Hi, my name is Denise DeGidio, founder and designer behind Metal + Wool, a textile and accessory brand based in Northwestern Wisconsin.
My life is surrounded by nature. It was not always that way, but with each life experience, I find that every year brings forth a turn that has led me to where I am today – living on a dead-end road as simply as I can.
Two decades ago my sister-in-law, Erin, traveled to Guatemala and was taught to weave by Mayan women. When Erin returned to Wisconsin, we spent an afternoon together where she shared with me a bag full of string, some weaving sticks, and impressive stories about her travels and the people that she had met. It was on that afternoon that I first learned to weave.
Since that day, I have continued to work with fiber, earning degrees focusing on this medium at bachelor and master levels. I have come to find my artist’s way, much like one winds a skein of yarn in a somewhat orderly fashion, but in a design that can’t be predicted, each twist leading into the next.
Why Metal + Wool? A few years ago, when I was moving toward said master’s degree, I took a metals class and fell in love. Metalsmithing isn’t the primary focus of my work, but it finds its way into my pieces when needed – often times bringing the two together into one body of work. Wool was a given for me. It is the material that I most often design with and what keeps me warm in Wisconsin. So, began the brand, Metal + Wool.
My knitwear design titled Lake Superior, is featured in the October 2018 Scarves, Ect. 7 publication from Quince & Co. My fiber + metal designs have been showcased in galleries, businesses, and on lovely humans. I teach classes and workshops in addition to my position as the Fibers instructor at the University of Wisconsin – Superior, on the shores of my greatest inspiration, Lake Superior.
Metal + Wool is the confluence of two materials forming the basis of my work. When considering the design of each piece, and its relationship to the human body, it is important to me that my pieces be functional and consequential. My interest is in designing with intention and patience, working to convey the serenity and beauty found in nature.
Striving to design pieces using sustainable practices, natural dyes, and locally sourced materials, I find it curious to incorporate objects found in nature, and at times, make them a part of a piece. Equally, I am inspired when using traditional craft tools and techniques to stay connected to how these methods and material have been used over time by various cultures, which seems to have lost its way in our modern world.
Metal+Wool – merging traditional craft and fine art.
University of Wisconsin – Superior, Master of Arts, Visual Arts, May 2016 University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire – Bachelor of Science, Visual Arts Major + Botany Minor, December 1994
Instructor, Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, Rice Lake, WI, 2018 - present Lecturer, UW-Superior, Superior, WI, 2017 – 2019
Northwind Book & Fiber, Spooner, WI, 2014 – present
General Manager, Main Street Market Food Cooperative, Rice Lake, WI, 1998 – 2013
Exhibits + Publications
Scarves, Etc. 7 - Lake Superior, Quince & Co., October, 2018
Alumni Art Exhibition, Kruk Gallery – UW-Superior, Superior WI, 2019 Faculty Art Exhibition, Kruk Gallery – UW-Superior, Superior, WI, 2018
Faculty Art Exhibition, Kruk Gallery – UW-Superior, Superior, WI, 2017
Fiber Meets Metal, North End Arts Gallery, Superior, WI, 2106
Subtle Senses, Menomonie, WI, 2015