JRA Panel: The Decorative in Contemporary Craft

The JRA Spring Craft Weekend panel discussion dealt with decorative. In the high modern era, decoration was forbidden; everything was “form follows function.” Craft, however, was often covertly decorative. Now craft embraces a whole range of the decorative, from the conceptual to the riotously ornamental. 

Called the “Best Panel Discussion ever during Spring Craft Weekend” – the talk at the Smithsonian American Art Museum was recorded and is now available online!

Click on image below to connect to the webcast and watch as artist, scholar, and author Bruce Metcalf moderate the diverse panel as they explore the contemporary decorative impulse: its intentions, meanings, and devices. Panel included Ulysses Dietz, chief curator and curator of decorative arts, Newark Museum of Art; Garth Clark, specialist in modern and contemporary ceramic art; Judith Schaechter, stained glass artist; and Molly Hatch, ceramist.. The run time is approximately 1hr 42 mins. diverse panel explored the contemporary decorative impulse: its intentions, meanings, and devices. 

Michael Janis @ Smithsonian American Art Museum

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Smithsonian’s American Art Museum McEvoy Auditorium will feature Michael Janis starting at 2pm Sunday, May 4th.

Michael Janis was recently featured in American Craft Magazine as “one of a select number of artists in the world creating sgraffito glass art.” The Creative Glass Center of America dubbed him a “Rising
Star of the 21st Century.” His mastery of this difficult technique shows itself in the dreamlike images which he creates by “drawing” with frit powders upon glass which is then fused into painterly panels of
subtle depth and luminosity. This architect-turned-glass-art-star will be made a James Renwick Alliance Distinguished Artist on the weekend of May 3-4.  On Sunday, Michael Janis will present a slide lecture on his work and career at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.michael.janis.smithsonian.american.art.museum

Janis is a Fulbright Scholar and has taught at the UK’s National Glass Centre at Sunderland University. His work is included in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago and numerous private collections. He will be teaching at Penland School of Craft in August.

James Renwick Alliance names WGS’ Michael Janis as Distinguished Artist in Glass 2014

The James Renwick Alliance(JRA) is an independent national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing scholarship and education on contemporary American craft. 

The JRA assists the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery in adding to its permanent collection of American craft of artistic significance and superior workmanship, supports scholarly research in contemporary American craft, sponsors public educational activities, and pursues other activities in support of the studio craft movement. Each year the JRA sponsors a “Distinguished Artist Series” when craft artists prominent in their fields conduct workshops and give lectures. The lectures are co-sponsored by the JRA and the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery.

Michael Janis will talk about his work at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) in early 2014.

For the 2013/2014 season, the JRA have chosen Washington Glass School Co-Director Michael Janis as the Distinguished Artist for his glass artwork.
Michael will be giving a lecture and presentation at the Smithsonian in early 2014, with details to be finalized soon. Congratulations Michael! We look forward to posting the details.

2012/2013 JRA Distinguished Artist in Glass – Andy Paiko talks at Smithsonian. photo by Miriam Rosenthal

JRA Organizes August Penland Tour – Plan Now!

The Asheville-Penland Tour again promises an exciting 5 Days this Summer! The James Renwick Alliance Board of The James Renwick Alliance (JRA), along with Tim Tate and Sean Hennessey - the organizers – invite you to an upcoming summer excursion and art experience, August 7-11, 2013.

One of the most enjoyable arts trips in this country is to the area outside of Asheville, NC – an area dense with amazing studios. This trip will also include the Penland School of Crafts Annual Auction in a stunningly beautiful setting.

Accompanying us on this trip will be Jennifer Scanlan, independent curator and craft scholar. For over a decade Ms. Scanlan was an associate curator at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York. She brings with her a depth of craft knowledge and a scholarly conversation about the works we will see on studio tours and the auction.

The day before we will be visiting the studios of some of the most talented artists surrounding Asheville.This will honestly be the best five-day excursion you have ever taken…at least we are going try to make it that way. We will be given phenomenal access to some of the finest studio artists this country has to offer!

Here is the schedule of events:

Wednesday, August 7

We arrive in Asheville….either by plane or driving down, your choice.If you come by plane we will arrange pick up.  Our base will be the Inn at Little Switzerland on the Blue Ridge Parkway with spectacular views of the valley, a favorite spot, close to both Asheville and Penland.  

Our first event will be an evening welcome cocktail and dinner at the Inn. The price of this event is included in the trip.

Thursday, August 8

We leave at 8:30 am to see the sites of Asheville and visits to some amazing artists’ studios for private tours.  Below is a list of those studios and events 

  • Randy Shull and the River District Artists.
Randy Shull

Randy Shull is an artist who works fluidly between varieties of media, including furniture design, spatial design, painting, and landscape design.  He is highly acclaimed for his rich and sensual use of color and space. A recipient o f many awards and grants, Randy has also had four solo shows in New York in the past decade. His work is included in a number of important museum collections including The Brooklyn Museum,  The High Museum in Atlanta, The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Mint Museum of Craft & Design ,Racine Museum of Art, The Gregg Museum of Art & Design, and Museum of Art and Design. 

Zack Noble

Zack Noble is an artist that specializes in modern sculptural, functional and architectural work. He has taught at Penland School of Crafts and John C. Campbell Folk School. He has studied and worked with noted blacksmiths in Great Britain. His work has been featured in a number of books and craft magazines, and is in private collections across the U.S. 

Grove Park Inn

Lunch that day will be on the beautiful Sunset Terrace of the amazing Grove Park Inn. The Grove Park Inn is a nearly 100 year old historic resort hotel on the western-facing slope of Sunset Mountain within the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Asheville, North Carolina.  The Inn is an AAA Four-Diamond Hotel and has been since 2001.  It serves as one of the most romantic places to stay on the eastern U.S. seaboard and has been visited by many United States’ Presidents and other people of notoriety. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the hotel is an important example of the Arts and Crafts style.

  • After, we visit with Amy Tavern and Joanna Golderg.

Amy Tavern

Originally from Upstate, NY, Amy Tavern received a BFA in Metal Design from the University of Washington in 2002.   In the last two years she has had solo exhibitions at Beyond Fashion in Antwerp, Belgium and at Velvet da Vinci in San Francisco, CA. She has also exhibited in group shows at Sienna Gallery and Heidi Lowe Gallery, among others.  In 2009 Amy received several emerging artist honors including an American Craft Council Searchlight artist.  Amy’s jewelry has been published in numerous books such as New Rings and 500 Silver Jewelry Designs and she was featured on the cover of Metalsmith Magazine’s 2012 “Exhibition in Print.”  Amy recently completed a three-year artist residency at the Penland School of Crafts and just celebrated her 10th year in business.  Her work can be found in galleries around the United States and abroad.

Joanna Goldberg

Joanna Golberg began making jewelry at the age of 13, using fishing lures, beads, and (very heavy!) old coins. Joanna is also a well-known and respected author. She has written four books on making handcrafted designer jewelry–Making Metal Jewelry, Creative Metal Crafts, The Art & Craft of Making Jewelry, and The Ultimate Jeweler’s Guide –all titles published by Lark Crafts, an imprint of Sterling Publishing, Inc.  Joanna teaches jewelry making at noted craft institutions, such as the Penland School of Crafts and Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts.  Her jewelry has been published in Art Jewelry Magazine, Lapidary Journal, Ornament Magazine, 1000 Rings, 500 Wedding Rings, 500 Enameled Objects, and 21st Century Jewelry.  Joanna operates out of an amazing studio in downtown Asheville.

  • Asheville Art Museum / Curator Tour by Nancy Sokolove
Asheville Art Museum

Stoney Lamar

Founded by artists in 1948, the Asheville Art Museum annually presents an exciting, inviting and active schedule of exhibitions and public programs.  Any visit will also include experiences with works of significance to Western North Carolina’s cultural heritage including Studio Craft, Black Mountain College and Cherokee artists. Special exhibitions feature renowned regional and national artists and explore issues of enduring interest. At the time of our visit, there will be a Stoney Lamar 40-year retrospective.  Stoney will be joining us to talk to us about the work. At the same time, there will also be a Black Mountain College – New Acquisition show. This should be one spectacular event.

  • Blue Spiral Gallery

Blue Spiral 1

No trip to Asheville would be complete without a visit to the famous Blue Spiral Gallery. This amazing gallery presents work by exceptional Southern artists and object makers in a beautifully renovated building in the heart of downtown Asheville.  The light-filled, 15,000 square-foot gallery spans three floors connected by an open stairway. This spacious setting allows Blue Spiral 1 to offer considerable diversity, affording accessibility to various tastes and aesthetics.  

Now, on to dinner!  We are planning our meal at the spectacular Limones Restaurant in the center of Asheville.  Then back to the Inn at Little Switzerland.

Friday, August 9

Today we will stay closer to Penland, exploring several studios and then joining in the festivities surrounding the Penland auction, which begin at 3 p.m. with auction previews.  Dinner is included.

  • Visit with sculptor Lisa Clague  9:30 to 10:30am

Lisa Clague
Lisa Clague

The distinctive figurative sculpture by Lisa Clague hovers between fantasy and reality –- playful, mysterious, contemplative. “Although the imagery in my work comes directly from my own dreams which, in turn, respond to very personal experiences. I must also acknowledge a debt to the surrealist movement. Artists such as Hieronymous Bosch, Frida Karlo, Louise Bourgeois and Hans Bellmer have been profoundly inspirational“…“My hybrid figures have been influenced by prehistoric art, the “Great Mother” figurines from the Neolithic period, the animal-headed figures from the rock shelter of La Madeleine, and also the bird-headed Egyptian Goddesses and archaic Greek Kouros figures.”

  • Visit to sculptor Mel Chin  11:00am to12:30pm

Mel Chin

Mel Chin was born in Houston to Chinese parents in 1951, the first of his family born in the United States, and was reared in a predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhood. He worked in his family’s grocery store, and began making art at an early age. Though Mel is classically trained, his art is both analytical and poetic and evades easy classification. Alchemy, botany, and ecology are but a few of the disciplines that intersect in his work. In 1989, Mel had a one-person exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. 

Mel Chin

Mel Chin has also exhibited in numerous group shows including the Fifth Biennial of Havana, Cuba; Seventh Architectural Biennial in Venice, Italy; Kwangju Biennale, Korea; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Whitney Museum of American Art; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center; Museum of Modern Art; and the Asian American Arts Centre, New York City among others. Mel has received numerous awards and grants from organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council for the Arts, Art Matters, Creative Capital, and the Penny McCall, Pollock/Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Rockefeller and Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundations, among others.

  • Penland Gallery

Elizabeth Brim

No trip to Penland would ever be complete without a visit to the Penland Gallery. The Penland Gallery – featuring work by artists affiliated with Penland School of Crafts – is a stop worth adding to your trip through Western North Carolina. It is the perfect place to choose a gift, add to your craft collection, or learn about contemporary craft.

Bob Trotman

Lunch this day will be on the porch of the Penland Gallery. Lunch will be a box lunch furnished by the spectacular restaurant Knife and Fork. During our lunch we will have special presentations from Bob Trotman (wood sculptor) and Elizabeth Brim (metal sculptor).

Now it’s on to the auction. It begins at 3 p.m. with the silent auction in the new state-of-the-art facilities in the Print/Letterpress Studio.  Dozens of Penland’s artists will be showing there. Then on to a lovely dinner and wine under the beautiful tent overlooking the valley on Penland’s grounds while the main Friday night auction goes on. After this, it’s back for a quick cocktail at the Inn at Little Switzerland.

Saturday, August 10

The morning begins with coffee and breakfast at The Barns at Penland, where we will be treated to a show by the resident artists here at Penland, always a highlight and much fun. From there we attend a show given by the Core Students where we will see the work of tomorrow’s most promising artists.  On to the Saturday silent auction and artist chats….then on to the main festivities of the luncheon and live auction.  This will definitely be the highlight of the weekend!

  • After the auction we will head to the studio of Anne Lemanski in Spruce Pine.

Anne Lemanski

Through the use of materials such as vintage paper, vinyl, textiles, wood veneer, metal and artificial sinew, Anne Lemanski creates a menagerie of sculptural portraits.

The politically charged content and form of the sculpture happens through the combination of a copper rod armature and hand-stitched “skin.” Anne’s current focus is on the complex, symbiotic relationship between humans and animals, highlighting our admiration for anima ls as symbols, and our exploitation of them to suit our needs.

Afterwards, we head back to the Inn at Little Switzerland, where we will have time to freshen up before a lovely farewell cocktail and dinner party where you will be able to swap stories with the new friends you made on this spectacular trip!

Sunday, August 11
Travel day…..those that need a ride to the airport, we will arrange it.  If you are driving down, and wouldn’t mind taking folks to Asheville and Penland from the hotel, please let us know. 

The cost of this trip is only $625; $75 is a non-refundable donation to the James Renwick Alliance.  You pay the cost of your hotels, meals and transportation (hotel /anywhere from $120 to $200 per night). Meals at the Friday night auction, breakfast and lunch at the Saturday afternoon auction are included. This trip is limited to 20 people. Cut off date is July 1, but please sign up early.

To RSVP, contact Cicie Sattarnilasskorn by email at admin@jra.org or Tel: (301) 907.3888

James Renwick Alliance Glass Fashion Show – Work It!

The JRA Spring Craft Weekend 2013 started off in fine form – opening at the Washington Glass School and Flux Studios for an afternoon BBQ. The event was packed – great to see the artists and collectors mixing it up.

Later, the JRA had the Glass Fashion Show, MC’d by glass superstar Laura Donefer. Laura got the fashionistas whooping it up at the normally staid Women In Military Service For America Memorial.

Women In Military Service For America Memorial was the venue for the Glass Fashion Show

Inside the presentation hall, once Laura Donefer got started, the place went wild… for glass splendor!

Laura Donefer (L) got the sartorial set shaking.
From mild…
to WILD!
The Emperor’s new clothes – featuring Robert Minkoff!
Audrey Wilson was Fierce… Naomi Fierce!
And the crowd went wild!

Later, the models in their creations met with the JRA audience – for chatting and drinks and a pose or two.

JRA ‘Master of the Medium’ Paul Stankard is surrounded by models.
Glass lass Susan Taylor Glasgow was all smiles at first…but then the lash came out…
and our Michael Janis was put in his place!


2013 – An Art Odyssey! JRA Spring Craft Weekend

James Renwick Alliance “Stars Of Tomorrow” Event at Washington Glass School & Flux Studio.

The studio…its full of STARS!

On Fri. April 5th from 10 to 2pm, the first event in a series of annual fund raisers by the James Renwick Alliance (JRA) will take place at the Washington Glass School and its next door neighbor Flux Studio. The event will feature a huge BBQ, entertainers, local food artisans and beer.

The event is titled ” 2013 – An Art Odyssey”. Besides artwork by area media-based artists, there will be a theramin player and space videos projected onto walls, also, fortune tellers and space jugglers will go throughout the crowd. Attending this event will be some of the major collectors from this region and from around the country.

The James Renwick Alliance is dedicated to promoting this region’s quality artwork, and have an amazing list of collectors and curators invited. This event is also open to the public, so invite everyone you know!

Event Details:

Date & Time : Friday April 5, from 10AM to 2 PM.
Location: Washington Glass School & Flux Studios
3700 Otis Street, Mount Rainier, MD, 20712
Cost: $35

Please RSVP in advance to Cicie Sattarnilasskorn at the JRA : admin@jra.org

The JRA, a national nonprofit arts organization, is an alliance of prominent artists, collectors, galleries and supporters of the arts which promotes  public knowledge and appreciation of American craft.

Proceeds from the activities of the weekend provide operating funds for the James Renwick Alliance and the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery in support of its educational programs, research fellowships, exhibitions, and acquisitions for the permanent collection.

 

Proceeds from the activities of the weekend provide operating funds for the James Renwick Alliance and the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery in support of its educational programs, research fellowships, exhibitions, and acquisitions for the permanent collection.

Save The Date: APRIL 5-7 JRA Spring Craft Weekend

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APRIL 5-7, 2013

SPRING CRAFT WEEKEND The Stars of Today and Tomorrow:

Please join the James Renwick Alliance and celebrate the 2013 Masters of the Medium: Adrian Saxe, Ceramics; Mary Giles, Fiber; Paul Stankard, Glass; Bruce Metcalf, Metal; Willian Hunter, Wood 

Also JRA Founding members Elmerina & Paul Parkman will be honored with “The One-of-a-Kind of Award”. Elmerina and Paul Parkman have been collectors of American studio glass since 1971, with a particular interest in documentation of this movement as it has evolved. They traveled extensively to attend glass events and to visit craft schools, artists’ studios, museum exhibitions, and gallery shows.

Flux Studios Host Workshop for JRA Distinguished Artist Jason Walker

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This past weekend, Flux Studios – next door to the Washington Glass School – held a workshop with ceramic artist Jason Walker, as part of the James Renwick Alliance Distinguished Artist Series.  Jason Walker is known for his ceramic sculptures which offer narrative in both two- and three-dimensional forms. He uses such technological images as light bulbs, plugs, pipes, tubing, juxtaposed with nature imagery such as birds, insects, leaves and trees to explore how technology has changed society’s perceptions of nature.

Jason Walker demonstrates his painting technique. photo by Miriam Rosenthal, Third Eye Photography

Jason demonstrated his techniques of handbuilding with porcelain, and talked about his painted imagery with his three-dimensional forms. After the demo, the workshop gave a hands-on session with underglaze decoration on a porcelain tile.

(L- R) Inga Hamilton, Jason Walker, Pat Arnold. Inga is here from Northern Ireland for a residency at Flux Studios. photo by Miriam Rosenthal, Third Eye Photography
Flux Studios director Novie Trump introduces Jason Walker at the Smithsonian’ Renwick Gallery.

On the Sunday, Jason Walker talked about his work in the Grand Salon at the Renwick Gallery. Read more about Jason in a recent article about his work in American Craft.

Jason Walker talks of his work to the audience at the Smithsonian. photo by Miriam Rosenthal, Third Eye Photography

Jason’s solo show “Corporeal Perspectives” at Cross MacKenzie Gallery will be on exhibit through October 31.
Jason Walker received a BFA from Utah State University and an MFA from Penn State University. He has taught at numerous places nationally and internationally, such as Haystack Mountain School for the Crafts, Penland School for the Crafts, Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute in China and the International Ceramic Studio in Kecskemet, Hungary. He spent two years as an artist- in-residence at The Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, where he was the recipient of the Taunt Fellowship award. He has also been awarded an NCECA International Residency Fellowship for a residency in Vallauris, France. He has work in major collections such as the Fine Art Museum of San Francisco: De Young, the Carnegie Mellon Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the Arizona State University Art Museum, Ceramic Research Center, Tempe, Arizona.

Ben & Giselle Huberman = American Style

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The Fall 2012 issue of American Style Magazine features DC contemporary art collectors Ben and Giselle Huberman.

The new Fall issue of American Style Magazine is now out, and one of the feature stories is about Giselle and Ben Huberman and their amazing contemporary art collection that showcases their support of area artists.

Ben & Giselle Huberman have been strong supporters of artists of the Washington Glass School, including Erwin Timmers, Chris Shea, Michael Janis, Sean Hennessey and Tim Tate.
The American Style photo of the Huberman’s Potomac, MD residence shows Michael Janis’ glass sgraffito panel “Cubans Dreaming of Liberty
Giselle and Ben Huberman. Giselle is the president-elect of the James Renwick Alliance.

Within the article (written by Marilyn Millstone with photos by Timothy Jacobsen) are references and glimpses of work by Chris Shea, Michael Janis, Sean Hennessey.
Tim Tate’s “Ode to Joy” has a detailed description. In the mixed media sculpture, cast glass hands spell out in sign language the words to “Ode to Joy” in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. A video of a tenor singing Beethoven’s work is inside the domed glass, but without sound – which is how Beethoven would have experienced the song – as he became deaf.

The article has a detailed sidebar about Tim Tate’s “Ode to Joy” sculpture (photo below by anythingphoto.net).

Tim Tate “Ode to Joy” blown & cast glass, original video, electronics

A video of a tenor singing Beethoven’s work is inside the domed glass, but without sound – which is how Beethoven would have experienced the song – as he became deaf. An interesting note – the tenor featured within Tim Tate’s work is artist Sean Hennessey. Besides being a glass/concrete mixed media sculptor, with work in the Huberman’s collection, Sean is an accomplished tenor. Below is the video of Sean singing that is incorporated into the sculpture. Have a look for the magazine at the newstands now!


Untitled from Tim Tate on Vimeo.

Penland Auction & Tour

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The Penland 2012 auction tent as lighting lights up the sky. The central focus of the trip was built around attending Penland’s Annual Benefit Auction featuring the sale of over 200 craft items, and it was a wonderful opportunity to interact with fellow craft enthusiasts. 

Tim Tate and Sean Hennessey have just returned from taking a James Renwick Alliance (JRA) tour out to North Carolina’s Penland School of Crafts for the Annual Benefit Auction. Additionally,  the “Tour with Tate” visited the studios of some of the most talented artists surrounding Asheville. For this post – we will tag along with the JRA as they visit some of the artist studios.

Michael Sherrill’s incredible studio 

Michael Sherrill’s ceramic artwork

Ceramist Michael Sherrill has been making pots for more than twenty years. Originally, his work was completely functional, but it has evolved into work that is now wholly sculptural. He is one of the most thoughtful and articulate sculptors of our time.

Michael Sherrill talking about his work

Hoss Haley has worked in metal for over twenty years, creating sculpture, paintings, and public art. Hoss’s work is in several collections including Lowes Corporation, McColl Centerfor Visual Art, and the Mint Museum of Craft + Design.

Hoss recycles objects like washing machines and cars – often crumpling them into ball shapes mounted to walls or stacked.
Christina Cordova & Pablo De Soto’s studio was visited as part of the tour. This husband and wife team operate their amazing studios on the grounds of Penland itself. Pablo’s beautiful glass blown vessels were loved by all and Cristina Cordova’s incredible ceramics were a highlight to the tour. 

Christina Cordova talks about her recent works.
Christina Cordova’s work is awesome.
Pablo De Soto charms Fred and Susan Sanders
A trip to the Asheville Art Museum  included a personal tour by curator Nancy Sokolove. Also, glass artist Alex Bernstein came to talk about his process.

Alex Bernstein talks to the JRA at the Asheville Art Museum.

Dan Essig’s wordless works of art are sewn, woven and carved into magnificent artists’ books and sculptures. Dan’s works incorporates so many things -fossils, shells, coins and old nails—into his artwork. 

Dan Essig talks of his work
No trip to Asheville would be complete without a visit to the famous Blue Spiral Gallery. This amazing gallery currently has up work from the “Glass Secession” exhibit – that includes works by Christina Bothwell, Tim Tate, Michael Janis, Susan Taylor Glasgow and Sean Hennessey.

A view of the Blue Spiral 1 Gallery.
Stoney Lamar works in sculptural woodturning. His work is in such collections as High Museum of Art (Atlanta), American Craft Museum (NY), Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institute, Yale University Gallery of Art, Mint Museumof Craft & Design (NC), Minneapolis Institute of Art, Wustum Museum of Fine Arts and the Detroit Institute of Art.

Stoney shows some of the special woods that Fleur  Bresler  had sourced.
Stoney talked of his process to the tour.
The big show was the drama, anticipation and socializing at the Penland Auction.
Glass sculptor Beth Lipman chats with Susan and Fred Sanders

Dan Clayman with the proud owners of his Penland auction piece….Giselle and Ben Huberman

The annual Penland auction was huge success. Over 600k raised for an incredible place – a new record! Congrats to all who were involved!