Amanda Thatch


Amanda lives in Detroit, Michigan. She "makes art and makes money, but those are very separate activities."


What years were you a core student?



Who were you a core student with?

In my same year were Ian Henderson, Ele Annand, Daniel Beck and Rosina Saqib. In 2010 our roommies were Mark Warren, Leah Frost, Jessica Heikes, and Jason Burnett. In 2011 they were Rachel Garceau, Jack Mauch, Seth Gould, and Bob Biddlestone.


Are you still in touch with any of your fellow core students?

Yup. Facebook is an amazing thing. I'm in touch (at least sporadically) with basically everyone I was there with, and a dozen or so from other years as well.


What was your best moment as a core student?

The Instructor Retreat my second year - it was really a privilege to be around so many incredibly talented people and to watch them explore and share. And all those late winter mornings at Morgan with everyone groggy and drinking coffee around the kitchen. And swimming.


What was your worst?

There were moments of work weeks that I would become genuinely furious, like serious for-real anger, about how things were being managed from above.


What is your favorite spot on campus?

Weaving studio. And sauna nights in the winter.


What was your favorite meal at the Pines?

Vietnamese sandwich day, followed closely by fish tacos. And donuts.


What was your least favorite?

Well, weird salad day improved drastically my second year, so I guess just the boring dinners that were straightforwardly meat-starch-vegetable. Any time all three of those were tan (eg, chicken, potatoes, and cauliflower), that was a particularly bad sign.


Do you still have anything that you made as a core student? Or anything that you traded for?

So many things. Stuff I made is mostly in boxes, but out in my apartment are cups, kitchen utensils, prints, sculptures, jewelry and more by people I met at Penland.


What class you took had the most impact on you? Did you realize it at the time?

A metals class about containment with David Clemons, enamel on metal book covers with Eileen Wallace and Elizabeth Turrell, and weaving and natural dye class with Catharine Ellis and Joy Boutrup were the ones that I knew were amazing as they were happening, and that I continue to think about. The sleeper hit has been the concentration in print and drawing with Phil Sanders. I didn't feel like I was absorbing much at the time, but I see things from that class coming into my practice now.


Is there something that you learned in the core program that you never expected to learn?

I learned to be way more social than is my natural inclination. I gained a whole new perspective on gratefulness as I experienced this ever widening awareness of how amazing everything around me really was. I learned - especially from the kitchen staff - to try and work with a spirit of generosity.


Tell us about someone you met through the core program who you'll never forget?

Lots, but a few come to mind: Frank Loertscher was an incredible support to core students and all around nice guy. I have especially great memories of Jeff Goodman and Robin Dreyer around our book club. It's cheating a little to list Christina Shmigel, since I knew her before I went to Penland, but because of core I got back in touch with her after a long time and she continued to be as amazing as ever..


What are you doing today?

Working a lame computer job that will fund upcoming trips and a return to Penland later this summer. Oh, and going on a picnic to the Detroit riverfront.


Fill in the blank: If I had never been a core student my life might look similar to what it is now, but would actually be completely different.