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Penland Vs. Arrowmont

I am interested in hearing from metalworkers familiar with both
Penland and Arrowmont how the metal studios compare.

Thank you,
Linda Perry

i have both taken classes and taught at Penland. i will be teaching
there again this fall for the concentration course. i know their
studio is fully equipped, easy to work in, and in a beautiful

i have not taken classes at arrowmont, but i am teaching there in
early june. the list of equipment that the studio has is extensive,
and seems to cover anything you would want.

i recommend that you look closely at the teachers at these places in
order to figure out which place/class you should attend. is the
teacher teaching what you are interested in? do they have
experience? are they nice, open, and knowledgable? do you
like/admire their personal work?

also, time can be a matter for some people. can you take 2 weeks off
to be at penland? or should you consider arrowmont’s one week class
structure instead?

feel free to email me if you have other questions.

good luck!
joanna gollberg

Just thought I’d put in my 2c. I just got back from Arrowmont and it
was an amazing experience. The setting is beautiful, the people are
wonderful and the studio was amazing. I can’t compare it to Penland,
I can only tell you that my experience was wonderful and I plan on
returning again soon. My instructor was Chris Darway and I was
fortunate enough to be in a class of people who clicked. We all
became great friends during our week. I agree with Joanna that you
should look at the classes being offered, the instructors and their
work, and how much time/money you want to invest. I guarantee
whatever you choose will be worth it.

Good luck!
Tammy Kirks
Red Bee Designs

So far no one has responded so I will see if I can elicit further

I am going to Pennland this summer for a two week work shop. I had
marked them off my list before because most of the workshops I would
have chosen are two week duration and I generally don’t like to spend
that much time away from the business.

The workshops at Arrowmont are about the same distance away and are
only one week, but so far they have had nothing in which I was
specifically interested.

I will advise you of another location, The Appalachian Center For
Crafts that is a part of Tennessee Tech and is located on Centerhill
Lake at I 40 exit 273,just west of Cookeville TN. I have been there
three successive summers and was well pleased with the workshop and
their wonderful metals studio.

Here’s there web site:

I’m not going there this summer because I liked the workshop at
Pennland better and being in a rut is not really good.

I value my time at Appalachian Center… it was of tremendous
benefit. They have a great classroom/studio with every tool known to
the trade for hands on use. I was able to evaluate some of the more
esoteric tools to learn I didn’t really need it. The place is in the
boondocks but the accommodations are great. The suites of 4 rooms
with a common area house 8 in comfort. The food is good.

Ben A Harris

I have been to Arrowmont many times and I am impressed with the high quality of teaching I have experienced there. I have never had a bad class and I am picky! The studio area for jewelry is spacious, but could use a bit of an update (though that may have happened since I was there). The food, the evening lecture series and the beautiful campus all add to a wonderful time.

I have only been to Penland once and I don’t think I’ll return. While it is also a gorgeous place it is in the middle of tobacco country. Smoking is not allowed in the studio, but the studio has screens and so many of the students went just out the door to smoke that the studio was often full of smoke. Also, I did not like the lottery system they employ.

I have been to both, and they are pretty different places. Penland is probably the biggest of those kinds of craft schools, and is tucked away in the woods in a very rural area, with very well equipped studios, a large campus, a wonderful coffee shop, and good food. Arrowmont is smaller, and their studio is not nearly as well equipped as Penland, though I haven’t been there in two years. Arrowmont is right in downtown Gatlinburg, so less of that escape to the woods kind of experience. Penland is more like a well oiled machine, and Arrowmont feels a bit more like the wild west, to me at least. So it really depends on what you are looking for. I think both are wonderful places.

If the environment/setting is important to you as well as quality teachers, consider Haystack here in Maine. It is strikingly beautiful and and I have worked with some amazing teachers over the years. Catalogue here: