Published Thursday Apr 19, 2018
Charlene Lachicotte, a senior metals student in Tennessee Tech University’s School of Art, Craft & Design, has been awarded a 2018 Windgate Fellowship by Center for Craft, Creativity and Design in Asheville, North Carolina.
Each year, the Windgate Fellowship selects graduating college seniors with exemplary artistic merit and potential to make contributions to the field of craft. Awardees receive $15,000 – one of the largest awards offered nationally to art students. This year, panelists reviewed a national pool of 99 applicants, selecting only 10 for the award.
“The Windgate Fellowship means the world to me,” said Lachicotte. “It is one of the most prestigious awards a student can receive, and I am beyond honored to be a recipient. This recognition from the professional and accomplished artists in my field will help to jump start my professional reputation as well as provide me with the means to focus on my growth as an emerging, professional artist.”
She has won Best of Show twice for the Visual Arts Society student show at Tech, was an assistant instructor under Anne Havel for a workshop at Arrowmont Craft School in the summer of 2017 and has spent three years as a preparator in Tech’s Joan Derryberry Art Gallery.
Lachicotte anticipates earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Tech in May and plans to use her fellowship as an opportunity to attend the Society of North American Goldsmiths conference, take a research-based trip to tour galleries, participate in craft workshops and invest in materials to elevate her work.
“My research goal is simply to aim to further investigate my current interest in the modern abstract art movement and the correlations I find within contemporary craft by visiting galleries to see these works in person,” Lachicotte said. “I will also be taking workshops to gain more knowledge of working with a variety of materials that I can use in my current style of mixed media jewelry.”
Lachicotte hopes to develop her own line of one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces that allow her to explore materials and innovative uses of them.
Her work is inspired by the work and philosophy of the abstract modernists. She uses metal, wood, vitreous enamel and found objects to make unique jewelry and small-scale sculptural objects. As an aspiring gallerist, she hopes to one day own her own gallery space where she can cultivate a community of experimental crafters, makers, artists, musicians and performers.
“As Director of the School of Art, Craft & Design, I am very proud of Charlene and her accomplishments; this is a huge honor for her and also testament to the high-quality craft education she has received in our BFA program,” said Kimberly Winkle, director of the School of Art, Craft & Design. “This award will provide her with the added support to further sustain her creative practice after graduation in May.”
Lachicotte’s senior thesis exhibition in metals, titled “IKIGAI ASKEW” will be on display at the Appalachian Center for Craft April 24-May 1.
“This body of work was born out of a need to be truly happy with the work that I make,” Lachicotte said of the exhibition. “I had to take a step back for a minute to think about the work that I make, and in doing so I realized that I am truly happy when I have the opportunity to experiment with material and see what happens.
“This show is meant to convey the sense of joy that is quintessential to practice of making. If that joy is not present, then what's the point? I simply follow that sensation of joy and let it guide my instincts. It is through this practice that I have learned to trust myself and I hope that it comes through in the pieces that I make.”
The exhibition is free and open to the public.
Gallery exhibition hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
The Appalachian Center for Craft is conveniently located approximately six miles from Interstate 40 at Exit 273 (Smithville /McMinnville). Go south on Hwy. 56; turn left immediately after crossing Hurricane Bridge. This drive leads to the Craft Center.For more information call 931-372-6894 or visit www.tntech.edu/craftcenter/.