Faculty & Staff

Robert Blanton

Robert Blanton

Professional Crafts Jewelry/Metals Program


“Inspiration drawn from the materials of life, anticipating the results, and thoroughly enjoying the process in between, this has become my formula for creating. Both ferrous and nonferrous metals, combined with an array of other materials serve as the building blocks for the pieces that I make. Whether the piece is decorative or functional, joy comes from celebrating the act of labor as well as the results.”

Originally from Mooresville, North Carolina, Robert now resides with his wife and children in southern Haywood County. Robert earned his MFA at Winthrop University and has taught Jewelry and Metals at Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte, North Carolina (1984-2000) and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte (1994-2000) before coming to Haywood Community Colleges’ Professional Crafts Program as the Jewelry Instructor in 2002. Robert is a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. He markets his work through exhibitions and accepts commissions for his cutlery and jewelry. However, he maintains that teaching is his real passion.


Amy Putansu

Professional Crafts Fiber Program


Amy Putansu is a native of the Maine seacoast. She relocated to the western North Carolina Mountains to lead the Professional Crafts Fiber program in 2008, when the renowned educator Catharine Ellis retired from this position after 30 years. Amy holds a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. Amy’s career has revolved around textiles, craft and design in a variety of ways over two decades, from being a self-employed studio artist, to managing a craft gallery, to design assistant in women’s casual clothing. She brings this range of real-life experience to the Professional Craft curriculum where she delights in educating new textile makers.


Emily Reason

Professional Crafts Clay Program


“I experience an elemental satisfaction when working with my hands; manipulating and mastering a material and technique through repetition and problem-solving. In this way, I am deeply connected to craft. I see craft as a discipline, a history to draw from and set of parameters to push. It is an ideal of beauty that I express with great care and labor.”

Emily Reason joined the Professional Crafts faculty at Haywood Community College as the clay instructor in 2017. She received an MFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her BFA from West Virginia University. Emily’s ceramics career has encompassed artist residencies, writing, teaching, exhibitions and eleven years as a full-time studio potter.

Brian Wurst

Brian Wurst

Professional Crafts Wood Program


Brian Wurst has been the woodworking instructor at Haywood Community College since 2008. A graduate of Rice University, he initially worked in commercial architecture designing schools, but subsequently undertook his woodworking education through the Professional Crafts program and at various classes and workshops. Brian operated a woodworking studio for eight years, designing and fabricating custom furniture and cabinetry for galleries and commission clients. He is an active member of such organizations as the Southern Highland Craft Guild, American Craft Council, and the Furniture Society.