Virginia Commonwealth University

Craft / Material Studies

Fountainhead Fellow | Heather MacKenzie

Lecture | Thursday, November 19th at 12:30pm

609 Bowe Street, RM 535 


BIO Heather MacKenzie is an artist, writer, and educator currently living in Richmond, Virginia, as the Fountainhead Fellow in Craft and Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. In her work, Heather looks to the textile as a foundational piece of human technology that is sensual and material while simultaneously embedded with complex mathematical information. In two- and three-dimensional work, as well as performance, she examines other, equally foundational systems that span the material world and the abstract one: platonic mathematics, Euclidean geometry, and standardized measurement. For the academic year of 2014-15, Heather was a Fulbright Fellow in Paris, France, where she produced work and had a solo installation as artist-in-residence at l’École des Arts Décoratifs. She has studied traditional textiles in Ecuador, Ghana, India, Zimbabwe, as well as in Europe, and she has exhibited work recently at venues including the Mission Gallery and Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago, and PointDom in Toulouse, France. Heather received her BA from Brown University and her MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Website.



Visiting Artist | Saya Woolfalk

Lecture | Wednesday, November 18th at 12pm

609 Bowe Street, RM 535


BIO Saya Woolfalk was born in Gifu City, Japan, to a Japanese mother and a mixed-race African American and white father. She grew up in Scarsdale, NY, and has an art studio in Manhattan. Woolfalk was educated at Brown University (B.A. Visual Art and Economics 2001) and earned her M.F.A. in Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2004. Woolfalk moved to New York in the 2006, to participate in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, and was an artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem from 2007-2008. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, the anthropologist, Sean T. Mitchell, and their daughter.

Woolfalk’s work has exhibited at galleries and museums around the United States and abroad, including PS1/MoMA in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Studio Museum in Harlem, Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC, and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. And she participated in PERFORMA09.

She has received a number of prestigious awards including a Fulbright for research in Maranhão, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil a Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, an Art Matters Grant and has been an artist-in-residence at the Newark Museum, University at Buffalo, Yaddo, Sculpture Space and Dieu Donne Papermill.

With funding from the NEA, her solo exhibition, “The Institute of Empathy,” ran at Real Art Ways Hartford, CT from the fall of 2010 to the Spring of 2011. Her first major solo exhibition at a North American museum opened at the Montclair Art Museum in October 2012. Website.



Visiting Artist | Holly Hanessian


Sense Sensation

Tuesday, November 10th at 2:30pm

609 Bowe Street, RM 535



BIO | Holly Hanessian is a studio artist, educator and scholar. She creates artworks that inhabit the overlapping worlds of craft, design and contemporary art. Her most recent project involves ideas based on neuroscience and the senses, in particular the sensation of touch. She has taught, lectured, and exhibited projects and sculptural books internationally and extensively in the United States. In addition to her ceramic art practice, she has written articles and reviews on other studio artists who work in ceramics and most recently investigated contemporary ideas using digital applications in the field of contemporary ceramics.

Holly Hanessian is the area head of ceramics and a Professor of Art at Florida State University. For more information on her artwork, articles and ideas, please visit the following websites:, ,, or at



Visiting Artist | Bob Trotman


Business as Usual: Project and Process

Tuesday, November 3rd at 12pm

609 Bowe Street, RM 535


Image: Slow Drip, 2014. 51x43x40. Carved wood, IV stand and bag, stool, motors, arduino micro-controller, paint.


BIO | Bob Trotman is a sculptor working in western North Carolina.  He has received fellowship support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. Trotman’s work is also in many private and public collections including the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian, The Mint Museum of Art, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design, and the Museum of Art and Design in New York. website


Visiting Artist | Lori Talcott

Lecture “Homeopathic Objects”

Thursday, October 22nd at 12pm

609 Bowe Street, RM 535



BIO | Lori Talcott is a Seattle-based studio jeweler. She is the recipient of two Washington Artist Trust fellowships and an Arts Fellowship from the American-Scandinavian Foundation. Her work is in numerous private collections, the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery, and the Tacoma Art Museum. After studying art history at Lund University (Sweden) and Metal Design at the University of Washington, she worked as an apprentice to a master silversmith in Norway. She is currently a Guest Lecturer at Rhode Island School of Design.

Lecture “Homeopathic Objects” | This presentation will consider jewelry from four intersecting points of view: historical, cross-cultural, contemporary, and personal. As a social signifier and ritual object, jewelry has long had a symbiotic and syntagmatic function with dress and the body, and as a performative object it is used to negotiate and circumscribe social, temporal, and spiritual boundaries. Talcott’s recent projects explore jewelry’s function as a performative object, and the ways in which material metaphors having the capacity to affect the embodied experience of the wearer.



Visiting Artist | Megan Biddle

Tuesday, October 6th at 12pm

609 Bowe Street, RM 535

 2015_05_11_JW05 (1)

Image: Megan Biddle, The Weight of Waiting, 2015, window glass, 48″x24″x7″ , image credit: Jason Wierzbicki 


BIO | Megan Biddle received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2000 and her MFA from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in 2005. She has attended residencies at The Macdowell Colony, The Jentel Foundation, The Creative Glass Center of America, Sculpture Space, The Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Pilchuck Glass School, Northlands Creative Glass in Scotland and most recently Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. In 2006 she was awarded the A.I.R. Gallery Fellowship in NY, which culminated to the first solo show of her work in New York City in 2007. Biddle has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including XO Projects INC., Side Show, The Islip Art Museum and the Everson Art Museum in New York; the Reynolds Gallery Richmond, VA.; Space 1026 Philadelphia, PA.; Urban Arts Space Columbus OH.; Galerie VSUP in the Czech Republic; and the 700IS Experimental Film Festival in Iceland. Her work has been published in New Glass Review and was recently acquired into the American Embassy’s permanent collection in Riga, Latvia. She currently teaches in the glass program at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, PA. Website




Welcoming Reception | Quirk Residency Artist Leigh Suggs

Welcoming Reception for the 1st Quirk Residency Artist, MFA alumni Leigh Suggs
September 3rd from 6-9pm at 311 W. Broad Street
Quirk Gallery is having a party and you’re invited!
Hope you will help us welcome the newest member of the Quirk Gallery family, Leigh Suggs on Thursday, September 3 from 6 to 9 pm.
We are so excited to announce Leigh as the very first artist to take part in the Quirk Residency program. A recent MFA graduate from VCU’s Fibers Department, Leigh is originally from North Carolina and holds a BFA from UNC.
The Quirk Residency program exists to invite artists from all mediums, cultures, academic and societal backgrounds to create and explore their own work. Providing the resident artist with time and space away from their usual environment, we hope to let them discover new channels and opportunities for creative inspiration. Our Quirk Residency program allows individuals the opportunity to be submerged in the supportive Richmond community.
Leigh Suggs’ Artist Statement:
“I am interested in an in-between space during the act of seeing. The in-between space lies on the spectrum of the reality in front of us and what our brain tells us. It is within this “pure” space, that an individual can experience an unaltered, unaffected, and unchanged vision. While this purity can only exist for a fleeting moment, that moment defines the highest peak of personal experience. After this moment passes, the sight/vision can never be the same. We are constantly bearing witness to the inexpressible, and this fleeting moment of pure seeing is something we should all revel in. Deceptively simple and minimalistic in content, my work asks the viewer to be patient and to contemplate what is happening. I explore movement, light, and translucency through the use of singular, pattern producing gestures. The reflective surfaces and vibrant intense colors are a simultaneous reflection of physical and psychological states, which make my work ocular and auric. I make art that investigates visual manipulations as subdued objects and experiences.”
Please join us at 311 W. Broad Street to find out more about our new program and about our esteemed artist-in-residence, Leigh Suggs.



Exhibition |MFA Thesis 2nd round

The MFA 2nd round thesis exhibitions open Friday, May 1st
May 1 – May 17
Opening Reception: Friday, May 1 5pm – 8pm at the Anderson Gallery and the Depot Gallery, 814 W Broad St.




The MFA candidates in the VCUarts department of Craft/Material Studies are proud to present:


April 24 – May 2

Opening Reception: Friday, April 24 5pm – 8pm
2601 Maury St | richmond | va 23224

cms cand show 5x7
Victoria Ahmadizadeh | Morgan Babic | Alicia Dietz | Carli Holcomb | Ben Jordan | Emily McBride | Kathleen O’Connor | Timothy Woodbrey | Zena Zakanycz | Jeremy Zietz