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For Immediate Release
Summer 2019
Media Contact: Katie Sorenson, Community Engagement Manager
[email protected]

Making a Seat at the Table: Women Transform Woodworking
October 4, 2019 – January 25, 2020
Curator: Laura Mays and Deirdre Visser

Click here for the Dropbox file.


Philadelphia PA: The Center for Art in Wood is pleased to present Making a Seat at the Table: Women Transform Woodworking. In the first exhibition of its scope, the curators present the breadth of perspectives and practices that North American women and women-identifying woodworkers in the furniture tradition are employing. Making a Seat at the Table—held on the centenary of women’s suffrage in the United States—showcases the profound skill, innovation, and creative vision of these makers. While acknowledging that woodworking has been and remains male-dominated, the exhibition focuses on the many ways these makers are both expanding the edges of the field and holding down the center. An exhibition of objects as well as process, and including long-established as well as emerging craftspeople, Making a Seat at the Table explores both the exquisitely crafted object and the community that is built around it. These makers are deploying their work to change models of education, production, entrepreneurship, distribution, and community-building, positioning craft as a tool to imagine and create a more sustainable, equitable, inclusive future.


The exhibition, which precedes a comprehensive book by the same title to be released in 2020, is the initiative of co-authors and co-curators Laura Mays and Deirdre Visser. Mays is a woodworker, designer, educator, and writer. She is the Director of the Fine Woodworking Program at The Krenov School, Mendocino College in Fort Bragg, CA (formerly the College of the Redwoods). Her work is represented in the National Museum of Ireland, and in private and public collections in the US and Ireland. She has written for Fine Woodworking and Furniture and Cabinetmaking magazines and is profiled in Nick Offerman’s woodworking book Good Clean Fun. Mays is also the founding president of The Krenov Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports the craft of woodworking. Visser is a curator, writer, community-based artist, and woodworker. As Curator of The Arts at CIIS in San Francisco and publisher of CHROMA books, she strives to promote pluralism in the arts, to support artists in the creation of new and experimental work, and to foster dynamic and critical dialogues within and across communities that propose integrative approaches to the urgent questions of our time.

Making a Seat at the Table: Women Transform Woodworking will present works by 43 artists and makers from throughout North America:


Jennifer Anderson                          Melanie Hamilton                             Yvonne Mouser
Teresa Audet                                   BA Harrington                                  Christy Oates
Connie Chisholm                            Katie Hudnall                                   Jodie Prud’homme
Vivian Chiu                                      Erin Irber                                          SIOSI
Emma Chorostecki                         Laura Kishimoto                              Rosanne Somerson
Alex Clarke                                      Yuri Kobayashi                                Michaela Crie Stone
Kate Davidson                                 Chris Lee                                          Tiny WPA
Leigh Dotey                                      RH Lee and Would Works               Katrina Tompkins
Heidi Earnshaw                                Bowen Liu                                        Briana Trujillo
Ashley Eriksmoen                            Kristina Madsen                              Hannah Vaughan
Bec Evans                                         Sarah Marriage and                        Sarah Watlington
Annie Evelyn                                           A Workshop of Our Own           Leslie Webb
Mollie Ferguson and                         Heide Martin                                   Folayemi Wilson
    Heather Trosdahl                          Sarah Martin                                    Kimberly Winkle
Gail Fredell                                        Wendy Maruyama                          Kat Wong


A committee of professionals in the art, design, woodworking, and furniture fields was responsible for jurying the selection of works for the exhibition: Co-curators and publication co-authors Laura Mays and Deirdre Visser;
Tom Loeser, artist and professor of art and woodworking at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Jennifer-Navva Milliken, Artistic Director for the Center for Art in Wood; and renowned New York-based artist, art promoter, and designer Cheryl R. Riley.


The Center invites the press for a preview of Making a Seat at the Table with curators Laura Mays and Deirdre Visser and the Center’s Artistic Director on Friday, October 4, 2019, 10:00 am – 12 pm. A reception will be held 5–9 pm that evening; a gallery talk with Mays, Visser, and several participating artists will be held 6–7 pm. Several programs are planned in conjunction with the exhibition, including a Young Artists Speakers Series lecture given by Emily Bunker on October 23 at 6 pm and a closing makers mixer on January 25, 2020.


First Fridays | October 4, November 1, December 6, January 3 | 5–9 pm
Gallery talk with curators Laura Mays and Deirdre Visser | Fri, October 4 | 6–7 pm followed by an opening reception
Young Artists Speaker Series: Emily Bunker | Wed, October 23 | 6–8 pm
Marquetry 101 with Tara Inman-Bellofatto | Sat, January 11, and Sun, January 12 | 10 am – 4 pm
Closing makers mixer | Sat, January 25 | 2–4 pm

For more information please contact Katie Sorenson, at 215-923-8000 or [email protected].


Making a Seat at the Table: Women Transform Woodworking is made possible with generous assistance from
The Krenov Foundation and a grant from The Furniture Society through its EFASO program. A Craft Research Fund grant from the Center for Craft facilitated the research for Making a Seat at the Table publication and exhibition projects.


The exhibition program at the Center is generously supported by the Cambium Giving Society of The Center for Art in Wood, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and Windgate Charitable Foundation. Corporate support is provided by Boomerang, Inc., Penn State Industries, Signarama Center City, and Sun-lite Corporation.


Pictured: Making a Seat at the Table logo, courtesy of Laura Mays