Continuing Education Blog

PNCA offers evening and weekend classes for adults and young people. For adults we offer courses in art, craft, and design, as well as professional development classes. For children we have Saturday classes during the school year and week-long camps during the summer. In addition to our regular teen classes, we also offer immersive summer Pre-College Studios. Our blog below gives you an idea of some of the goings on, and you can see our full course catalogue online here.

Picture of the Week - 10/15/2013

Art + Storytelling: Fables

We are in the full swing of things now and students are hard at work on projects. The image above highlights just how focused and hardworking this new batch of students is, and is a personal favorite of the moments we captured this week. Students in Art + Storytelling: Fables decorated their sketchbooks, finished illustrating a larger than life page in our bunny/space travel-themed storybook, and decorated the front and back cover! See more at our Flickr Site!

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Ukulele Class Two

Blogging a CE class-second class of Ukulele Building

We arrived to class on Thursday ready to do some joining and bending. Half of the class started on cutting, measuring and bending the sides of our Ukes while the half began working joining the soundboards and the backs together. 


Last week we found the best book-matched combinations and moving from there we first ran the edges of our boards through the planer to get them as evenly matched as the machine allowed. Next we used the sandpaper levels to get the sides perfectly straight.


After much testing and re-sanding it was time to move on to gluing the two pieces together. For the class we are using super glue and an activator to make it harden and dry quickly. The two pieces are laid out, roped together and glued.


Bending the sides

Moving on the sides, we measured and using the table saw, cut the sides to the proper shape. This involved clamping the sides to the a guide board to ensure the angle was true. 

Now the nerve-wracking bit, bending sides to shape. The first part of this process was laying the heating blanket on the side bender (built by Frank) and the wet wood on top of that. While the wood heated and the molds were pressed slowly in to place we sprayed the wood down with water. When we got the wood clamped down completely it was left on the heat for 10 minutes.


Following ten minutes of heating and spraying with water, the sides were transferred into the molds to sit overnight and have their shape for good.


Next class we move on to cutting the soundboard and backs out.

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Ukulele Class One


Thursday, October 3 was the first class of Ukulele building. After quick introductions and getting to meet the Instructor, Frank Irby, and Teaching Assistant Max Sipe, we got down to the business of ukes. Frank and Max showed us their own handcrafted ukes and Max’s handmade inlays.

There are four sizes of ukuleles that are common: soprano (standard), concert, tenor, and baritone. In this class we will be building a tenor uke. Frank brought ukuleles of of all the sizes to see, hear and feel the differences. We talked about what made good instrument wood, including where it comes from, what makes the rings tighter and how the wood selected and harvested. Our ukuleles are being constructed out of Koa wood for the soundboard and body, mahogany for the necks and rosewood for the fret boards. We talked about how bracing effects sound, how we can create the best sounding uke and what you can do to add some personal style to your creation.

koa wood

After learning about the power and hand tools we are going to use for the class (and the safety demo) we chose our bundles of body wood. They was an incredible variety in the looks of the bundles of koa, from reddish, marbled looking pieces to rich yellow.

We went over bookmatching and laid out our pieces for our soundboards and backs, finding the best looking combination and headed back to the shop to plane down our pieces to 3mm. Next class we start cutting out the body and moving forward.

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Picture of the Week - 10/7/2013

Our Fall term started on Saturday. It was quite the day, full of painting, drawing, and cats! Here is one of our favorite images from classes this weekend. Our Animal Art class started a project combining drawing and collage!

Animal Art

As always, you can find more images at our flickr site:

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Blogging Class

First Blog

Reprinted from Instructor Sarah Moon’s tumblr. Sarah is also teaching Web Design Tools this Fall.

I wrapped up teaching an introductory class on blogging at PNCA last night and it was so, so much fun. I get to teach this class once a year, and I always look forward to it more than anything else I teach. One of the coolest things we do in the last class is students publish their first blog post(s). 

This one is from Peggy, who forages for wild mushrooms in the Mt. Hood National Forest. 

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Fall 2013 - Youth Classes!

Week 4: Creatures & Characters

The Youth Program is looking forward to the start of classes! Our Fall term begins on October 5th. On the docket for the next couple of months… Little Painter’s Workshop with Shelley Short, Animal Art with Amy Steel, and Art and Storytelling with Mary Dixon. There is still time to register for these classes! Just visit our Online Registration Site!

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CE Instructor’s Fulbright in India

Kate in India

PNCA BFA and CE instructor Kate Copeland is spending the fall in Vadodara, India, teaching workshops within the Graphic Arts Department through the Fulbright Program. Follow Kate’s adventures on her tumblr.

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Schedule Shifts

Laubenthal Teaching

As we have every term, schedules change after the catalog goes to print. Here the changes for this term we made to accomodate the instructor’s schedules.

Chair Prototype moves from Thursday nights to Monday nights beginning at 6:30 on September 30.

Ukulele Building makes the corresponding move from Monday to Thursday. Frank will be assisted by a professional Luthier for this class, effectively giving the class two instructors who are experts at Uke construction.

Textile Drawing, Design and Printing is now being held on Wednesday nights.

Also I wanted to highlight the second section of Beginning Drawing Perception Skills on Saturday mornings with the fantastic Jerry Sumpter.

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Clay and Plaster Rooms

The plaster and clay rooms at PNCA are ready for students! Thanks Liz for getting us ready for the new school year.

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Frank's Ukes

These are two of Frank Irby’s Ukuleles. In the class Ukulele Building, students will build a Baritone Uke with all of the basic supplies included.

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