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Kelly, John


Pulaski County

Gallery Artisan

Kelly, John

As a woodworker for most of my life, I have always marveled at the flexibility of wood as a basis for usable objects. My challenge to myself has always been to develop an idea, Fnd the best material possible and build the end product with the thought that it will be used for many years by several people and may last forever if built well. My proof of that is that my grandfather built a small pipe stand in 1920 (at 19) that is still alive and well today after 100 years. As a result, I accept the challenge to build something that will be in someone’s home for decades.

I started learning when I was young as I watched my father and grandfather use tools and build whatever they needed. After watching and helping them, I always felt that I could and should do the same. As the years passed, I built and repaired things as a normal part of life. Gradually, I acquired more tools such as a small table saw, a router, and a small drill press and read books and built more challenging things. One of those projects was a coffee table that we still have in our living room today.

My story is primarily one of progression, interest, study, practice, and a design oriented state-of-mind. I have often told people that if I knew (when I was 18) that you could really make a career out of fine furniture building, I would have been doing that all my life. I truly admire the work of the fine furniture builders such as Stickley, Morris, Greene, and makers of the mission style and aspire to use their design techniques more as I progress.

Even today, I am far from being an expert, but I have found that if you have an idea and you have a few good tools, you can complete most projects and if you make a mistake, you can do better the next time if you try.

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