This year, The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design (CCCD) celebrates the 10th Anniversary of its Windgate Fellowship Award, marking $1.5 million awarded to 100 emerging craft artists nationwide. Nominated from a national network of over 120 university art programs, these 100 makers represent a bright, talented, and motivated next generation for craft. Each year, the Fellowship identifies ten graduating college seniors with exemplary skill in craft. Awardees receive $15,000 – one of the largest awards offered nationally to art students.
The results of such early support are already beginning to emerge. Today, Windgate Fellows hold full time faculty positions, are accepted into nationally renowned residence programs, mount solo shows, and establish successful studios. Over half have gone on to earn a Masters of Fine Arts degree. Their work can been seen in nationally traveling exhibitions, represented in galleries, and published in periodicals such as American Craft. Supporting the next generation is one of CCCD’s main focus areas identified to build a thriving national craft field.
To celebrate these achievements CCCD is expanding the Windgate Fellowship program to include three $10,000 project grants awarded to previous Windgate Fellows. Fifty Fellows from the first five years of the program were invited to submit applications for projects to be completed and presented at CCCD this Fall in Asheville, NC.
Four panelists reviewed a national pool of 115 Windgate Fellowship applicants from 86 universities and 19 Windgate Project Award applicants on the basis of artistic merit and the potential of each applicant to make significant contributions to the field of craft. The 2015 selection panel included: Stefano Catalani, Director of Art, Craft, & Design for the Bellevue Arts Museum in Bellevue, Washington; Shannon Stratton, William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator for The Museum of Arts and Design in New York City; Damian Skinner, Curator of Applied Arts and Design for The Auckland Museum in Auckland, New Zealand; and Josh Copus, Founder of Clayspace Co-op and 2006 Windgate Fellow living and working in Asheville, North Carolina.
The 2015 Windgate Fellows are:
Max Adrian, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO, Fiber/Textiles/Sculpture
Indira Allegra, California College of the Arts, Oakland, CA, Fiber/Textiles
Siara Berry, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO, Sculpture
Danielle Burke, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD, Fiber/Textiles
Colin Corrado, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, MN, Wood/Furniture
Ellen Dick, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Glass/Sculpture
Gabrielle Graber, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, Ceramics/Fiber/Textiles/Sculpture
Alexandra Hval, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, Fiber/Textiles
Emi Ichikawa, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA, Industrial Design/Mixed Media
Nicholas Van Gorp, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, MN, Wood/Furniture
The 2015 Windgate Project Grant Awardees are:
Mark Reigelman II, 2006 Windgate Fellow, Brooklyn, NY
Andrea Donnelly, 2007 Windgate Fellow, Richmond, VA
Aaron McIntosh, 2006 Windgate Fellow, Baltimore, MD
The Windgate Fellowship Award will go toward hands-on studies of stagecraft with particular attention to theatrical prop making, costume construction, puppetry, and set building. I plan to attend the 2015 Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space, intern in Redmoon Theater’s Build Shop, and attend the 2016 Prague Summer Theatre School.
After studying weaving techniques at Penland and the Jacquard Center and narrative capabilities of weave structures at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, I will establish a studio to complete a body of woven poems for exhibition and organize a workshop for writers and weavers interested in crafting literary cloths.
I will study at the London School of Furniture Making to enhance the contextual complexity of built structures and wooden objects. After a brief trip to the Netherlands, I will return to London to gain hands-on experience in the art of upholstery at the Shoreditch Design Room studio.
The Fellowship will support a three-part weaving project involving on-site study in Appalachia, studio experimentation, and educational outreach. Appalachia offers a community of craftspeople who perform a distinct weaving practice. Learning through them, I will be challenged to eloquently link contemporary art with the unique historical weaving process.
The Windgate Fellowship will allow me to travel to Agartala, India to attend workshops with Mittul Vahanvati and learn about the use of bamboo in sustainable building practices. In addition, I will attend workshops with the Danish initiative, Design to Improve Life. Ultimately, I will combine my experiences in a personal studio dedicated to creating socially conscientious design.
This grant will fund a cross-country cycling trip and enrollment in craft workshops at national art institutions over the course of the next 18 months. The experience of seeing the world in its raw and unpredictable state is the imperative fuel for the content of my next body of work.
The Windgate Fellowship will allow me to travel to various national and international art centers and participate in ceramic and textile workshops to develop additional fluidity in these materials. The proficiency I acquire using mixed media will enhance my abilities and conceptual development during my graduate studies.
The award will allow me to take workshops at the Sewing & Quilt Expo and Arrowmont to learn sewing as a mark-making tool and way to join fabrics together, as well as exploring methods of textile construction such as the layering and piecing together of fabrics. I plan to purchase higher quality, lightfast fabrics to create a bod of textile-based work I will use to propose two exhibitions.
The award will allow me the opportunity to travel to conferences and see recognized craft and design works in order to broaden my perspective. Also, a portion of the award will go toward continuing my education at Otis and buying equipment to begin a craft studio to advance my work.
This award will allow me to learn from makers of tradition and connect with makers who are evolving the trade with contemporary practices while holding to traditional ideals. I also plan to start my professional studio and further my exploration of self and craft.
Since 2010, I have created both conceptual and functional artwork in my studio. It’s been through the functional work, scarves, that I have studied weaving intensely for its own sake, experienced the power of objects to create connection, introduced all kinds of people to weaving, and started conversations about the meaning of the textiles we live with. But outside of the studio (not within), I have kept distance between my functional and conceptual work, almost as though I was two separate weavers. Recently I have realized this dichotomy is a false one; that as an artist and small creative business, I am part of a movement that is redefining both of those things. I will use the grant to examine this cultural and economic shift through the lens of my own shifting identity and practice in the business of my studio, creating a body of work that will explore questions of value, object, art, and labor using “scarf” as conceptual canvas.
Ruminating on our complicated relationship with weeds has led me to the thorny association Southerners have with kudzu, an invasive species imported at mid-century from Japan to stabilize poor soils. Both environmental nuisance and fixture of the Southern landscape, this tenacious vine contributes much to our Gothic mythologizing of the South. Invasive kudzu engulfs hills, trees and old buildings in a dense stranglehold, and—much like homophobia—taps into our fears of complete otherness. While many parts of the US move towards gay marriage equality and expanded rights for LGBTQ people, the South is often contrasted as backsliding into entrenched homophobia. Lost in this politicized fray are the lives, memories, stories and archives of Southern queers and their ingenuity contending with the status quo.
My proposed project, Invasive, subverts the negative characterization of invasive species and uses queer kudzu as a demonstrative tool of visibility, strength and tenacity in the face of presumed “unwantedness”. I will collect the stories of living LGBTQ people through workshops at community centers and historical documents from archives across Southern states, and reproduce these digitally on fabric. Drawing on the preeminence of quilting in Southern folkways, I will embed these printed stories, photographs, and archive documents into quilted leaves that will be sewn onto vines, eventually forming a phenomenal and undeniable mass of queerness.
Misty vapors rise and waft from New York City streets, at once mysterious and commonplace symbols of the city. These smoking portals dot streets, avenues, and sidewalks year round. For pedestrians, the experience, if not overlooked, can be wondrous and puzzling, whereas for drivers, the smoke proves a roadway obstacle. Regardless, for visitors, residents, or long-distance admirers, this Manhattan spectacle is a small urban anomaly that distinguishes New York’s streetscapes.
I have spent a great deal of time watching and documenting New York’s smoking streets. They remind me of a collection of small handmade German Smoker figurines that filled the shelves of my childhood home. These trinkets take on hundreds of folksy forms including gingerbread houses, chimney sweepers, skiing moose, and knitting grandmothers. Each piece serves the same function: to channel and release incense smoke in unique ways. A small incense cone is lit and then an elaborately carved wooden shell, about the size of a small cup, is placed over the incense. The smoke from the incense fills the interior of the wooden shell until it is forced to escape through a strategically placed exit. That point can be the mouth of a pipe-smoking Santa Claus or the chimney of a log cabin. When these wooden trinkets are lit, the smoke transforms from a byproduct of burning incense into a fragment of a much larger and complicated narrative.
My project proposal, Smokers, will consist of a meticulously fabricated miniature cabin that rests atop one of New York’s many steam emitting pipes. The steam, which is normally channeled through tall orange striped construction tubes, will instead be channeled through the interior of the cabin and released through the chimney.
The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design (CCCD), established in 1996, is a national nonprofit organization that advances the understanding of craft through research, critical dialogue, and professional development in the United States. CCCD is located in downtown Asheville, NC in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina.