Karen Newgard

Penland Core Studio


Karen lives in Asheville, NC. She works full-time in her own pottery studio.


What years were you a core student?



Who were you a core student with?

Sean Ireland, Dan Essig, John Podlipeck, Sondra Dorn, Jenny Drum, Kurt Nielson, Erika Strecker, John Rennick, John (Mookie) Neff, Ila Prouty, Leslie Noell, Kim Purser, Critz Campbell.

Funny, I can remember people by their rooms at Morgan!


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



What was your best moment as a core student?

Too many to count and I would have to put them in categories of educational - firing the old wood kiln the RC Pottery built and decorating with Ron Myers in the old glaze room; things I still carry with me when I decorate today and fire kilns - and core group moments - lots of funny times cleaning on change over weekends, dance parties, and at the power of the yellow box. And of course getting tattooed after a core show by Marcia McDonald (with Jenny Drum and Kim Purser).


What was your worst?

Driving a fully loaded 1970-something Suburban down the windy road.


What is your favorite spot on campus?

Clay porch.


What was your favorite meal at the Pines?

There were some pretty good brunches.


What was your least favorite?

Bar food night.


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



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

Will Ruggles and Douglass Rankin. Yes.


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

Many... Betty Oliver, Ron Myers, Jane Peiser, William Daley…


What are you doing today?

Making pots full time.


Fill in the blank: If I had never been a core student I'd probably be in culinary school.


You can visit Karen's website at