Virginia Commonwealth University

Craft / Material Studies

Visiting Artist | Lori Talcott

Thursday, October 22nd at 12pm

609 Bowe Street, RM 535


Image: Lori Talcott


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.




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




Visiting Artists |Hlengiwe Dube

Tuesday, March 17 @ 2:30pm

1000 W. Broad Street | RM 239


image from:
BIO | Hlengi was only 12 when she first cemented her love affair with art and the world-renowned African Art Centre in Durban. Hlengi has changed the lives of many black people who would otherwise languish in poverty with artistic talents wasted without expecting any returns. She is an artist who specializes in beadwork and telephone wire baskets and a field worker who travels up hill and down dale, visiting rural and urban artists in Kwa-Zulu Natal travelling by buses or taxes in the good and the bad weather, to fulfil her dream to make sure that all the artist are getting help. She does training on beadwork and telephone wire baskets to local artist and to the disadvantage people in the rural areas.
As a girl, she visited the African Art Centre to sell her mother’s and her grandmother’s craftwork, as her mother needed the money to take care of her ten children. She was only 12 when she first made a beaded love letter and sold it to the African Art Centre, this remains part of the African Art Centre’s collection housed at the Kellie Campbell museum. The love letter was so beautiful and she was so proud of it that she did not want to part with it, but she had to replace her grandmother’s beads that she had used to make the necklace.
Now Hlengi’s life revolves around the artists and crafters from rural and urban areas. She loves her work because it gives her an opportunity to help people understand that as long as they have two functional hands, they can never starve. Hlengi was always encouraged to use her hands profitably. She was motivated by the two most important woman in her life – her late mother Nesta and grandmother MaMbeki Dube who used beans and seeds to make beads.
She also likes what she does because it contributes to the preservation of African cultures, customs and traditions and it also to make you understand more about ubuntu. For the past two decade she has been organizing the amagugu exhibition of traditional artefacts, where she will invite the museums and public gallery to select for their collection to make sure that our treasures stays in the country. She will do research and document the information behind the item to make sure is well presented to the public. She works closely with the museum as well as public galleried to make sure that they have the relevant information for their collection.
Hlengi is an author of the Zulu beadwork –talk with beads where she tells history of beads and messages behind the beadwork. She has been involved in many development projects locally and internationally, passing her skills in beadwork and also in telephone wire weaving. Each time she passes her skill she always adds the traditional technique and designs so that it’s remain unique.
Hlengiwe`s work is very organic. She always been highly aware of the world around her and lately she’s been focusing on the natural environment. She examines leaves, ferns, vines, flowers and seeds very closely. She collects material all the time and comes home from long walk with pockets bulging with specimens. She then experiments with ways to translate the forms into beadwork or designs telephone wire work with plant motifs.
Dube has worked closely with well-known artist Andrew Verster to design bespoke items that caused a clamour of excitement among art fundis. Hlengiwe was given the women of the year 2000 award under art and culture (sponsored by SABC 3 and Shoprite checkers) for the contribution to promoting African art and craft in KwaZulu-Natal. Hlengi is a founder of IFUNDISO TRADING specializes on designing, training, promoting art and craft from South Africa and works directly with the crafters. Ifundiso gives all people a working opportunity to earn a living




Visiting Artists | Joyce Scott

Tuesday, February 24 @ 2:30pm

Lecture | Up to my old tricks, the Visual and Performance Art of Joyce J. Scott.

609 Bowe Street, RM 535


Image: from Style Curated. The animated Joyce T. Scott pauses to pose for an impromptu portrait; Her handmade necklace pays homage to Venice


BIO | Born in Baltimore, 1948, Joyce J. Scott is arguably the most significant and influential living female artist working in Baltimore. Sculptor, printmaker, installation artist, performer, quilter, storyteller, and educator, Joyce Scott draws from influences as wide ranging as her media: from African and Native American experiences to art history, television, popular American culture, religious traditions, politics, and contemporary urban street customs.

Renowned for her meticulous craftsmanship and biting social commentary relating to issues of racism, violence, sexism, morality, stereotypes, and other forms of social injustice, Scott’s catalytic power for change is supported by her keen application of humor. For more than four decades, this multifaceted and provocative artist has created complex objects of exceptional skill, beauty, and sophistication that double as a social mirror.

The daughter of acclaimed fiber artist Elizabeth Talford Scott, Joyce’s education in object making began at a remarkably young age. Scott received her Bachelors degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and her Masters degree from the Institute Allende in Mexico– with further study at Rochester Institute of Technology and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.

Ms. Scott has exhibited, performed, and lectured across the country and abroad. During the year 2000, Joyce was featured in a major 30 year retrospective at The Baltimore Museum of Art titled Joyce J. Scott: Kickin’ It with the Old Masters. Following the exhibition’s close, Exhibits USA adapted the show into a nine year traveling exhibition under the title Kickin’ It with Joyce J. Scott. The artist is included in most major public collections: the Baltimore Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Corning Museum of Glass, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mint Museum of Art, Mobile Museum of Art, Museum of Glass in Washington, Museum of Art and Design in NY, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution in D.C., and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She has recorded original music and has performed extensively, including theatrical pieces with Robert Sherman during the 1970’s, the Thunder Thigh Revue of the1980’s, Lorrainne Whittlesey and the notorious Ebony & Irony routine, and her one-woman, 20-year running performance titled Walk a Mile in My Drawers.

Additionally, Scott has been the recipient of myriad commissions, grants, residencies, and prestigious honors from institutions such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, Anonymous Was a Woman, and the American Craft Council. In 1996, Scott was nominated for a National Living Treasure Award, and in 2010, she will be presented with a lifetime achievement award from the Women’s Caucus for the Arts.




Visiting Artist Contemporary Historian | Jenni Sorkin

Monday, February 23 @ 2:30pm

609 Bowe Street, RM 535


Sorkin.ACLS photo
BIO | Jenni Sorkin is assistant professor of contemporary art history at University of California, Santa Barbara. She writes on the intersection between gender, artistic labor and material culture. She holds a PhD in the History of Art from Yale University and has received fellowships from the ACLS, Luce Foundation, and Getty Research Institute. Her book, Live Form: Women, Ceramics and Community, examines post-war ceramics at Black Mountain College. It will be published by The University of Chicago Press in 2016.




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).