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News . Feature Stories . Working with my hands: Q + A with Glass major Amanda Wilcox

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September 12, 2015

Working with my hands: Q + A with Glass major Amanda Wilcox

Working with my hands: Q + A with Glass major Amanda Wilcox

1.) What's your earliest memory of making art?
I think I must have been about two or three years old. I remember this plastic easel with a pad of newsprint hanging from two clips. I was dipping my fingers in different colors of paint and drawing circles. I always had my hands in something. Whether it was the peanut butter jar or a crayon box, my strongest memories involve looking at my hands interact with my surroundings.

2.) Did you take a lot of art classes in high school?
I don't know if I took any actually. My school was very centered around liberal arts. I don't come from a family that practices making and so I made things in my spare time, but it was never taken as something I would make a career out of.

3.) Why did you choose to attend an art + design school?
I was inspired to come to art school because I wanted to teach glassblowing in higher education. I stayed in art school because I realized how much my work needed to mature. I thought if I was to choose a career as an artist I would need a dialogue established by a degree rather than just technical skill.

4.) What made you choose CIA?
CIA is one of the few colleges in the nation that offers glass as a BFA degree. They also offer significant funding in scholarships and grants. In addition, my instructor and strongest influence at the 2010 eight-week glass concentration at Penland School of Crafts graduated from CIA, so I figured there must be something special about the place.

5.) What made you choose your major?
I came specifically for the glass program, but I was also accepted into industrial design (ID). I chose glass because of my love of working with my hands. Interaction with the material is really important to my process. Although many ID students are makers as well, and although my work still involves computer aided design programs, I wanted to build upon my previous material knowledge.

6.) Is having your own studio important to your education?
As a craft environment major it is extremely important that we have our own studio. We have to store many different materials, the objects we make, molds, tools etc. While blowing glass you work with a partner and interaction with classmates is a large part of the process.

7.) How are your relationships with CIA faculty different than your relationships with your high school teachers?
The faculty are practicing artists, and therefore, they communicate in a more creative, dynamic form. The relationship is fluid, receptive, constructive, and motivating.

8.) Have you had any internships? If so, where and how did you like it?

I have worked at Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington, with a team of artists as a pole-turner, where we made about a hundred or more blown glass centerpieces for their annual auction. Also, I will work at Penland School of Crafts this August as a studio technical assistant, where I will maintain hot shop needs, assist the studio head, and take the classes being offered during my stay.

9.) What one thing about the CIA experience surprised you the most?
The amount of funding a majority of the students receive, and the opportunities to sell your work or participate in exhibitions.

10.) What would you say to a high school student considering attending CIA?
I would suggest they take a tour around the school and talk to students about their experiences. I think everyone has a different perspective depending on what major you are in or where you are originally coming from. I think art school is a positive experience that will help you decide what field you do or do not want to be working in after you graduate.

Above: Amanda Wilcox in the glass hot shop at CIA.

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