Center for Craft 25th anniversary logo in red

News Article

Front & center

May 12, 2020

10 Questions for 10 Fellows

In celebration of ᏔᎷᏣ The Basket

Photo courtesy of

The Center for Craft recently announced the 2020 Windgate-Lamar Fellows! This Fellowship supports emerging makers by providing $15,000 each to ten graduating college seniors – one of the largest awards offered to undergraduate students in the country. We wanted to learn more about each individual Fellow, so we are asking ten questions to all ten awardees. Read a selection of their responses here.

Note: some of the answers have been lightly edited for the purpose of creating a clear, concise, and readable piece, and in order to represent the voices of the artists as faithfully as possible.

What’s first? How will you begin your Fellowship project?

Nathaniel Atkinson: “After a summer of continuing as a trail guide in the Adirondacks, I will start my apprenticeship with Adirondack Wooden Boats in Lake Clear, New York. There I will help in the restoration of a guideboat for the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake. After finishing, we will move onto building canvas-covered canoes, followed by a few weeks paddling the historic route of ‘Nessmuk’, George Washington Sears, through the central Adirondack Park.”

How did you start working with the craft materials proposed for this Fellowship?

Colin Knight: “It all started with an obsession of WW2 Royal Air Force life jackets. I was researching the life of my grandmother as a teenager in London during the blitz when I fell in love with some of the items of the Royal Air Force. As I started to experiment with the forms and materials I pulled from the life jackets and other objects. It quickly became a starting point of redesigning British Mid-Century Modern.”

Was there/Is there a specific challenge you’ve had to overcome as an artist?

Fawn Penn: “I've had to learn to pace my body as I manage my material. Clay is very taxing on the body, and I had to learn to not overwork the clay as well as myself. I find what I can do each day and I try my best to stop there. Pacing is a continual process, and though I've found ways to work that suit my abilities, there is always more to learn.”

What are some tools you use the most?

Daniel Le: “One is my intuition. I feel like my intuitive self plays a very important role when it comes to creating some of the pieces. In a way, I feel like that’s where my imagination lies. It’s what develops the shapes and configurations. Another is a bone knife. That tool gives my work those crisp, sharp edges.”

What is your dream class to take?

Ethan Townsend: “Glass blowing and making is awkward. You hold a long metal pipe with a blob of glass at the end, you bend over your tools with your ankle securing you to the bench, and have to crouch to assist your blow partners. I have begun to experience pain in my elbows and wrists. An ergonomics and movement class that has been made by glass artists that teaches you how to move elegantly through the hot shop and studio would be divine.”

How do you start a new work?

Marley White: “My latest work has been in reaction to experiences of interpersonal interactions. I begin a new work primarily with writing and research. After I develop the method and intention behind a piece I go into a design stage that consists primarily of hand-drawn renderings and technical prototyping for more complex processes.”

Did you know about Center for Craft before you were nominated for the Windgate-Lamar Fellowship? If so, how?

Vicki Cook: “Yes, I saw the Windgate Fellowship mentioned in the bio of an artist who I admired (Aaron Decker, 2012) and began to research. From there I looked up information about the Center for Craft.”

Who is your favorite artist to follow right now?

Sydnie Jimenez: “My favorite artist to follow right now is En Iwamura. He is a huge inspiration to me and has really pushed me to work large-scale and be ambitious as an artist and scholar.”

What are you hoping to gain through this fellowship?

Jessica Howerton: “My hope is that through this fellowship, I will be able to get a jump-start on my professional career as an emerging artist. Tools and materials soon add up, so this opportunity will greatly help me get my studio started!”

How has Covid-19 affected your artistic practice?

Mac McComb: “Covid-19 has reinforced my belief that we as humans are overdue for a reevaluation of our place in the environment and our relationship to nature. Of course my practice has been affected since I can no longer access the amazing studios at my school, but it has made me all the more excited to work in whatever ways I can.”

The Center is able to fund talented makers such as these in part through donations from people like you. A gift of any size will help continue our programming and provide resources for makers, scholars, curators, and innovators in the field of craft. Follow this link to support Craft today!