1st Edition

Joinery, Joists and Gender A History of Woodworking for the 21st Century

By Deirdre Visser Copyright 2022
    394 Pages 262 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    394 Pages 262 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Joinery, Joists and Gender: A History of Woodworking for the 21st Century is the first publication of its kind to survey the long and rich histories of women and gender non-conforming persons who work in wood. Written for craft practitioners, design students, and readers interested in the intersections of gender and labor history—with 200 full-color images, both historical and contemporary—this book provides an accessible and insightful entry into the histories, practices, and lived experiences of women and nonbinary makers in woodworking.

    In the first half the author presents a woodworking history primarily in Europe and the United States that highlights the practical and philosophical issues that have marked women’s participation in the field. Research focuses on a diverse range of practitioners from Lady Yun to Adina White.

    This is followed by sixteen in-depth profiles of contemporary woodworkers, all of whom identify fine woodworking as their principal vocation. Through studio visits, interviews, and photographs of space and process, the book uncovers the varied practices and contributions these diverse artisans make to the understanding of wood as a medium to engage spatial, material, aesthetic, and even existential challenges.

    Beautifully illustrated profiles include Wendy Maruyama, one of the first women to earn an MFA in woodworking in the US; Sarah Marriage, founder of Baltimore’s A Workshop of Our Own, a woodshop and educational space specifically for women and gender non-conforming makers; Yuri Kobayashi, whose sublime work blurs boundaries between the worlds of art and craft, sculpture, and furniture; and Folayemi Wilson, whose work draws equally on African American history and Afrofuturism to explore and illuminate the ways that furniture and wood traditions shape social relations.

    Preface  Introduction  Chapter 1: Early Histories of Women in Woodworking  Chapter 2: Changing Educational Models  Chapter 3: Shifting Economies  Chapter 4: The American Studio Furniture Movement  Chapter 5: Contemporary Profiles


    Deirdre Visser is a curator, educator, visual artist, and woodworker in San Francisco’s Mission District.

    "I love this book...My favorite aspect of the book is the intellectual perspective that Visser brings to the subject, which she treats with welcome nuance. I greatly appreciate that Visser and her colleague in the project early on, Laura Mays, saw fit to include not just art- and studio-furniture makers, but builders of custom work who happily refer to their workspaces as shops, and builders of buildings (to a lesser extent)…The diversity of featured makers is great. This is by no means a review, but it’s certainly an appreciation and a strong recommendation."

    Nancy Hiller, woodworker and author, USA

    "Packed with surprises, inspiration, and thorough scholarship, Deirdre Visser’s Joinery, Joists and Gender: A History of Woodworking for the 21st Century weaves the stories of historic and contemporary makers into the first collective history of women and non-binary makers in the field of wood. Part history and part survey of contemporary craft, this book contains previously undocumented stories of woodworking history and interviews that are equal parts funny, poignant, and inspiring. This is a smart, joyful, untold history of woodworking with excellent photos. All of that and an illustrated glossary? It’s time to place your order and settle in for an expansive take on the material we all love."

    Aspen Golann, from a review in Fine Woodworking