner Party installation in the 70's with Judy Chicago! He was a male feminist at the time(one of only a few I am sure) and knew Judy Chicago but I guess she decided that she only wanted women to work on the project in the end. But, he told me that she would love my dinner set and that it was just fantastic. Wow! made my whole trip.

This was my stuff along with the large trophy that we gave to kathy for being so freakin' awesome!!

 On FridayI had to pack up all my  purchases and things I made which came to 10 boxes(yikes!!) and $170 in shipping. Plus the extra $90 I had to spend at the airport for my overstuffed luggage!!if I only had one more box...

 I had an eventful trip luggage got "lost" or never even left Charlotte (along with 6 other people's bags)and then when I went to pick up my car at the Super8 in Spokane, one of the rear brakes had seized up and would not let the tire move at all. This was 930 pm pacific time(1230am est) and I had been up since 5am est.  All I wanted to do was get in that car and get home.

 I had to call The Man to come down and get me, (2.5 hour drive) and there happened to be  a marathon happening on Sunday(the next day) in Spokane so there were no rooms available anywhere. I asked the ladies at the front desk if I could crash on their couch until Brian came down to get me!! Miraculously, 10 minutes later a room became available at the above said hotel and the wonderful ladies gave me a toothbrush and some toothpaste along with the room key. They were so awesome and I think they felt sorry for me with all my troubles. All I could do was laugh, no luggage, no car, no jacket. It had been 80F(25C) when I left Asheville that mining and it was 12C when I got to Spokane. 

Brian made it down and in the  morning just pumped the brakes and the emergency break really hard a few times and it came unstuck (I could have done that) so at least I could go home with my car. My luggage was  found and United drove  it to the border for me to pick up within a couple of days. Good Grief!!! But all is well and it is so great to be back home, I miss you all my Penland friends  but I am thankful to be home where I can cuddle my dog whenever I want and  to eat whatever and whenever I want!lol
 No comments on the pink carpet!! I had enough bubble wrap to cover the carpet if I wanted to.

all my treasures and only 2 small casualties thanks to USPS

 My Michael Corny cup.
 Kathy King salt and pepper shakers.

My Sevre Pottery chicken!!

I am sure there is a lot I am forgetting but everyday that I am out in my studio I think of my Penland experience and all the great people that I met there and all the fun, laughs,  the melt downs and I wish I could order some of those fish tacos from the Pines. I am so thankful to have taken Kathy's class, she is an amazing and generous person and I will never forget her.  

Back to life in Creston, and having my morning coffee on the sunny deck, in the middle of a cherry orchard with a mermaid can't get much better than this!!