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Heart, Head, and Hand: Making and Remaking at Berea College Student Craft, Oct. 18 – March 3, Ruth Davis Design Gallery, UW-Madison Center for Design and Material Culture

By October 11, 2023May 28th, 2024No Comments

The exhibition explores what it means to make on a school campus — and the power of design and craft to inspire creativity across disciplines. With a range of materials, from historic hand-made objects, to works of contemporary design, and masterpieces of dramatic and speculative contemporary craft, this exhibit continues the CDMC’s 2023-2024 season theme “Making, Remaking, Repair.” Through making and remaking, undergraduates in Berea College Student Craft learn to love something and become creative problem solvers in service of a happier, healthier, and truly flourishing world.

This exhibition is a collaboration between Berea College Student Craft and the CDMC with UW–Madison Design Studies PhD Student Danielle Burke as co-curator. For Burke, the project “has been an opportunity to work with communities of past and present makers, archivists, gallery staff, and Berea community members who all together, through objects, tell a unique and powerful story about utopian aspirations and political limitations — lessons which are meaningful to my scholarship on craft and material culture histories.”

Heart, Head, and Hand explores 130 years of Student Craft in three sections — Production, History, and Speculative Craft — demonstrating that making on campus has shifted its meaning over time and continues to hold fresh potential for the future. Hunter Elliott, Director of Apprenticeships at Berea and the co-curator of this exhibition, explains that these sections “…explore a range of objects along with the historical context that is essential in understanding the cultural shifts in Berea, and beyond.” Historically, professional craftspeople would design products and train students to produce them. Today, Student Craft focuses on the student experience and offers them the opportunity to tell their own stories through the work they make. Student exhibitor Layne Piatt ’23, an Agriculture and Natural Resources major who works in Broomcraft, describes his experience as “…an escape from the mundane and an outlet for creativity. Making on campus is a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life as a student.” YoungSoon Takei ’24, a Studio Art and Engineering, Technology, and Applied Design major who works in Weaving, adds, “Making is commitment, freedom, tragedy of a work in progress, creative block, aha moments, and showing up even when you don’t want to.”

CDMC Executive Director and Design Studies Associate Professor Sarah Anne Carter explains: “Heart, Head, and Hand powerfully models the role student-led design and hands-on making can play in higher education by offering a window onto the creativity and confidence this kind of work invites. This is not learning that happens behind a screen, but real-world transformation fueled by a love of making. Danielle and Hunter’s work on this project places this important work in a rich, intellectual context that honors its history and looks to the future of higher education.” Located in the CDMC within the School of Human Ecology, Heart, Head and Hand argues the importance of student-led design and making, and the lasting impact it has on life-centered work.

This exhibit contains more than 150 objects created within the Student Craft program at Berea College over the past 130 years. Click here for exhibit details.

Below please enjoy some selections that make up the “Speculative Craft” portion of this exhibit and have been created by our current students and staff.

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