Two students win prestigious craft fellowship

Colin Knight and Marley White, VCUarts undergraduates enrolled in the Department of Craft/Material Studies, have each been awarded a 2020 Windgate Fellowship.

The awards, worth up to $15,000 and granted to just ten graduating seniors annually, are supported by the nonprofit Center for Craft in Asheville, North Carolina. Students are only considered by nomination—making a double win by VCUarts seniors an extraordinary occurrence.

“Marley and Colin are two of our amazing students,” says Susie Ganch, interim chair and associate professor of Craft/Material Studies. “Their grant proposals were so strong, we are thrilled they will have an opportunity to see them through. We are so proud of them.”

In “Subway Sink,” Colin Knight takes elements from post-war London to redesign the sink for the new British home.

For Knight’s submission, he showcased a gallery of furniture that reimagines British mid-century modern design. His chairs, benches and sinks echo the “safe and quiet designs,” he says, of England’s slow and careful period of recovery after the devastation of World War II.

“We seek comfort in all aspects of furniture,” says Knight in his application. “This comfort is a powerful tool in shifting the way we feel about objects which have been representational of darker times in our history.”

In White’s artist statement, she explained how her wearable work uses the aesthetic and formal language of jewelry to capture social unease. But her work is also performative; the way her metal pieces hang from wearers’ hands and ears actively inhibits their ability to fully express themselves.

“When worn, the jewelry provokes a sense of vulnerability, empathy, and disunity,” White says in her fellowship proposal. “The experience is simultaneously unfamiliar for both the viewer and the person wearing the work.”

Marley White wearing one of her jewelry pieces, “223 days ago,from the series Support Structures. The work is made from copper and pig intestines.

Both students expressed a desire to use their fellowship to conduct research and learn within other arts communities. Knight plans to continue his study of post-war British design and take on a residency in Sicily, while White intends to user her funds to support a six-month apprenticeship with three influential contemporary jewelers in Amsterdam and dive into the archives of the Stedelijk Museum.

The 2020 Windgate Fellowship panelists included Indira Allegra, artist and Mills College professor; independent curator Jonell Logan; metalsmith and enamelist Barbara MacFadyen; and Emily Zilber, director of curatorial affairs and strategic partnerships at the Wharton Esherick Museum.

Learn more about the fellowship on the Center for Craft website.