Rude Osolnik (1915-2001) was widely admired as one of the finest wood turners in America, and his workshops and seminars were in demand around the world. His bowls and signature candlesticks are collector’s items, and his pieces are in the permanent collections of major galleries around the world. In 1992, he was presented the Milner Award, the Governor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement, and his legacy is honored each year with the presentation of the Osolnik Award to a selected Kentucky artist.
Osolnik was born in New Mexico, the son of Slovenian immigrants. He moved with his family to Illinois, where he learned woodturning in high school. He received both a BA and MA from Bradley University in Peoria. In 1937, he accepted a teaching position at Kentucky’s Berea College in the Industrial Arts Department, which he later chaired.
Osolnik taught thousands of students over the course of 40 years at the college. In the 1960s and ‘70s, Osolnik was a leader of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild and helped found the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen. Osolnik died at the age of 86.
Find out more about him and his work at the Rude Osolnik Master Woodturner website.