An Artist, a Tool & a Purpose

Aug 10, 2012

Objects play many roles in our lives. Some are functional. Some are ornamental. But, there are things - objects - that touch us on an deeper level.

Madison artist Kelty Carew uses her etching skills to create art - and memorials.
Credit Gianofer Fields

It might be difficult to believe, but for me, it’s a simple, fairly low-key ballpoint pen that has stuck with me through thousands of words on paper.

For contributor and material culture student Gianofer Fields, it’s her father’s thermos. And Fields has found that for many artists, their tools have great meaning - not necessarily because of the tools themselves, but because of what those tools allow the artists to create.

Take for example Madison artist Kelty Carew. Her tools allow her to create objects that evoke powerful emotions - memorial markers for gravesites.

Fields produces and curates the series, "It's A Material World." That project is funded by the Chipstone Foundation, a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in the decorative arts. She spoke with Madison artist Kelty Carew.