Metal Embrace

This striking bronze sculpture is not what it initially seems. At first glance, the piece looks like something akin to a net, cast in bronze. However, American artist Michelle Grabner used something much more unique than a simple net in her work. She cast handmade crocheted blankets in bronze, turning something soft and warm into a piece of art that is hard and incredibly sturdy. A monument instead of an item of comfort, this unnamed piece defies the traditional use of a blanket and immortalizes the original crafter’s work. Despite the ease of making multiple copies through casting, Grabner maintains the individuality of the original by only making a single version of each sculpture. This mimics the uniqueness of the blanket, as well as the effort the blanket’s maker put into the piece. Grabner’s body of work tends to focus on the idea of womanhood, and this piece, placed in the heart of the “Innovative Approaches, Honored Traditions” section reflects this. This unnamed sculpture demonstrates the paradox present in womanhood. One needs to be both soft yet supportive, flexible yet sturdy, warm yet enduring. Grabner catches this all, if you are willing to let yourself be enveloped by the inherent contradictions in her piece.

Alice Long and Maddy Weller