Profile photo of Michele Avis Feder-Nadoff

Michele Avis Feder-Nadoff

Author, Editor, Reviewer

Independent Scholar



Michele Avis Feder-Nadoff is an artist and anthropologist concerned with making, not only as the creation of things, but also of lives, worlds, meaning, and correspondence. Her critical ethnography, centers on Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán, México, where she initiated an apprenticeship with a master coppersmith in 1997. This seminal experience formed the backbone of her trajectory from artist, trained at the School of Art Institute of Chicago, to founder of the arts and culture non-profit Cuentos Foundation, to Fulbright Scholar, and PhD at El Colegio de Michoacán. As a theoretician, she incorporates perspectives of onto-epistemology, performance and phenomenology to develop an anthropology of making and critical aesthetics  that employs de colonial and collaborative research methods. Her approach bridges the gap between economic and socio-political critiques of craft on the one hand, and more formal, technical-aesthetic analysis, integrating neuroscience, cognitive studies, physiology, affect, kinesthetics, perception, and embodied knowledge, on the other hand. Feder-Nadoff’s art is included in private and public collections, such as  the Illinois State Museum, DePaul University Museum of Art, Elmhurst Art Museum, Rockford Art Museum, and the Figge Museum. She is the editor of Rhythm of Fire: The Art and Artisans of Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán, Mexico, 2005 and the artistic director of the accompanying video Night-blooming Jasmine, 2006. Recent publications include her edited volume, Performing Craft in Mexico: Artisans, Aesthetics and the Power of Translation, 2022, as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. Forthcoming with Palgrave in 2024 is her new monograph, An Anthropology of Making in Santa Clara del Cobre: Presence of Absence.