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Venetia Dale

Polly Thayer Starr Visiting Studio Artist

Visiting Studio Artist, January-March 2019

As a Visiting Studio Artist, Venetia Dale produced a body of work called Piecing Together in response to her time spent at the Museum.

As part of this collaboration, Venetia Dale also worked with the Museum in the development of Saturday Open Studio workshops informed by collaboration themes. Along the windows, the artist created a long mantel evocative of the mantel found in the Little Salon in the Historic Palace.

Visitors were invited to channel Isabella Stewart Gardner's accumulation of objects, ephemera, and bric-a-brac from around the world as they created small objects for the growing mantel installation in the Studio.

The artist notes the following about her Piecing Together series and related Studio workshop series, developed in collaboration with the Museum: 

As a way to process my own relationship with time, the pace with which I engage my everyday, my longing to remember passing moments, I began collecting and stitching together other women’s unfinished embroidery projects. The works displayed in the Studio are a quiet protest to the expectation for efficiency and completeness, celebrating value in process. Featuring stitched together moments of care and attention, the embroidery framed within tablecloths and runners connect each woman’s labor at her pause.

Piecing Together merges my interest in finding meaning in the objects we choose to keep and the objects we decide to let go of with that of Isabella Stewart Gardner’s collection of bric-a-brac. On the far windows, a green mantle, inspired by the mantle in the Museum’s Little Salon, is re-imagined as a collective holding space of memories as participants recall and draw objects perched on their own shelves or mantels at home.

About the Artist

Venetia Dale is a metalsmith/sculptor working and living in Boston, MA. Her work utilizes fragments that come out of common, everyday objects. Through shifts in material and form (styrofoam cups, keychains, and shower caddies), the works reflect on both the inventions and failures of our taking, using, and leaving as objects are produced, used, and exchanged.

Dale exhibits both nationally and internationally, and recently represented the state of Massachusetts in the 2018 Women to Watch series at the National Museum for Women in the Arts (Washington, D.C.) in the exhibition Heavy Metal. Dale teaches at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in the Foundation and Jewelry/Metalsmithing programs.