Photography by Molly Wood


MUSCATINE, IOWA (June 11, 2019) — Stunning photographs and exquisite wood vessels will be on view this summer at the Muscatine Art Center. Des Moines photographer Molly Wood will exhibit her Omnia Vanitas series, and Quad City area artists Steve Sinner and Joe Meirhaeghe will showcase their wood vessels.

In her photography, Molly Wood focuses on the fleeting passage of time, the transience of material things, and the inevitability of change. Using natural window-light and Dutch still-life painting as inspiration, Wood’s photographs are intricate vignettes of botanicals and symbols of ephemerality, her botanicals metaphors for human experiences.

Wood is one of this year’s Iowa Arts Council Fellows and has exhibited her work at the Midwest Center for Photography, the Freeport Art Museum, Iowa State University, St Ambrose University and is scheduled for solo exhibitions at the Dubuque Museum of Art and Sioux City Art Center. Wood manages photo shoots for Better Homes and Gardens products and teaches History of Photography at Des Moines Area Community College. Wood has a BA in Photojournalism from Texas Christian University (Ft Worth) and an MA in Art History from Southern Methodist University (Dallas). Her work is shown by Olson-Larsen Galleries in Des Moines and Talley Dunn Gallery in Dallas.

Wood-turners Steve Sinner and Joe Meirhaege have collaborated in recent years, and this exhibition features collaborative works as well as independently-created vessels by each artist. Sinner’s early interest in woodworking led to a degree in Industrial Education from Iowa State University, followed by a 33-year career in industry and social-services facilities-management. Clock-making and furniture-making were hobbies, but in 1975, after reading Dale Nish’s book Creative Woodturning, Sinner took a passionate interest in artistic wood-turning. By 1998, he was turning full-time, with a studio added to his home in 2001.

Sinner concentrates on developing intricate surface-decoration using silver leaf, acrylics, and ink on deep hollow vessels turned primarily of maple, walnut, or cherry. His works are found in museums, galleries, and collections from New York to California and have been featured in art and craft publications in the United States, England, and Australia. In 2018, the Figge Art Museum hosted a solo exhibition of his work titled, “Steve Sinner: Master Woodturner”. The Cheongju International Craft Biennele in South Korea has exhibited his work three times, awarding him a special citation in 2003.

Joe Meirhaege grew up on a farm outside of Woodhull, Illinois, and had a passion for wood-working from an early age. He was introduced to the wood-lathe at age 12 by a friend of his father’s, and was immediately fascinated to see a block of wood spinning at a high rate of speed with wood-chips flying.

Meirhaege enjoyed it so much that he bought his first lathe at age 14 with money saved from a part-time summer job. As an adult, Meirhaege bought a shop full of wood-working tools and started building furniture and cabinetry. After hobby wood-working for over 25 years, he met Steve Sinner and was introduced to turned-wood art. Although Meirhaege had never looked at anything made of wood as art before, seeing Sinner’s work drove him to learn more. Meirhaege learned many skills and techniques under an apprenticeship of sorts with Sinner.

Joe’s passion for wood has now turned in an artistic direction. He primarily focuses on hollow vessel using native Midwestern woods such as walnut, cherry, hickory, and maple. He also enjoys incorporating acrylics, bone, and pyrography into some his work. “Since I was a young boy, I've felt a strong connection to wood and trees,” states Meirhaeghe. He continues, “I'm amazed by how nature’s trees can hide such a mysterious and beautiful media under it's bark.”

The public can meet Molly Wood, Steve Sinner, and Joe Meirhaege at the Muscatine Art Center’s Annual Ice Cream Social on June 30, 2019, 1:30-3PM. Omnia Vanitas is on view through October 27, 2019, and Artistically Exploring Wood Vessels is on view through August 18, 2019.


The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Avenue in Muscatine, Iowa. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10AM-5PM, Thursday evenings until 7PM, and Saturday and Sunday from 1-5PM. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated. Visit for more information about programs and events and to download a class brochure.

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