Holly Tornheim

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Meet the Artist

  • About This Artist

    In 1977, while helping to remodel a 16th century convent in Provence, Holly carved her first piece. On an old larch pole beam she carved the hollyhocks that grew in the convent garden using a small straight edge chisel found in a workroom. She has continued doing all the work on each piece from design to execution herself, in her single person, solar-powered studio. Drawn to natural shapes and forms, she tries to make pieces that are not only visually exciting, but a delight to handle and use.

  • Q&A With This Artist

    A: The wood I use is mainly domestic wood that is mostly from the West Coast. It includes leftover pieces from furniture makers and also material from local brush clearing. All the non-domestic wood I use is either Forest Stewardship Council or Smart Wood certified or remnants given to me by other woodworkers. All scraps remaining are burned for heat in my home. All my pieces are carved by myself using both hand and power tools in my single-person solar-powered studio. I use solid blocks of wood in their natural color in my work. I seek to complement and emphasize the grain and color of the wood by my design and composition and, in turn, to allow the particular pieces of wood to shape the finished work.

    A: As a carpenter, door and furniture maker, carver of both sculpture and functional pieces, and as part of the long stream of humans who have used, planted, loved, and lived among trees, I value the versatility and the warm-to-the-touch feel and glow of polished wood.

    A: Walking in the forest every day. The daily use of handmade objects from a laundry basket by Peter Neptune to a rocking chair by Robert Erickson, rugs by Carol Sobieniak, and cups by Romulus Craft.

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