Amanda Thatch

2017 Penland Benefit Auction Centerpiece Artist

 

I first came to Penland in March of 2010, arriving for the two years of my Core Fellowship in the middle of a snowstorm. The five new arrivals of my Core group spent the first few days trudging through deep snow, helping each other hike necessities from Ridgeway (where we had to leave our cars) up the steep hill to Morgan Hall. It was an early lesson in how Penland merges together experiences of beauty and challenge, work and communion.

A few months later, I took my first weaving class. The studio assistant, (a woman named Tali, still a good friend) said something that I think about often: “Weaving is about care,” allowing the utilitarian to be transformed, through devotion, into art. Through my education and opportunities at Penland (and especially notably for me, the incredible friendship and mentorship of Catharine Ellis), I have been able to become a participant in the contemporary textile arts community, as well as part of a lineage that reaches back to Lucy Morgan and the original Penland Weavers, and out to makers of cloth – especially women – around the world and throughout time. Weaving is often used rhetorically as a metaphor for life, and I feel so fortunate that in my work as an artist and as a studio coordinator I get to contribute to the human network of Penland – the experiences crossing through this specific place, building into the web of its past and future – through my own actual time at the loom.