North Carolina-Penland School of Crafts-November 17

North Carolina People, Places, and Things-November 17

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special. Everyday this year I am doing a post on what I have learned new.

In Penland, NC there exist quite a success story related to teaching people the technique and skills related to genre of crafts. Penland School of Crafts is located in Mitchell County almost equal distance from Johnson City, TN, Asheville, NC, and Hickory NC. It sits in the shadows of Mt. Mitchell.


Penland School of Crafts was started by a remarkable woman named Lucy Morgan–always known as Miss Lucy–who first came to Penland, North Carolina in 1920 as a teacher at the Appalachian School.


In 1923, she spent three months at Berea College learning to weave. When she returned to Penland she began the Penland Weavers, a cottage industry which provided local women with looms and materials and then marketed their handwoven goods.

For over thirty years the school thrived and craftsmen from all over the globe traveled to Penland to learn the art of silversmithing, pottery, metalworking, and other crafts.

In 1962 at the age 73 Lucy retired and the new president, Bill Brown, began to manage the school. Brown organized fall and spring craft semesters. In addition, the craft school expanded, and woodworking and glassblowing were added to Penland’s curriculum.

Presently, 51 buildings are located on the 400-acre Penland campus, and approximately 1,200 people attend the school every year. In addition to its academic importance, tourists flock to Penland to visit the school’s gallery and purchase student art.

Photo below is of Penland’s campus.


More info about Penland can be found on its website.




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