Virginia Commonwealth University

Craft / Material Studies

Fountainhead Fellows: Sarah Nance + Heather McCalla

Tuesday, November 25th @ 12:30pm

609 Bowe street, rm 535


Image: (left) Sarah Nance, (right) Heather McCalla


Sarah Nance is an American artist working in installation, drawing and sculpture. Natural light occupies a central role in her work, as it is intimately related to considerations of perception, beauty and ephemerality. In 2013, Nance participated in consecutive artist residencies in Reykjavík and Skagaströnd, Iceland. She completed her MFA at the University of Oregon and is currently a Fountainhead Fellow in Craft & Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Heather McCalla is originally from San Diego, California, where she studied furniture design and woodworking while attending San Diego State University. She obtained her BA in Applied Design in 2006, and worked as a finish carpenter and independent designer for three years before moving to Wisconsin in 2010. McCalla received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2013, where she subsequently lectured in the furniture design and woodworking department before moving to Richmond, Virginia to become a Fountainhead Fellow. Her work has been exhibited extensively across the US, including exhibitions at both the Neuberger Museum of Art in New York and the Haggerty Museum of Art in Wisconsin. Through the use of recognizable domestic objects, architectural forms, and outmoded construction techniques, her work explores the complex feelings and relationships associated with home and family.


Visiting Artists | Linda Sikora

Thursday, November 13th @ 2:30pm

609 Bowe Street, RM 535


image: Crockery Group, approx. 16” x 28” x 18” (40.5 x 71 x 45.5 cm), Stoneware and Porcelain, Polychrome Glaze (Faux Wood), Wood/Oil/Salt Fire, 2012 – 2014
BIO | Linda Sikora resides with her family near Alfred NY where she has a studio practice and is a professor in the Division of Ceramic Art at Alfred University. Academic study in visual art along with a ceramic-based apprenticeship in British Columbia marked the beginning of her ceramic art profession in Canada. Formal education continued at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University (BFA) and, University of Minnesota–Minneapolis (MFA). Authored articles are printed in Studio Potter, Ceramic Review and, online at Interpreting Ceramics. Professional activities are national and international. Public collections include: Art Gallery of Nova Scotia; Racine Art Museum; Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art; LA County Museum of Art; Minneapolis Institute of the Arts; Everson Museum of Art; Huntington Museum of Art.




Visiting Artists | Jessica Jane Julius

Wednesday, November 5th @ 12:15pm

609 Bowe Street, RM 535


image:  “Static”, Flameworked black glass, Installed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for “Craft Spoken Here”, 2012

BIO | Jessica Jane Julius is Adjunct Assistant Professor at Tyler School of Art with a private studio in South Philadelphia. She is the co-founder and active member of the artist collective and performance group The Burnt Asphalt Family. She received a MFA in glass from Rochester Institute of Technology and a BFA in glass from Tyler school of Art in Philadelphia. She has taught as Interim Head of Glass at The University of the Arts, Adjunct Assistant Professor at Tyler School of Art, Rochester Institute of Technology, Corning’s Studio, and assisted teaching at Penland School of Crafts, North Carolina, and The Glass Furnace in Turkey. She has been published in the New Glass Review in 2001, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012 received the Emerging Artist Award from the Glass Art Society in 2008, received CGCA fellowships from Wheaton Arts/Creative Glass Center, NJ in 2007 and 2011, and a residency at The Museum of Glass in 2014. Her most recent installation was featured in the exhibition “Craft Spoken Here” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and son. 



Visiting Artists | Lee Mingwei

Thursday, October 9th @ 12:00pm

609 Bowe Street, RM 535


image: Lee MingweiThe Mending Project, 2009-present, Mixed media interactive installation, Installation view at Lombard-Freid Projects, New York, 2009: Photo: Anita Kan

BIO | Lee Mingwei creates participatory installations, which encourage strangers to explore issues of trust, intimacy, and self-awareness, with one-on-one events inviting visitors to contemplate these issues with the artist through eating, sleeping, walking and conversation.

Born in Taiwan in 1964 and currently living in New York City, Lee received a MFA from Yale University in 1997, and has held solo exhibitions and participated in biennials internationally. He is currently preparing for his upcoming mid-career survey exhibition, which will be on view from September 20, 2014 – January 4, 2015 at Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan.



Visiting Artists | Piper Shepard

Tuesday, September 30 @ 12:30pm

609 Bowe Street, RM 535


image: Piper Shepard, Lacing Space, medium: hand cut muslin, gesso, graphite, aluminum armature, 15×15 ft. 201 photo credit: Sophie Mutevelian


BIO | Piper Shepard (Baltimore, MD) holds a BFA in Fiber from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, and an MFA in Fiber from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. Her work has been shown at the Helen Drutt Gallery and the Snyderman-Works Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Delaware Art Museum; the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, The Textile Art Centre, Chicago, IL; the Museum of Art and Design in Helsinki, Finland, and the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery in Birmingham, England. Publications include Fiber Arts Magazine, Surface Design Journal, and American Craft Magazine. Telos Press has published a monograph on her work. She has received four Individual Artists Awards from The Maryland State Arts Council in Crafts. Her work is in the collections of the Baltimore Museum of Art and The Museum of Arts and Design, New York. Since 1994, she has taught at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art). 



Visiting Artists | Donald Fortescue

Monday, September 22 @ 12:00pm

609 Bowe Street, RM 535

aWay station, 2011

image: Donald Fortescue, aWay station, 2011


BIO Donald Fortescue is Australian born and educated, has exhibited internationally, and was one of the first artists to receive the Experimental Design Award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where he mounted a one-person exhibition in 2001. In his most recent body of work, Fortescue’s sculptures draw on design and craft technique. Fortescue is an associate professor and chair of the wood/furniture department at the California College of the Arts, where he has been teaching since 1997. He began his career as a research botanist and scientific illustrator before working for a furniture company and starting to make pieces of his own. Fortescue went to Japan in 1991 to study techniques for lacquer, woodworking, and papermaking. Later, he became head of furniture design studio and got a graduate degree in sculpture.




Artist Talk | Olivia Valentine

Fountainhead Fellow Olivia Valentine
Lecture | Needle Lace to Valley Walking: Iğne Oyası as Landscape Ornamentation
Monday, May 12th at noon
1000 W. Broad Street, rm 238
Join us on Monday, May 12th for Olivia Valentine’s talk based on her research in Turkey supported by a Fulbright Fellowship and the Brandford/Elliot Award. This talk is in preparation for her lecture at the 2014 Textile Society of America Symposium.


Seminar | Jonathan Keep


Sponsored by the VCU School of the Arts and School of Engineering And by the Alice T. and William H. Goodwin, Jr. Engineering Education Endowment




Jonathan Keep works mainly in clay and has developed a working process whereby the shapes of his pot forms are written in computer code. In this talk Keep will describe his use of computers to extend and explore our artistic understanding of natural systems, patterns and codes. He will also describe his development of a studio based 3D printer of ceramics that enables layer-by-layer printing of pots – a sort of mechanical pottery coil building. Mr. Keep was born and grew up in South Africa, obtaining a BA (Hons) Fine Art degree from the University of Natal in 1979. In 1986, with his wife he moved to England and settled in Suffolk where he continues to live and has a studio at his home in Knodishall. In 2002 Jonathan received a MA from the Royal College of Art. He has exhibited widely and undertaken and a number of artist residencies in the UK and abroad while becoming one of the leading practitioners of studio based ceramic 3D printing.

Mr. Keep was born and grew up in South Africa, obtaining a BA (Hons) Fine Art degree from the University of Natal in 1979. In 1986, with his wife he moved to England and settled in Suffolk where he continues to live and has a studio at his home in Knodishall. In 2002 Jonathan received a MA from the Royal College of Art. He has exhibited widely and undertaken and a number of artist residencies in the UK and abroad while becoming one of the leading practitioners of studio based ceramic 3D printing. 


Visiting Artists | Christina Miller

Craft/Material Studies + Radical Jewelry Makeover Presents 

Christina Miller, Executive Director of Ethical Metalsmiths 

Lecture | The Ethical Jewelry Movement | Thursday, March 27th |12:00pm at 609 Bowe Street, RM 535

EM_CM_300dpi_8.5x11_Cm at Aurelsa with miners


image: Christina Miller speaking with miners of AURELSA (a Fairmined certified artisanal mine) Relave, Peru.

BIO: Christina Miller, executive director and co-founder of Ethical Metalsmiths (EM); Founded in 2004, EM leads jewelers and consumers in becoming informed activists for responsible mining, sustainable economic development, and for the use of verified, ethical sources of materials in jewelry making. In 2013 EM successfully and broadly introduced Fairmined gold to the US in collaboration with 23 independent jewelers. Radical Jewelry Makeover, EM’s popular jewelry re-use project, co-designed Christina Miller and Susie Ganch, continues to engage communities around the country in conversations about jewelry and consumption. Miller presents internationally on the topic of ethical jewelry, transparent sourcing and activism through art. Prior to assuming the directorship of EM, Miller was an assistant professor of jewelry and metalsmithing at Millersville University in Pennsylvania, where she had received her BFA prior to receiving an MFA from East Carolina University. She received a Distinguished Civic Leadership award while at teaching at Millersville for her work with Ethical Metalsmiths.