Hey y’all! I’m writing today from Penland, North Carolina. I was lucky enough to be awarded a scholarship to attend a class this summer at Penland School of Crafts with the amazing Paul Wong of Dieu Donne in New York.
So, I’ve been here now for almost four days, and it has been wonderful. I came here for the first time about five years ago. I was a junior in undergrad and had the best time ever. I knew that one day I’d be back, and somehow it seemed fitting to return here the summer before thesis year. It is beautiful here — totally isolated — but beautiful. I wake up each morning in the third floor of a building called the Craft House. The third floor is referred to as the orphanage, because all of the twenty-something girls are crammed in small rooms separated by short walls in a large open space. It sounds, um, interesting, but is a lot of fun. I head out every morning, grab a cup of coffee, sit on the porch you see below (it’s the best porch ever), and I appreciate every minute and try to soak in every green and blue and gray that make up the mountains I’m looking at.
- The porch of Craft House. Maybe the best porch ever.
There are people involved in all different disciplines, from photography to iron work to glass to book and paper. Meals (everyone eats three meals a day all together) are full of lively conversation and questions and sharing. If it sounds utopian, it’s because it kind of is.
And then there’s the class I’m taking, papermaking. All papermaking is done outside here, which creates some interesting technical difficulties but is also so fun. It allows you to let go a little, give up some control, and just make paper. It is an honor to be working with Paul Wong and his studio assistant Akemi Martin (of Pace Prints). We just started making paper today after two days of demos. So, I look forward to seeing what’s in store over the next week and a half.
This has been a wonderful way to start the summer! Check back later for more updates!