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News . Feature Stories . Glass major wins award in Niche magazine competition

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February 14, 2014

Glass major wins award in Niche magazine competition

Amanda Wilcox's "Cling" was chosen from among hundreds of entries

Glass major wins award in Niche magazine competition

Glass major Amanda Wilcox has won a 2014 Niche Student Award in the sculptural glass category from Niche magazine. Her piece, “Cling,” was one of 14 winners chosen from nearly 600 entries submitted by students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and certificate arts programs in the U.S. and Canada. The competition “celebrates excellence and innovation in American and Canadian fine craft,” according to the magazine.

“I am very surprised and so grateful,” Wilcox said when she learned she was a winner. “I will forever remain surprised when winning awards for pieces like ‘Cling.’ The process of making, and the dialogue that evolves from my interaction with these materials, are what matter to me personally. Recognition is secondary as my intention is to provide something of an emotional resonance with viewers.”

Her winning piece is a collection of hundreds of glass rods that she painstakingly pulled into delicate strings and then wrapped in a band of copper.

“I was interested in the way it captures light and how much texture you can get from thinly pulled glass,” Wilcox explained. “It was an experiment. I paced the entire piece in an acid bath that was charged with a high voltage. It’s called electroforming; it’s the process jewelers use to plate metal. I liked seeing how a material clings to itself. The detail and texture (of “Cling”) are things that carry through all my work,” she said.

A Los Angeles native who started her college career as a humanities and philosophy major at the University of Oregon, Wilcox has wide-ranging interests. She took a glass blowing course at a university craft center and got hooked.

“As soon as I started blowing glass I knew that’s what I needed to do,” she said. Wilcox went to Pilchuck Glass School the summer after leaving the University of Oregon and then on to an eight-week glass course at Penland School of Crafts taught by CIA grad Kiara Pelissier ’00.

“It felt natural to teach others and help around the shop, which led me to seek my degree in glass. Inspired by Kiara, and (CIA’s) hot shop on the fourth floor with all windows and open benches, I ended up at CIA,” she said.

“I was all about glass when I first started at CIA, but my Foundation professors pushed me into working with multimedia.” She’s grateful for that push: her work now includes sculptural pieces in a variety of media including glass, metals, and fiber; printmaking, and using CIA’s new decal printer to print images onto ceramics.

“One of the things I love most about being at CIA is I have access to all of these different studios I’d never seen before,” she said.

Click here to read more about the Niche contest and view Wilcox’s piece.

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