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2018 Bob Stocksdale Award: Ben Strear

April 14, 2019 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm


The 2018 Bob Stocksdale International Excellence in Wood Award: Ben Strear | Sun, April 14, 2019 | 2 – 4 pm | Lecture and reception at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, New Castle County, DE

Registration is required to attend.
To RSVP click HERE.

Please join us as we commemorate the 2018 Bob Stocksdale International Excellence in Wood Award with a lecture and reception at the Rotunda of the renowned Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. The 2018 recipient for the Bob Stocksdale International Excellence in Wood Award is Ben Strear of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Supported by an anonymous donor and now in its third year, the Bob Stocksdale International Excellence in Wood Award presents a grant of $1,000 to an emerging or mid-career artist whose work, like Stocksdale’s, unites quality of craftsmanship and respect for materials. Recognizing the 2018 Stocksdale Award will be Trent Rhodes, a Lois F. McNeil Fellow and recent graduate of the Winterthur Program in American Culture, with a lecture on Strear and Stocksdale (1913–2003), a renowned master woodturner. Rhodes will discuss Strear’s work in context of the values reflected in Stocksdale’s legacy, among them quality of craftsmanship, respect for materials, and artistic innovation.

Strear creates sculpted wooden vessels that serve as canvasses for his meticulously hand-carved, rhythmic patterns, many of which are inspired by ancient structures and artifacts. His work is held by prominent private collections, and he is the recipient of a number of awards, including The Smithsonian Craft Show and the Cheongju International Craft Competition in South Korea.

Image captions, left to right: Ben Strear, Bleached Stele, bass wood, 8 1/2″ x 3 7/8″ x 22″; Stele With Smoke and Flame Pattern, bass wood, milk paint, lacquer, 8 1/8″ x 17 3/4″ x 20 1/2; Vase with Serpentine Pattern, bass wood, 4″ diam. x 8 1/2″
Above left: Ben Strear, Cylindrical Seal, 2017, bass wood, turned and carved with non-repeating pattern and striated; milk paint, wax, Diam. 5.5 in. x 14.5 in.

Ben Strear

Originally from Colorado, Ben Strear attended the Rhode Island School of Design where he received a BFA in Furniture Design. After graduating in 2006, he was awarded the Robyn and John Horn Woodturning Fellowship at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. In 2007 Ben moved to New York City where he found success both fabricating and managing the production of projects for high profile architects and artists. It was also during this time that Ben defined a formal language for his own sculptural woodwork. In 2016 Ben began to focus on creating sculptures full time. Ben and his family currently reside in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

My process and materials are simple: I sculpt and carve wood. While wood by itself is very beautiful, it’s transformative qualities are what I enjoy the most. I utilize both shallow relief and chip carving to achieve the woven, repetitive patterns that adorn my work. I rely on monochromatic color schemes to highlight the patterning, rather than the color of the material itself. On some of my work, I further graphic depth by incising or burning a secondary pattern over a sculpture’s topographic surface.

While the foundation for my art is largely technically driven, I tend to look towards antiquities and fossils for added inspiration. I search for objects that possess finite detail expertly transposed over beautiful forms, either through natural means or by human hands. When pattern and form are combined in the right way, I end up with sculptures that have an air of mystery and impossibility. I wish to instill my work with an inherent sense of history, challenging the viewer to determine if my work was made as a ceremonial gift for an ancient ruler, or perhaps petrified fruits yielded by an ancient, primordial garden.

To learn more about Ben Strear click HERE.

Image caption: Ben Strear, Eroded Cylindrical Seal, bass wood, milk paint, laquer, 5″ x 15″.

Trent Rhodes

Trent Rhodes is a Grants Associate at the Brandywine River Museum of Art and a recent graduate of the Winterthur Program in Material Culture, where he completed his thesis on Southern antique collectors and dealers. During his time at Winterthur, Trent served as a visiting fellow at the Center for Art in Wood, where he and a classmate worked with the director to begin reinstalling the permanent collection. Prior to graduate school, he worked at the Minnesota Historical Society as a Research Assistant for an exhibition on suburbia. Trent has held internships at the American Craft Council and the Goldstein Museum of Design. He graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, with a Bachelor’s degree in Art History.

Bob Stocksdale

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, Snakewood Bowl, 1984, Snakewood from Suriname, 5″x7.5″. The Center for Art in Wood Museum Collection, Donated by Neil and Susan Kaye. 2019.

For more information, and to RSVP, please contact Katie Sorenson, Community Engagement Manager, at [email protected] or 215-923-8000 ext. 103.


April 14, 2019
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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The Center for Art in Wood
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library


Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Virtual, 5105 Kennett Pike
Winterthur, DE 19735 United States
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