Gianofer Fields

Material Culturalist

Gianofer Fields is a freelance producer and reporter for NPR, BBC and Madison's WORT Community Radio. She says, “Once you seriously consider the objects you use to fill your emotional and functional needs, you will never see those things the same way ever again. From delightfully intriguing to dangerously obsessive, objects affect our daily lives. They creep into our subconscious. They say volumes about who we are or wish to be, without uttering a single word.”

How many of you are, at this very moment, in a car on your way to buy something? Maybe because it's Black Friday weekend or just because you really need a new whoosie whats it. Either way, you are on your way to purchase something somebody made and sometimes that comes with frustrations leading to oaths of never, ever leaving your house for holiday weekend sales ever again.


One of the many joys of art is that it allows us to experience the world through someone else's lens. It's a form of communication that encourages you to consider other points of view, perspectives or experiences.

Lance Owens is the director of ArtWorking, an organization that guides individuals with developmental and intellectual challenges along the path of generating income through art.

Cooper Smith

If you've ever wanted to up your Halloween game, contributor Gianofer Fields has a mentor for you. Cooper Smith asked his parents if he could build his first haunted house when he was in the third grade. Now 13-years-old, Cooper continues to turn the family's 300 square foot garage into a haunt filled with frights around every corner.

Gianofer Fields

Are you one of those old school museum attendees whose head whips around to investigate even the whispers of a conversation? If you are, you're in good company because our material culture contributor Gianofer Fields is one of those people — even though she says she's working on it.


Luisa Fernanda Garcia is a recent graduate of the UW-Madison Textiles Fashion and Design Program. However, that's not necessarily where she got her start. That process began at home in Colombia where she studied Industrial Design. From there she moved to Paris, France and studied at Paris 8 while simultaneously working at Elle Magazine.

Gianofer Fields

After operating for nearly 100 years on the east side of Madison, the Oscar Mayer plant closed its doors just over a year ago. Matt Treadaway grew up in the shadow of that plant. He didn't follow in his father's footsteps and become an employee, but he did inherit his dad’s love for all things related to the bologna with a famous first name.

Courtesy of Gianofer Fields

Most people have a preferred pronoun they stick with, like "he", "she", "they" or "them." Madison resident Shawn Padley says he answers to anything, as long as it's not, "she." 

If you ask anyone who has entered his apartment, Padley says they will gladly tell you he is definitely a "thing" person. In this edition of Radio Chipstone, he chats with contributor Gianofer Fields, confesses his love for stuff, and describes how his perspective of some objects changed as he transitioned from female to male. 

Gianofer Fields

Alex Hohlstein is a man of many titles. Husband, father, musician, carpenter, and luthier. That last one is a maker of stringed instruments like lutes, guitars, and mandolins. Hohlstein says he's been playing music a lot longer than he's been making guitars, but was always interested in how the instruments were constructed.

Cedric Johnson

The Latin phrase Vestis Virum Reddit translates to: "clothes make the man." However, for Madison resident Cedric Johnson there also needs to be an equivalent phrase for kids, because he's been dapper all of his life. As the first born son and only grandchild until the age of five, Johnson was dressed to impress. Johnson says it was those formative years that set his sense of style into motion.

Chazen Museum of Art

Drew Stevens is the Distinguished Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Chazen Museum in Madison. While curating has been his thing for 30 years, Stevens says the distinguished bit came after his hair changed color.

Image courtesy of Gianofer Fields

Gloriann Langva is a second year grad student studying Ceramics at UW Madison. Her narrative work reflects her desire to create sculptures that tell a story. This semester she decided to take class​ in Material Culture that focused on Victorian Ceramics. The class project was to curate a show entitled, “What's in a Jug.”

In this edition of Radio Chipstone contributor Gianofer Fields met Langva in the Object Study Room at the Chazen Museum. It's where the jugs live and it's also the place Langva studies works of the past for inspiration:

Chazen Museum of Art, from the Kaplan & Levi Collection

This is the last weekend to see Continent for an Ancestral Modern: Australian Aboriginal Art at the UW-Madison Chazen Museum. Amy Gilman is the Director of the Museum and says the collection spans the Australian continent and its many peoples. The works invite the viewer to reconsider the lenses through which we view the world around us and shift our collective perspective.

Courtesy of Gianofer Fields

In the the early 1840s Wisconsin had a high enough population to meet the criteria for becoming a state. There was a diverse group of people living here, including native peoples, north easterners, and people from the upper south, many of whom originally came to the area during the lead rush in the 1820s. 

adam121 / Fotolia

If there is anything you should know about contributor Gianofer Fields, it's that she doesn't drink coffee to wake up - she wakes up to drink coffee. Next to exploring the avenues of Material Culture, it's her favorite thing.

beautifulcataya / Flickr

There are Native American burial mounds across the United States, but the kind found in Wisconsin and nearby areas of Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota are distinct to this region. The three- to four-foot-high earthen effigy mounds depict panthers, deer, bears, raptors, and other animals.