Gail Folwell’s Handle the Art is a sculptural home hardware line

Wren Bova

“Sculpture is so tactile, and we’re taught not to touch the art. That’s crazy. Sculptural forms are wonderful to the touch.” Gail Folwell

First comes the feeling; then comes the reality.

Sculptor Gail Folwell is known for her larger-than-life bronzes, pieces that express with wild fluidity a moment, a passion, a life. A life dedicated to sweat and speed, or to love and longing. Her work, “The Edge,” inspired by Bode Miller and a testament to all of the skiers and snowboarders who have represented Vail in competitions around the globe, can be seen at Vail’s Mountain Plaza. In it, a ski racer careens on the very edge, slicing into a turn and seemingly quivering with action. It’s a familiar concept for the Boulder artist, that capturing of a moment that pulsates with life. Known for sports-themed sculptures, any authentic moment in the human experience seems to appeal to her. The Denver Art Museum acquired “Tete a Tete,” two figures engaged in conversation — or studying the world around them, depending on how they’re set up.

Though it’s the big public pieces that get most of the press, her smaller sculptures have the same spirit. Represented by Claggett/Rey Gallery in Vail, her figurative work demonstrates a wide range of human experience, be it a biker bearing down and grinding on, or the unconditional love between a homely woman and her dog. Dreams of flying, an adult snowball fight, the release of the soul after death, posting up for the shot — her subject matter is connected only, but inextricably, by its humanness.

Married to an architect, Folwell has launched a line of sculpture that’s designed just for homes — and we’re not talking a piece in the corner. Handle the Art is sculptural hardware: drawer pulls, door handles, cabinet embellishments.

“There are many reasons that I love this idea,” says Folwell. “Good design is visually pleasing. Good art makes conceptual connections with people. Best of both worlds: utilitarian art, cabinet hardware. We touch our cabinet pulls every day. Sculpture is so tactile, and we’re taught not to touch the art. That’s crazy. Sculptural forms are wonderful to the touch.”

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And her art, in particular, beckons. Everyone wants to touch the human experience; everybody wants to get closer. This is not sentimental styling, but something pure — sometimes raw, sometimes euphoric, always smacking of authenticity.

“Art is a luxury purchase,” Folwell explains. “Its only job is to make you feel whatever it is that it makes you feel. It’s not an easy purchase to validate when you need a couch. Generally, only seasoned art collectors who’ve filled the walls consider collecting sculpture. But it’s wonderful to live with, and often, having a piece that is dear to you comes with a sense of pride. Everyone has cabinet hardware. This gives anyone a good excuse to be an art collector.”

For information on her home hardware visit; for information on the artist and her sculptures visit

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