Wrap Holiday Gifts & Travel Plans Around the Woodson Art Museum

Written by Amy Beck

Amid holiday gift-giving and mid-winter travel preparations, here are a few ideas for folding creativity and visits to the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum into your seasonal plans…


Bring friends and family to the Woodson Art Museum this winter to experience Quilts & Wood — vibrant art quilts and strikingly elegant, contemporary wood objects — on view now through February 25, 2018. Invite quilt enthusiasts, fiber artists, and woodworkers to Marathon County to visit the museum during these two exhibitions — perfect for couples’ long weekends, girls’ getaways, family reunions, and mother–daughter retreats.

An eclectic array of designs, materials, and techniques are woven throughout art quilts depicting animals, both real and fantastical, in Wild Fabrications, organized by Studio Art Quilt Associates in Hebron, Connecticut.

Artists who stitched with thread to “paint” and draw,” transformed materials and incorporated colors and textures to depict scales, skin, feathers, and fur throughout quilts featuring fanciful zebras, rhinos, giraffes, penguins, foxes, and felines.

Diana Ferguson, Boogie Nights, 2015.
Judith Roderick, Two Creatures, 2015.

What distinguishes art quilts from those made for warmth during cold winter months? Art quilts are a maker’s original exploration of material resulting in a unique artwork, while traditional quilts frequently originate from patterns handed down through generations and often are sewn and cherished for their usefulness.

Using fabric as their medium, artists skillfully work with textiles — often hand painted, dyed, or printed — in imaginative ways and incorporate unexpected materials, from glass stones, beads, chenille thread, and embroidery floss to zippers, buttons, sequins, and tulle.

Turning Attention to Wood

Explorations in Wood: Selections from The Center for Art in Wood, highlighting the diversity and unlimited potential of wood, comprises enigmatic wood objects from the collection of Philadelphia’s Center for Art in Wood.

The organic qualities of wood, our ability to manipulate its shape, its abundance, and its renewable potential are among the reasons wood permeates our culture — including the art world. Artists who work in wood put tools to timber, creating vessels and objects of stunning beauty. They turn and spin at the lathe, carving and smoothing while shavings pile up.

Frank E. Cummings, III, Nature in Transition, 1989, cork, oak, 18K gold, exotic material. Photo courtesy of John Carlano.


William Hunter, Vallarta Shell, 1995, cocobolo. Photo courtesy of John Carlano.

Behind the Lathe: Selections by Wisconsin Valley Woodturners also is on view; some club members’ work is available for purchase at the museum’s Visitor Services desk. Woodturners demonstrate and guide visitors at the lathe during programs on Thursday, January 4, 2018, 5:30–7:00 p.m., and Saturday, January 6, 2018, 1:00–3:00 p.m.


Working their winter magic, Team USA Snow Sculptors create their 28th snow sculpture at the Woodson Art Museum on Saturday and Sunday, January 27 and 28, 2018.

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For gift ideas any time of year, consider museum giving opportunities — purchasing museum memberships or making a Tribute Fund donation in honor or in memory of individuals or in celebration of events and milestones. Support the Woodson Art Museum and encourage others to discover why it received the 2017 National Medal, the nation’s highest museum honor for service to the community.


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  • Enriching programs for all ages enliven ever-changing exhibition themes, also incorporated throughout Art Park, the museum’s interactive family gallery designed for the young and young-at-heart.
  • Visit soon and often — always admission-free.

For more information, visit www.lywam.org, email the museum at museum@lywam.org, call 715-845-7010, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

AmyBeckAmy Beck

Marketing & Communications Manager  |  Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum

A former journalist, Amy has considered it a privilege to champion the Woodson Art Museum since 2010. Drawn by the natural, outdoor beauty of Wisconsin, Amy and her family moved to Wausau in 2007. After living in southwest Florida, upstate New York, and Iowa, Amy; her husband, Michael; two sons; and a daughter fell in love with Wisconsin during a family vacation and continue their quest to explore this state’s biking and hiking trails.  Email Amy Beck.

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