Craft / Material Studies


Gerit Grimm was born, and grew up in Halle, German Democratic Republic. In 1995, she finished her apprenticeship, learning the traditional German trade as a potter at the “Altbürgeler blau-weiss GmbH” in Bürgel, Germany and worked as a Journeyman for Joachim Jung in Glashagen, Germany. She has taught at CSULB, Pitzer College, Doane College and MSU Bozeman and has completed numerous residencies including the Mc Coll Center, Bemis Center, Kohler Arts & Industry Program and Archie Bray Foundation. In 2009 NET Television created “Fantasia in Clay” a Nebraska Story about artist Gerit Grimm. Grimm is now an Assistant Professor at University of Wisconsin, Madison.










Anjali Srinivasan’s creative practice and research explores socio-economic empowerment through collaboration with traditional craft artisans in India. Her work has been included in several solo exhibitions in India, Sydney College of Arts in Australia, and Heller Gallery in New York. Anjali is the recipient of numerous awards and grants including a grant from The Ruth Chenven Foundation, an Andy Warhol Foundation Grant for Arts Writers, and was most recently awarded a Jutta Cuny-Franz Foundation Memorial Award. Additionally, her work has been exhibited internationally in Denmark, Switzerland, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia.

Anjali holds degrees from Rhode Island School of Design (MFA 2017), Alfred University (BFA 2002), and National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi, India (Accessories Design Diploma 1998) and is currently an Assistant Professor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston.



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 (1001 W. Main St., Physical Science Wing)

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



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.