Massachusetts artists Caitlyn Marsh and Keysha Rivera win craft innovation grants.
In 2022, The Society of Arts + Crafts announced two winners of its 2022 Craft Innovation Jumpstarter Grant – a program that was inaugurated at the organization’s 125th Anniversary event in November, 2022. The Jumpstarter is part of an ongoing shift for the Society, illustrating one new way the organization is supporting artists directly. Marsh and Rivera received seed funding to advance their efforts to re-envision the use of craft tools and materials.
Franklin, Mass. native Caitlyn Marsh earned her BFA in Fine Art Ceramics from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and worked at the Umbrella Community Arts Center in Concord before landing her current position as Ceramics Program Director at Dedham’s Mother Brook Arts and Community Center. Marsh has used her grant to innovate and elevate a ceramic tool overlooked in pottery studios – the extruder – focusing on creating new sculptural forms that push the typical boundaries of hollow forms (r., courtesy the artist). Generally seen by ceramicists as an industrial “handle maker” or a simple clay shaper, Marsh focuses on the artistic possibilities of the extruder tool and aims to change common perceptions of its functionality and use.
Multidisciplinary artist Keysha Rivera, born and raised in Holyoke, Mass., and living in nearby Chicopee, Mass., works with textiles and incorporates digital technologies into her chosen materials. After graduating from Holyoke Community College with a degree in Health, Rivera pivoted to focus full time on her digitally-enhanced fiber artwork. Using her Afro-Indigenous heritage as her guide, her artwork revolves around cultural preservation and exploration of family roots. Rivera creates what she calls “soft sculptures” (l., courtesy the artist) with family photos screen-printed on various) textiles. The sculptures serve to archive her memories and pay homage to her Caribbean and indigenous roots. Rivera has used her grant to study new techniques that allow her to further explore photo editing processes on fabrics.