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Home | Sculpture | Art for the Table | About Holly | Contact & Schedule

photo Holly

Holly Tornheim grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She graduated from Antioch College, Ohio, in 1971. Participating in a house building job while on Antioch’s work/study program led her both to her present home on the San Juan Ridge in the Sierra Nevada Foothills and to her craft.

In 1977, while helping to remodel a 16th century convent in Provence, she 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. The old roof beam, upended, with its twining hollyhocks, became the center pole for a circular staircase.

After several more years working as a finish carpenter, she began to build and carve custom wood doors and later worked for furniture maker Robert Erickson. In 1992 she began to devote herself to carving and creating her own unique wood objects.

Holly 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. Primarily self-taught, she particularly enjoys the creation of new designs that come as a response to a particular piece of wood or to a conceptual challenge.

Holly Tornheim has exhibited her work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, the American Craft Council Baltimore and San Francisco Shows, and the Smithsonian Craft Show. Her work has been featured in a number of museum and gallery exhibits.

SELECTED COLLECTIONS

Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Topographic Tray, permanent collection

Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts, Bowl, permanent collection

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS AND AWARDS

DC Current, Messler Gallery, Rockport, Maine, 2016

Across the Grain: Turned and Carved Wood, Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts, 2013

Design Intelligence - Living with Design, National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny, Ireland, 2013

Sticks and Stones, First Place, Wharton Esherick Museum, Paoli, Pennsylvania, 2012

CORES, Center for Art in Wood, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2012

A Taste for Spoons, Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts, 2012

Poplar Culture, Wharton Esherick Museum, Pennsylvania, 2012

Inside & Outside the Box, del Mano Gallery, Los Angeles, California, 2011

Is Ornament a Crime? Re-thinking the Role of Decoration in Contemporary Wood,
CWA special exhibit, SOFA Chicago, 2010

A Gathering of Spoons, American Association of Woodturners Gallery of  Wood Art, 2010

Award of Excellence, Baltimore American Craft Council Show, 2010

Award of Excellence, American Craft Show, Saint Paul, Minnesota, 2008

New West Coast Design, Museum of Craft + Design, San Francisco, California, 2008

Small Treasures, del Mano Gallery, Los Angeles, California, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012

Coming of Age, Wood Turning Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2007

Ohio Craft Museum, Columbus, Ohio, 2007

Spotlight Artist, Baltimore American Craft Council Show, 2007

SOFA Chicago, del Mano Gallery, 2006, 2010, 2011

Caution! Animals at Work, Wharton Esherick Museum, Best in Show, 2005

Christmas at the White House, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, 2005-2006

Turned & Sculpted Wood, del Mano Gallery, Los Angeles, 2005, 2006

SOFA New York, del Mano Gallery, 2005

Selected Works, del Mano Gallery, Los Angeles, California, 2005, 2007, 2012

The Perfect Collection, Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts, 2004

Objects for Use: Handmade by Design, American Craft Museum, New York, New York, 2001-2002

Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, Prize for Excellence in Wood, 2002

Lean On, Wharton Esherick Museum, Paoli, Pennsylvania, 2001, Best in Show

American Craft Council San Francisco Show 2000, Honorable Mention

Newtensils, Wharton Esherick Museum, Paoli, Pennsylvania, 1999, 2nd Prize

Knock on .., Target Gallery, Alexandria, Virginia, 1999

A Celebration of Sierra Woods, Nevada City, California, 1997, 1994

Tableservice Sonata, Springfield Art Association, Springfield, Illinois, 1993

Foothill Regional Arts Festival, Nevada City, California, 2nd Prize 1993, 3rd Prize 1992

Contemporary Crafts Gallery, Portland, Oregon, two person show with Robert Erickson, 1992

Holly at her studio

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

Objects for Use: Handmade by Design, by Paul Smith, 2001

Woodwork Magazine, Gallery, December 2000

Cores Recycled, by The Center for Art in Wood, 2015

Poplar Culture, by The Wharton Esherick Museum and Paul Eisenhauer, 2012