Aran Galligan


Amanda lives in Seattle, WA. She is self-employed as a full-time jeweler.


What years were you a core student?



Who were you a core student with?

First year: Sarah Loertscher, Marilyn Brogan, Natalie Tornatore, Anna Child, Robyn Raines, Courtney Dodd, Jon Shearin, and Kristen Flournoy. Second year: Courtney Dodd, Jon Shearin, Kristen Flournoy, Kreh Mellick, Shane Darwent, Dana Fehsenfeld, Andrew Hayes, and Alex Geske.


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

Yes. Most of them.


What was your best moment as a core student?

I don’t know that I could pick one. It was a series of best moments. There was the constant realization that I was doing the thing (being core) that I had dreamed about for so long. The chance to spend two years in such an amazing place. The people I met and the connections I made. The opportunity to work in these fantastic studios. Feeling the love and support from the school and community at Core Show. Having amazing leaders (Mark Boyd and Leslie Noell) to guide us.


What was your worst?

Needing time alone to recharge and having a hard time finding it.


What is your favorite spot on campus?

The Dye Shed is by far my favorite. Really 5:00 happy hour on Fridays on the Dye Shed porch. That was a favorite of mine. I also love the iron studio.


What was your favorite meal at the Pines?

Jon Shearin’s Shrimp and Grits. I still crave that.


What was your least favorite?

Must have blocked that one from my memory.


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

I still have a brooch that I made. It’s a silhouette of trees. It was the view from my bedroom window.


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

Maybe Susie Ganch’s class. In my first year I was studio hopping, and that class brought me back to the jewelry studio. It reminded me how much I loved metal.


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

How challenging it was to maintain a relationship while in core.


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

If I can only pick one, that would be Elizabeth Brim. She is one of the most unique individuals that I’ve ever know, and has such a big heart. I love her commitment to her community. She’s just so bad-ass.


What are you doing today?

Working (or getting distracted from working).


Fill in the blank: If I had never been a core student I might not be a full-time maker. Doing core when I did really put me back on track. I struggled with making after finishing undergrad, the challenge of setting up a studio and balancing work time with making. At Penland I was able to meet so many makers, all with a different approach, that helped me figure out that balance.