Melina Mardueño ’18, 2022 Elizabeth Crawford ’21 Haystack Fellowship Recipient

After years of not making art or craft seriously, I knew I wanted to get back into making, potentially through a class or workshop. I had heard of the Elizabeth Crawford ’21 Haystack Fellowship while it was being established through Rachael Arauz ’91, but I had thought that it would be years before the fellowship became available. I learned that the application was open one day before it was due and thought it was too late, but I realized that there was nothing to lose and much to gain by submitting my application.

I did not know much about the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts before applying. The school hosts a residency, workshops, and programs across craft disciplines throughout the year, and the Crawford Fellowship nominates a Wellesley alum for one of the summer workshops, two intensive weeks of making at the Haystack campus on Deer Isle, Maine. There was a great sense of community, and I had the chance to meet students from all over the country and world at various stages in their craft. While most of the day is spent in class, one has all afternoon to enjoy the campus, swim in the Atlantic, or continue making.

Without the fellowship, I would not have been able to fund this experience on my own. Through its financial support, the Crawford Fellowship gave me the means to revitalize my artistic practice and connect with a community of artists and craftspeople. The wonderful thing about the workshop is that there is little external pressure to make a masterpiece. After all, one is only there two weeks, and the most rewarding parts are the exchange of ideas, experimentation, and time and space to create freely. Nonetheless, as Wellesley alums, I’m sure we’ll want something to show for the fellowship, but I think the best takeaways will be what inspires us to keep exploring through making.