Thursday, November 28, 2019
On the occasion of 100th anniversary of women suffrage, the Center for Art in Wood in Philadelphia is presenting an exhibit called “Making a Seat at the Table: Women Transform Woodworking,” showcasing the work of 43 artists throughout North America. As one of the first exhibition of its scope, the show intends to present the “breadth of perspectives and practices that North American women and women-identifying woodworkers in the furniture tradition are employing,” according to Katie Sorenson at the Center for Art in Wood. “While ackowledging that woodworking has been and remains male-dominated, the exhibition focuses on the many ways these makers are both expanding the edges of the field and holding down the center.”
The show includes not only examples of the artists’ finished work but also explores the processes of work. One special event connected with the exhibit is a presentation by Tara Inman-Bellofatto on January 11 and 12 titled Marquetry 101. The show itself opened October 4 and runs to January 18, 2020. Also connected to the show is the publishing of a comprehensive book by the same title to be released in 2020, which is the initiative of co-authors and co-curators Laura Mays and Deirdre Viser.
Mays is a woodworker, designer, educator, and writer. She is the director of the Fine Woodworking Program at the Krenov School, Mendocino College in Fort Braff, California (formerly the College of the Redwoods). Her work is represented in the National Museum of Ireland and in private and public collections in the U.S. and Ireland. She has written for Fine Woodworking and other publications. She is also the founding president of the Krenove Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports the craft of woodworking.
A committee of professionals in the art, design, woodworking, and furniture fields served as jury to select the works for the exhibition. In addition to the co-curators and co-authors, jurors included Tom Loeser, artist and professor of art and woodworking at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Jennifer-Navva Milliken, artistic director the Center for Art in Wood; and New York-based artist, art promoter, and designer Cheryl R. Riley.
“Making a Seat at the Table: Women Transform Woodworking” is made possible with assistance from The Krenov Foundation and a grant from the Furniture Society through its EFASO program. A Craft Research Fund grant from the Center for Craft facilitated the research for the exhibit and related publication.
The exhibition program at the Center for Art in Wood is supported by the Cambium Giving Society of the Center for Art in Wood, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and Windgate Charitable Foundation. Corporate support is provided by Boomerang Inc., Penn State Industries, Signarama Center City, and Sunlite Corporation.