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Aaron Beale

Associate Vice President of Student Craft

No longer a practicing craftsperson, Aaron’s work focuses on the amplification of the work of our staff and student craftspeople here at Berea College. Trained as a chairmaker by Appalachian chairmaker Brian Boggs, Aaron earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Wayne State University with a focus on labor history and the lives of working people. This lifelong commitment to celebrating the historically excluded forms the foundation of his vision for Berea’s Student Craft program.

Philip Wiggs

Director of Ceramics

Philip’s personal work is focused on the intersection between life and the objects that we own. In addition to Philip’s role within Student Craft, he also enjoys a position on the faculty at Berea College, teaching classes in Studio Ceramics and Appalachian Ceramics. In both roles, Philip goal is helping students understand the contemporary and historical context of being an artist and craftsperson as they find where they fit into this brilliant spectrum. Philip is a graduate of Berea College and earned an MFA in Ceramics from the University of Massachusetts and an MAED from Eastern Kentucky University.

Cleo Lewis

Woodcraft Manager

Cleo Lewis was raised in Alexandria, Virginia and Accra, Ghana. Their natural sense of creativity and inquisition lead them to pursue a BFA in Sculpture and a minor in Craft at Virginia Commonwealth University. While at VCU they fell in love with the medium of wood. They now make sculptural furniture that explores the intersection of their identities and interactions with the world. Much of their work has been influenced by ideas and practices of Black femininity in the places they have grown up.

Steve Davis-Rosenbaum

Director of Craft Education Outreach Program

Steve’s work, developed over the past 35 years, originates in the basic human joys of eating and cooking with all their overtones: fireside, nourishment, caring and celebration. Beautiful pottery dishes have become synonymous for his love of food and its presentation. Steve is a former Resident Potter at Berea College. He earned an MFA from the University of Georgia with a focus on Ceramics.

Erin R. Miller

Director of Weaving

Erin’s work explores the intimacy and fragility of the human relationship with cloth through a variety of textile and printmaking techniques. Her work is informed by social inequity, consumer culture, and her queer identity. She received her MFA in Fibers from Eastern Michigan University and her BFA in Textiles from Kent State University. While pursuing her education, she operated a small garment design business focused on reclaimed and sustainable material. Her work has been exhibited internationally and her designs are in private collections throughout North America and the UK. Her most recent work focuses on comfort and coping through the cultivation of natural dye producing plants and quilting.

Katie Bister

Pine Croft Manager

Katie moved to Berea in 2019 to begin her college career after attending middle and high school in Kijabe, Kenya. While at Berea College Katie worked in the Student Craft program all four years ascending to the Student Manager position. In the summer of 2022 Katie earned a scholarship from The Chairmakers Toolbox allowing her to take a stick chair class at the Lost Art Press in Cincinnati and during her senior with us here at Student Craft, Katie designed our new People Collection rocking chair. Katie brings her considerable skills to the Woodworking School at Pine Croft as Pine Croft Manager assisting Director Rob Spiece.

Amanda Lee Lazorchack

Director of Broomcraft

Amanda Lee's personal work focuses on the intersection of the common tool and the sculptural object, encouraging a reflection on the division of labor and the literacy of domesticity. She brings with her a diverse background of teaching, botanical dyeing and a deep enthusiasm for craft. In 2023 she was awarded 1st place at the National Craft Broom Competition in Arcola, IL. Amanda Lee's goal is to offer her students a language to express themselves through craft and dignified labor alongside a high engagement educational experience.

Rob Spiece

Director of Woodcraft

Prior to joining the team at Student Craft in the fall of 2021 Rob had been splitting his time as a studio furniture maker and a teacher of woodworking. His work seeks to add the studio furniture movement of the past 100 years. Rob has published articles in Woodcraft Magazine, Fine Woodworking, and Furniture & Cabinetmaking. In 2020, he (along with collaborator, Larissa Huff) was awarded the Wharton Esherick Prize for Excellence in Wood at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. He seeks to challenge himself and his students to find empowerment and joy in the act of making.

Hunter Elliott

Director of Apprenticeships

Hunter’s work focuses on questioning the role of common materials, objects, techniques, and standardized systems to expose unexpected and unusual results. Hunter joined us as a Craft Apprentice in August 2020 and has since earned the role of Head of our Apprenticeships program, in addition to providing support for our students in the broom studio. Under Hunter’s leadership the Craft Apprenticeship program is committed to creating opportunities to develop skills and education to foster careers in the fields of craft and design for historically underrepresented populations. The Craft Apprenticeship program aims to extend the reach of Berea College Student Craft to encourage the continuation of craft traditions as well as innovation. Hunter earned a BFA at Kent State University with a focus on sculpture and printmaking.

Emerson Croft

Weaving Manager

Emerson Croft, originally from North Carolina, joined Student Craft as staff after graduating from Berea with a B.A. in Biology. As a student working in the weaving studio they designed the Elements blankets, an explicitly non-gendered line of baby blankets inspired by their nonbinary identity and connection to nature. Their personal work uses several media, including music, fibers, and writing, to explore the connections between social sciences, life sciences, and art.