The Queue: Sylvie Rosenthal

The Queue: Sylvie Rosenthal

Get to know the people featured in the pages of our magazine as they share what's inspiring them right now.

Published on Monday, July 12, 2021.
Blog post cover graphic for The Queue featuring Sylvie Rosenthal

Welcome to the Flourish series of The Queue

A biweekly roundup for and by the craft community, The Queue introduces you to the artists, curators, organizers, and more featured in the current issue of American Craft. We invite these inspiring individuals to share personally about their lives and work as well as what's inspiring them right now.

Grayscale ortrait of smiling artist sitting with crossed arms beside sculptural wooden furniture peices

Sylvie Rosenthal. Photo by Jim Escalante.

Carrying craft into a more inclusive and sustainable future

Featured in the Summer issue of American Craft, Sylvie Rosenthal is an artist and educator based in Madison, Wisconsin, "who has become known for sculptural pieces that are whimsical, often surreal, and always challenging." She currently maintains a studio practice making furniture, production work, and sculpture, and teaches the Fundamentals of Construction at Madison College’s Construction and Remodeling Program. @boat_boat @lower.astronomy

How do you describe your work or practice?
Artist, designer, woodworker, sculptor, and educator.

The past year has presented many challenges, from a global pandemic to renewed urgency around issues of racial equity and police brutality. As we slowly move into a post-pandemic world, how are you finding beauty and staying grounded?
Whew. The past year has been a lot for everyone. I have put my energy into supporting my community and being part of the pivot into the new worlds that will become, decolonizing craft and building dynamic and inclusive structures of support and resilience.

Black wooden vase with flower arrangement beside wooden sculpture

Photos by Jim Escalante.

Wooden mallet with pink swirling handle topped with pink flamingo beside pink swirled ball

The theme of the current issue of American Craft is "Flourish." Can you reflect on that theme as it relates to your work and practice?
The currently flowering trees allow me to remember that there is always growth, loss, overflow, excess, beauty, healing, and remainders. Flourishing has many attachments, and I gently remind myself that "success on someone else’s terms don’t mean a f*@#ing thing” (the Old 97’s).

What has been the biggest barrier you have had to break through to get to the place you’re at with your career?
I am a person of privilege, and it has been a process learning to trust myself, my skill, and my value as a queer, female-bodied craftsperson.

Being OK with people not fully understanding my work, that it can be enigmatic, problematic, beautiful, well made, humorous in places, and not digested easily in a single serving, and that it may evade a static definition.

Wooden teapot fashioned after a skull
Wooden sculpture of a tape dispenser beside figurine of The Hulk

Photos by Jim Escalante.

The currently flowering trees allow me to remember that there is always growth, loss, overflow, excess, beauty, healing, and remainders.

What’s one of your go-to/favorite tools in your toolkit that the world should know about?
The Mora 120 Woodcarving Knife is a fantastic, well made, and inexpensive carving knife that is used daily in in my studio. @morakniv

What’s an exhibition or art project you think the world should know about, and why?
I support of the work of organizations that are inclusive and forward-thinking in terms of building equitable and sustainable craft futures. I am a proud to have been a board member of CERF+ (they do amazing work). I am inspired by and support newer orgs like A Workshop of Our Own, Crafting the Future, GEEX, and Girls Garage. @cerfplus @aworkshopofourown @crafting_the_future @geexglass @_girlsgarage

Woodcarving knife with natural wood handle sheath
Cover of the Summer 2021 issue of American Craft

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