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2020/2021 Award of Distinction recipient

furni­ture maker, educator

The Furni­ture Society is thrilled to announce Kristina Madsen as the 2020/2021 recip­i­ent of its coveted Award of Distinc­tion. We will be cele­brat­ing Kristina this June during the Summer Session of FS Connects with two unique programs includ­ing object studies of her work and a virtual Awards Cere­mony.

Her award will be presented during a virtual Awards Cere­mony event on Thurs­day, June 24, 2021 from 5 – 7 pm (EST) and will feature a virtual studio visit and inter­view with Kristina followed by a cham­pagne toast and the presen­ta­tion of the award. Be sure to regis­ter for these special events! 

All proceeds from the Awards Cere­mony event on June 24, 2021 will go towards the estab­lish­ment of a schol­ar­ship for women to attend one of our Educa­tional Grant Partnership events.

The award, designed and fabri­cated by TFS member Fred Rose, will be presented by long-time friend and supporter Bart Niswonger. 

Kristina madsen 154

Through­out their delib­er­a­tion process, the jurors (Andy Buck, Kathryn Hall and Craig Nutt) reflected on how their selec­tion may strengthen the fabric of the Furni­ture Society commu­nity” overall, consid­er­ing how their selec­tion adds value to the award program by diver­si­fy­ing the present roster of award recip­i­ents while also recog­niz­ing an invalu­able member of the Furni­ture Society. They describe Kristina Madsen as a truly excep­tional furni­ture maker who has made a signif­i­cant impact on the field through her unique way of combin­ing classic Euro­pean cabinet-making tech­niques with tradi­tional Fijian carving to produce furni­ture that truly embod­ies her own style. She first studied under English furni­ture maker David Powell in Mass­a­chu­setts and later in the 1980s, she began incor­po­rat­ing Fijian carving tech­niques that she learned from Fiji carver Makiti Koto, during a Fulbright-spon­sored appren­tice­ship. Over the years, Madsen has demon­strated a remark­able dedi­ca­tion to her craft by forging her own path through her inde­pen­dent prac­tice. Her work can be found in many public and private collec­tions and she has influ­enced other makers. 

Madsen is noted by her nomi­na­tors for her fine crafts­man­ship and metic­u­lous sense of detail.” One of her nomi­na­tors noted that she often devotes half a year or more to a single work, taking great care of every detail of her designs”. In his nomi­na­tion letter, 2019 Award of Distinc­tion Honoree Tom Loeser calls Madsen a national trea­sure”. We could­n’t agree more!

As the carved surface has become more and more impor­tant to my furni­ture design, I have begun to view my work as a study of pattern, with furni­ture as its medium.”

Kristina Madsen

Kristina Madsen was trained in furni­ture making in 1975 – 79 by British master crafts­man, David Powell, at the Leeds Design Work­shop in East­hamp­ton, MA. She was Artist-in-Resi­dence in the School of Art at the Univer­sity of Tasma­nia, Hobart, Tasma­nia in 1988. Her awards include the New England Foun­da­tion for the Arts Regional Fellow­ship for Visual Artists in 1997; a Fulbright Grant to study wood­carv­ing in Fiji in 1991; and a National Endow­ment for the Arts Crafts­man’s Fellow­ship in 1981. Madsen’s work is included in the perma­nent collec­tions of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Prov­i­dence, RI; Yale Univer­sity Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; Fuller Museum of Art, Brock­ton, MA; Smith College Museum of Art, Northamp­ton, MA; Fine Arts Center, North Carolina State Univer­sity, Raleigh, NC; and the National Museum of Amer­i­can Art, Smith­son­ian Insti­tu­tion, Wash­ing­ton, DC.

Representative Work