Sharon brings over 30 years’ practical experience as a designer and woodworker to her work as a researcher and historian of material culture, tools and technology, and historic woodworking trades. Her art school education and her understanding of design and woodworking impacts how she interprets research findings
She holds a Master’s of Design and a Graduate Certificate in Public History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Reproduction pieces can bring a sense of history and tradition into your home. Replicating historic pieces can lend insights into historic woodworking techniques and help to create informative interpretations for museum exhibitions. Contact me to discuss a project.
Contact me to present on research topics and demonstrate woodworking techniques like carving, inlay, and object fabrication. Select presentations include a demonstration at Historic Northampton, in Northampton, Massachusetts, on my findings from making a replica of the Sarah Strong Chest. And a presentation for Historic Deerfield, in Deerfield, Massachusetts, on my research for the Branches of Woodworking exhibition, followed by a gallery talk.
Making the replica of the Sarah Strong Chest led to many insights, which can be seen in this series of videos that I produced in collaboration with Stan Sherer.
Historic Northampton asked me to analyze the Sarah Strong Chest, a Hadley-type chest in their permanent collection. My analysis findings and research on these chests and women’s ownership of them was used in the interpretation of the Sarah Strong Chest for their current exhibition,Made on Main Street.
My research findings and discoveries have been used by Historic Deerfield in Deerfield, Massachusetts for interpretation in the Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning, and Livelihood, 1760-1860 exhibition, and for catalogue entries for about 175 woodworking tools in their collection.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Historic Northampton
I guest curated the show, Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning, and Livelihood, 1760-1860, for Historic Deerfield in Deerfield, Massachusetts, on exhibit in 2020 and 2021. I chose wooden objects, mostly domestic and farming implements, to explore the diverse scope of work practiced by woodworkers. The exhibition was the result of my research and cataloging part of the museum’s woodworking tool collection, most of which are nineteenth-century hand planes.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Historic Deerfield, Design by Allison W. Bell