On Sunday afternoon, January 22, three of the artists participating in Handmade Meaning gathered at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art for a panel discussion moderated by Beverly Gordon of the Design Studies department at UW-Madison. We had a great turnout in spite of the momentous Packers-Bears game going on at the same time!

Gordon asked each panelist to speak about how she views her own work in relation to turn-of-the-century women’s handwork.  Susan Johnson White described how her Idle Hands performance is physically tied to the handwork of previous generations of women through the incorporation of tools and a pattern book that belonged to her female ancestors. Anne Kingsbury discussed the meditative aspect of creating her highly detailed beadwork and the idea that Victorian women likely experienced a similar sense of connection and mindfulness in their craft work. Cortney Heimerl considered the high levels of skill and technique valued by Victorian makers in contrast to the current D.I.Y./indie craft movement, which emphasizes that anyone can try their hand at making things, no matter their skill level.

Check out photos of the event on the UW-Madison Material Culture program’s blog.