Featured Image: panoramic view from Penland School of Crafts | Source

We’re proud to announce that our in-house Design Lead and hand-weaver-extraordinaire, Janie Woodbridge, is teaching at Penland School of Crafts this summer. Penland has a rich history of supporting textile and fiber artists. Read on to learn more about how Janie is weaving her place into Penland history!

Penland School of Crafts is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, about an hour northeast of Asheville. The story of Penland School starts in 1920 with Lucy Morgan, aka Miss Lucy.

In 1920, Miss Lucy was teaching at Appalachian School, on the same campus that Penland now occupies. She took a three month break in 1923 to attend a weaving course at Berea College in Kentucky. Upon returning to Penland, she established the Penland Weavers. This organization supplied looms, yarn, and other materials to local women and helped market and sell their hand woven goods.

The Weaving Cabin at Penland, taken in the early 20th century | Source

In the summer of 1929, master weaver Edward F. Worst taught a one week course to the Penland Weavers alongside a group of out-of-state students. Thus, the Penland School of Crafts was born. With each year, Miss Lucy added more courses and the campus expanded. By the mid-sixties, Penland had become a nationally known establishment, with artists traveling from around the country to attend courses there.

Today, Penland has courses in bookmaking, paper, clay, drawing, painting, glass, iron, metals, photography, printmaking, letterpress, textiles, wood…. the list goes on. You can check out their current list of courses here and register for courses here. If you’d like to walk in Janie’s footsteps, you can learn about teaching at Penland here.

The Craft House at Penland, taken in the early 20th century | Source

Janie will be leading a 2 week session called The Woven Rug. In this course, students will learn the basics of weaving on a floor loom and then dive deep into rug-specific techniques. Janie knows a thing or two about weaving, trust us.

After she earned her MFA in Textile Design from RISD, Janie went on to work with some of the world’s leading textile companies. She taught hand weaving courses at North Carolina State University’s College of Textiles and College of Design before joining WeaveUp. We’re really lucky to have such a talented textile designer on our team!

Janie’s two-week course is already in session and runs through the end of next week. Check back next week for an update featuring some of Janie’s favorite rug weaving techniques!

Be sure to follow Penland on Instagram here to see stellar work from students and residents all year long. You can also check out Penland on FacebookTwitter, YouTube, and Pinterest.

We also highly recommend reading through some of Penland’s stories, featuring individuals and artists who have made Penland special over the years (we’re especially smitten with Pearl, the long-time head cook).