Can home furnishings be great art?

Handmade for Home:The Craft of Contemporary Design, the Museum of Wisconsin Art’s current exhibit through May 19, makes a very good case for this notion. Combining rustic and synthetic materials with a mix of traditional techniques, function, and sleek craftsmanship, the exhibit features furniture, silverware, bath towels, shower curtains, and other home goods created by esteemed Wisconsin artisans and designers.

In addition to Charles Radtke, [Professor of Woodworking] Tom Loeser, [Professor of Art Metals] Jeffrey ClancyPatrick Burke, and Dona Look, the exhibit also showcases a piece by newcomer to the art world, MIAD senior Maggie Jo Sanderson, and silver utensils created by UW-Madison graduate student Chloe Darke.

The pieces in the exhibit run the gamut from relatively minimalistic to ornate, with wood being the dominant medium. Sanderson’s wedge-shaped wooden desk, with thin, tapered legs, has a top that opens. Algoma-based artisan Dona Look uses local birch bark and silk threads to create her stunning, neutral-hued baskets, which have exhibited in the White House Collection of American Crafts.


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