A Penland Fourth of July

>> Friday, July 9, 2010

Fourth of July celebrations at Penland School of Crafts are always a bit out of the ordinary, and this year was no exception.

The annual Penland Fourth of July parade began with the clay studio doing a  rousing rendition of Stars and Stripes forever, mostly hummed, but with an accordion accompaniment.

The wood studio was up next, with a a high-flying tribute to their craft.

We particularly liked the bloody saw blade and severed finger, a badge of the wood studio if ever there was one. (The blade actually spun. That's what the strings are for.) Be careful there, guys!

A collection of Jo's friends get pulled along by Pablo, who's a world-class glass-blower. Jo usually finds a way into these kinds of floats, whether she was meant to be there or not, but this year seemed content to run around with the other kids on the sand volleyball court.

Our friends Michael and Stacey throw candy out to the crowd. Their costumes--they're s'mores--were designed and created by their daughters Lillian and Evelyn, who are down there somewhere. We never do get there early enough to get a front row seat.

The encaustic class. Not sure what that means, exactly, but I think it's a way of working with metals. (Wendi will have to chime in here.) Theirs had something to do with bees, or getting buzzed. Wendi chiming in here - encaustics is painting with melted wax that has pigment in it - it's a lovely texture and the studio smells fantastic with all that melted beeswax.

A sort of patriotic drag queen group...

And this was my favorite--a map of the United States made out of 25,000 bottle rockets! The creators took chicken wire and stretched it on a frame, then slid the bottle rockets stick-first into it. (See the red color beneath the blue? Click on the image to see it larger.) And of course, later that night they lit it up! After the big BIG fireworks display, they tossed their creation onto the bonfire, and it went crazy. Awesome.

Best presentation of the night went, as it almost always does, to the glass studio. Last year, they popped out of a van and pretended to blow glass using a watermelon on the end of a metal tube. This year, they created a fire-breathing dragon using some of the propane they use to do smaller work outside the ovens. Then they worshiped the dragon with balloons on the ends of their blowing sticks where the glass would normally be. He breathed fire, snorted smoke bombs, and then popped all the helium in their balloons with mini-explosions! Nice stuff.

After the parade ended, we all settled in for nightfall to watch the big fireworks display. Another fun, creative year of Fourth of July celebrations with our friends at Penland. Yay for America!


tanita davis July 9, 2010 at 10:25 AM  

I love neighborhood, small 4th of July parades - we never got to be involved with fun stuff like this when I was a kid - Penland's looks more fun than others, though! I wish I'd been there to see those bottle rockets go off! Wow. Dedication to the pyromania, there.

Alan Gratz July 9, 2010 at 10:37 AM  

The Penland Fourth of July celebration is DEFINITELY all about burning things.

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