The Michener Art Museum in Doylestown presents “Miriam Carpenter: Shaping the Ethereal,” an exhibition showcasing sculpture, furniture, prints, and drawings by woodworker, designer and artist Miriam Carpenter, Oct. 9 to March 20.
In this exhibition, her first solo show at the Michener Art Museum, Carpenter explores the possibilities within materials as she seeks to create new forms and solve challenging design problems. Appearing deceptively simple at first glance, each of Carpenter’s pieces involves complex calculations and an intimate understanding of her chosen material.
A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Carpenter developed her deep appreciation for materials during the seven years she designed furniture with Mira Nakashima, daughter of woodworker, architect, and furniture maker George Nakashima (1905-1990). At George Nakashima Woodworkers studio in New Hope, Carpenter learned to read the life of a tree through the knots, veins and rings of its wood.
In 2012, she began carving small, intricate feathers, featured in the exhibition, that incorporate the wood’s grain pattern and structure into the object’s final design. These wood feathers are exceedingly thin and finely detailed. To Carpenter, they symbolize “that which is ethereal…a testament to the resilience of nature.”