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Abstract 3-d artwork shown on a grey floor and white background

Indie Folk: New Art and Sounds from the Pacific Northwest opens at the Museum of Craft and Design in 2024.

February 24–June 30, 2024

San Francisco (November 14, 2023)– The Museum of Craft and Design is pleased to announce Indie Folk: New Art and Sounds from the Pacific Northwest opening on February 24, 2024.

The Pacific Northwest is home to a unique artistic ecosystem involving craft traditions, pre-industrial cultures, and Indigenous and settler histories. Guest curated by Melissa E. Feldman, Indie Folk: New Art and Sounds from the Pacific Northwest explores these themes through the lens of contemporary artworks by seventeen artists who call the Northwest their home. It is also home to the music genre “indie folk,” referenced not only in the title but also in the accompanying soundtrack that plays throughout the gallery. Intergenerational and employing a wide variety of styles and mediums, the featured artists find inspiration in the authenticity and resourcefulness of folk and other artistic genres rooted in the vernacular.

Basket made from wires and scissorsPhoto of a fabric basket art piece
Marita Dingus, Fabric Basket, 2003, fabric metal (left), Scissor Basket, 2003, scissors, found metals (right).
Photo courtesy of the artist and Traver Gallery, Seattle.

Artist Marita Dingus considers herself an African-American feminist and environmental artist. Her sculptural assemblages reference traditional Black folk art, which, by necessity, was made from the scraps of daily life and staged in and around the home. Dingus has kept her childhood home in the woods both as her studio and an evolving environmental installation–festooning walls, beds, and the backyard. The works in Indie Folk are early pieces by the artist but her use of scavenged materials and recyclables is ongoing.

While hand making and materiality anchor most of the works in the exhibition, a few involve photography and video. Regardless of medium, the works meditate on the sense of place and identity engendered by small towns and rural communities in a digital and global era.

Artworks of colors made by monotype, stamp, relief, spray paint, staples, and collage
Joe Feddersen, Red Star, 2016, monotype, stamp, relief, spray paint, staples, and collage.
Photo courtesy of the artist and studio e, Seattle.

Joe Feddersen’s artworks encompass glass, basketry, and large-scale installations, but printmaking anchors his practice. When creating pieces such as Red Star, mono-printing—a simple process yielding a unique print as opposed to multiple impressions—is the first of several stamped, collaged, and spray-painted layers. In addition to mixing mediums, Feddersen combines Western modernism with artistic traditions of the Columbia Plateau, where he was raised. Similarly, his imagery time travels from pictographic canoes and elk to transmission towers and skyscrapers.

For the artists of Indie Folk, a rural and working-class ethos of passed down knowledge and making do with what you have is as foundational as academics and studio technique. This exhibition features handmade works that are unpretentious, and often blur the line between functionality and aesthetics.

Jessica Jackson Hutchins’s Mourner (pictured above) is inspired by the famous medieval tomb of a Burgundian duke. In the artist’s work, an unstretched painted canvas might be construed as a shroud draped over the folding ladder that forms its elongated, casket-like base. A ceramic vase is perched precariously atop the canvas, as is a husk of macramé. Pairing fine art mediums with handicraft, the artist traces the lines between art history and the everyday.

Guest Curator Melissa Feldman notes, “The concentration of work rooted in craft and folk traditions has been, until now, an undetected speciality of the region. Indie Folk is part of a nationwide reckoning with artists and histories that have been marginalized or ignored by mainstream art and conventional pathways into the art historical record.”

A selection of Indie Folk music, compiled by Portland, OR’s Mississippi Records, a record label and shop, will play throughout the galleries, suffusing them with the laid-back atmosphere of a front porch and, like the art, offering a fresh take on folk traditions.

Participating Artists: Brian Beck, Marita Dingus, Warren Dykeman, Joe Feddersen, Gaylen Hansen, Andrea Joyce Heimer, Sky Hopinka, Denzil Hurley, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, D.E. May, Jeffry Mitchell, Blair Saxon-Hill, Vince Skelly, Whiting Tennis, Cappy Thompson, Joey Veltkamp, and Mary Welcome.

Organized by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Washington State University, Pullman, and is guest curated by Melissa E. Feldman. Soundtrack compiled by Mississippi Records, Portland.

The Museum of Craft and Design’s exhibitions and programs are generously supported by Anonymous, the Windgate Foundation, and Grants for the Arts. Support for MCD’s MakeArt Accessible program is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IGSM-253544-OMS-23).


For more information and interview requests, contact Sarah Beth Rosales, Marketing and Communications Director, Museum of Craft and Design at or 415.773.0303.

About Melissa E. Feldman
Melissa E. Feldman is an American curator and art historian whose work focuses on the geo-cultural context of art, emergent trends, and overlooked histories using novel curatorial approaches. Selected curatorial projects include Is and Isn’t: A Context for Denzil Hurley at Canada, New York (2023); Push Play, an Independent Curators International touring exhibition (2013-17): ; Another Minimalism: Art After California Light and Space (2015-16), at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh and UK tour; Dance Rehearsal: Karen Kilimnik’s World of Ballet and Theatre (2012) at Mills College Art Museum, Oakland and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver. Feldman has been a frequent contributor to Art in America and Frieze among other international publications and has taught at Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, the California College of Art, the San Francisco Art Institute, and Goldsmith’s College, London.

About the Museum of Craft and Design
The Museum of Craft and Design (MCD) is San Francisco’s only museum devoted to craft and design. Founded in 2004, MCD showcases designers, makers, and artists through an exciting and distinctive series of craft and design-focused exhibitions and public programs. MCD explores the creative process and current perspectives in craft and design through inspired exhibitions and experiential programs. Learn more at


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