Marianne Dages

Penland Core Studio


Marianne lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She works as a letterpress studio wrangler at the University of Pennsylvania's Common Press and a bookbinder & letterpress printer at her own Huldra Press.


What years were you a core student?

2008-2010...I think.


Who were you a core student with?

I was in the same year as Tina Boy, Beth Schaible, Joshua Kuensting, and Wes Stitt. But also got to spend a year with Shane Darwent, Kreh Mellick, Andrew Hayes, and Dana Fehsenfeld, as well as Mark Warren, Jason Burnett, Leah Frost, and Jessica Heikes. That's a lot of roommates!


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

Oh yes. I'm terrible at calling people, but I can honestly say I think about each and every one of them everyday.


What was your best moment as a core student?

Driving the mule over the knoll with Jason. That was very bad. But very fun.


What was your worst?

The moments when I felt overwhelmed, exhausted, and frustrated and lost sight of how lucky I was to be there.


What is your favorite spot on campus?

The couch at Morgan after a long day. Watching a movie from the Morgan VHS collection and laughing with friends.


What was your favorite meal at the Pines?

Fancy Lunch. Only the finest.


What was your least favorite?

King Ranch chicken. What was that?


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

Many things. I have some Joshua Kuensting bowls I use almost everyday. A Shane Darwent collage hanging in the living room. A little Kreh Mellick drawing on my desk, to name just a few.


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

Bryan Baker's letterpress concentration. I had a lot of technical breakthroughs in that class. It was my last class and it made me look ahead at what was next.


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

I never expected to be so challenged on so many levels. I'm still sorting through it all. I learned that to be a self-employed creative person is all about endurance and to be patient and just keep making things and things will happen, slowly but surely. I also learned the transformative power of the mop.


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

I'll never forget any of my Core buddies; they feel like family to me and they are always welcome to stay on my couch if they're passing through town.


What are you doing today?

I have a wonderful day job, managing the letterpress shop at a university, and my own shop, where I just bought my dream press, a Vandercook No. 4. And I live with Mike Rossi, who's the best, so things are pretty good.


Fill in the blank: If I had never been a core student I'd feel a little lonely.


You can study, follow, and shop Marianne at