Telling Tales

29th Annual Juried Woodworking Exhibition

June 1, 2023 – August 27, 2023

Stories allow us to make sense of the world, find new perspectives, and explore how we want things to be, even if that is very far away from how they are. We understand ourselves through the stories of others. Everyone has an impactful story to tell.

Telling Tales, the Wharton Esherick Museum’s 29th Annual Juried Woodworking Exhibition, celebrates the importance of storytelling in Esherick’s life and career by featuring twenty-five artists whose work is a testament to the power of a well-told story. Across a wide array of artistic approaches, Telling Tales showcases how skillfully and effectively wood can be used to tell stories drawn from the expanse of human experience and feeling.

This virtual exhibition features the works of all 25 included artists. These works are also available for viewing in a publication which is available as a digital download or in hard copy. The artworks selected for First, Second, and Third place and Honorable Mention will also be on display in the Visitor Center through August 27th. Our Visitor Center is open during our current tour hours (Thurs – Sun 10am – 3pm). Please note, guests wishing to enter the Studio must make advance reservations for a tour. Be sure to visit the Wharton Esherick Museum Facebook page to cast your vote(s) for the Telling Tales Viewer’s Choice prizewinner– voting is open to the public through June 9th!

Many of the works showcased in Telling Tales are available for purchase and the WEM store also features new jewelry and home-goods made by artists featured in the exhibition, including Morgan Hill, Anna Hitchcock, and Colin Pezzano.

2023 Guest Jurors: BA Harrington and Adam John Manley

BA Harrington is a wood artist, Profes­sor of Wood­work­ing, and Direc­tor of the Wood Center at Indiana Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia (IUP). Adam John Manley is a wood artist, Assis­tant Profes­sor of Furni­ture Design and Wood­work­ing at San Diego State Univer­sity, and the co-founder of the contem­po­rary craft zine/​journal, CRAFT DESERT.

First Place: Lucia Garzón

Lucia Garzón, Dad’s Cart, 2019. Wooden janitor’s cart, caution sign, broom, video, 42” x 30” x 42”

Dad’s Cart is a wooden replica of the janitor’s cart that my dad uses to clean buildings at night. When I was a kid, I would go to the office buildings with my dad to help clean. I have fond memories of these times and I wanted to recreate them out of wood, which has a tough and raw materiality that relates to the subjects of my work. 

I often show Dad’s Cart alongside a video of my dad cleaning an office bathroom with wooden cleaning supplies that I made, including a wooden spray bottle, plunger, and duster.

My work investigates the intersection between my personal experiences growing up in a multicultural immigrant household and the many different customs, traditions, and stories that my family has passed on to me. Through an interdisciplinary practice including installation, textiles, wood, and video, I address the complexities of trying to honor and navigate the dense histories of my family. Immigration, labor, and personal identity are some central themes present in my work which aims to celebrate my family’s resilience and reveal the many futilities of living and working under a capitalist society.

Lucia Garzón is an interdisciplinary artist working in a range of media including wood, textiles, print, and video. Lucia graduated from Tyler School of Art in 2018 with a BFA in printmaking. The main themes in Lucia’s work focuses on the intersection between personal identity and the immigrant values and histories passed on through her family. Lucia was awarded the Joseph Roberts Foundation grant in 2019 along with a solo show at Da Vinci Art Alliance. Lucia has been an apprentice at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, attended Acre Residency, and was an artist in residence at University of the Arts ILab. Lucia currently lives and works in Philadelphia.  |  @luciagarzon

Second Place: Suzi Fox

Suzi Fox, Gentle Persuaders, 2012. Assorted hammers, 34″ x 2″ x 12″.

With Gentle Persuaders, I found an assortment of hammers that were about to be discarded. The history of use was visible on each hammer. I kept it very simple and carved them into fingers. The title is a humorous take on the idea that if you cannot get something to conform to your will, hit it hard enough with a hammer.

My work explores connections between the object, tool, and maker. It examines the action of making and my ideas of identity expanded through tools and the objects they create. The maker transfers something of themselves into the work through their labor. These objects are personalized by subverting their function or by adding autobiographical elements. In some pieces, a tool is no longer just an implement of function invisible to the viewer, but the primary focus to be engaged as an object of contemplation.

I am interested in the process as a way to develop ideas. Responding to a material’s inherent characteristics and discovering how to manipulate or  emphasize those qualities is my catalyst for art making. At the start of each of my projects, the concept is unformed. The choice of objects and materials I use influences me because they have a history, or a specific memory associated with them. Only when I engage in the cycle of constructing am I able to understand the materials and develop ideas about potential interpretations. This rhythm of physical work and mental comprehension allows my focus to shift to find deeper conceptual relationships in a specific piece or body of work. Ultimately my work explores connections between the process of manipulating material, form, and the potential play of meaning.”

Suzi Fox, How to win friends and influence people, 2016. Jorgensen handscrew clamp, utility blade, 2” x 4” x 10 1/4”.

“How to win friends and influence people gets its title from the Dale Carnegie book. It relates to my personal experiences and observations of how people interact with one another. The Jorgensen clamp, carved into fingers, holds a utility knife blade. On the surface of the utility blade is an etched image of a handshake, a symbol of greeting or agreement. The piece suggests that if someone was to tighten down the clamp, the blade could cut deeper into the wood. The parts are minimal and quick to read, but when connected with the title it introduces an element of humor and irony.”

Suzi Fox is a sculptor based in Virginia; she has exhibited in several national and regional exhibitions. She transforms pre-existing objects into sculptures that playfully allude to navigating interpersonal encounters or that mine her life’s cross-cultural experiences.

Fox received her education from the Rhode Island School of Design with an MFA in Sculpture and from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in Sculpture. She currently works at American University in Washington D.C.

Third Place: John R.G. Roth

John R.G. Roth, Cenotaph for the Blithely Alacritous, 2020. Cherry, digital image, model scenery, epoxy clay, 20” x 10” x 30”. (top)

John R.G. Roth, Anthropocene Reliquary, 2021. Ebonized ash, digital photo, model scenery, found bone, 21” x 11” x 32”. (bottom)

“These works represent an account of myself as a maker and my very early interest in miniature worlds.

The people of Iceland are making an effort to replace trees that were harvested since the year 1000. This forestry/tree farming was very thought provoking to me during and after my visit. Cenotaph for the Blithely Alacritous is the memorial for the forests harvested in an unsustainable fashion. Anthropocene Reliquary obliquely references the effects of human-kind’s extractive economic model on our life support system. This “reliquary” is both a memento and evidence of past activity.

My most recent works represent a transition that is occurring in my studio practice. Earlier concerns with polymorphic hybrid forms have progressed to include speculative environments to create context. These early forms originated from an interest in anthropomorphism and were partially informed by Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, Oryx and Crake. Her novel is a vivid depiction of genetic manipulation gone wrong. These new contexts originate from a long-time interest in the interactions of human activity on the landscape and the use of model landscape materials I’ve used for model trains since my middle school years. 

In 2016, I spent September at the Gullkistan artist residency in Iceland. That location was a jumping off point for exploring and photographing the various natural features that in many cases serve as the backdrops for my latest diorama works. With this format, I’m working on the nexus of the photograph/model that has emerged from a variant of the film technique of rear screen projection.  In these works I hope to invite viewers into a space for contemplation that provokes questions about simulation, display, perception and the human impact on our natural world.”

John R.G. Roth was raised in the Chicago area. He earned a BS Art Education and Industrial Arts Education from Northern Michigan University, and an MFA in Sculpture and Painting from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Before entering university, Roth worked in construction, on dairy farms, in retail management, in a lumber mill, and as a maintenance mechanic in a foundry, furniture factory, and chemical plant. He also taught K-6th grade art in a four-room schoolhouse in rural Michigan. During graduate school, he was employed as a technician in a contract industrial research laboratory where he fabricated laboratory apparatus, models, prototypes and performed destructive testing. 

Roth has shown his sculpture in New York, London, Ottawa ON, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles. He’s been teaching sculpture for the past 27 years and currently holds the position of Associate Professor and Chair of the Art Department at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

Honorable Mention: Anna Hitchcock

Anna Hitchcock, These Hands Are Getting Heavy, 2022. Basswood, 16″ x 5″ x 12″. Photography by Mark Juliana.

My work contends with the pressure to fill expectations of vulnerability as a survivor of sexual violence. Through sculptural self-portraiture, I explore the practices of emotional display and concealment as motivated by personal desire and societal coercion.

In the past, I have used graphic figurative imagery to engage viewers’ attention and empathy, opening my story up to emotional voyeurism. This experience has driven me to seek a visual language that will balance my desire for honest vulnerability with protective anonymity.

These Hands Are Getting Heavy consists of a pair of carved hands emerging from the wall. Their position suggests they are carrying something weighty yet unseen, the only proof of their struggle being their strained pose.

The hands’ open posture and raw carving-marks display honest vulnerability and emotion. They are boldly visible with the pain of trauma. Yet, the hands are just a segment of the body they belong to, and their interaction with the wall draws attention to the concealment of the rest of the figure. By denying the audience the spectacle of the entire body, the piece questions the neutrality of its viewers and of the gallery wall.

Although the carved hands show pain and struggle through their texture and position, this sculpture cannot fully convey the story of the trauma within it. Instead, it speaks to the complexities of storytelling in the context of sexual violence. Its focus on concealment highlights the role that deliberate anonymity can play in maintaining resilience and navigating public vulnerability.

Through this work, I hope to expose the complications of relying heavily on stories of individual trauma to catalyze social change. This practice places an expectation of vulnerability on survivors of sexual violence but does little to help carry its weight or defend against emotional voyeurism.

Anna Hitchcock is an artist and woodworker. Her work focuses on sculptural self-portraiture as a means of engaging with vulnerability. Anna studied art at Macalester College and woodworking at Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, ME, where she recently returned for an Endowed Fellowship. Her artwork has been exhibited across the country and was included in the 2022 Newport Biennial. She currently lives and works in Rhode Island.  |  @annamhitch

Juried Selections

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Click on the tabs below to learn more about each artist featured in the 29th Annual Juried Woodworking Exhibition.

Andy Buck, Alfred, 2018. Wood, laser engraved plywood, paint, magnets, 13″ x 9″ x 1″. Photography by Rachel Ferarro

Alfred was created (whittled in my studio) after my dad died. During a time of extreme sadness, I found comfort with recently learned skills in sloyd carving knives. I found myself carving. This was when the normal larger scale work seemed too much. The process was both a meditation and an acknowledgement of all my feelings. 

A dear friend and well known poet, Carl Adamshick, with whom I have had a long friendship, showed up at the exact perfect time. He was interested in my creative output, and did not shy away from the grief and duress I was feeling. He helped me make sense of my carved figures, and together we created life and a story for each carved figure. We even published a book! These figures represent a grouping of work that builds a story through feeling from my heart to my hands, but also from my friend’s interpretation, who, with his generous wisdom, carried it further.

I honestly cannot say exactly why I make the things that I do, only that I am attracted to a particular aesthetic. Certain types of objects resonate with me and these sources challenge and drive my work. For instance, I love the look of rusty old bits of metal, or textured and weather-beaten painted surfaces. Only time can create such beautiful samples. For inspiration, I often look to folk art and to African and Aboriginal art. I love to see the many interpretations of the world, through the objects around us and I am inspired by the human handprint and by the beautiful quirk of many things made by hand. 

I have faith that color, form, and composition can communicate as powerfully as words. In the studio, the creative process entrances me. I enjoy working with my hands and with my ideas. The dreaming that is part of my process stays with me for many days and nights as I imagine the many possible outcomes of my work. With each piece, I am interested in content and in the overall demeanor of the object. When I build, I want the technique, simple or complicated, to suit the work at hand.  In the end, I believe an idea shines brightest when it is not overshadowed by technical distractions and that the best craftsmanship can be invisible.

An active maker for more than 30 years, Andy Buck has taught and exhibited his work in the United States, Europe and Australia. Bringing together traditional craftsmanship, investigations in form, pattern, and colorful painted surfaces, his works of furniture and sculpture are included in both public and private collections. Based in Upstate New York, Buck maintains a studio practice and leads the Woodworking and Furniture Design program at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Andy Buck  |  Instagram: @buckogram

Peyton Dolin, Ideas Within: Recollecting the Life and Home of Memphis Tennessee Garrison, 2021. Wood, paint, old photographs, site-specific wallpaper and flooring, 24” x 24” x 12”.

Memphis Tennessee Garrison was a Black woman devoted to education and civil rights issues who had a profound impact on West Virginia from 1952 until her passing in 1988. Garrison is most famous for being the first female of the West Virginia State Teachers Association, and for organizing WV’s third chapter of the Gary Branch of the NAACP in 1921. She moved to Huntington, West Virginia in 1952 and is responsible for inspiring a new generation of black youth, working simultaneously as a substitute teacher, and serving in local, state, and national NAACP positions. 

Memphis lived in her home for 30+ years where she often housed NAACP meetings allowing the black community to find solutions to their challenges together. On January 23, 2017, her house was added to the National Register of Historic Places and is presently underway of being restored into a museum made possible by the efforts of the Carter G. Woodson Memorial Foundation. After connecting with the project manager of the Memphis Tennessee Garrison House Rehabilitation Project, I became inspired to honor place as equally as person, which led to the foundation of this project.

Utilizing a range of materials to create conceptual, multi-layered works, my construction process relies heavily on mixed media materials ranging from clay, wood, paint, and found objects. The driving force behind these works lies in my passion for exploring rich histories and creating art that honors people and place. This past year, I have sought to elevate BIPOC and LGBTQ voices from those in my own Huntington, West Virginia community. Moving forward, I would like to explore my own identity as a queer person growing up in West Virginia.

Peyton Dolin (25, they/she) is a queer fine artist and poet from West Virginia. They are impassioned by nature and the art of visual storytelling; often seeking inspiration from regional foliage, vegetation, wildlife, and histories of influential BIPOC and LGBTQ+ Appalachians. Most recently, they are driven to illuminate the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic on Appalachia’s blue-collar working class.

Dolin received their BFA in Sculpture from Marshall University in 2021 and draws upon illustration, woodworking, and ceramics in their practice. After graduation, Dolin completed an apprenticeship at Blenko Glass Company in traditional woodcarving and has since taken to woodturning, becoming a member of the American Association of Woodturners. They presently have two permanent installations on display at Marshall University honoring the life of the late Mildred Mitchell-Bateman and Marshall’s diverse spectrum of students, faculty, and alumni, and now sell their work inside the Showcase Gallery at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.

Instagram: @peytondolin

Kagen Dunn, A Cabinet for Found Dust, 2022. Dust, glass, maple, 9″ x 6″ x 3″.

We often overlook the tiniest details within our lives. The crevices and cracks of the everyday are filled with various remnants and debris that contains a history connecting the many occupants throughout spaces. This cabinet contains dust that was gathered from a community woodshop. Some of the dust collected came from the creation of this box; Some of it comes from other peoples’ projects.

I collect items that accumulate in my life through daily routines as a way to record my interactions with the world and the effects it has on me. I collect tangible materials and intangible residues that are left behind after use. In doing so, I capture the feelings of place and time whose expression cannot be expressed in the physical realm. These keepsakes are evidence of existence. Their power sustains the connection between my passing in the world, memories of time and its passing along. I collect my materials methodically and mindfully, gradually amassing a collection that reveals its history through wears, stains, and tears.

Kagen Dunn graduated from the University of Texas Arlington with a Bachelor of Fine Art in December of 2018. While attending UTA, Kagen concentrated in Glass where she would combine traditionally engendered crafts to create uncertainty that challenges the perceived expectations of how a process or materials should operate.

Kagen has exhibited her work in juried art shows nationally. The most notable exhibitions include PIVOT (Imagine Museum, St. Petersburg, FL), Bridging the Gap: Contemporary Craft Practices (Sandra J. Blain Gallery, Gatlinburg, TN), and the 6th Annual Regional Juried Exhibition (Artspace III, Fort Worth, TX). Most recently, she was selected to participate in Essence (Envision Arts) and was awarded Best in Show. Kagen has also been honored to have received scholarships to attend workshop intensives at Pilchuck Glass School, UrbanGlass, Penland School of Craft and Pittsburgh Glass Center. Currently, Kagen is pursuing an MFA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  |  Instagram: @kagen_dunn

Carolyn Grew-Sheridan (1947-1996), Pierced Hope, 1996. Wood, paper, twig spear, 10” x 5” x 8”. Photography by Schopplein Studio.

Pierced Hope expresses the artist’s shock at receiving a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and learning that she would have less than a year to live. In that year, she taught a seminar at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, carving to students in Oakland, California, finished some major commissions and was part of an exhibit in the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution.

Pierced Hope is a mitered box made of Sierra Pine, a twig, shavings and recycled paper. It references mortality and deforestation. Ms Grew-Sheridan died of pancreatic cancer in 1996 at age 48. She observed: “A living pine tree: the shared beginning of a piece of solid pine and a pile of unnecessary mail. Here the junk mail is glued to form a solid board and integrated into the object.

Pierced Hope addresses the issues of use and misuse of timber resources. Pine pulp farms in some locations replace diverse forests in the name of reforestation. But a sustainable, ecologically-rich forest is possible. Pierced Hope is intended to be a meditation on the necessity of thinking and working in new ways, but it primarily expresses the maker’s despair that she will not have a role in creating the solutions.

Written by John Sheridan 

Nathaniel Hall, Positively Negative, 2021. Bleached Ash, 55” x 29” x 17

This piece is a play on positive and negative. 

During the course of the pandemic, our president made some disturbingly humorous comments. One in particular was when he referred to himself as being, “positively negative” of the corona-virus. This was said during a time when people were losing their lives to this virus. Although the pandemic is as serious as it gets, what I ran with was the idea of being positively negative in a 3-dimensional illustration.  This piece was not inspired by his words, but rather as a reaction to them.

Functionality is the foundation that I create within. It is a strict belief of mine that objects should be more than just a visual accessory. Using references and inspiration from the human body, humor, and perversion, I three-dimensionally illustrate ideas and situations from my life. I enjoy creating objects that resemble everyday identifiable forms but in a much more distilled fashion. The resulting forms leave the viewer to fill in the details as they remember them from their personal life experiences. These vague forms enjoy finding their place in people’s lives as furniture with the ability to inspire conversations.

Nathaniel Hall grew up in Attica, NY. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Furniture Design and Woodworking from Buffalo State College and his MFA in Furniture Design from San Diego State University. His award-winning work is in many private collections across the country. Hall is known to be an educator in the medium and currently resides in San Diego. He runs his own studio there and continues to produce his very unique and one of a kind functional objects. Keep an eye out for the next Nate-oddity.  |  Instagram: @rx_madera

Morgan Hill, Attend, 2022. Carved poplar, paint, various hardwoods, resin, mirror, upholstery thread, steel, 82” x 28” x 2”. (left)

Morgan Hill, Restore Your Agency IV, 2022. Various scorched woods, resin, magnets, approximately 18” x 30” x 2”. (right)

Attend encompasses the history and stories of the women in my family and women who have greatly influenced me.  It is layers of legend and legacy of all the women who have taught me to be vulnerable yet unapologetic. This piece represents how I honor those stories and also how I continue to shape my own. It is the evolving story of my realized self.

Restore Your Agency IV reflects how, often in my life, I use ritual to officially rid my heart or mind from intangible toxicity. In these moments, an object I borrow or create becomes my own solid, recognizable character representing the story or force that needs to be discarded. A figurine, an iPod, a box holding something that once felt sacred: these become symbols of discomfort, as well as tools for releasing negative energy and creating transformation. After the ceremony, these items become symbols of guidance, empowerment, and peace. Together they take on a new form and tell a story.

Morgan Hill is a sculptor and jewelry designer whose work draws on a wide range of aesthetic and conceptual influences from 90’s pop-culture, horror films and couture fashion to her Southern, Christian upbringing and experiences as the only female child in an extended family of farmers in Eastern Arkansas. Her longing to break the silence surrounding culturally censured topics drives her to create work on themes of death, abuse, depression and suicide, as well as their counterparts of rebirth, healing and empowerment. On the lighter side, her jewelry brand Bad Habits by Morgan Hill celebrates the pleasure of excess and indulged desires.

Morgan’s formal art education began at the Memphis College of Art where she focused on drawing. She also studied interior design and ultimately earned a BFA in Woodworking and Furniture Design from the University of Arkansas Little Rock. She was a Core Fellow at the Penland School of Craft from 2015-2017 where she worked with renowned artists and designers and studied techniques ranging from chainsaw carving to metalwork to neon tube bending. In 2018, she was an ITE Windgate Fellow at the Center for Art in Wood, and in 2022, she was awarded the Chrysalis Award by the James Renwick Alliance. Her work is carried in galleries across the US and internationally. She creates her work at Treats Studios in Spruce Pine, NC, a studio cooperative she co-founded.  |  Instagram: @morganhillcreative

Rob Hiza, Trust, 2022. Maple, milk paint, oil, 40” x 9” x 17”. 

Trust is the beginning of an exploration of dynamic, interactive seating that examines relationships and the emotions around them. My aim is to create pieces that act as a physical manifestation of an emotion that pushes that feeling into the forefront of one’s mind when they take a seat. As a 3 legged bench with one end sharply cantilevered and the top slightly out of level it initially appears impractical, if not unusable, but seating has always been more than furniture to me; it’s an interaction, an experience, not just a static piece. While this bench could work perfectly well for one, it’s the dynamic that happens when two people are seated that really make it sing. For a second person to join trust must be put in the first; their continued presence being necessary to counterbalance the unsupported half of the bench. With the careful collaboration of both the bench can be brought into level, at which point the shorter third leg falls out, forcing the pair to work together to stay upright. This physical communication between the couple voices what might be left unsaid.

I made this piece without fully realizing its significance. It was designed and built as part of a timed build off, and while the design spoke to me it took a while to work out what it was trying to tell me. This happened at a time of turmoil in a close relationship; the piece coming out as a subconscious reflection of some of the issues that I had been examining in the previous weeks. I had been thinking a lot about the foundations of intimacy, specifically the necessity of communication and trust, and lamenting how a breakdown of this had caused a schism between myself and someone I held dearly. The bench became perhaps a heavy handed reaction to my own tendency towards emotional detachment. It served as a reminder to work with people; to trust that opening up and collaborating with them will strengthen our bond. 

When I look at this bench I no longer see a piece of furniture, I see a nudge to approach life with more trust, collaboration, and balance than I might otherwise.

Rob Hiza is a furniture maker based out of Rockland Maine. After taking a class at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship he went on to attend North Bennet Street School’s cabinet and furniture program before entering into the field full time. Rob lived in New York City building pieces for and running the shop of a custom furniture business as well as working with clients in his personal practice. Recently, he made the move to Maine, where he now splits his time between personal work, commissions, and working at CFC.  |  Instagram: @hh_woodworking

Bob Holcombe, A Good Fight, 2022. Wood, paint, 9″ x 11″ x 17″. 

In Mid-March 2020, Covid-19 seemed to come out of nowhere here in Kansas. Because of underlying health concerns, we felt it best to be careful, practice common sense safety measures, and ultimately stay at home for as long as we had to. My wife and I, both newly retired, adjusted to having appointments and meetings on Zoom. Our social life and even spending face time with our five young grandkids was put on hold. Through these months we’ve listened to the experts, vaxxed and boosted when it was suggested, gone through boxes of N95 masks and have come out on the other side of this long pause in our lives feeling fortunate and better for the good fight we’ve won.

Bob Holcombe is a retired graphic designer living in Manhattan, Kansas. He has a BFA from Louisiana State University and a MFA in printmaking from Illinois State University. A firm believer in “busy hands are happy hands,” he spends his free time making objects in wood.

Danny Kamerath, Tom, 2005. Texas ebony, 13 1/2″ x 12 3/4″ 31 1/2″. 

I made this chair out of Texas ebony and named it after my running buddy Tom Small. When he saw it he wanted one too and commissioned me to make a second one. Tom’s chair was made from African blackwood and ziricote. It is my favorite chair. At just under 13” wide, the scale and proportions are unexpected but work and it’s comfortable. It’s the only chair I have made more than one of. I consider it the most elegant object I have made. Tom would sit on Tom when he put on his running shoes. 

Tom and I ran 12 marathons and logged more than 10,000 miles together. You spend that much time with someone, you get to know them pretty well. Tom was the smartest man I have ever known. He was what I call “engaged with the universe”. He read everything. He seemed interested in anything. He was funny and self-effacing. He was well traveled. I never saw him unhappy or glum. And he always had something to talk about which was a great distraction when my knees, feet, muscles, everything, started to ache during our interminable runs. He was the perfect running partner.

Tom was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. His wife Catherine had to put him in a memory care facility in Austin, Texas. She was able to take a few things to personalize his room. She took a few family photos, one of her small paintings (she is an artist) and his Tom chair. She said they were things that meant a lot to him. Tom was put into Hospice care six weeks later and died a few days after that. He was 65 years old. The world is a lesser place without Tom Small in it. 

Catherine moved to Washington DC after Tom’s death to be close to her daughter and grandchildren. She keeps Tom in the foyer of her new house. Tom is the last thing she sees when she leaves and the first thing she sees when she comes home.

Danny Kamerath makes objects from wood. “Furniture, sculpture, vessels and all sorts of small whimsical things. I try to make beautiful stuff. Interesting, elegant, sturdy, strong, smart stuff. I do my own design. I don’t follow trends, but I don’t ignore tradition either. I use the best materials. I learn every day. I work hard to make good stuff.”

Kamerath graduated from East Texas State University (now known as Texas A&M-University-Commerce) with double majors in drawing/painting and advertising design. He went to college to major in sculpture, but the advertising design department had the greatest teacher I have ever known, and encouraged him to become a designer. Kamerath worked for more than 20 years as a designer, art director and illustrator. He began making furniture in 1990 and decided in 2005 to pursue it full time.

Kathleen Kilanowski, Aurora, 2023. Solid ash, 8″ x 5″ x 47″.

Aurora tells a story of healing. She illustrates that the complexity of our scars is part of what makes us beautiful; that they shed light on how far we’ve come. I lived most of my life as an alcoholic in denial, suppressing truths that were too hard to look at rather than staring them down. I was a child born after the death of a sibling that I never knew. I carried the weight of this without understanding where that weight came from, or how to unpack it. I drank to disassociate from those feelings that I couldn’t define. I became a victim of sexual abuse on numerous occasions from losing awareness/consciousness, and subsequently carried guilt which fueled more drinking. I harmed people I loved to satisfy a selfish need to feed my impulses. I fed a narrative that there was a limit to my potential in order to run from the fear that I would never become the best version of myself.

When I hit my personal “rock bottom,” I made the decision to get sober and work with a spiritual therapist who became my teacher. On July 31 of 2020, I had my last sip of alcohol and haven’t touched it since. I started rebuilding and writing a new narrative for my life and my future; one that is more magnificent than I ever could have imagined.

Recently, I’ve been struggling with detaching myself from a particular scenario that occurred in my past. I’ve been wrestling with how to seek closure with one of my abusers, and wondering if closure could even be found by addressing them. As always and without fail, the act of creating helped me find resolution within myself. During the late-night hours in the shop, it dawned on me that my experience with this person is another piece of my story that has contributed to the fabric of my being. I don’t need to detach myself from it; I need to accept that it’s part of me and be at peace with it. This led to asking myself, “How do I come to peace with something so ugly?” The answer I found was to use my power to transform my pain into something positive. The day after I finished creating Aurora, I applied to take part in a certified training program that will allow me to volunteer with a local organization for women against sexual assault (BAWAR).

The story that Aurora tells is important because as humans, we can only begin to heal each other if we are able to heal ourselves.

Katie Kilanowski is a woodworker in San Francisco, CA, who produces custom furniture at GO Build Studio and teaches woodworking classes at craft schools such as Clayroom SOMA, Workshop SF, and the Nueva School in San Mateo. She is currently shifting her artistic focus to produce lighting fixtures and interior sculpture by coopering steam-bent pieces into fluid landscapes.  |  Instagram: @katiekila

Liz Koerner, 728 Ontario, 2018. Douglas fir, basswood, gray mirror, vintage wallpaper, steel, paint, 20″ x 22″ x 19″.

728 Ontario is based on a bathroom in my grandparents’ 1950s home. The form of the sink has been simplified and it and the gray mirror are turned sideways to create a sense of disorientation and uncanniness.  The bottom of the sink suggests a pregnant belly. The story this artwork tells is nonlinear. It is about multiple concepts and emotions overlapping: feeling biological connection to kin, confronting entropy of the body, fear, anxiety, familiarity, intimacy, mystery, and the subconscious weight of ancestors. The folding frames suggest a realm that can be open or closed off, like a memory. The piece is specific to my experience but uses recognizable forms to reference universal themes.

My works are based on the premise that the home is an extension of the body and that we have subconscious physical and psychological connections to our built environment. Fixtures like sinks, bathtubs and heaters reference the body explicitly because they serve basic biological needs. They are often overlooked. It is this invisibility combined with their familiarity and intimate nature that gives them power. I abstract built-in fixtures to explore themes of time, memory, emotion, and entropy. 

The imagery that I reference is drawn from the homes of my family members. Materiality is an important component of my works. Objects that are typically made from metal or porcelain are carved from basswood, giving them warmth. Handmade textiles represent time and labor condensed into fragile renderings of things that are usually durable, such as vinyl flooring or the ceramic brick of a heater. Textiles serve as a link between the body and architecture. As our most primitive bodily protection, we have an instinctual understanding of them as comforting. The softness of cloth echoes the fragility of our own bodies.

I intend for my works to trigger emotional responses and to elicit a sense of quietness and uncanniness that is understood through the body. I use material shifts and alterations of space and color to arouse feelings of disorientation, possibility, and openness. I seek to create moments when vulnerability feels simultaneously unsettling and peaceful. Where one might dwell in groundlessness.

Liz Koerner makes mixed-media sculptures inspired by the built environment. She earned a BFA from California College of the Arts in 2009 and an MFA in Woodworking/Furniture from San Diego State University in 2019. Liz has been the recipient of many awards and residencies including an Arkansas Art Council Individual Artist Fellowship, a Penland Core Fellowship, and a Haystack Open Studio Residency. She currently lives in Little Rock, AR. |  Instagram: @_basalt_

Fernando Martinez, Arbiter’s Chair, 2017-2022. Mixed media, 62″ x 18″ x 64″.

Found in an alleyway in Los Angeles, this may be one of the last remaining arbiter’s chairs. Remote and impoverished areas of northern Mexico, southern California and parts of the southwest bordering Mexico had little or no access to a judicial system. Disputes were often about land borders and water supply rights. Disagreements could often end in death as water became desperately scarce. Added into this desperation was a mix of clashing cultures such as Mexican, Native American, and white farmers and ranchers. 

Eventually, villages created their own legal system and in so doing appointed someone from that village to act as an arbitrator. The need became so great that arbitrators were often called to help in other villages in which no legal system existed. As time passed these arbitrators, who were mostly women, began to codify their practice and travel from village to village offering their services. Eventually a metaphorical object to settle these disputes was created much like a judges gavel or a jury box in our current legal trial system. This object eventually became the arbiter’s chair in which two disputing parties had to sit on either end of the cabinet. Disputing parties needing to sit simultaneously and balance each other’s weight began a symbolic act of cooperation and compromise.

In my work I am exploring how cultural traditions and socio-economic pressure can affect functional objects, how these pieces change over time to better suit shifting needs and how contrasting cultures converge to create a new amalgam. With my work I often include a fictitious written history and a curatorial examination of the pieces that I create. This imagined history allows me to explore furniture as more than just an object of function but rather a window into the society in which it was made. I hope in this way to celebrate the differences and commonalities of diverse societies. We live in a world in which boundaries are constantly challenged and it is my goal to try and understand these global shifts.

Rob Millard-Mendez, Loveboat for H.C. Westermann, 2021. Wood, paint, hardware, brass, plastic, 20″ x 20″ x 30″.

This piece is a tribute to an artist who had a strong sense of narrative in his work, H.C. Westermann. The sculpture alludes to Westermann’s work and the teeth in the piece refer to a famous story about when the artist had a bad experience at a party on Block Island. 

The primary aim in my work is to illustrate and analyze concepts that I find enthralling.  The resulting objects deal on many levels with formal and conceptual issues.  In my work, I hope to show an equal blending of art, craft, and the presentation of engaging ideas in intriguing ways.  The works are meant to involve the viewer visually and intellectually.  

My sources include mythology, science, history, and American Folk Art (among others).  The objects I make reflect the sensibilities of a person steeped in New England practicality who (for better or worse) ended up learning about things like art history, existentialist philosophy, and post-structuralist theory.  Many of my sculptures are based on themes from classical mythology viewed through the lens of contemporary events.  I have a strong interest in how mythemes surface and re-surface throughout human history in many varied (but related) guises.  I very much enjoy how masks and figurative sculptures are used in disparate cultures to play out everyday dramas that echo age-old narratives.  

Craft is an important aspect of my work. I enjoy working with a wide range of materials. Every material has a voice and a logic of its own; one of the most magical things about being an artist is playing with materials and uncovering their expressive potential. I identify strongly with the idea of the artist as a kind of Daedalean hybrid: artist/artisan/shaman.  Visual art, like mythology, has the power to compel us with its resonant imagery.  It is my hope that my works will, in some small way, enrich the viewer and make her/him see the world as slightly more tragic or laughable (or possibly both at the same time).

Rob Millard-Mendez is a maker of sculptural objects. After receiving a BFA in Sculpture, he went on to receive an MFA in Sculpture from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He is currently a Professor in the Art and Design Department at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, Indiana, and has shown his work in over 500 exhibitions in all 50 states as well as internationally. |  Instagram: @millardmendez

Matthew Olson, Super H, 2021. Wood, Steel, 36″ x 36” x 8″. Photography by Tannaz Hajimirzaamin.

Rooted in the interruptions of life and how I make the metaphorical connections, my work delves into my own experiences and memories. Symbolic of the act of collision and exchange, the sculpture’s balance, refinement and restraint to form into material meditations of how interruptions are exposed from the inside out.

Super H is one such material meditation. The lumber that was used to create it was cut many years ago by my late grandfather and brought back to my studio after attending my paternal grandmother’s funeral. When reflecting about their influence, this material became the impetus in which I used to transform a familiar object that I hadn’t thought about for decades; a steering wheel knob salvaged from a 1957 Farmall Super H tractor that our family restored twenty years ago. 

This object conjures past summers of not being able to carry and stack hay bales on hayracks, and when my grandpa would let me steer the tractor while he drove straight-ahead for several yards, then stop. The vividness of this memory is paralleled by expanding the scale of the object, crafted with dedication to a material that is the personification of my lineage, remembrance, and loss.

Matthew Joseph Olson was born and raised in Minnesota. He grew up on his family’s farm and for a number of years worked as a union laborer in several fields of the construction industry including; underground utilities, masonry, welding and bridge building.  Olson received his BFA and MA from Minnesota State University-Mankato and his MFA from Pennsylvania State University.  Olson serves several roles in the Penn State School of Visual Arts. Currently, he is the Shop Supervisor for the Woodworking and Metalworking facility, and an Assistant Teaching Professor whose instruction spans undergraduate education with a focus on lower and upper level courses in sculpture and 3D foundations. His specialties include woodworking, metalworking, mixed-media fabrication and welding. Olson’s sculptural work has been exhibited locally and nationally.

Colin Pezzano, Quilt, 2022. Baltic birch plywood, acrylic paint, 42 1/2”x 52 1/2”x 1 1/4”. Photography by Ricky Christian.

This piece is a replica of a quilt my great grandmother had made. There is a hole torn in the middle of the quilt from wear. It’s an object that I’ve had my whole life and it tells the story of craft within my family. Through the process of carving this replica I connect my actions to my family’s history of craft and also to the histories of woodworking.

My practice is defined by my history and the history of my craft. I find inspiration in the significance of objects we surround ourselves with and the spaces they occupy. I build objects based on the narrative of memory, focused on the introspective, emotional conflict within. The objects accumulate and become spaces and sets. These tableaux vivants communicate between the past, present, and future. They are influenced by the structure of graphic novels. Specifically blood in the gutter, or the connections between the panels that enable the viewer to participate in the story and dictate the pacing of events.

I find the process of creation to be like a meditation – as in becoming immersed in the experience and resolving what each work communicates. I think of material as memory and process as the passage of time. By repeating the processes, we continue a dialogue our ancestors have started. By relying on woodworking processes, l connect my actions and memories to the traditions of my predecessors.

Craft is ritual and material is memory.

Colin Pezzano is a woodworker and craft artist based in South Philadelphia. His practice is defined by utilizing digital and hand processes to pass along humor, pathos, and memory into his chosen materials. Colin graduated from University of the Arts in 2014 with a BFA in Crafts and shortly after received the Windgate Fellowship Award. In 2022, he received the Windgate-Lamar Fellowship Award, given to awardees who have continued to evolve their practice post graduation. 

In the fall of 2022, Colin released a graphic novel told in 45 woodcuts titled, Soma. A “mundane horror”, the narrative investigates lived and imagined experience, corporality, and the passage of time. During his career Pezzano has participated in group shows, juried exhibitions and attended residencies in the USA and Sweden. He maintains his practice in his basement studio.  |  Instagram: @colinpezzano

Kara Beth Rasure, Absence.Wav, 2022. Wood, brass, 26′ ‘x 8 1/2” x 21 3/4”. 

Absence.Wav tells the story of human fragility, hope, death, reflection, and loss. It explores existential thought processes and feelings. It is an interactive automata piece that allows the viewer to interact with it in a playful and whimsical way. 

The work was inspired by a plotted image I created based on the amplitude and frequency of a sound recording.  I was sitting on my porch in late July listening to the trills and rhythmic pulse of crickets and cicadas, when I was left to think about the loss of a loved one.  The sounds insinuated a universal rhythm, a symphony for the backdrop of space, something gone missing. This piece was formed from the architecture of those sounds. 

In the middle of the automata mechanism, there is an earth, a mirrored cube, a hand, and an oak casket. There is a ladder coming out of the piece that insinuates a less than perfect journey. When you look inside, the playful ladder is hovering as if it is levitating, and it has shoes on. Why is it levitating? Where does the ladder go?  The piece tells a quirky story on its own that allows the viewer to crank their own narrative, but most importantly it gently facilitates our biggest questions, the largeness of our experiences, and the shortcomings of the human condition.

Kara Beth Rasure is an artist and musician residing in Bloomington, Indiana. She received her BFA in Furniture Design and is currently in the final semester of her MFA in Visual Arts from Herron School of Art and Design. Her love for music and sound recording inspires her work in woodworking and sculpture. When she’s not creating art in her home studio, she enjoys traveling to new places, drawing in her sketchbook, and daydreaming.  |  Instagram: @prismanaut

Peter Sandback, Log 2, 2022. Maple firewood, insulated copper wire, 14″ x 8″ x 19″. (left)

Peter Sandback, Log 5, 2022. Cherry firewood, nails, 8″ x 6″ x 16″. (right)

My recent work involves construction nails inlaid in firewood from my Father’s wood pile. Dad died suddenly 20 years ago. His woodpile at his beloved old family cottage has remained untouched for all of these years. The cottage had no insulation and a small wood stove that struggled to heat one room. Dad would often leave his home in the city and head north for some quiet time at the cottage -even in the middle of a frigid New Hampshire winter. The place and his time there were very meaningful to him. He would stoke that fire every 2 hours all night and all day. When I was younger it seemed heroic.

We recently sold the old cottage and had to consider what to do with all of the firewood that my father so carefully split and stacked. I took 2 dozen pieces to my studio, unsure of what to do with them.

My father was an artist too ( He was a minimalist sculptor. He spent many years constructing large sculptures from just a few strands of yarn. The installation space is transformed with this simple use of this simple material. He was proud that he could build a meaningful sculpture with 50 cents worth of yarn that he bought at Walmart. I considered a very inexpensive material that I might use to transform my firewood into something more than a piece of wood. 

My Dad had a small collection of intricate hand cut stencils used to decorate kimono fabric many years ago. After some trial and error I was able to transfer some of these patterns onto flat surfaces of the firewood with nails of various diameters. The nails are glued into pilot holes, clipped, sanded flush with the surface, then polished. I managed to decorate a plain old piece of firewood with a handful of plain old nails, or in one case insulated copper wire. My material cost gets pretty close to my Dad’s 50 cents.

Peter Sandback is an artist and furniture maker working in New Hampshire.  He uses nails to create intricate patterns on all varieties of objects and surfaces. The nails are glued into pilot holes, clipped, sanded flush with the  surface, then polished.  The result is a pattern of shiny dots of various diameters. Recently he has inlaid firewood, a baseball bat, a lump of coal, moose antlers, and a football helmet.

Peter received his BFA from the University of Michigan and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  |  Instagram: @petersandback

Peter Scheidt, Chair-Bar Cube (after Hans Wegner), 2021. Found chair, ash, steel, aluminum, 37” x 21” x 31”.

I created Chair-Bar Cube  in response to Hans Wegner’s Bar Cube design. It is built on top of a mid-century chair salvaged from Arkansas state surplus, and the color is derivative of the original upholstery I removed to create the piece. In Wegner’s original, the drawer is designed to work as support for the open lid creating tabletop space to mix cocktails. My mechanical addition choreographs this into one movement and is a homage to Wegner’s ingenuity.

Peter Scheidt, Folding Chair Embedded In Slab, 2022. Found chair, cherry, painted poplar, 23” x 21” x 42”. 

Folding Chair Embedded In Slab asks the viewer to consider the story and often overlooked processes between tree and chair. The raw bark edge of the board and its sawn face contrast the finished yet patinated surface of the chair. It is a mid-century Trieste chair by the designer Aldo Jacober. Though the mid-century aesthetic is known for its honest use of materials, we see little of the tree’s identity in the chair. I painted the parts I made black, to identify the components fabricated to join the two disparate elements into one freestanding construction.

Peter Scheidt grew up in Northern Illinois. He earned a bachelor’s degree in media theory from Brown University in Providence, RI and an MFA in furniture design and woodworking at San Diego State University. His studio practice is research and concept-driven yet firmly grounded in the craft of woodworking. Peter is currently the Windgate Assistant Professor of Furniture/Woodworking at UA Little Rock.  |  Instagram: @kurbsidewoodwright

Mark Tan, Unordinary Itinerary, 2022. 2×4’s, Plastic, Electronics, 60″ x 30″ x 10″.

Mark Tan, Index of the Unknown, 2021. White Oak, Paper, Hardware, 60″ x 7″ x 6″.

Index of the Unknown is a card catalog that contains my personal information of current and former “visitor information.” During the making of this piece, I started to question what a US visa really is and why is it that a single piece of paper with a number identifies myself in this country. Why is it difficult to achieve this status? The drawers on either side are locked and in numerical order, I have thought about how I will never know the identities of people who are before me, or after me. The countries they came from and what for? What was their migration story?”

In exploring other objects that could bring nostalgic feelings of experiences of my grandparents migration travels, I discovered a Solari Board, also known as a split-flap display board. This is an electromechanical display device that presents changeable alphanumeric texts as a way finder in transit hubs. When the information on the board changes, the wheels rotate until the proper flap is displayed, and with each flip the board makes a particular sound which becomes memorable to viewers, to notify that information has changed. The display provides an intuitive understanding of illusion and disillusion of arrival and departure destinations. The emotional excitement of the board evokes the possibility that soon, a train, a plane, a bus will take you away going somewhere.  Reflecting back on that time sitting at the airport waiting for the Department of Homeland Security to grant me access to the United States and my journey thus far, I looked back at the recorded time on my I-94.   I took the data and programmed every entry and exit in the United States onto a Raspberry Pi. I also used an Arduino to drive a series of circuit boards and motors to display lines of text over and over again. The sound represents the anticipation of travel, the same anticipation I felt when I was getting closer to achieving my American Dream.   This display board allowed me to trace back the moments of border crossings and the transit hubs I had to wait in to get me to my final destination entering and exiting the United States. I was able to see my life as a continuous scroll of text.

Mark Tan is a first-generation Canadian who was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario by Asian immigrants. He migrated to the United States and has lived here for 8 years. Through his work, Tan expresses the emotional value of preconceived notions, disconnectedness, and longing in search of finding place and acceptance within a community. Drawing from memory, personal narrative, emotion, and perception, Tan manipulates data into lines, forms, and materials through a subjective human experience from the lens of a non-citizen. By projecting the migration movement of his family lineage from China and the Philippines to Canada, as well as his path to the United States, Tan deconstructs and reconstructs the meaning and purpose of fragmented identity. Using statistical data that represents migration patterns, his own identification number, and metaphors around borders and access, Tan explores representations of phenomena, displacement, belonging, and defeat as a response to social and cultural order. Through his formal training as a woodworker, Tan’s work aims to communicate sympathy through hardship, accessibility, and the desire of a migrant finding place. He produces aesthetically engaging sculptural forms made from reclaimed solid wood, found materials, and domestic construction building materials at an architectural scale.  |  Instagram: @nintando

Janine Wang and Brian Skalaski, Nightstand (aka Everything you don’t want anyone to see), 2019. Turned and steam-bent white oak, maple, cherry, 20” x 16” x 20”.

… the primary function of furniture and objects here is to personify human relationships, to fill the space that they share between them, and to be inhabited by a soul.” —Jean Baudrillard

The wave of modern furniture that we are stepping down from sheds the symbolism of furniture for tact. Modern furniture is mobile, flexible, stripped down functional expedients. Though very rational, there is a certain impoverishment to them; an absence of style, and an absence of meaning. It is no surprise then that in many current furniture trends we can see everything that modern is not—Colorful, over the top things: lumpy, stylized, narrative, highly textured, unclean, even unusable. 

Furniture has a unique capacity to be intensely personal, in a way not well-afforded for by the modern aesthetic. My nightstand at home is one from Amazon, originally intended for my youngest brother, but so unparticular in its character, so functional, that it was easily passed over unassembled to me when I moved to Philadelphia. It’s such the epitome of unremarkable—a dull gray rectangular box of particleboard, with one drawer, that came flat in a box—that the contents housed within it feel almost disgustingly personal. A nightstand is actually a repository for the really intimate stuff of life. I’d like not to name what’s in my nightstand, but well, as Brian so aptly put it, “If you could you could put your whole life out on the table, you wouldn’t have a drawer in your nightstand.”


Janine is an artist and educator based in Philadelphia. She has worked for years in the home goods and furniture design industries while keeping one foot firmly rooted in the woodturning and hand-crafted world. Today she teaches woodworking and woodturning beside her studio practice, helping to spread the joy and empowerment of building the environment we live in, one object at a time.

Janine teaches at Bucks County Community College and nonprofit organization TinyWPA. She holds a BArch from the Cooper Union School for the Advancement of Science and Art and an MA in furniture design from the Rhode Island School of Design. She is a member of the AAW (American Association of Woodturners) and NBO (National Basketry Organization), has exhibited widely and done residencies at the Goggleworks Center for the Arts, Arrowmont School of Craft, Hunterdon Art Museum, Dovetail Wood Arts, and the Center for Art in Wood.

Brian Skalaski is a woodworker, artist, and furniture designer from Pittstown, NJ. Janine and Brian live in Philadelphia with their cats, Nori and Sesame. 

Janine: I believe that good furniture creates good positive behavior, and this involves more than a relationship held at a distance. It’s not just pictures we can see online, or what we read about, or what we are told. Furniture is a direct interface with the world. How we choose to furnish our lives is an empowering, fluid way that every person gets to paint their own values on the environment.

Brian: Our material world is a fascinating place. Almost everything that we touch has undergone a unique set of processes to become the objects we see around us. I have a special reverence for objects that have undergone “material alchemy.” Whether through the inferno of a kiln, or the sheer force of a hammer, I am fascinated by processes that change the very nature of a material. These alchemical forces are what drew me to the art of steam bending. Steam bending is a negotiation of material and maker, and a high-stakes gamble with surprises and abject failures. The uncertain and temperamental properties of this precarious process are what keep me engaged, on the fickle, winding, and challenging road to the end result. |  Instagram: @softlyshaped & @b.skalaski

Charles Wright, Humpty Dumpty and Knee on His Neck, 2022. Carved maple, eggshell, gemstone, gold leaf, 55” x 10” x 12”.

The killing of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin was an appalling public execution that was witnessed around the world. While attempting to make meaning of all that happened to George Floyd, the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme came to mind. 

Although it is a nursery rhyme, historically the Humpty Dumpty narrative has been used to demonstrate laws of thermodynamics, describe English politicians, and was the description of a large cannon used in an English Civil War. Seeing George Floyd’s neck and oval-shaped head under the knee of officer Chauvin, the Humpty Dumpty broken egg image came to mind.   As a sculptor of non-objective, organic form-oriented work, I have attempted, with this sculptural triptych display, to make an installation that links the Humpty Dumpty story to what we all witnessed during the killing of George Floyd.   

A common version of the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme is well known. My version of the poem places George Floyd in the role of Humpty Dumpty, and reads:  

”George Floyd lay dying on the deck

With Mr. Chauvin’s Knee on His Neck

Yes, George cried, but no one tried

To make George Floyd as he was before”

Charles Allen Wright is a retired art professor. He is a native of Conway, S.C. He began his studies in art at Coastal Carolina College (1974-1976); and completed the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio in 1978 with a concentration in painting and sculpture. In December 1983, he received the Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Washington University St. Louis, Missouri.

From 2017 – 2019 he served as the Dean of the College at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University in Grand Rapids Michigan. Before Kendall, he served as a Professor of Art and the Chair of the Department of Art at Western Illinois University from 2007 – 2017. From 1994 – 2005, he served as Chair of the Department of Visual Arts at Coastal Carolina University. His teaching career started at Coastal Carolina in 1885 as an adjunct sculpture professor.

Upcoming and Related Events

Spotlight Talk: Telling Tales Artist Lucia Garzón

Spotlight Talk: Telling Tales Artist Suzi Fox

Spotlight Talk: Telling Tales Artist John RG Roth

Telling Tales Catalog

This 70-page, full-color catalog is a comprehensive look at Telling Tales, the Wharton Esherick Museum’s 29th Annual Juried Woodworking Exhibition. This publication captures the innovative works of art, craft, and design by twenty-five artists whose work is a testament to the power of a well-told story. Each artwork in this year’s show is represented through imagery alongside artist statements and biographical information. The catalog also includes a welcome from WEM Executive Director Julie Siglin and an introduction from Emily Zilber, WEM Director of Curatorial Affairs and Strategic Partnerships.

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