Skip to main content
Members, News, Events, Industry News

Seating Assignment: Women in Contemporary Chairmaking and Craft Education

Posted on

March 23- May 112024

Sawtooth School for Visual Art and Salem College, both in Winston – Salem, NC, are proud to present Seating Assign­ment: Women in Contem­po­rary Chair­mak­ing and Craft Educa­tion, an exhi­bi­tion featur­ing 15 contem­po­rary women artists who special­ize in furni­ture making and view educa­tion as a core compo­nent of their prac­tice. The exhi­bi­tion, on display at Sawtooth’s Eleanor and Egbert Davis Gallery, will open with a recep­tion on Satur­day, March 23, 2024, from 5 – 7 pm and remain on view through Satur­day, May 112024.

Seating Assign­ment: Women in Contem­po­rary Chair­mak­ing and Craft Educa­tion Exhi­bi­tion is curated by Rebecca Juli­ette-Duex and orga­nized with Rebecca Silber­man, Sawtooth’s Direc­tor of Oper­a­tions; Josie Vogel, Sawtooth’s Direc­tor of Wood Programs; and Dr. Rosa Otero, Asso­ciate Profes­sor of Design at Salem College and curator of the SIDE Chair Library.

These artists, design­ers, and makers are reimag­in­ing chairs to fit their own bodies,” said exhi­bi­tion curator Rebecca Juli­ette-Duex, recon­fig­ur­ing classic shapes to commu­ni­cate their own expe­ri­ence in a field where they have been histor­i­cally excluded. The chairs, collected together in a crit­i­cal mass under one roof, are a tangi­ble pres­ence that speaks not only to the work of the indi­vid­ual, but also the collec­tive whole of women involved in furni­ture design and manufacturing.”

Rebecca Juli­ette-Duex, Curator

Seating Assignment Catalog

The exhibition’s digital catalog contains infor­ma­tion about the show, each artist, and an essay by Joinery, Joists and Gender author Deirdre Visser, commis­sioned specif­i­cally for Seating Assignment.

Seating Assign­ment is a joint effort, bring­ing together two land­mark Carolina insti­tu­tions focused on commu­nity educa­tion and enrich­ment. Sawtooth has been a hub for arts educa­tion in the Pied­mont Triad for almost 80 years, offer­ing classes for all ages across many subjects. Salem College is now in its 251st year as an insti­tu­tion of higher learn­ing for women, the oldest in the south­ern United States, and is ranked among the best liberal arts colleges in the nation.

The inspi­ra­tion for this exhi­bi­tion came from another part­ner­ship: Salem’s Chair Library, a collab­o­ra­tive effort between the Sutton Initia­tive for Design Educa­tion (S.I.D.E.) and Salem College, is a unique resource not found at any other college or univer­sity in the country. The SIDE Chair Library is a growing archive of almost 50 chairs still in produc­tion and consid­ered histor­i­cally signif­i­cant in the design field. Salem students, schol­ars, design profes­sion­als, and commu­nity members can not only visit the library to study these chairs; they are encour­aged to inter­act with them — sit in them, turn them upside down, measure them, and ponder their design, construc­tion, and materials.

Salem College’s women art and design students are the primary users of The SIDE Chair Library; however, their gender is not equi­tably repre­sented by the design­ers featured. Initially conceived as a presen­ta­tion for students from furni­ture maker, craft advo­cate, and Sawtooth’s 2023 Gondring Resi­dent in Wood­work­ing Rebecca Juli­ette-Duex, Seating Assign­ment has evolved into a first-of-its-kind survey exhi­bi­tion high­light­ing contem­po­rary female wood­work­ers and provid­ing students and commu­nity members a prac­ti­cal oppor­tu­nity to see them­selves reflected in the field of contemporary craft.

We’re proud to host Seating Assign­ment and offer visi­tors the chance to learn more about inno­v­a­tive and influ­en­tial crafts­peo­ple working today,” said Lauren Davis, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of Sawtooth School for Visual Art. Our school was founded at the onset of World War II by an inven­tive group of women with strong ties to indus­try. They recog­nized the profound impor­tance of arts educa­tion, and their early efforts paved the way for this exhi­bi­tion — one that cele­brates the signif­i­cant, but under-recog­nized, contri­bu­tions of women in the field of design.”

Featured artists include: Katie Bister, Christina Boy, Annie Evelyn, Sophie Glenn, Aspen Golann, Elsa Hoffman, Joyce Lin, Wendy Maruyama, Laura Mays, Stacy Motte + Eleanor Rose, Sabiha Mujtaba, Ellie Richards, Janine Wang, and Kimberly Winkle. While many chairs will come from personal and private collec­tions, Bister and Hoffman will be craft­ing brand-new pieces for the exhibition.

Images from the exhibition opening on Saturday, March 232024

For more infor­ma­tion about Sawtooth, contact 336 – 723-7395 or visit www​.sawtooth​.org

Sawtooth is cele­brat­ing its 79th year as a multi­dis­ci­pli­nary school for visual art and craft, connect­ing and creat­ing commu­nity through the act of making. Sawtooth’s classes and events are open to every­one — no matter their age, skill level, or back­ground. Small-sized, hands-on classes range from one evening, a weekend, or three months, with even more options for chil­dren and teens. 

Check out this great inter­view with Rebecca for Pen & Chisel with Katie Thompson.