Penland changed my life - screen-printing multiples with Tonja Torgerson

The Friday before last I drove to Penland School of Crafts in the mountains of North Carolina. Located near the Blue Ridge Parkway, between Asheville and Boone, the campus is made up of a collection of historic and newer architecture. It's an arts and crafts school that provides onsite dorms and cabins as well as awesome food in the cafeteria.  Everything on campus is within walking distance, so once you get there you can park you car. Literally all you have to think about or do is make your art.  I have been hearing about this place since I started working at the Pullen Arts Center about 15 years ago. Everyone always said how great it was so I thought it was high time that I checked it out for myself. They offer printmaking, painting, bookmaking, clay, metals, textiles, hot glass, woodworking and specialty workshops like building a boat or a guitar.

We studied screen printing multiple colors on paper. I created three original screen prints - Cosmic Vibrations, Pig Nixon and Lincoln Squirrel. They are all limited edition prints and are now available on my website!

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Penland's campus. This is a view from the Pines Dining hall. The first building is the kiln area, the red roof building is the ceramic studio - upper and lower and next to that is the metal studio. The potters this session renamed it enlightened clay for upper clay and  deeper clay for lower clay. The road by the old house on the right is the main road through campus.

The printmaking studio. This is a modern building that has been recently constructed. Designed by Susan Cannon. I usually don't like modern buildings that much, but this was and spectacular screen printing studio. It consists of two classrooms, with a wash out sink, darkroom and offices located in the middle of the building.

The printmaking studio. This is a modern building that has been recently constructed. Designed by Susan Cannon. I usually don't like modern buildings that much, but this was and spectacular screen printing studio. It consists of two classrooms, with a wash out sink, darkroom and offices located in the middle of the building.

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This is my first print and I am working on printing the first color - the squiggly yellow shape in the background. We were using QTX emulsion, which is pink but looks orange on the yellow screen.

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Racking them up...

Some in-progress owl prints. They had a massive drying rack.

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Class work in the Printmaking studio. I was fun seeing everyones different approaches to the medium. 

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The screen print class. We had a great group of people - I will miss you guys!

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Seriously cool campus!

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Tonja doing a demonstration. I learned so much from Tonya about registration, printing on paper, screen cleaning etc. She was a wealth of information - I can't say enough good things about her. 

The Pines Dining hall. I was staying on the top floor. During my work-study I was washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen. Work study was a great way to meet everyone and get stuck in at Penland. 

The Pines Dining hall. I was staying on the top floor. During my work-study I was washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen. Work study was a great way to meet everyone and get stuck in at Penland. 

Rubylith overlay on my Pig Nixon piece. You can burn a screen with Rubylith and the red part reads as black on the screen.

Rubylith overlay on my Pig Nixon piece. You can burn a screen with Rubylith and the red part reads as black on the screen.

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Some in-progress owl prints on the drying rack.

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Finished prints in the art show. I managed to complete 14 Cosmic Vibrations owl prints, 9 Pig Nixon prints and 8 Lincoln Squirrel prints. The ideas for the pieces came from sketches in my sketchbook. I did the Pig Nixon and Lincoln Squirrel sketches a couple of years ago.

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Some Penland friends in the Pines!

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This is a house from the 1840's that I used to hand out on the porch and watch the clouds roll over the mountain. Inside is empty on the first floor with momento mori items on the second floor.

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At the art show with some Pullen Arts Center friends - Emily Malpass and Bill Schmitz. Bill has moved to Tennessee last year - it was a treat to run into him at Penland.

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At Show and Tell - the art opening at the end of the week.

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My friend Justin at the show.

Penland is a one of the coolest places. What makes it so great is the people there. Doing work study I got to meet more people and make a deeper connection because we were working together outside of class. It is like going to college for a week. Everyone was following their own path, working toward a common goal and it was brilliant to be with so many like minded artists. I'll be back!