Penland Impacts Student Learning

June 26, 2013

Laken Bridges in the Book Arts studio at Penland

Laken Bridges in the Book Arts studio at Penland

Last week, Art Department Marketing and Public Relations Director, Meredith Mims McTigue, and I drive north past Asheville, NC from Clemson, then turned onto 19 East and up the winding mountain roads to Penland.  Our mission: to visit with Laken Bridges, Clemson University Art Department MFA Candidate. Laken was at Penland thanks for the vision of Penlands’ donors and their on-going commitment to support the Higher Education Partner’s Scholarship program.  These scholarships are provided in partnership with up to 30 colleges and universities who match Penland’s contribution of the cost of providing full scholarships for a two-week summer session at Penland. The college or university partner selects students, who must be first-time students at Penland to be eligible.

Laken was studying with University of Georgia Visiting Assistant Professor, Eileen Wallace, taking her “Books with Substance” class.  Wallace, the former co-director of Paper and Book Intensive and the curator for Masters: Book Arts for Lark Books, graciously accommodated our intrusion into her workshop.

In looking over Laken’s prolific output, one could readily see books that fulfilled the course’s mandate to create “one-of-a-kind or very-limited-edition artist’s books that display a cohesive integration of structure and content.”


In-progress book by Laken Bridges.

All told, it was an very inspiring way to spend an afternoon, dining at The Pines, having conversation with intellectually engaged and creative people who understand the power of the hand, heart and mind to foster creativity.

The Penland School of Crafts is a national center for craft education dedicated to helping people live creative lives. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Penland offers one-, two-, and eight-week workshops in books & paper, clay, drawing, glass, iron, metals, photography, printmaking and letterpress, textiles, and wood.  For more information, go to:

Laken Bridges will be entering her second year as a graduate student with an emphasis in printmaking studying with Professor Sydney Cross.  To learn more about graduate studies in Art Clemson University  or to schedule a campus visit, email the Art Department graduate coordinator, David Detrich, at or call (864) 656-3890.

This submission is a repost from the blog of Clemson University Art Department Chair, Greg Shelnutt