30th Annual PENLAND SCHOOL Benefit Auction Recap

In 1988 I attended my first Penland Auction. I was a core student and lived at Penland for two incredible, life-shaping years. Twenty-seven years, later I am still blown away with this spectacular event. I just attended the 30th Annual Penland School Benefit Auction which has become a craft collector's dream "gala weekend" in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. But of course, it's much more than that. Beyond the parties, cocktails, dinners and music, the monies raised support Penland's educational programs. The auction weekend is a special time where patrons, sponsors, students, residents and instructors unite to celebrate all that is Penland. Over 500 guests, passionate about Penland School and art education, gathered at the sold out event to support Penland's future. Over $733,000 was raised.

More than 250 works in books, clay, drawing, glass, iron, letterpress, metals, painting, printmaking, photography, textiles, wood, and other media were featured (and auctioned) during the two-day fête. 

Congratulations to Penland School, its devoted Director, Jean McLaughlin, the Penland Staff and most of all, to the large number of truly amazing volunteers who give so much to create a seamless and successful event.


Happening this Week: the Penland School of Crafts Annual Benefit Auction

Penland School

This weekend, Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, will be hosting its 30th annual benefit auction. The sold out event will feature (and auction off) some of the nation's best in clay, glass, fibers, artists books, sculpture, photography and mixed-media. The two-day fête, which I am thrilled to be attending, includes cocktails and dining. Each year, Penland features an artist to produce the signature piece for the auction and this year's, by Susan Taylor Glasgow, is a stunner!

[Below] is Penland's  description of this amazing piece:

Our featured artwork, specially commissioned for the 30th Penland Benefit Auction, is the remarkable Coral Chandelier Dress by Susan Taylor Glasgow. This piece is a supreme example of an ongoing body of work that uses sewn glass to create sculptures based on traditional domestic skills. As Susan explains in her artist statement, “Somehow I embraced domesticity in feminine spirit but not in action. And, of course, I feel guilty about not being a good wife. Misguided domestic talents eventually grew into concepts of sewing an unyielding medium, baking inedible creations, and stitching glass clothing no one can wear. Housekeeping is last, while instead I cook, arrange, and sew glass.”

In conjunction with this auction, fiber artist and Penland instructor Jo Stealey wrote about Glasgow’s work: “Susan Taylor Glasgow re-examines the utopian concept of ‘domestic bliss’ and the ‘complex dichotomy of women’s roles within the household’ in the 1950s United States through the lens of twenty-first century feminism. Her work comments on history as much as on today’s nostalgia for a flawed but fetishized past. Her sculptures are three-dimensional glass and mixed media collages. They are often embedded with advertising text and imagery appropriated from magazines, movies, and media-related memorabilia, which highlight the domestic standards of the time.

“Glasgow started her creative career as an independent clothing designer and seamstress before delving into work with the slumped, sewn glass that has become the hallmark of her oeuvre. She says of her glass fashion: ‘I have always seen a similarity between glass and fabric. I am attracted to the fluid nature and transparency of both materials. I work with glass in the same way I would with fabric. Imagining how the glass will drape and flatter the form, I select color, components, and sometimes text to create a mood or narrative. I enjoy incorporating feminine ideals and skills to a material that is hard and unyielding yet seductive at the same time."