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Hello, New Core!

We’re excited to announce and welcome our five newest core fellows—Maria Fernanda Nuñez, Hannah Mitsu Shimabukuro, Molly Bernstein, Tony Santoyo, and Sarina Angell —who will begin their two-year fellowships in late February, 2020. They will join returning fellows Mia Kaplan, SaraBeth Post, Erica Schuetz, and Scott Vander Veen.

Portrait of Sarina plus image of one of her garments

Sarina Angell
“I feel joy in transforming fiber into lines, lines into planes, and planes into sculptures, and would like to feel that same intimacy and depth of discovery in different media and the intersections between them.”

Sarina currently lives in Baltimore, MD where she works for Aerothreads fabricating multi-layer insulation blankets for aerospace applications while maintaining a studio practice. Recently, Sarina received a BFA in Fibers from the Maryland Institute College of Art with concentrations in Experimental Fashion and Sustainability & Social Practices. Sarina has worked as a studio assistant for Alex da Corte and has apprenticed at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia. She has volunteered at the Annual Benefit Auction at Penland since she was ten, has been a work-study student for two sessions, and looks forward to returning as a core fellow. She hopes to explore narrative in her work and to explore performance through fiber and its intersection and relationship to other media.

portrait of Molly plus a grouping of her ceramic sculptures

Molly Bernstein
“Before I go to grad school or anchor down and build my own studio, I would like to give myself the freedom to absorb the knowledge, wisdom, and magic of the myriad people who visit [Penland] and to be a hand that helps hold it up.”

Molly Bernstein is a potter who currently lives in Philadelphia, PA working for herself and as a studio assistant. She has a BFA in Ceramics from The University of the Arts, PA and has studied at The Kyoei-Gama Ceramics School in Tokoname, Japan. She has been a resident artist at the Chautauqua Institution, NY and Studio 550, NH. This past spring, she was a work-study student in clay at Penland and is excited to have the opportunity to return to be part of the Penland community. During her core fellowship, she is interested in exploring various materials and to see where common threads lie in her practice.


portrait of Fernanda, plus one of her drawings of two hands holding braids

Maria Fernanda Nuñez
“As a Core fellow I hope to build on my making skills to produce rigorously fabricated work that is also layered with metaphor and poetic ambiguity.”

After spending her formative years in Bogotá, Colombia, Fernanda relocated to the United States in 2011 to pursue a BFA in Sculpture at the California College of the Arts, which she completed in 2015. Upon graduation, she worked as a furniture apprentice in Houston, Texas and was a Resident Intern at the Headlands Center for the Arts. She is a three-time fellowship recipient at the Vermont Studio Center and has been to Penland twice as a work-study student. Fernanda is currently based in Portland, where she has shown and performed work, and is currently completing a Graduate Certificate in Critical Theory and Creative Research at the Oregon Institute for Creative Research, where she now works as a design and research assistant.

portrait of Tony plus one of his handmade paper compositions

Tony Santoyo
“With my craft, I attempt to build self-pride, and also to share with the world my comfort as a person whose identity is defined by living between and within two cultures.”

Tony Santoyo is a painter, papermaker, and ceramicist living and working in St. Paul, MN. He serves his community as a pharmacy technician at a non-profit clinic while also dedicating time to his studio practice. He has received his BA in Studio Arts and minors in Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Minnesota in 2018, and has been a studio assistant at Penland workshops since 2016. Tony is a Mexican-American who comes from immigrant parents; he draws from his experience of identity and environment, his place in the world, and his sense of belonging and acceptance. He is excited to be back as a core fellow and to expand on his craft and further his knowledge.

portrait of Hannah, plus one of her woven textile installations

Lars Shimabukuro
“I believe the history of textiles supporting community can be used to help address the inequalities we face today, and I am looking to learn from established institutions like the Penland School of Craft about how craft drives a community’s sense of belonging and identity as well as economic development.”

Lars Shimabukuro is a recent graduate of Haywood Community College’s Professional Crafts Fiber Program in Clyde, NC. Before weaving, Mitsu earned a BA in Studio Art from Yale University, focusing on sculpture and printmaking. They have worked as a printmaking studio technician for the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and as a matting and framing assistant for the Yale University Art Gallery. Mitsu has attended several summer sessions at Penland as a scholarship student and will return this January as a winter resident. They have also completed residencies at the KKV Grafik Studio in Malmö, Sweden and the Studios at MASS MoCA. As a core fellow Mitsu looks forward to exploring new media such as wood and glass while continuing to work in textiles and installation.

This year we received 80 applications for the Core Fellowship from across the United States. As always, there were more exceptional candidates than openings in the program. Our selection committee thoroughly reviewed and evaluated applications over a period of six weeks and interviewed applicants at the end of November. A sincere thank you goes out to everyone involved in this year’s selection.

Last but not least, we congratulate our five outgoing core fellows who will leave the program in February: Josh Fredock, L Autumn Gnadinger, Kento Saisho, Katherine Toler, and Devyn Vasquez. We wish you the best and are excited to follow your future successes!

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Announcing Our 2019 Penland Core Fellows!

We’re excited to welcome four new artists into Penland’s Core Fellowship—Mia Kaplan, SaraBeth Post, Erica Schuetz, and Scott Vander Veen! They will join returning fellows Joshua Fredock, L Gnadinger, Kento Saisho, Katherine Toler, and Devyn Vasquez in late February 2019 to begin their two-year fellowships.

Mia Kaplan

“I have learned that the life of an artist can be beautiful and rewarding, but also complicated and discouraging…I have been most creative and productive while in an immersive and collaborative environment.”

brooch by Mia Kaplan, portrait of Mia Kaplan

Mia currently works in Indianapolis, IN and is a recent graduate of Earlham College, where she received a BA in Visual Arts. While at Earlham Mia worked for three years in exhibit and education development at the Joseph Moore Museum, an interactive science museum, and as a studio tech in the Earlham metals department. She has also interned at Brooklyn Metal Works (NY) and Liberty Arts Sculpture Studio & Foundry (NC). Mia received a work-study scholarship for a summer metals workshop at Penland in 2017 and is excited to return as a core fellow to expand her technical and professional knowledge in metals as well as explore other media, specifically her interest in textiles. Mia is a North Carolina native who grew up in Durham.

Visit Mia’s website
Follow Mia on Instagram

SaraBeth Post

“A strong sense of community is absolutely essential for me. I have been propelled by the generosity and encouragement of my community.”


SaraBeth headshot and glass pillow

SaraBeth lives and works in the Penland area, dividing her time between two jobs and her studio practice. As Enrichment Coordinator for the Rural Education Partners of Mitchell County, she works mainly with middle school students to make art an integral and accessible part of their lives. She is also the Program Development Coordinator at the North Carolina Glass Center in Asheville. SaraBeth has a BFA with a concentration in glass from the University of Louisville (KY) and has been a student and studio assistant in several Penland workshops since 2014. She has also worked as cold shop coordinator at Pilchuck Glass School (WA) and as an assistant and studio tech at The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass (NY).

Visit SaraBeth’s website
Follow SaraBeth on Instagram

Erica Schuetz

“I’m inspired by people unafraid to take risks and step off the path of least resistance, and who want to learn forever.”

Chair by Erica Schuetz and portrait of Erica

Erica recently transitioned out of her 5-year role as Adult Education & Family Literacy Instructor and Coordinator at Briya Public Charter School in Washington, DC to work and travel abroad for a year; she is currently volunteering as a teacher for refugees in Greece. After years as an educator who teaches “through a lens of social justice,” Erica is excited to devote time and attention to making, experimenting, and exploring new craft skills, ideas, and connections. Erica holds a BA from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She has been to Penland twice as a work-study student in wood; has taken classes at the Corcoran College of Art & Design (MD) and Haystack School of Crafts (ME); and has been a volunteer and part-time letterpress instructor at Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center (MD).

Follow Erica on Instagram

Scott Vander Veen

“I find that creative practice flourishes when it is shared closely with others, and I aim to create relationships as much as I aim to push my work.”

 Portrait of Scott next to a piece of Scott's work

Scott currently works in New York City as a fabricator and art handler at Novo Arts. He has also worked as a muralist, studio intern, and studio assistant at the Freehand Hotel, Dieu Donne Papermill, and Jeffrey Gill Studio respectively. Scott earned a BA from Bard College with a combined focus in studio arts, literature, history, art history, and writing. Having never been to Penland, Scott is excited to explore new processes, materials, and potential interactions between materials. He is interested in the balance between experimentation and technical skill and an “urge to connect more deeply with creative tradition.”

Visit Scott’s website
Follow Scott on Instagram

This year we received 72 applications from across the United States for the Core Fellowship Program. As always, there were many more fantastic candidates than openings. Our selection committee did an excellent job reviewing and evaluating applications, putting in many hours and lively conversations. A sincere thank you to everyone involved in this year’s selection.

And last but not least, we congratulate four outstanding core fellows who will leave the program in early 2019: Stormie Burns, Elliot Earl Keeley, Sarah Rose Lejeune, and Corey Pemberton. We wish them the best of everything ahead and will follow their inevitable successes with pride.

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Everything Must Go

Core fellows from left to right: Devyn Vasquez, Katherine Toler, Joshua James Fredock, Stormie Burns, Sarah Rose Lejeune, Kento Saisho, L Gnadinger, Corey Pemberton, Elliot Earl Keeley
Programs director Leslie Noell addresses each core fellow at the opening reception.
A view of the show during viewing hours in Northlight
"Everything Must Go" viewed from the back of the gallery
Students, family, friends, and community members enjoying the show during the opening reception
Viewing hours run through November 14!
Stormie Burns and Sarah Rose Lejeune, “Just Some Baskets,” porcelain, glaze, luster, cotton, linen
Stormie Burns, "Triangle Bowl and Dash Cup," cast glass
Joshua James Fredock, “Bubble Cage,” steel, glass
Joshua James Fredock, “Vessel and Vase,” raised copper, hot glass
L Gnadinger, “Smaller Dangers 2,” layered abaca and cotton, graphite, wax, found danger
L Gnadinger, “Memorial 2,” cast bronze, housings
Elliot Earl Keeley, “Not in Use,” steel, wood, plastic, mixed media
Elliot Earl Keeley, “Divisions 2,” mixed media on paper
Sarah Rose Lejeune, “Worry Dolls,” cast bronze, copper
Sarah Rose Lejeune, “Loads,” handwoven cotton, silk, stainless steel
Corey Pemberton, “Untitled,” acrylic, inkjet print, sumi ink, panel
Corey Pemberton, “I have nothing to wear,” acrylic, bamboo parquetry, inkjet print on panel
Kento Saisho, “Still life,” ambrotype
Kento Saisho, “Untitled,” forged and fabricated steel, graphite
Katherine Toler and Devyn Vasquez, “Dog Party” (detail), plywood, found objects
Katherine Toler, “window seat,” monoprint, chine collé
Devyn Vasquez, “Checkered Brush,” birdseye maple, horse hair; “Bubble Brush,” ash, goat hair
Devyn Vasquez, “Passing Through,” airbrush on paper

Every year, the annual Core Fellowship Exhibition is a highlight of fall concentrations and an exciting opportunity to peek into the worlds of our core fellows as they explore new materials, ideas, and techniques across studios. This year’s, titled Everything Must Go, was certainly no exception. It featured the work of 2018-2019 core fellows Stormie Burns, Joshua James Fredock, L Gnadinger, Elliot Earl Keeley, Sarah Rose Lejeune, Corey Pemberton, Kento Saisho, Katherine Toler, and Devyn Vasquez. They curated and installed the show themselves in the Gallery North space of the new Northlight complex. The work ranged from delicate pâte de verre vessels to airbrushed paintings, with a strong unifying thread of experimentation and craftsmanship. 

Congratulations on a beautiful installation, core fellows!

Everything Must Go will be on display through November 14, 2018. Viewing hours are Wednesdays noon – 3:00 PM, Saturdays noon – 3:00 PM, and Sundays: 1:00 – 4:00 PM.