Women & Wood

Heather Dawson, Ellen Kaspern, Liz Welch

A Curatorial Proposal Series Exhibition

On View: September 3 – October 3, 2015

Reception: Friday September 11, 7­-9pm

Artists’ Talk: Friday September 25, 6:30-8:30pm

Aiming to demystify the presence of women in the woodworking world, Heather Dawson, Ellen Kaspern and Liz Welch display an eclectic range of work in wood and mixed materials that includes turned vessels, cabinetry and tables.

Unlike other mediums which have experienced mainstream acceptance and promotion of women, woodworking continues to be dominated by men. The community of makers remains entrenched in outdated standards and expectations of what it means to be a woodworker. It is essential to create a space in which women are able to share and contribute to the craft. Women and Wood both displays fine, contemporary achievements of three women working in this medium, and embarks on the larger discussion of their presence in the field.

At the artists’ talk, Dawson, Kaspern and Welch will lead a discussion with a brief history of influential women in woodworking, circling back to the artists’ own lives, work, and inspirations.

About the Artists:

Heather Dawson learned the art of woodworking in the collaborative Furniture Design program between Massachusetts College of Art & Design and North Bennet Street School. After graduating she assisted in the studios of master builders and in classrooms at MassArt and North Bennet Street School.  She worked as a journeyman at Fort Point Cabinetmakers. She currently teaches a wide range of woodworking skills to adults at The Eliot School and The Cambridge Center for Adult Education. Heather owns and operates welkinwood where she crafts furniture and home goods out of ethically and sustainably sourced materials.

Ellen Kaspern is a custom furniture maker and graduated from the North Bennet Street School’s Cabinet & Furniture Making program in 2003. She owns Ellen Kaspern Design and is a member of the cooperative Fort Point Cabinetmakers in Boston. Ellen teaches in the continuing education program at North Bennet Street School. She demonstrates woodworking techniques and has presented her skills at Peabody Essex Museum and Old Sturbridge Village. Along with using reclaimed wood, Ellen has been exploring color through the use of dyes and inlay in her recent pieces.

Liz Welch discovered Furniture Design in 2011 at the New England School of Art and Design while studying to be an Interior Architect. She then enrolled at North Bennet Street School and Massachusetts College of Art & Design’s Furniture Design Certificate program and graduated in May of 2014. Welch is fascinated by the intersection of sculpture and furniture and has explored the categories that typically separate utilitarian and aesthetic objects in her past work. Her recent work is deeply rooted in memory and nostalgia in addition to explorations of different materials. She runs Liz Welch Design in Somerville, MA.