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Woodturning—the practice of shaping wood as it spins on a lathe—dates back to ancient Egypt, and was employed in the making of furniture during the Industrial Revolution. But the focus of the Renwick Gallery’s exhibit “A Revolution in Wood: The Bresler Collection” is contemporary. The works in the 66-piece collection of the late Charles Bresler and his wife Fleur push the boundaries of the centuries-old technique to include sculptural and decorative elements. “Table Bracelet: Promenade Suite,” by Michelle Holzapfel, is both whimsical and practical. The sturdy piece—composed of maple, birch, cherry, and brass—is as big as a golden retriever, and features three vases and two candleholders. On the other hand, William Hunter and Marianne Hunter’s “Evening Blossom” is clearly not for everyday use—the tiny vessel is made of such precious materials as 24 carat gold, charoite, ebony, amethyst, and sterling silver. Even the most utilitarian pieces, like dishes and bowls, are true pieces of art. The Wedgwood in your china cabinet will look downright pedestrian in comparison.
THE EXHIBITION IS ON VIEW DAILY 10 A.M. TO 5:30 P.M. AT THE RENWICK GALLERY, 1661 PENNSYLVANIA AVE. NW. FREE. (202) 633-7970.