Show & Tell Days at Penland



Helga’s Jacob’s Ladder Box

Yesterday was the last full day of instruction for our Books and Boxes class. Towards the end of the day we looked at what each other had done.


Although Susan Share demonstrated a huge number of projects  (with some assistance from me) the signature piece for this class was what Susan refers to as the Jacob’s Ladder Box, which opens in two directions, revealing different surfaces.

Ben’s Jacob’s Ladder Box, reveal 1

Not only are these book kinda magical, but they also provide the opportunity to practice many skills, such as box building & covering,  hinging, adding shelves, as well creative decision making.

Ben’s box, reveal 2
Barbara’s books

The number of sewn books that were made in class this week surprised both me and Susan. Everyone seemed to love sewing books. We sewed books on tape…

Louis’s tiny coptic sewn book, with origami slip case

… coptic bound books, button-hole stitched books, link stitch books on pleats, and long stitch.

Mixed in with the larger, more technical projects were ones that could be started and finished more quickly.

Phyllis’s books

There were accordions with numerous kinds of hinges, laid out in a variety of ways.

Dawn’s accordion cube in the foreground, Susan M’s green and orange accordion pop-up in the background


We also made a book and box structure that was invented by Hedi Kyle, an enclosure based on the iron cross fold, twist boxes, template boxes, and probably a few more things that I can’t remember at the moment.

Kate’s books

That was yesterday.

Today, Saturday, at  11:00 am the entire Penland community converged in what is called the Flex room.


All the studios set up a display of work that’s been done this week.

Iron Studio


Glass Studio
Textile studio
Tim’s work from Drawing Studio
Book made in drawing studio (I stopped in and helped a bit with the sewing of these books  in this class)
Screen Printing studio
Oh, here I am back at the Book Arts,: Rivers’ Jacob’s Ladder Book


Clay Studio


Alchemy  Glazing workshop, Clay Studio



And I’ve left out a number of other studios, but this is all I can do tonight.

Classes are over for this session at Penland. The campus is mostly empty.  My flight doesn’t leave tomorrow until 8 pm, so, yay! Susan and I get to have the book arts studio all to ourselves for a few hours tomorrow.


7 thoughts on “Show & Tell Days at Penland

  1. Paula, thank you so much for sharing your days at Penland. What a great time – just wonderful Photos. The last class I taught in my home studio was the Jacobs Ladder Box, which I called the Secret Compartment Box. I loved seeing all the great variations folks came up with. This was just inspiring! Warmest gratitude, Nancy Akerly

    Liberty Grove Paper Arts Sister Bay, WI 54234 http://www.libertygrovepaperarts.com



    1. HI Nancy, yes, Secret Compartment Book seems to be a great name for that structure. It was a really great way to teach and practice a wide range of bookmaking skills. I just looked over your website. WOW. I’m especially drawn to your four drawer pagoda box. Absolutely exquisite.


    1. Thanks Judy,
      I had wondered for a long time what Penland was like, so part of what I wanted to do with these post was to show it off to anyone else who wondered. It was oh so great to be there, but it’s also oh so great to be back home.


    1. I often walked into the screen printing studio, and, as you can imagine, I was drawn to Alicia’s work. If I remember correctly, those heptagonal side define folding TABS that facilitate gluing the sides together. What an eye for detail you have!


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