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AAW 1993 Honorary Lifetime Member: Rude Osolnik
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Honorary Lifetime Members

AAW 1992 Honorary Lifetime Member: Rude Osolnik (1915-2001)


Rude Osolnik has been called “the grandfather of contemporary woodturning” for good reason. Although an accomplished woodworker and founder of the furniture making program at Berea College, Berea, KY, Rude composed at the lathe, wedding classical form and proportion to modern simplicity. His work greatly updated the long-practiced craft and as early as 1955 was honored with the Award of Good Design from the Furniture Association of America.

Rude played a major role in the shift from utilitarian to artistic woodturning that was coming into its own in his lifetime. He was also admired and hailed as one of the finest educators in the nation, with worldwide demand for his lectures and seminars.

Over the course of 40 years at Berea College, Rude taught thousands of students, but from his rambling, rustic wood shop on Poverty Ridge he continually produced cutting-edge turnings. In the 1960s, it was bowls and candleholders. Later, he experimented with plywood and natural- edged green-turned vessels. Beyond all this, he was a leader of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild and helped found the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen.

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