Alumni Spotlight: Bella Culhane (CLWS ’09)

Beautiful textile work by CLWS Alumna Bella Culhane

By Eva Mulloy (CLWS ’10), Alumni Coordinator

Bella Culhane graduated from CLWS in 2009. She’s a Minnesota-based artist whose skills are solidly rooted in her time at our school. She has a following of over 12,000 people from around the world, with her knitting projects being especially sought after. 

I was thankful to ask Bella some questions about her work, which I’ve followed admiringly through the years. 

What year did you graduate CLWS?/ How many years did you attend CLWS?

I graduated CLWS in 2009, I sort of jumped around with schools but I spent 1st, 2nd, 5th, 7th & 8th at Waldorf. 

Who was/were your teacher(s)?

Debbie Carlson was my teacher and then for 7th & 8th it was Mr. Amos & Ms. Crawford.

What was your favorite Waldorf school tradition?

So many of the traditions were my favorite! The Rose Ceremony is beautiful and I always loved the yearly plays and performing in the circus. I especially loved Halloween. 

What school(s) did you attend after CLWS, and what was the transition like?

I attended South High School after Waldorf. It wasn’t the first big public school I had gone to so it wasn’t a big shock for me. The architectural feel/colors of Waldorf are very comforting and warm compared to South High School! I finished up my Senior Year at Loring Nicollet Alternative School.

How do you think your Waldorf education is still active in any parts of your life? From what I know of you outside of this interview, it seems very active! But what has that meant for you?

My Waldorf experience has shaped me hugely. The teachers and staff at Waldorf were always there to support me as a very sensitive little person. Artistically, I have an organic and free mental process when it comes to drawing and handwork. I still do a variety of crafts I learned to do while I was at Waldorf, including quilting, knitting, watercolor and drawing. I source reused or natural materials and constantly have memories of Waldorf teachers popping up randomly when I’m working. I’m very inspired by nature and romantic fairy tales, which Waldorf always encouraged. I’m so grateful for all of my Waldorf experiences! I could go on and on.

To keep up with Bella and her work, follow her on Instagram: @bellajaynebella

Recent Alumni Spotlights:

If you’re interested in being interviewed for our alumni series on the CLWS blog or would like to nominate someone, please reach out to fellow alum, Eva Mulloy (—we look forward to connecting with you!

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