Heather McCalla is an artist living and working in Richmond, Virginia. Originally from San Diego, California, McCalla studied furniture design and woodworking while attending San Diego State University. She obtained her BA in Applied Design in 2006, and worked as a finish carpenter and independent designer for three years before moving to Wisconsin in 2010. McCalla received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2013 where she subsequently lectured in the furniture design and woodworking department. She moved to Richmond, Virginia in 2014 to become a Fountainhead Fellow in the Department of Craft and Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Her current body of work explores the complex feelings and relationships associated with home and family. By utilizing recognizable domestic objects, architectural forms, and outmoded construction techniques in her sculptures, she attempts to exploit the connection to the human body that is inherent in these systems. Our familiarity with these objects and their potential functionality creates a visceral connection. They surround us on a daily basis, supporting our bodies and shielding us from the outside world. Their purpose is to provide comfort, and because of this they have the ability to elicit certain associations and feelings. When the functionality of these structures has failed or been subverted, they then have the potential to elicit a wholly different response. The comfortable becomes the unsettling; the recognizable becomes the unfamiliar. This reversal challenges our perceptions and allows us the opportunity to reexamine the rituals, relationships, and meaning that occur within the domestic environment.