Kimberly Winkle is one of 43 fine woodworkers who was showcased in the exhibition Making a Seat at the Table: Women Transform Woodworking. We conducted a brief interview via email to find out more about her work.
Why is this exhibition important to you?
The exhibition is important to me in a number of ways. It’s the first exhibition to highlight and focus on the talents and expert craftspersonship of women woodworkers in many many years. I think it’s important to debunk the misconception that woodworking is done by men and that “women’s work” involves soft materials (such as fibers or clay). Some of the major figures in contemporary craft and studio furniture are women and of whom are included in this groundbreaking exhibition; Wendy Maruyama and Rosanne Somerson for example. Another reason I think it’s an important exhibition is because of how well it shows the breadth of the artform of working in wood and how women makers are at the forefront of it. For example, Yuri Kobayashi’s architectural sculpture (Believing) that utilizes traditional furniture joinery to the extreme to create the large, elegant circular form. Or, Christine Lee’s use of mundane materials (shims) to create a wall sculpture (Stacking Order) celebrating line and pattern. Or, Ashley Eriksmoen’s hybrid animal form (Criogriff) made from repurposed manufactured furniture. Or, the social commentary or social practice of a few of the works is especially relevant in today’s seemingly unstable political times; for example BA Harrington’s dowry chest (Lineage #1). Truly, the exhibition shows the best of the best of all forms of working in wood. And, although all of the pieces included in the exhibition are expertly crafted, they also show the personality of the maker; they’re not sterile or cold, they invite the viewer in to explore the works more fully and intimately.
What advice would you give your younger self about getting into woodworking?
I would encourage myself to try new techniques and materials more often; don’t be intimidated or afraid to “play”.
Which piece in the exhibition stood out the most to you?
That’s a very difficult question to answer because all of the works are incredible but one of my favorites is the wall of shims (Stacking Order) by Christine Lee. I’ve always loved this body of work of hers; there’s something powerful in celebrating the honesty of the material and her ability to transform the ordinary into extraordinary through repetition and stacking. Another of my favorites is the Jewelry Cabinet of Kristina Madsen; she is the quintessential craftswoman. Her work is utterly impeccable and her skill in creating those lovely, sensuous and elegant motifs through carving is awe-inspiring.
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