Berea College Student Craft Exhibit on Display at University of Wisconsin-Madison
November 1, 2023
By Paula Keshderian
BEREA, Ky. – Heart, Head and Hand: Making and Remaking at Berea College Student Craft, an exhibit tracing the evolution of Berea College Student Craft’s 150-year history, will be on display at Ruth Davis Design Gallery of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Design and Material Culture (CDMC) beginning Oct. 18
Heart, Head, and Hand: Making and Remaking at Berea College Student Craft explores what it means to make on campus—and the power of design and craft to inspire creativity across disciplines. Founded in 1893, Berea College Student Craft has become a well-established center for student-led design production in the United States. Student Craft includes weaving, woodcraft, ceramics, broomcraft and craft education outreach programs. These areas engage not only with experiential learning but also with the cultural myths and values that are embedded in objects fashioned by hand. With a history rooted in Southern Appalachian material culture, automobile tourism and mail-order catalogs, today’s program focuses on student-centered pedagogy and the curious, speculative, inclusive and future-looking potential of craft in the making—heart, head and hand.
“This exhibit will display the most extensive view of Berea College’s Student Craft program and its 150-year history, beginning with the program’s Appalachian Heritage and continuing through today’s focus on student-led design and expression,” said Aaron Beale, associate vice president of Student Craft.
“In the past, we have only been able to share snippets,” said Hunter Elliott, director of apprenticeships at Berea College Student Craft, who co-curated the exhibit. “The show is about more than the products we make—it’s about the history of the people and the products as well.”
In addition to historical objects and examples of current production, contemporary works will be on display, as well as works designed with outside collaborators including contemporary designers Norman Teague and Stephen Burks.
Works by eight Berea College students are also included in the exhibit. These students, who represent different craft disciplines, will attend the opening. The students are Joshua Kells, Ellen Schley, Dawn Yoo, Layne Piatt, Taylor Nordmoe, Sean Hall, YoungSoon Takei and Merlyn Gordon.
Heart, Head, and Hands: Making and Remaking at Berea College Student Craft is a collaboration between Berea College Student Craft and the Center for Design and Material Culture. Support for this project comes from the Anonymous Fund and the Chipstone Foundation.
For more information on the Ruth Davis Design Gallery, part of the Center for Design and Material Culture at the University of Wisconsin, visit https://cdmc.wisc.edu/material-culture/ruth-davis-design-gallery/.