Saturday, March 4, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: March 4, 1915 - Rude Osolnik

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Osolnik was widely admired as one of the finest wood turners in America and his workshops and seminars were in demand around the world. The Queen of England was presented one of his bowls by the US Government. 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 Speed Museum, The Kentucky History Museum, The Mayo Clinic, The Connell Gallery and many other fine institutions. In 1992, he was presented the Milner Award, the Governor's Award for Lifetime Achievement by then Governor Brereton Jones. He is honored by the Commonwealth of Kentucky which presents the Osolnik Award each year to a selected Kentucky artist. Osolnik was born on March 4, 1915 in Dawson, NM, the son of Slovenian immigrants. The family settled in Johnston City, Illinois where Rude learned wood turning in high school. He attended Bradley University in Peoria, IL and received both a BA and MA. In 1937 he accepted a teaching position at Berea College in the Industrial Arts Department. He later became Chairman of the Industrial Arts Department and for awhile ran the Woodcraft Department. He was also the Fire Chief of Berea in the fifties. He taught thousands of students over the course of 40 years at the college. Except for his service in the US Navy in the Pacific during WWII, he lived and worked the rest of his life in Berea. In 1938, he married Berea graduate, Daphne Francis of Carr Creek, KY, who was his partner in Osolnik Originals until her death in 1988. In the 60's and 70's, Osolnik was a leader of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild and helped found the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen having served both as President. He was one of the architects of The Kentucky Guild Train that first started promoting Kentucky crafts. In 1982, he started the ongoing Berea Crafts Festival. Rude Osolnik died at his home on Poverty Ridge, in Berea on November 18, 2001. He was 86.

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Kessler, Jane., Dick. Burrows, and Chipp Jamison. Rude Osolnik, a Life Turning Wood. Louisville, KY: Crescent, 1997. Print.
NK9698.O83 R830 1997, Special Collections Research Center

Kessler, Jane. "Rude Osolnik: By Nature Defined." American Craft 50.(1990): 54-56.
NK1 .C73, Fine Arts Library Oversize  

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