Craft / Material Studies

Queer Threads | Event Series

Queer Threads: Making and Talking,
Fiber and Fashion Event Series

April 10-14, 2017

Queer Threads: Making and Talking, Fiber and Fashion” is a week-long event series funded by the VCUarts Inclusion Infusion Initiative, from April 10-14 at VCU’s Depot and satellite community locations. Please join us for a series of lectures, interactive community-inclusive art projects, and a speaker panel bringing all four guests (Cindy Baker, John Chaich, Ramekon O’Arwisters, and Jeanne Vaccaro) together to discuss the intersections of queerness, body image, fashion, textiles and community.

John Chaich’s book, “Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community”, is now available for purchase at VCU Barnes & Noble Bookstore!

Panel Discussion with Cindy Baker, John Chaich, Ramekon O’Arwisters, and Jeanne Vaccaro – 4/12 – Depot 6-8pm

The panel will discuss topics relative to these artists and scholars’ work: gender, race, sexuality, body size, difference, shame, celebration, community, fiber-based hand making and design.


Ramekon O’Arwisters:
Artist Lecture
 4/10  VCU Depot 3:30-4:30pm
Crochet Jam  4/10  VCU Depot 5-8:00pm
Crochet Jam  4/11  Diversity Richmond (1407 Sherwood Ave) 12-6pm

Ramekon O’Arwisters is a San Francisco-based social-practice artist who creates collaborative, community-based art projects infused with folk-art traditions. During his Crochet Jams, participants become physically connected with one another through the processes of making yarn from used clothing and crocheting a giant textile. Click here for more details on our upcoming Crochet Jams

John Chaich  – Curator Lecture  4/11  VCU Depot 5-6pm

John Chaich presents a lecture on the evolution of his book, Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community, it’s exhibition precedent, and his experiences as a graphic designer, AIDS activist and queer art curator.



Jeanne Vaccaro – Curator Lecture  4/13  Oliver Hall, Rm. 1024 at 11am

Jeanne Vaccaro is a postdoctoral fellow in Gender Studies at Indiana University. Vaccaro is currently working on the book, “Handmade: Feelings and Textures of Transgender,” which looks at the haptic and ‘felt’ labor of identity.



Cindy Baker:
Fashion Plate Workshop – 
4/12 (9-12), 4/13 (1-6)4/14 (9-12pm) – VCU Depot (814 W. Broad St)

Fashion Plate Performance Event – 4/14 6-9pm – Black Iris Gallery (321 W. Broad St)

Cindy Baker is a Canadian artist whose performance work addresses gender culture, queer theory, art theory and the implications of fat-shame. Cindy will host her Fashion Plate project, inviting student designers and garment makers to produce garments for Cindy to showcase in a fashion catwalk show that confronts the design industry’s disregard for fat and deviant bodies. Click here for more details on our Fashion Plate Events

Visiting Curator I Susie Silbert

Lecture I Thursday, March 2, 2017, 2:15pm

Location I The Depot 814 West Broad St.

Susie J. Silbert was appointed Curator of Modern and Contemporary Glass at The Corning Museum of Glass in 2016. Prior to joining the museum, she was an independent curator as well as a lecturer on the History of Glass at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her recent exhibitions include #F*nked!, exploring the relationship between digital interfaces and handmade objects, Concept:Process, at Parsons The New School for Design, Material Location at UrbanGlass, and SPRAWL, an interdisciplinary exhibition interpreting urban development at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Her writing has appeared in exhibition catalogs for the Chrysler Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, and UrbanGlass as well as American Art Collector, GLASS Quarterly, Metalsmith, the American Craft Council website and the forthcoming book CAST, on casting in all media, edited by Jen Townshend and Renee Zettle-Stirling. She holds an MA in Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture from the Bard Graduate Center.

Visiting Poet I Stu Kestenbaum

“Poetry and the Creative Process”

Lecture | Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 2:00-3:00pm

Location | the Depot, 814 West Broad St

Stuart Kestenbaum is the author of four collections of poems, Pilgrimage (Coyote Love Press), House of Thanksgiving, Prayers and Run-on Sentences and Only Now (all Deerbrook Editions), and a collection of essays The View From Here (Brynmorgen Press).  The director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts from 1988 until 2015, he has written and spoken widely on craft making and creativity, and his poems and writing have appeared in numerous small press publications and magazines including Tikkun, the Sun, the Beloit Poetry Journal, and on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac.  He was appointed Maine’s poet laureate in 2016.

Shaping Bodies Symposium

The Department of Craft/Material Studies presents:

 Shaping Bodies Symposium on February 24, 2017

The one-day symposium will host Cassils, Chelsey Johnson, Jenni Sorkin, and Kara Thompson – artists and scholars who are engaged in conversations around the body, gender identity, race, social justice, and material culture/histories. Our distinguished speakers will present their individual research, followed by an open-table guided discussion with the attendees. Funded through VCUarts Inclusion Infusion Initiative, The shaping Bodies Symposium will provide an open space to discuss diverse aspects of identity and overlapping patterns of social injustice. Locations: 9am-12pm Grace Street Theater (934 W. Grace St), 1pm-5pm The Depot (814 W. Broad St)

Panel Discussion 3:30pm at The Depot

Becoming an Image Performance Still No.1, (Edgy Woman Festival, Montreal), 2013. Photo: Cassils and Alejandro Santiago. Image Courtesy of the Artist and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts

Cassils, is a performance artist, a body builder and a personal trainer from Montreal, Canada now based in Los Angeles, United States. Their work uses the body in a sculptural fashion, integrating feminism, body art, and gay male aesthetics. Listed by the Huffington Post as “one of ten transgender artists who are changing the landscape of contemporary art,” they have achieved international recognition for a rigorous engagement with the body as a form of social sculpture. 10am @ Grace Street Theater


Chelsey Johnson is a writer and professor living in Richmond, VA. She received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford. Her novel Stray City is forthcoming from Custom House/ William Morrow in 2018, and her stories and essays have appearedin PloughsharesOne Story, Ninth Letter, The Rumpus, and NPR’s Selected Shorts, among others. She has received fellowships to the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and Signal Fire Arts. She is an assistant professor of English at the College of William & Mary. 9:30am @ Grace Street Theater


Jenni Sorkin is an art historian who writes on the intersection between gender, material culture, and contemporary art. Her new book, Live Form: Women, Ceramics and Community (University of Chicago Press) was published in July of 2016. This project examines the confluence of gender, artistic labor, and the history of post-war ceramics. She has published widely as an art critic, and her writing has appeared in the New Art Examiner, Art Journal, Art Monthly, East of Borneo, NU: The Nordic Art Review, Frieze, The Journal of Modern Craft, Modern Painters and Third Text. 1pm @ The Depot


Kara Thompson is an assistant professor of English and American studies at the College of William and Mary where she teaches courses in Native American/Indigenous literature, political theory, and queer studies. Her book Blanket is forthcoming from Bloomsbury Press. Her work has appeared in Tin HouseAvidlyThe Philosophical Salon, and The Atlantic.

2pm @ The Depot



Exhibition | /MATERIAL

The Department of Craft/Material Studies

Presents a FAB Gallery exhibition /Material

Featuring the works of 2nd year Craft Material Studies Graduate Students: Shannon Slaight-Brown, Stephen Nunes, Jubee Lee, Chelsea Lee, Grace Kubilius, and Fumi Amano

1000 West Broad Street | Richmond, VA 23284-2522
FAB Gallery
NOV. 30-DEC.6



Fountainhead Fellow Lecture | Jina Seo

Lecture | Monday, November 28th at 12:00pm

Location | the Depot, 814 West Broad St


BIO | Jina Seo is an artist, a maker, and an educator. Her practice explores the relationships between body, clothing, sexuality, fetish, and space. She received her MFA in Studio Art/Metal at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2016 and BFA in Metalwork and Jewelry Design at the Kookmin University at Seoul, South Korea in 2012. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including Brooklyn Metal works, Brooklyn, NY; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL; Sung-Gock Gallery, Seoul, Korea; and (AV17) Gallery, Vilnius, Lithuania. She was a Gold Award recipient for the ITAMI International Craft Exhibition in 2010 and currently is a Fountainhead fellow at the Virginia Commonwealth University in 2016-2017.


Visiting Artist | Peter Beasecker

Lecture | Thursday, November 3rd at 2:30pm

Location | 609 Bowe Street, RM 535double-oval-carrier-mt-alban-series-2013-300

BIO | Peter Beasecker was born in Toledo, Ohio and received a BS degree from Miami University and his MFA from Alfred University. He joined the faculty of Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts in 2009 after a seventeen-year tenure at the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University. Beasecker is a Professor of Art teaching ceramics and graduate studies.  He has received numerous awards and distinctions in his career, most recently being named a NYFA Fellow for 2015.  Beasecker has exhibited extensively in national and international venues, and his work is included in the collections of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Mint Museum in North Carolina.  He has been a visiting artist and workshop leader at over sixty institutions, including Anderson Ranch, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and the Penland School of Crafts.  Beasecker has been the co-coordinator of the Utilitarian Clay Symposium at Arrowmont since 1996.  He currently maintains a studio in Cazenovia, New York.


Visiting Faculty | Lauren Fensterstock

Lecture | Wednesday, October 5th at 12pm

Location | the Depot, 814 West Broad St


Lauren Fensterstock | Forays and Follies July 17 – August 28, 2015 Drexel University

Lauren Fensterstock | Forays and Follies
July 17 – August 28, 2015
Drexel University

BIO Lauren Fensterstock explores the history of nature in her elaborate installations and sculptures. Her work has been the subject of major solo exhibitions at Drexel University, The John Michael Kohler Art Center, and The Bowdoin College Museum of Art; and will be the subject of an upcoming solo project at MOCA Jacksonville in 2017. Fensterstock is represented by Claire Oliver Gallery in New York.

Outside the studio, Lauren has taught, lectured, and critiqued around the country most recently at the Rhode Island School of Design. She previously served as Academic Program Director of the Interdisciplinary MFA in Studio Arts at Maine College of Art and as Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art. Her curatorial projects and published writings have been featured internationally. Lauren holds degrees from the Parsons School of Design (BFA 1997) and SUNY New Paltz (MFA 2000).



Visiting Artist | Meeta Mastani

Lecture | Thursday, September 22nd at 2pm

Location | 609 Bowe Street, RM 535 



BIO | Meeta Mastani (formerly Meeta Sandeep) is an internationally known print/dye artist, design specialist and community development advocate. For the last 25 years, Meeta has worked at the intersection of sustainable development, culture, craft, design, arts and retail, helping to generate livelihoods for marginalized individuals and communities.

Since graduating from Delhi University, Meeta has researched and worked intensively in the Indian crafts scene. She works with artisans across India in the areas of printed textiles, weaving, embroidery, folk art, leather work, wood work, pottery and metal work, serving on the boards of several craft and development organizations. Since co-founding Bindaas Unlimited, a sustainable, fair trade textile and craft business, she has focused on reinterpreting traditional craft and art for urban and international markets.

As one of the founders of a craft-centered development initiative, she has lived in rural Rajasthan where she has created contemporary block prints on textiles and T-shirts with ancient printer communities, reviving and expanding the natural dye traditions and creating new designs and techniques. An example of her work was recently displayed at the exhibition, ‘The Fabric of India’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.



Visiting Artist | Jay Nelson

Lecture | Tuesday, September 6th at 12pm

Location | the Depot, 814 West Broad St

 Golden Gate 2

image: Jay Nelson

BIO Jay Nelson’s selected exhibitions include Bolinas Art Museum, The Bekeley Art Museum, the Oakland Museum of Art, Triple Base Gallery, San Francisco; Baer Ridgway, San Francisco; V1 Gallery, Copenhagen; Space 1026, Philadelphia; Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland; Samson Projects, Boston; New Image Art, Los Angeles, upcoming at San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design. He has commissioned work  for Lawrence Rinder, the Oakland Airport, Mollusk Surf Shops in Venice, Silver Lake and San Francisco, Patagonia and Vissla. Nelson has been featured in The New York Times Style Magazine, Surfer’s Journal, Surfer Magazine, Juxtapose, The L Magazine, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Magazine and Readymade. He received his MFA from Bard College in 2008 and his BFA from California College of the Arts in 2004.