2014–18       Ph.D. (Practice-led Research) candidate, School of Art, Australian National University

1993–95     Master of Creative Arts (Sculpture), University of Wollongong, Australia

1986–87     Associate Diploma Visual Arts (Design in Wood), Canberra School of Art, Australian National University

1975–79     Bachelor of Science (Honors in Botany), University of New South Wales, Sydney



2008–        Professor, California College of the Arts, San Francisco

1997–09     Chair of the Furniture Program, California College of the Arts, San Francisco

1997–07     Associate Professor, California College of the Arts, San Francisco

1994–96     Head of Furniture Design, Jam Factory Craft and Design Centre, Adelaide, Australia

1988–94     Self-employed furniture designer and maker, Australia

1983–86     Freelance botanical researcher and illustrator. Clients included the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra and CSIRO, Canberra

1979-82      Botanical researcher and illustrator. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Australia.


Selected honors and awards

2016-17 Antarctic Artists and Writers Fellow, U.S. National Science Foundation

2014-17 Australian Postgraduate Award from the Australian National University

2014-17 Research Fellow, Center for Art + Environment, Nevada Museum of Art

2006    Inaugural Education Fellow, For-Site Foundation, San Francisco

2002    Virginia A. Groot Foundation Award

2001     SECA Experimental Design Award, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

1999     Professional development grant, Visual Arts and Crafts Fund of the Australia Council

1994     Professional development grant, ACT Arts and Special Events, Canberra, Australia

1993     Australia Council residency, Green Street Studios, New York

1990    Traveling grant, Commonwealth Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canberra, Australia

            Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship, Canberra, Australia

1987    Craft training grant, Visual Arts and Craft Board of the Australia Council


Public collections

United States

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Art and Design, New York

Museum of Fine Art, Houston

Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Charlotte, North Carolina

Alameda County Arts Commission


National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Wollongong City Gallery, Australia

Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Powerhouse Museum, Sydney


Selected solo exhibitions

2014     Pareidolia. Vessel Gallery, Oakland, California

2013     Artifact and Translation. School of Art, Australian National University, Canberra Australia

2011      aWay station. Headlands Center for the Arts, Marin, California

2009    Genius Loci. Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Sonoma, California (catalog)

2003    Permutations. John Elder Gallery, New York

2001    Experimental Design Award. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

            Correspondence. Plimsoll Gallery, Hobart, Australia

            Empty Vessels. John Elder Gallery, New York

1995    aGROUND. Jam Factory Craft and Design Centre, Adelaide; Canberra Contemporary Art Space; and Wollongong City Gallery, Australia


Selected group exhibitions

United States

2018     Artifacts: Allied Craftsmen of San Diego. Oceanside Museum of Art. San Diego., CA.

2017     Bartram's Boxes Remix. Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA.

2016     Bartram's Boxes Remix.  Lehigh University Art Galleries, Bethlehem, PA.

2015     Objects from the permanent collection of Decorative Arts & Design, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX.

             Bartram's Boxes Remix. Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, Wisconsin and The Bascom: A Center for the Visual Arts, Highlands, North Carolina.

             Expanding Dimensions: CCA 2015 Faculty Exhibition. Oliver Art Center, Oakland.

2014     Re:Collection. Museum of Art and Design, New York.

             Bartram's Boxes Remix. Center for Art in Wood. Philadelphia.

2013     Landscape: Near and Afar. Vessel Gallery, Oakland, California.

             Origins: Elemental Forms in Contemporary Sculpture. Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley, California.

2012     Almost out of the Woods. Museum of Craft and Design, San Francisco.

             CCA Faculty Exhibition, Oliver Arts Center, Oakland.

             Vessel 8: Charting the Waters. Vessel Gallery, Oakland.

             Where are you going, Where have you been? The Lewis Gallery at the Portland Public Library, Portland, Maine.

             The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft. Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock.

2011     The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft. Asheville Museum, North Carolina.

             traces. threads. surfaces. aMuse Gallery, San Francisco.

            The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft. Milwaukee Art Museum.

             Breaking Ranks: Human/Nature. Headlands Center for the Arts.

             Family Tree – Fine Woodworking in Northern California. Petaluma Art Center.

2010     The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft. Fuller Museum of Craft, Boston.

2008     Permanently MAD: Revealing the Collection, Museum of Arts and Design, New York.

              Bay Area Now 5, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco.

2007     Shy Boy, She Devil, and Isis: The Art of Conceptual Craft, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

               CCA at 100: Innovation by Design, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

               CCA Sculpture Selections, Sculpturesite Gallery, San Francisco.

2006     The Sensuous Curve, Museum of Craft and Folk Art, San Francisco.

2005     Convergence, Oceanside Museum of Art, San Diego; San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design; and SOFA, Chicago.

              Metaphor and Magnitude. Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.

2002     . . . and Extreme Pattern, John Elder Gallery, New York.

             Visual Perspectives: 14 Years of the Virginia A. Groot Foundation, Groot Foundation Space, Chicago.

2001     SOFA (Sculpture, Objects, and Functional Art), Armory, New York.

2000     Form Follows, Design Gallery, University of California, Davis.

1998      lights-ON, John Elder Gallery, New York.

             SOFA (Sculpture, Objects, and Functional Art), Navy Pier, Chicago.

1997     Design Australia: Westweek 1997, Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles.

1994–6      SOFA (Sculpture, Objects, and Functional Art), Navy Pier, Chicago.


2012     Opið Hús, Bær Art Center, Iceland.

1998     The Somatic Object, Dr. Earl Lu Gallery, Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore.

1997     The Somatic Object, National Museum of History, Taipei, Taiwan.

1994     Art of the Object (Craft Australia touring exhibition of South America), Montevideo; São Paulo; and Santiago.


2007    Integration: The Nature of Objects, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney.

2005   Transformations: The Language of Craft, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

1997     The Somatic Object, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney.

1996     New Furniture, Jam Factory Craft and Design Centre, Adelaide.

            South Australia: Crucible of Design, Jam Factory Craft and Design Centre, Adelaide.

1991–2     The Light Fantastic, Canberra Contemporary Art Space; Distelfink Gallery, Melbourne; and Sturt Craft Centre Gallery, Mittagong.


Selected professional experience

2018     Invited artist, World Word Day 2018, Phnom Penh and Siem Riep, Cambodia.

2015-16     Artist in residence, IceCube Neutrino Observatory, South Pole, Antarctica

2014      Artist in residence, Arctic Circle Residency, Svalbard Archipelago, Arctic Circle

2013      Artist in residence, School of Art, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

2012      Artist in residence, Bær Art Center, Iceland

2011      Artist in residence, Headlands Center for the Arts, Marin, CA.

2009    Artist in residence, College of Fine Arts, University of NSW, Sydney

             Artist in residence, School of Art, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

2006    Artist in residence, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass Village, Colorado

2001     Artist in residence, School of Art, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

1997     Emigrated to the United States

1995–6     Research and travel in the United States, including artist in residence at the Australia Council’s Studio, Green Street, New York (4 months)

1991     Churchill Fellowship. Research in Japan and the United Kingdom (7 months)

1982–3     Traveling and working in Japan (19 months)


Selected bibliography (reverse chronological)

Gina Fairley. "Call of the World: Extreme Artist Residencies." Artshub online, February 2018.

Benjamin Austin. "Donald Fortescue: Arctic Visions. Glance. Spring 2015.

Kate Smith. "Exhibition Review: The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft," The Journal of Modern Craft, vol. 4, issue 3, 2011

John Lavine. “Donald Fortescue: Crafting a Sense of Place,” Woodwork, no. 111, 2008

Stacy Martin. “Doing It Naturally,” San Francisco Bay Guardian, July 16–22, 2008

Maria Porges. “The Sensuous Curve,” American Craft vol. 66, no. 5, 2006: 74–75

Donald Fortescue. “What Does It Take to Make It in the USA?” in Shifting Foundations: The Collected Papers of the Designing Futures Forum, Craftwest, Australia, 2003

Glenn Adamson. “Donald Fortescue,” American Craft vol. 61, no. 3, 2001: 56–59

John Kelsey and Rick Mastelli, eds. Furniture Studio: The Heart of the Functional Arts, Furniture Society, 1999: 30

Sue Rowley, Ed. Craft and Contemporary Theory, Allen and Unwin, 1997

Norris Ioannou. Masters of Their Craft, Craftsman House, 1997

Jenny Zimmer, Ed. Contemporary Craft Review 1: Collected Essays on Issues and Themes in Contemporary Craft, Craft Victoria, 1996: 21–23

Christopher Fortescue. “aGround: A Review,” Object vol. 2, no. 95, 1995: 17–18

Anne Outlaw. “Re:furnishing Memory,” Broadsheet vol. 24, no. 3, 1995: 23

Grace Cochrane. The Crafts Movement in Australia: A History, UNSW Press, 1992: 399–400

Ken Lockwood, Ed. Artfile, Craft Arts International, 1992: 290–91

Richard Raffan. “Design for Living,” Craft Arts no. 19, July–September, 1990: 64–66