Kristina Madsen of Southampton, Massachusetts, trained under British-born furniture maker David Powell from 1975–1979 and has been building furniture of her own design since that time. In 1988, on a homeward journey from an artist-in-residency at the University of Tasmania, she spent one week in the Fiji Islands, and while there, met woodcarver Makiti Koto. She returned to Fiji on a Fulbright grant in 1991 to study with Makiti for nine months. Through the subsequent use of this freehand intaglio technique, her work has evolved as a study of pattern, carved into the surfaces of the three-dimensional furniture form. She has received fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the New England Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and is the 2020–2021 recipient of the Furniture Society Award of Distinction. Her furniture is held by art museums and in private collections nationwide including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut; and Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts, among others.
ACC Awards Committee Chair Tom Loeser said, “Madsen merges a traditional English cabinetmaking education, which results in meticulously constructed objects, with surfaces derived from her own intensive research into and interpretation of Fijian hand-carving. She persistently keeps experimenting, broadening and deepening the scope of this investigation.”