Visiting the home and studio of Michael Kline (featured in our previous post “Outstanding in any field: Michael Kline Pottery”) had many side benefits: pastoral setting, creative pottery, and a tip from his wife, Stacey Lane, about where to go next. It happened unexpectedly, but when you’re a traveler, you train your ears to pick up tips on what to see and what to do wherever you go.
Stacey mentioned that she was a jewelry designer who had taught at nearby Penland School of Crafts. In fact, she said, I have some jewelry on display right now. And it’s a short trip from our house. Just follow the curvy road from Bakersville nearly to Spruce Pine, and you’ll see it. (How hard could that be, right?) Well, here’s the GPS picture complete with switchbacks, abrupt turns, and that welcome checkered flag! Here’s good advice on Penland’s website: If you’re unfamiliar with the area, we strongly advise that you arrive before dark; it’s easy to get lost.
We’d heard of Penland before — all in glowing terms — so a trip seemed in order. And the scenic drive was tailor-made for a late-summer day. We passed homes, barns, and tree farms before seeing the residences where more than 1200 students per year live while learning from renowned artists and craftsmen.
We stopped at the Visitor Center to learn more: Penland began with the vision of Lucy Morgan who provided local women looms and lessons for creating beautiful goods. As an outgrowth of this movement, Penland School of Crafts was established in 1929.
Some people come to Penland as a retreat; others for inspiration and techniques. We were there to admire. And the artwork and craftsmanship speak for themselves.
Just a few of our favorite things . . .
Another open space held a featured exhibit: Wendy Maruyama’s “The wildLIFE Project.” Larger than life heads of elephants made of maps, cardboard, and twine loomed above us making a statement about endangered species and the need for awareness around the world.
But no matter which buildings and rooms you tour, you’ll take away something unique from your experience. Penland School of Crafts is truly worth the drive!
For more information:
Penland School of Crafts: http://penland.org
(Be sure to follow directions on the website!)
If you missed any of our posts in and around the NC Apple Festival, here are the links: