In the summer of 2019 I was fortunate enough to attend “Raising the Bar” at Penland Craft School in North Carolina. To allow me to attend this course I was granted a partial scholarship and received funding from the F&A Bradshaw Award which I won at DJCAD. When I arrived at Penland I instantly felt at home, being from Scotland we are surrounded by beautiful countryside and North Carolina was no different. When I arrived I visited the cafe and was looking at the wonderful work and books on display. To my surprise I found the DJCAD Degree Show booklet from my Degree Show.

On day one we had a welcome meeting which included information on the wildlife which can be seen in the area one of which is the brown bear. I was lucky enough not to see one on the campus! Penland was an incredible opportunity to meet people from all over the world, it certainly was one of the best experiences of my life. Raising the Bar was taught by Ndidie Kubia who is an incredible silversmith based in Manchester. In my time at Pendland, I made four pieces, three copper and one silver. One of my copper pieces was the largest piece I have made to date. This was definitely a challenge for me as it was twice the size of what I normally make. However, I was in Penland to grasp every opportunity I could even if it involved challenging myself.

When learning silversmithing at DJCAD I used pitch in my pieces whenever I wanted to add texture and shape. However, when at Penland we got taught how to add texture only with hammer and air techniques. I tried this technique and found it very interesting, it is something which I would love to to replicate again.

On the last day we had an end of session showcase throughout the whole school. It was an amazing opportunity to see what everyone had made within the last two weeks and to see the other opportunities which Penland has to offer. We had a drink together on our last evening using the vessels we made. It was a fantastic way to end the session by drinking bourbon in something which I made that week and has now became my New Years tradition to have a whisky in my Penland vessel.

Penland was an amazing opportunity and I would highly recommend to anyone who has ever thought about going. I would love to go back in the future as it will always have a special place in my heart.