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The Bob Stocksdale International Excellence in Wood Award was launched by the Center for Art in Wood—now the Museum for Art in Wood—in 2016 to honor Stocksdale’s legacy while linking it with a new generation of artists and makers who work in the material of wood. It is awarded to an artist, emerging or established, whose work embodies reverence for materials and dedication to craftsmanship-values that resonate throughout Stocksdale’s body of work.


Image: Paul J. Smith, Bob Stocksdale (1913 – 2003) at his studio, Berkeley, CA, ca. 1985, Inkjet print.

The Center for Art in Wood Museum Collection, Donated by the Artist. 2016.

Bob Stocksdale (1913–2003) was an internationally renowned pioneer of contemporary wood turning. Known for his striking lathe-turned bowls, formed from exotic woods, Stocksdale is credited with sparking the revitalization of the craft of wood turning and its growing significance as an art form. His signature work comprised smooth, elegant bowl forms that emphasized the natural color and distinctive grain pattern of the wood.

Stocksdale grew up on his family’s farm in Warren, Indiana. He began working with wood as a teenager repairing furniture and taught himself how to turn on the lathe. Drafted into the US Army in 1942, Stocksdale claimed Conscientious Objector status and spent the duration of WWII in Civilian Public Service camps. It was in such a camp where he turned his first bowl.

Following the war, Stocksdale moved to Berkeley, CA, and became an early member of the Arts and Crafts Cooperative, Inc. (ACCI), a cooperative gallery showing work by designer-craftspeople. He was married to the noted weaver and fiber artist, Kay Sekimachi.

Bob Stocksdale’s awards and acknowledgments were many. He was inducted as a Fellow of the American Crafts Council; made an Honorary Lifetime Member of the American Association of Wood Turners (AAW); honored as a California Living Treasure; and recognized as a Master of the Medium Award by the James Renwick Alliance. His work is held in the permanent collections of many notable institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; the Contemporary Museum of Art, Honolulu; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the Museum for Art in Wood.


The Stocksdale Award was first offered in 2016 to Jakob Weissflog, Hildesheim, Lower Saxony, Germany. In 2017, the winner was Dean Pulver, Taos, NM, US; the 2018 laureate was Ben Strear, Grand Rapids, MI, US; the 2019 awardee was Humaira Abid, Seattle, WA, US; and Kristin Levier, Moscow, ID, US, received the award in 2020.

Albert LeCoff, Co-Founder and Executive Director Emeritus, selected the Stocksdale awardee in the first years of the Award. Since 2019, the Stocksdale Award has been adjudicated by a committee. The members of the Award Committee for 2019 and 2020 were:

Christine Knoke, Deputy Director of the Mingei International Museum; Michael Monroe, Director Emeritus of Bellevue Arts Museum and Curator Emeritus of the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum; Michael Puryear, artist, woodworker, and furniture maker; Kevin Wallace, Executive Director of the Beatrice Wood Foundation; and Jennifer-Navva Milliken, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Museum for Art in Wood.

Beginning in 2025, the award will be bestowed every five years. The next Bob Stocksdale International Excellence in Wood Award will be announced in Spring 2025.

Please get to know the Stocksdale Award laureates!

2016: Jakob Weissflog, Hildesheim, Lower Saxony, Germany

2017: Dean Pulver, Taos, New Mexico, US

2018: Ben Strear, Grand Rapids, Michigan, US

2019: Humaira Abid, Seattle, Washington, US

2020: Kristin Levier, Moscow, Idaho, US

The artist is granted a prize of $1,000. Another $500 is allocated for documentation to an honorarium to be given to a research fellow, who delivers a lecture at a program organized by the Center in partnership with Winterthur Museum and its Research Fellowship Program in American Material Culture. This lecture will examine the laureate’s work in the context of the values and characteristics inherent in Bob’s body of work.