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InGrained: Furniture, Sculpture, and Woodturning by Pennsylvania Artists

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Decem­ber 2, 2023 – January 202024

Mark Sfirri, the 2008 curator of Across the Grain — A Regional Wood Exhi­bi­tion, returns to WAC to curate InGrained – An Exhi­bi­tion of Penn­syl­va­nia Furni­ture, Sculp­ture and Wood­turn­ing, the 2023 Craft­Forms’ compan­ion show. In addi­tion to being a furni­ture maker and sculp­tor working in wood, Sfirri is also a teacher, researcher, writer, collab­o­ra­tor, photog­ra­pher, and printmaker.

Cura­tor’s State­ment: Mark Sfirri

I curated a show for the Wayne Art Center, display­ing work by 23 regional makers, called Across the Grain,” as a compan­ion piece for Craft­Forms 2008. I’ve been invited back to curate this year’s InGrained” exhi­bi­tion. When Mira Nakashima responded to my invi­ta­tion, she said, Are you going Across or Against the Grain? Be glad to partic­i­pate, either way!” I decided that we had gone across it in 2008, and that it was time now to get into it.”

A lot has changed in the wood world in the past 15 years and that is reflected in this new lineup of makers. Some of these artists are new, and some are estab­lished makers whom I’ve only learned of more recently. Seven­teen of the invi­tees were not in the 2008 exhibition” 

Mira Nakashima, from New Hope, is back, as is the work of her father, George, and the work of Wharton Esher­ick of Paoli. This year we lost an impor­tant furni­ture maker, Alphonse Mattia, from Philadel­phia. His ground­break­ing work began in the late 1960s, and he taught at numer­ous insti­tu­tions through­out the U.S., includ­ing Boston University’s Program in Arti­sanry and Rhode Island School of Design. He was inspired by Wharton Esher­ick, and, in turn, Mattia has inspired new gener­a­tions of makers through­out his own career.”

I’ve been asked, and I am curious myself, why there is so much talent in the medium of wood in the Philadel­phia area. Certainly, there is a regional tradi­tion of furni­ture-making that dates back centuries. The Philadel­phia Museum of Art and the Philadel­phia Craft Show have long supported the craft commu­nity. There are wood­work­ing programs at the Univer­sity of the Arts and Bucks County Commu­nity College (where I taught for 36 years). The Museum for Art in Wood in Philadel­phia has regular wood exhi­bi­tions and a stun­ning perma­nent collec­tion. The James A. Mich­ener Art Museum in Doylestown is making a clear deci­sion in favor of craft in their collect­ing. And since 1994, the Wayne Art Center has staged annual juried craft exhi­bi­tions. All of these factors must have contributed to the rich­ness of wood art in this region. It’s great to be a part of this exhi­bi­tion and I hope that you enjoy what we’ve put together.”

A special thank you to the Wharton Esher­ick Museum, Kathy Hiban, Isabel Mattia, and Dan Zobel for loaning pieces for this exhibition.”

Featured Artists

David Beker
Miriam Carpen­ter
George Dubin­sky
Wharton Esher­ick
David Fisher
Nick Flaherty
*Sophie Glenn
*Larissa Huff
Michael Kehs
Noreen Kevolic
Jack Lari­more
*Alphonse Mattia
James Maurelle
*James McNabb
*Don R. Miller
*Mira Nakashima
George Nakashima
Keun Ho Peter Park
Colin Pezzano
*Mark Sfirri
Janine Wang
Derek Weidman
*Chelsea Witt
Dan Zobel

*Furni­ture Society Member

» Full Exhibition Schedule