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Craft in America

FEATURED IN STORYTELLERS EPISODE

STORYTELLERS highlights artists who use narrative to communicate personal stories and universal truths.

Featuring: sculptor George Rodriguez, whose oversized ceramic figures tell universal stories; the Art to Wear movement with gallerist and craft historian Julie Schafler Dale and textile artist Linda J. Mendelson, who draws inspiration from poetry and pushes the boundaries of wearable art; multimedia works by Nicholas Galanin, an artist of Tlingit and Unangax̂ ancestry, that critically explore society’s past and present; and Christina Bothwell, who explores themes of loss and hope through her unique approach to glass.

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JULIE SCHAFLER DALE

Julie Schafler Dale was the founder and President of Julie: Artisans’ Gallery, New York, which conducted business on Madison Avenue for over forty years. She has served on the Advisory Council for The Textile Museum in Washington, DC and the Art Advisory Board for the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

CHRISTINA BOTHWELL

Christina Bothwell in her studio, Storytellers Episode, Craft in America

Christina Bothwell is a self-taught, experimental glass artist who explores her interest in birth, death, and renewal while imbuing her work with a sense of wonder and hope. She was born in New York City and currently lives in Stillwater, Pennsylvania with her husband and teenage children. In this rural setting, nature is the main source of inspiration for her work. She employs a unique approach to the medium, and her figurative sculptures often contain another figure within: “I try to express more than our bodies. My ongoing interest in the spiritual infuses my work and runs parallel to the narrative I’m creating.” Her work can be found in the public collections at the Corning Glass Museum in New York, the Glasmuseet Ebeltoft in Germany, Museum of Contemporary Glass in Denmark, Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Glass Art (SMOG), Racine Art Museum, Cincinnati Museum of Art, Fuller Craft Museum, Heller Gallery in New York, Austin Art Projects in California, and the Smithsonian Museum of Art’s Archives of American Art Oral History Collection, Mobile Museum of Art, and Palm Springs Museum.

GEORGE RODRIGUEZ

George Rodriguez is a Seattle-based ceramic artist and sculptor who, throughout his career, has used oversized ceramic personalities he creates to tell universal stories. He was born and raised in El Paso, where he received a BFA in ceramics from the University of Texas. He received a Bonderman Travel Fellowship, in 2009 through which he traveled extensively, expanding his studies of global culture and ceremony. He combines his Chicano heritage with Thai, Peruvian, Bolivian, Mongolian, Egyptian, Taiwanese, and Indonesian civilization and mythologies. His work is the manifestation of the individual against the backdrop of community, and the modern world against the backdrop of the ancient. He holds an MFA in ceramics from the University of Washington, and his work has been widely exhibited in museums in the Pacific Northwest, including the Foster White Gallery in Seattle, The Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in Salem, Oregon, and can be found Eutectic Gallery in Portland and the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago.

LINDA J. MENDELSON

Linda J. Mendelsonis a fiber artist whose techniques include knitting, crochet, sewing, and felting.Melding words, graphic designs, and color, Mendelson makes wearable pieces that toe the line between fine art and utilitarian objects. Her art to wear pieces are inspired by poetry and writing, as well as the myriad modern art movements that precede her; including, constructivism, minimalism, and abstract expressionism. From 1975 to 2013, Mendelson was represented by Julie Artisans Gallery on Madison Avenue in New York, owned and operated by gallerist and craft historian Julie Schafler Dale. Mendelson now lives and works in Yonkers, where her apartment doubles as her studio. Her work can be found in numerous private and museum collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

NICHOLAS GALANIN

Nicholas Galanin is a native Alaskan artist of Tlingit and Unangax̂ ancestry. He apprenticed with Indigenous master carvers and jewelers, earned his BFA in Jewelry Design from London Guildhall University and his MFA in Indigenous visual arts at Massey University in New Zealand. Galanin offers perspectives rooted in connection to land and broad engagement with contemporary culture. He embeds incisive observation into his work, investigating intersections of culture and concept in form, image and sound. Galanin’s works embody critical thought as vessels of knowledge, culture and technology. His art has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally, including the Native American Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, the 2020 Australian Biennale and the 2019 Whitney Biennial, and the National Museum of the American Indian. His work is in private collections, as well as the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Portland Art Museum, and Denver Art Museum. Galanin currently lives and works with his family in Sitka, Alaska.