Wes lives in Spruce Pine, NC. He works at Penland in communications.
What years were you a core student?
2008 and 2009.
Who were you a core student with?
I arrived with Christina Boy, Marianne Dages, Joshua Kuensting, and Beth Schaible, to find Shane Darwent, Dana Fehsenfeld, Andrew Hayes, and Kreh Mellick already living in the house. When they left after a year, we were joined by Jason Burnett, Mark Warren, Leah Frost, and Jessica Heikes.
Are you still in touch with any of your fellow core students?
All of them, at least occasionally.
What was your best moment as a core student?
A kiss that I'll never forget. Or go into any more detail about.
What was your worst?
I was having the classic difficult yellowbox shift - hostile work-study students, pans of cheese sauce, leftover dishes from a greasy breakfast, air in the dishroom so hot and humid that the pots weren't drying - and then the drying racks got jostled and everything fell on the floor. I helped to re-bleach and put it all up, and I just could not get the last pan to stay on the rack. Every time I got it stablized, it would slide back onto the floor, and after several repetitions, I lost my cool and shouted, "Oh for #@&%'s sake!" Then I turned around and realized I was standing in the open doorway to the dining room and everyone was staring at me. It was the second session of my first summer.
What is your favorite spot on campus?
There was a couch in the slide lounge that was perfect for after-lunch naps; I don't think it exists anymore.
What was your favorite meal at the Pines?
Fancy lunch! Prosciutto, salami, crusty bread, brie, butter, mozzarella, provolone, grapes, melon, and olives. With a glass of milk and a mug of Christmas Morning tea.
What was your least favorite?
Salisbury steak with mushroom sauce.
Do you still have anything that you made as a core student? Or anything that you traded for?
I have a great big wooden sculpture that I made and have never figured out what to do with. And lots of beautiful things I traded for or were given to me as gifts. I particularly treasure some photographs that were made by classmates.
What class you took had the most impact on you? Did you realize it at the time?
Janet Beller's Environmental Portrature. Sabiha Mujtaba's Cultural Influences & Expressions. Doug Beube's Radical Bookworks. Paul Shore's Magnificent Obsessions. I didn't know it until later, but it was the most difficult ones that made the biggest difference.
Is there something that you learned in the core program that you never expected to learn?
I discovered how rewarding it can be to use my own effort and skill (such as it is) to make other people's workload a little easier. I certainly wasn't expecting that. And I learned how to fold paper.
Tell us about someone you met through the core program who you'll never forget?
Hardly a day goes by when I don't miss Joshua Kuensting's hugs. They were the best; he taught me how to give a real hug. Dude could french press a wicked good cup of coffee, too.
What are you doing today?
I'm writing for the Penland website, blog, and Facebook page. Tonight, I'll be printing some photographs to donate to a charity fundraiser.
Fill in the blank: If I had never been a core student I might still be a respected, if miserable, member of the arts community, instead of the barely-employable misfit I am today. ;)
You can visit Wes's street style blog at