One of my rope brooches has been included into the annual juried student exhibition put on by The Enamelist Society: ALCHEMY 5: TRANSFORMATION IN CONTEMPORARY ENAMELS. It was on view at the Maude Kerns Art Center in Eugene, Oregon, and now is on its way Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington. I received the catalog last month and have been peeping at it every so often, blown away at the fact that my work is in print next to so many breathtaking enamels.

For more information on Alchemy V, click here.

A Summer Update in October

While I am a little late with this latest update, the leaves have not yet turned in Wisconsin. So while the solstice was two weeks ago, I’m still going to consider this a timely summer update!

I had yet another amazing summer, full of work that hardly felt like work at all. In May, I concluded my spring semester by attending the annual SNAG Conference. This year the conference was held in Chicago, which made my journey thankfully short. This was good because I, along with my graduate peers at UW-Madison, were accepted into the Adorned Spaces exhibition. You can see an image of our mini-exhibit Grassfed, inspired by the history of the UW-Madison Land Grant, below.

June and July were dominated by teaching another crop of up-and-coming artists and designers for the P.E.O.P.L.E. Program Summer Internship Session. This is my second year teaching for P.E.O.P.L.E. and it brought not only new students, but new challenges as well. It gave me a chance to reconfigure my content, and add in more kinesethetic learning exercises making art, while also creating an understanding of the foundations, histories, and theory behind art practice. I learned a lot from my students this year, and couldn’t be prouder of them!

In August, I was hired as a Field Photographer for The Center For Upper Midwestern Cultures and State Arts Board, a total dream job where I got to travel around Wisconsin photographing Nordic craft. In addition to seeing portions of the state I’d never seen before (including Door County and Washington Island!) I also got to meet a lot of amazing artisans and geek out about regional rosemåling styles. Oh, and eat a lot of heart-shaped waffles. It was nice to have a job where my Norwegian language and folklore skills were put to good use.

Finally, in the spring I received funding from my department to do something I’ve always wanted to do - take a traditional craft class at Foxfire. I’ve been using Foxfire’s periodicals in my research for years, so it was a dream to travel to Appalachia and finally see the site and museum. I took a broommaking class with the indomitable Carole Morse, and have been making brooms ever since. Stay tuned to maybe see some in my MFA exhibition…

I also had a little bit of time for some extra fun - including visiting my good friend Jane Ritchie in Georgia, seeing House on The Rock with ONOH, and hiking around Devil’s Lake with my family. Definitely a summer for the books.

Qualifier Status: PASSED

Officially an MFA Candidate now! This week I met with my committee to discuss my work from the last year, as well as my future plans for my capstone MFA Exhibition. In order to continue on to that final work, I must first be granted authorization - which I was! Below is my set up in Gallery 7 which was on view for a few days. Onward and upward.



What a Friday! Just returned from Chicago, where I attended the opening of All have the same breath at The University of Illinois-Chicago’s Gallery 400. I have a piece - Wane, 2018 - featured in the exhibition, the result of a year-long collaboration project between myself, a few other artists (including the talented and kind Robert Lundberg), and researchers in the Geography Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The project and resulting exhibition was supported in part the Humanities Without Walls Consortium. Scientists and artists from Illinois, Wisconsin, and around the world were invited to participate - you can read more about the project here.

I was alerted to the opportunity to be a part of this exhibit through Terra Incognita, an ecologically-minded humanities initiative here at UW. I automatically jumped at the chance, as I have always wanted to work with scientists - it was one of the reasons I chose Madison for grad school! In addition to being a Research I University, Madison was a seed bed for the modern environmentalist movement and the resources here are rich for learning about land, agriculture, geography, biology, and more.

The research group I was paired with studied the effects of hydroelectric damning, particularly in Cambodia, and all the regulatory issues, politics, and ironies that come with such a practice in the anthropocene. A sincere thanks to Ian Baird and Nathan Green for their research and resources throughout the process, as well as LauraLee Brott for her amazing cartography skills. I have inherited a whole new vocabulary and pile of research documents on current environmental affairs (Carbon credits! CDMs! International Rivers documents!) which has given me keener insight into current global-environmental issues.


I’m exceptionally bummed that I could not make it out to the 2019 ECU Material Topics Symposium - I’ve always wanted to go! I’m knee-deep in my graduate studies at the moment, so there will be no travel until summer rolls around. However, a few of my Joshua Tree pieces and images are in North Carolina on my behalf, courtesy of my inclusion in the Ephemeral Archived exhibit at the Emerge Gallery in Greenville. The opening reception was also last night, and eternal thanks to the awesome Jane Ritchie for snapping some photos for me. So elated to be a part of such a neat exhibit for a linchpin event for American art jewelry.!


Got word this month that I’ll be teaching a pendant casting workshop at Wheelhouse Studios in the UW-Madison University Union this March. Wheelhouse Studios provides an open art studio for the campus community to create and learn, and has a fantastic little metals lab. More information soon!


Forge, Form, Fabricate

I’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Southern Illinois Metalsmiths Society for the recent inclusion of my piece Strain (along with pieces by my UW peers and friends Chloe Darke and Luc Pointon), in their 2018 Forge, Form, Fabricate exhibition. In addition to this, I was recognized with an award for third place in the juried portion. I wish I could make it down to Carbondale to see the exhibit, however for those of you who can it will be up in the University Museum through October 31st.

20180813-Cate_Richards-280 (2).jpg

I am now . . .

The official holder of a Certificate in Museum Studies from Northwestern University! It came in the mail today - it took about a year to finish, but the experiences I had completing it were great for my skill repertoire. While completing two credential-granting programs at the same time was stressful, the knowledge I gathered from both played off of each other and gave me a rounder, more varied perspective about art today. Maker. Curator. Visitor. Educator. Administrator. Historian. Doer.


Summer Days Are Waning

Two weeks until I return to school to start my second year of graduate school - I'm stunned that time continues to slip away. As I scramble to finish the multitude of projects that I slated myself to finish this summer and chide myself for not getting more done, I have to reflect on what I actually DID do this summer. To be fair to myself, I accomplished a lot!

I managed to pull together an early (and much needed) summer vacation to Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York with my daughter to visit my partner in Cape Cod in May - we relaxed on the coast, enjoyed an encaustic symposium in Provincetown, went to NYC to see Heavenly Bodies at The Cloisters and The Met proper, visited the MFA-Boston, Salem, Sienna Patti, checked out Anselm Kiefer's new show at MassMoca, saw old friends in PVD, and visited my most beloved aunt in Oakham. It was my daughter's first time seeing the ocean and it was a trip we will never forget.

Head of the Meadow Beach, MA

Head of the Meadow Beach, MA

Kiefer at MassMOCA

Kiefer at MassMOCA

Upon returning, it was time to work. In addition to teaching and making this summer, I was awarded a small grant for research late in the Spring semester, so I used the funds to travel north to the upper Michigan peninsula for field work. I spent the weekend studying the material culture of the Finnish and mining cultures of the region, visiting museums, sweating it out in saunas, and eating pasties along the way. On my last day, I joined up with a group of UW-Madison Folklore students also researching in the area, and we attended the annual Juhannus festival. There was Finnish food, dancing, beer, and a spectacular Midsummer bonfire in Toivola.

Finlandia University

Finlandia University

Copper Range Historical Museum

Copper Range Historical Museum

Hanka Homestead Finnish Museum

Hanka Homestead Finnish Museum

Juhannus at Pebble Beach

Juhannus at Pebble Beach

Finally, my fellow grad Chloe Darke and myself were awarded scholarships to attend a workshop at Pocosin Arts School of Fine Craft in North Carolina. For a week we refined our smithing skills alongside Maia Leppo creating steel jewelry pieces and samples. We also enjoyed the swamp and its resident spiders, ate lots of Peruvian and Mexican chow, saw amazing enamel work, and visited the local junk shops (where I found an amazing antique steel greyhound muzzle, which I kept on my bench throughout the class). There may have been a trip to the outer banks for some legitimate beach time as well . . . On our last day, we drove to Norfolk, VA and visited my buddy Jane Ritchie, who took us for to superb sushi and local brews. The utmost of thanks to Pocosin for gifting us the time and space to work, as well as all the new connections.

My bench at Pocosin

My bench at Pocosin

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

It really has been a summer to remember.

PEOPLE Program

Tomorrow is my last day teaching for the P.E.O.P.L.E. Program for the summer, and Friday is my students' graduation. My heart is bursting with pride - I had the privilege of working with three bright, compassionate, and inquisitive interns as a resource for their professional development. Through these past four weeks, we worked through what it means to study art and be an artist in today's world.

In addition to going through a smorgasbord of professional practices curricula, we also discussed generational differences and technology - espicially how they affect art perceptions and making. We looked at contemporary art every day, read articles about fear and sight, and conditioned our minds on writing and speaking about art. We hosted guess speakers (including ONOH, Anwar Floyd-Pruitt, and Yvette Pino), explored the Art and Design/Art Education/Art History Departments at UW-Madison, visited local museums as well as the Kohler Art Library. We also rounded everything out with a little making - below are some images of their final portrait projects and statement.

P.E.O.P.L.E. Program in a precollege pipeline program for low incomes students and students of color which serves as one of the many initiatives inspired by The Wisconsin Idea. Participating students are selected from schools around Wisconsin and after a rigorous application process, years of participation, and eventual completion of the program are given a healthy scholarship to UW. I feel a strong commitment to both serve as a mentor to young adults wanting to study art and give my services to programs which help to open up and diversify conduits that lead to robust employment in art and museum work, as there is much work to be done in those areas to repair and rebuild those traditionally exclusive spaces. I can't thank the organization enough for their trust and experience.

ARTIST STATEMENT: Looking at the work of Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, and contemporary Instagram makeup shots, we created interpretive portraits of famous artworks. We represented our generation while incorporating past influences which shaped art as we know it today. Our purpose was to showcase the changes in beauty standards throughout time and create a new type of contemporary portrait - DD, HH, ML


Pleased to have a drawing included in the current Anonyme Zeichner exhibition, now on view at the Galerie im Körnerpark in Berlin. This is the first time I've officially shown work abroad!

Anonyme Zeichner (Anonymous Drawings) is an annual exhibition organized by the incredible Anke Becker. I had the pleasure to work alongside Anke at a residency at Vermont Studio Center a couple years back. Each year, six hundred drawings are selected from artists around the world and displayed with all identities of the artists kept secret. Only upon the drawings' purchase is their identity revealed, and all works are priced the same. By doing this, many of the traditional hierarchical structures of the fine art gallery are eradicated. Vielen Dank to Anke for all her hard work on this juggernaut of a project. Wish I could jet off to Berlin to see it!

Anonyme Zeichner will be on view through September 19th.

Images taken from  Anonyme Zeichner

Images taken from Anonyme Zeichner

Radical Jewelry Makeover: Wisconsin

When I first started working for SNAG as the conference intern a couple years ago, I learned about the Radical Jewelry Makeover project. Sponsored by Ethical Metalsmiths, RJM is a traveling initiative that partners with metalsmithing departments, local jewelers, and the community to transform unwanted jewelry into new pieces, then showcases them in an exhibition, the proceeds of which fund scholarships and Ethical Metalsmiths' vision of sustainable and informed craft.

I never could imagine that I would one day be able to take part in such a cool project, but this year RJM traveled to Wisconsin! Centered out of UW-Milwaukee, metalsmithing students from UW-Madison, UW-Stout, and UW-Whitewater were invited to create work. After an intense 2-week donation drive for jewelry, all the collected pieces were gathered up and dispersed to each program, and then the making began! A big thank you goes out to my coworker Chloe Darke, who spearheaded all administrative and marketing of the project in Madison. Some fruits of her labor can be seen here and here.

Last Friday was the opening of the RJM:WI exhibit, and we traveled to Milwaukee to enjoy the event. The Union Art Gallery team did a fantastic job of displaying all the work, and a performer was hired to recite some of the stories that donors shared about their old pieces. Awards were given, and I was presented a scholarship for creating a piece that won the "What I'd Most Like to Wear" category. Much thanks to juror/Ethical Metalsmiths director (and Madison grad!) Susie Ganch and the organizers, for that distinction. 

It was a fantastic evening - we met metalsmithing professors and students from all over the region, and enjoyed the jewelry, food, drink, and conversation for several hours before leaving. There was much to celebrate, as many pieces sold the night of the exhibition. The show will be on view through May 11th, so there is plenty of time to visit. There is also an upcoming exhibition catalog, with a release date TBD.

Below are some images of work I made, a collaborative necklace from the UW-Madison metals department fabricated from melted down silver and gold jewelry, and snapshots of the show itself.

Instructor of Record? Instructor of Record.

Super psyched to report that I have been awarded a TA position for 2018-19! I'll be teaching sections of Art 108/208: Foundations of Contemporary Art to undergraduate students starting next fall semester, lecturing about the 20th century movements that inform the discussions and production of art today. UW-Madison undergrads, watch out! ;)

Touch Me, Baby: An Interactive Art Exhibition

I'm viciously behind in updating the news portion of the site, as grad school has been keeping me busy - however last month I had the pleasure of having a couple of my Bushcraft Collars featured in the Eau Claire-based guerrilla gallery ArtFly's Touch Me, Baby exhibition. All accepted works for this show were able to be touched, breaking down the traditional narrative of art experience and making it into something kinetic and tactile - and it looks like viewers had a lot of fun. Much thanks to Kelsey Wenberg for her hard work and initiative in pulling this show together. Images from the reception can be seen here, courtesy of VolumeOne.

Image by Andrea Paulseth, VolumeOne

Image by Andrea Paulseth, VolumeOne

Body of Work is Live

"An examination of work exploring the body within the contemporary art jewelry field"

It's finally here! So incredibly excited to have my work included in this exhibition, among many artists whom I greatly admire. Feeling so very grateful.

"Body of Work" is an exhibition resulting from the partnership between Google Cultural Institute and Baltimore Jewelry Center. It was recently launched alongside close to 200 other exhibitions from organizations from around the world as part of a larger global fashion project dubbed "We Wear Culture." The exhibition will be available indefinitely (and it's breathtaking)! I love this field, and "Body of Work" is a beautiful representation of the issues art jewelers are investigating today, presented in a sleek accessible format.

See "Body of Work" HERE.

SNAG: Nexus, and A Little Vacation Time

I'm still reeling from my trip to New Orleans for SNAG: Nexus! In addition to serving as the Portfolio Review Coordinator and enjoying all the brilliant content and exhibitions, I treated myself to some serious vacation time. We went to the NOMA and enjoyed the lovely Sculpture Garden in City Park, checked out the WWII Museum, the Backstreet Cultural Museum, as well as the Contemporary Art Center (which had a pair of killer solo exhibitions from Cecilia Vicuña and Senga Nengudi). We walked through Canal, Magazine, Frenchman, and Bourbon Streets, enjoying as many galleries and markets that we could. AND WE GOT TO SEE THE MUSEUM OF DEATH, as well as a few graveyards - slightly morbid treats that were right up my alley. Also, I highly suggest any metalhead and/or Russian food afficianato check out Siberia & KUKHNYA, which quickly became our regular dive while there. 

New Orleans is a gorgeous city - I felt that I was in a little slice of Europe right here in my own country, especially with the amount of beautiful churches and city squares. Oh, and the food was magnificent.

Below are a few snapshots of the city, the conference, jewelry, and more. You can see more on my Instagram @caterichardsart

Until next time, NOLA!

Graduate School

While I've known for a couple months now, the reality is just now hitting me as I start to pack my things - I'm heading to graduate school! I was accepted into the University of Wisconsin-Madison's MFA Program (with a fellowship to boot!), and I'm still in a state of jubilant shock. It's the badger life for me for the next three years!


COTN Residency + crafthaus: Blog and Exhibition

Here it is! A couple weeks ago this thread was launched through the contemporary craft forum crafthaus - it includes essays by Casey Sheppard and myself about our time in Joshua Tree, and includes a digital exhibition of the work I created. Check it out! Big thanks to Brigitte Martin for her support and helping to organize this forum!


Jewelry for Trees: Beaded Necklace  Cotton thread, found wood, and coyote gourds

Jewelry for Trees: Beaded Necklace
Cotton thread, found wood, and coyote gourds

LAC Summer Workshop: Alternative Materials in Jewelry

Super psyched! I'll be teaching a 2-day adult workshop at The Lawrence Arts Center this summer - Alternative Materials in Jewelry, July 8th and 9th. We're going to look at the work of contemporary jewelers and learn the possibilities of materials like wood, acrylic, silicone, and more. I'll be giving demos on integrating such materials into our pieces alongside established jewelry fabrication techniques. An opportunity for your imagination to run wild! All experience levels welcome!

For more information and enrollment, visit