Virginia Commonwealth University

Craft / Material Studies

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. 



Visiting Artists | Joshua Enck

Tuesday, March 25th @ 12:00pm

609 Bowe Street, RM 535


image: Joshua Enck Oxide Turnout Corten weathering steel, rust, and mahogany Dimensions: 19.5 high x 21.5 wide x 112 long August 2007


BIO Born in Illinois and now residing in Massachusetts, Joshua creates sculptures that capture the tension between the spontaneity of the artistic process and the restraint of meticulous craftsmanship. He draws inspiration from the visual language of obsolescence, from antique dress forms to vernacular barn roofs and railroad oil cans. Joshua uses sketching to investigate the essence of forms without working out every detail on paper. He then takes the ideas that excite him into the studio where they grow through improvisation as he embraces the unforeseen possibilities that arise when building by hand.

Joshua’s sculptures embrace a raw awkward sensibility that emerges through their making, and while they are beautiful forms, they often challenge the prevailing notion of beauty. They are asymmetrical, quirky and animated, but one thing they all have in common is the attention to detail.


The labor-intensive metal fabrication and woodworking techniques he uses to realize challenging compound curves and angular geometrics are what makes Joshua’s pieces so exceptional. His attention to details early on in the process are continued to the finish of these beautiful pieces. Joshua experiments with metal oxidation, burnished paints and repetitive tool markings suggest histories not fully available to the viewer. His finished sculptures are striking, idiosyncratic objects that celebrate the perfection of the imperfect.




Visiting Artists | Michael Rogers

Tuesday, February 25th @ 12:00pm

1000 W. Broad Street, RM 238

The Murmur of Bees detail


image: Michael Rogers, The Murmur of Bees

Michael Rogers is currently a Professor at Rochester Institute of Technology’s School For American Crafts in New York where he has taught for the past nine years in the Glass Program. Previously he spent 11 years in Japan where he was head of Aichi University’s Glass Program.


His work is in several international permanent collections, including the Suntory Museum in Japan and the Corning Museum of Glass in the United States. Recent exhibitions include “Art on The Edge” at the New Mexico Museum of Art, Art Santa Fe with Bullseye Gallery, “Messages and Written Narratives” at the Chautauqua Institute, NY, “Palimpsests and Ephemera” at the Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, MA, and “Voice of Glass” at the Academy of Art in Riga, Latvia.


This past year Michael has lectured at North Lands in Scotland, the New University of Lisbon in Portugal, Aalto University of Art and Design in Helsinki, Finland and Toyama Institute of Glass Art in Japan. When not teaching or traveling Michael lives and maintains his private studio in the countryside outside Honeoye Falls, NY. 


Visiting Artists | Melissa Cameron

Thursday, February 20th @ 12:00pm

609 Bowe Street, RM 535


Melissa Cameron

Melissa is an Australian-born artist jeweller who lives and works in Seattle, WA. She holds a MFA in jewellery and metalsmithing from Monash University in Melbourne and BA with honours in interior architecture from Curtin University in Perth. She has been the recipient of several grants and awards, including the gold prize for metals and jewellery at the 2011 Cheongju International Craft Biennale in South Korea. Her works are in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), the Arts Centre Melbourne (Australia), The Powerhouse Museum, (Sydney, Australia) and the Cheongju City Collection, and her pieces have featured in the publications Jewel Book, Art Jewellery Today 3 and Lark Books’ 500 Silver Jewelry Designs.




CANCELED |Visiting Artists | Brad Schwieger

Thursday, February 13th @ 2:0pm

1000 W. Broad Street, RM 238


Brad Schwieger has been teaching at Ohio University since 1990 and is presently a Professor of Art.  Prior to that he was an Associate Professor at Vincennes University in Indiana (1985-1990).  Brad received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Utah State University in 1983 and his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa in 1981.  Brad has shown his ceramics nationally and internationally.  His work has been included in exhibitions through out the U.S.A., Japan, Korea, Taiwan, England, Germany, Czech Republic, Lithuania and Spain.




Visiting Artists | Elissa Auther

Wednesday, February 5th @ 11:00am

609 Bowe Street, RM 535

Elissa Auther

Elissa Auther

Elissa Auther is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and Adjunct Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver. Her book, String, Felt, Thread and the Hierarchy of Art and Craft (University of Minnesota Press, 2010), examines the innovative use of fiber in American art and the impact of its elevation on the conceptual boundaries distinguishing “art” from “craft” in the post-war era. Her latest publication, West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977 (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), is co-edited with Adam Lerner and focuses on the diverse visual and performative expressions of the American counterculture. Auther has also written about and published on, among other topics, the criticism of Clement Greenberg, the history of the decorative, artist-produced wallpapers, and the film installations of Isaac Julien. She was the co-editor of the April 2007 special issue on feminist activist art for the National Women’s Studies Association Journal. Her scholarly work has been supported by major research grants from the J. Paul Getty Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and Research Center, among others. In 2009 she was awarded the University of Colorado’s President’s Diversity Award for a multi-year series of lectures and workshops for undergraduate students that highlighted the work of underrepresented minorities in the areas of contemporary experimental music, visual art, performance, and curatorial practices. This project was co-organized with her colleague in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Valerie Brodar. In addition, she co-directs “Feminism & Co.: Art, Sex, Politics,” a public program at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver designed to explore feminist issues in popular culture, social policy, and art through creative forms of pedagogy