Miriam Carpenter

July 19, 2024

A lovely feather is on display. You consider it, admiring its beauty yet wonder why it was put on display. Then it dawns on you that it’s not actually a feather. It’s a piece of wood. How did contemporary artist Miriam Carpenter manage to carve the errant curve of the stray barbs so delicately in a rugged material like wood? Her skill is such that the result is utterly convincing. Her deep knowledge of her medium enables her to turn wood into a feather. In so doing she invites us to consider the nature of the feather and the character of the wood.

Miriam Carpenter says her work looks closely at objects often overlooked, “unveiling the hidden complexities around us.” Her love for wood is paramount, but she works also with marble and metal. She works with such a high level of precision that ironically her pieces appear easy and simple, breathtakingly so.

After graduating from Rhode Island School of Design, the Pipersville native began her career as a furniture maker at George Nakashima Woodworkers studio. Working with Mira Nakashima she learned to read the life of a tree through its knots, veins and rings. Miriam has had a solo show at Michener Art Museum. She’s also exhibited at Philadelphia Museum of Art, Wharton Esherick Museum, Fuller Craft Museum, Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, Museum for Art in Wood, Philadelphia International Airport, SOFA Chicago and Design Miami/Paris. She has been awarded six international residencies in the arts and is an active participant in artist collaborations around the globe.

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Illustration of the Phillips' Mill -Artist: Kathie Jankauskus