Tulipwood_Candleholders.jpg (19205 bytes) The Kentucky Museum of Arts + Design presents

A Tribute to Rude Osolnik    Enter The Show

An Exhibition of Contemporary Turned Wood


Wood turner Rude Osolnik was a leading figure in the contemporary craft field and it is fitting that the first major exhibition in our new facility be a tribute to his life and work.Platter.jpg (36307 bytes)

Considered to be one of the fathers of contemporary wood turning in America, Rude Osolnik is something of a folk hero. Although an accomplished woodworker, Osolnik’s greatest impact was in woodturning. A composer on the lathe, he first wedded classical form and proportion to modern simplicity. In so doing, he updated a long-practiced craft. His simple, hourglass candlesticks earned the Award of Good Design from the Furniture Association of American in 1955. The 1960s saw him working with plywood to make bowls, and experimenting with the natural-edge on green-wood turnings.

Osolnik was widely admired as one of the finest wood turners and educators in America. His workshops and seminars were in demand around the world. The United States Government presented the Queen of England one of his bowls. Joan Mondale chose some of his work to be displayed in the White House Celebration of Christmas. His bowls and signature candlesticks are collector’s items and his pieces are in the permanent collections of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Atlanta’s High Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, The Yale Museum, The J.P Speed Art Museum, The Kentucky History Museum, The Mayo Clinic and many other fine institutions.



Contemporary woodturning came into its own during Osolnik’s lifetime. The shift from utilitarian to artistic turning was a pioneered by the likes of Rude Osolnik, Mel Lindquist, Bob Stocksdale, Edward Moulthrope and was taken further by artists such as David Ellsworth, Virginia Dotson, Giles Gilson, Michelle Holzapfel, Craig Nutt, John Jordan and Del Stubbs.


This exhibition will feature a selection of Osolnik’s work from private collections. It will be complimented by new work from more than fifty artists who were his contemporaries or established their careers during his lifetime. These are the artists who are at the cutting edge of contemporary woodturning and whose collective body of work will make up the museum objects and heirlooms of the future. We view the exhibition as an opportunity to introduce our audience to the work of some of the finest craft artists in the world


We plan a series of demonstrations, lectures and workshops around the theme, inviting some of the finest artists in the field to participate.

Link to Osolnik Family Website.