Self-taught Kentucky woodturner Chad Eames tries to highlight the natural features of the wood – knots, voids and bark inclusions — while still maintaining a modern feel with his designs.
Company/studio: Chad Eames WoodWorks started in 2008 and is based in Lexington. Eames’ workshop is in his garage.
Artist: Born in Royal Oak, MI, and grew up in Lexington. Eames graduated in 2000 from Emory University with a BA in Economics and earned his MBA at the University of Kentucky in 2004.
Prior to becoming a professional woodtuner, he spent more than 12 years working with technology startups and entrepreneurs across Kentucky. In addition to his woodturning, he enjoys refinishing mid-century modern furniture and collecting mid-century modern American art glass.
In the beginning: An art history class at Emory planted an “art seed.” Ten years after that class, Eames discovered woodturning.
When he bought his first lathe, Eames didn’t know what woodturning was. A mini-lathe and tool set were the only things he could afford at the woodturning store. Eames took the tools home and watched a YouTube video on how to make a pen.
A year later, he took a day-long bowl turning class. That was the extent of his classroom training.
Art & materials: Wood bowls, vases, vessels and sculptural objects. Some are useful. Others are purely aesthetic. Wood used is from locally salvaged trees that would otherwise be burned, mulched or left to rot.
- Twisted carved vessels ($300 to $600).
- Bowls with natural features ($150 to $450)
Other favorites: Spider bowls ($250 to $400).
Favorite tool(s): His lathe, of course! Also, power carving tools.
- Rude Osolnik (1915 to 2001). One of the pioneers of contemporary woodturning. He was based in Berea, KY, and known for simple forms that highlight the natural features of the wood.
- Wayne Husted (1927 to 2022). An iconic glass designer best known for his MCM designs at Blenko in WV. Wonderful forms, textures, and colors
- In general, Brutalist architecture, plus ceramic artists, and glass artists.
Special commission: A project with late glass designer Wayne Husted. The project was a wood mold for a new Lazarus II Face decanter, a successor to Husted’s Lazarus Face (or Head) Vase.
Unfortunately, the pandemic brought their collaboration to a halt. Husted later died before the duo were able to finish the project.
Recent awards/honors: First Place at the St. James Court Art Show in Louisville (3rd Street section), 2022
Recent project: Translating some of his designs into wall art.
What’s next: Art festivals, including:
- 4 Bridges Arts Festival, Chattanooga, TN. April 21-23.
- Cherry Creek Arts Festival, Denver, CO. July 1-3.
- Berea Craft Festival, Berea, KY. July 7-9.
- Shaker Village Craft Fair, Harrodsburg, KY. Aug. 5-6.
- St. James Court Art Show. Louisville, KY. Oct. 6-8.
Where to buy: At art shows. Also, if you see something you like, contact him through his social media sites or at website: chadeames.com.
- Facebook: Chadeameswoodworks
- Instagram: @chadeameswoodworks
- YouTube: Chadeameswoodworks.