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Michelle Holzapfel

Bound Vase
1989
cherry burl
15 x 12 1/2 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Jane and Arthur K. Mason on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Renwick Gallery

Michelle Holzapfel is one of the few women to have achieved success in the male-dominated field of wood turning. She uses wood and the lathe to transcend the medium to attain artistic goals. Her sculpture exalts the beauty of cherry burl using soft curves and the illusion of cloth. However, we know that the vase can hold nothing and the "cloth" is carved wood. Holzapfel's art often refers to the domestic lives of women. The basic components of Bound Vase are a vase and a cloth wrap, implying that in our culture beauty and ornamentation are often associated with women.