Donated photo. Haywood Community College professional crafts fiber student Nandita Vyas was recently awarded the Dendel Scholarship from the Handweavers Guild of America in the category of textile design. Pictured is an example of her work.

Haywood Community College professional crafts fiber student Nandita Vyas was recently awarded the Dendel Scholarship from the Handweavers Guild of America in the category of textile design. This award is a national student design competition among college students enrolled in a textile program in the United States, including graduate students. Vyas is the seventh HCC student in the past eight years to be awarded this $3,000 scholarship.

Vyas is from Raleigh and spent nine years working as an architect after completing undergraduate studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and graduate studies at Georgia Tech. She left the corporate world to start a business with her partner, which gave her the freedom to explore possibilities for her future.

“I took a lot of art classes as an undergraduate,” Vyas explains. “I’ve always had the urge to make things with my hands. The architectural side of me is inspired by how each thread in weaving interacts to make a whole.”

Vyas says she appreciates that the HCC professional crafts program allows students to express ideas and learn by doing while preserving the traditions of craft. 

The Professional Crafts program is a two-year commitment, focusing on all aspects of becoming an independent craft professional. In addition to sharpening their technical and artistic skill in their chosen medium, students also create a marketable line of production work, plan a studio, and become familiar with the craft market. Mandatory coursework includes photography of finished pieces for gaining entrance into craft shows, creating a business plan, and designing and building a studio tailored to fit production needs. 

Registration for fall semester is now open. For more information about registration, visit haywood.edu or email hcc-advising@haywood.edu. For information regarding the Professional Crafts Fiber program, contact Amy Putansu at aputansu@haywood.edu or 828-627-4672.