2020/2021 Award of Distinction Recipient
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.
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 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.
We are proud to honor and celebrate Kristina Madsen this year and invite you to enjoy this conversation and virtual tour of her studio and workspace with past President and TFS member, Bart Niswonger.
AoD Trophy - Designed & Created by Fred Rose
AoD Trophy Detail - Table and Chair Tenon
This year’s Award of Distinction Trophy was designed and created by California based woodworker, sculptor, and FS member Fred Rose.
The base and post are made of Mugga/Red Iron Bark Eucalyptus sideroxylon and the arch is made from Brisbane Box Lophostemon confertus, both from the campus of California State University at Long Beach, and were milled originally on the CSULB Mill. The working Caliper is milled from Plexiglas. The name plate is engraved nickel. It has a Table and Chair through tenon and a ring of carving in reference to Kristina Madsen’s work. 12”h x 7”w x 4 1/2”d
Fred Rose grew up along the river in Carmel Valley, CA. He received his BFA in ceramics from California State University, Long Beach and his MFA in sculpture from California State University, Fullerton. Fred has been making wood sculpture for the last 30 years and taught Woodworking at California State University, Long Beach for 7 years. Most of the wood for his work is milled from trees that are being taken down in the urban forests of Long Beach and Costa Mesa, California. He currently works as a Studio Artist at his home in Costa Mesa, CA.
Learn More about Fred and his work here
The Furniture Society would like to thank Mr. Rose for his time and generosity in creating this special award for Kristina Madsen.
The following are notes and thoughts penned to celebrate 2020/2021 Award of Distinction recipient, Kristina Madsen.
Deirdre Visser sat down with Kristina Madsen to talk about her life, her career as a maker, and why she loves to carve.