David Ellsworth, master woodturner, describes his primary influences as “the energy and beauty of Native American ceramics, the architecture of the American Southwest with its textures, tones and monumentality, and the natural beauty of the material of wood – what I refer to as the most perfectly imperfect material to work with.”
He is considered one of the most prominent woodturners in the world, famous for developing his elegant thin-walled hollow forms which may be as thin as 1/16th of an inch. Additionally, he created and marketed the bent turning tools needed to produce this vessel-like form. Ellsworth is also known for advancing the discipline of woodturning as a legitimate craft art form.
The work of David Ellsworth is included in the permanent collection of over 43 museums internationally, including the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
He is celebrated for his generous sharing of knowledge with students in workshops, symposia, craft schools, and in his own School of Wood Turning in the mountains of North Carolina. David Ellsworth was a founding member of the American Association of Woodturners in 1985, dedicated to advancing the art and craft of woodturning worldwide through education.
Michael Hurwitz has been in the forefront of the studio furniture movement for over forty years. His work shows the intrinsic qualities of elegance, seamless design and exceptional craftsmanship. It is foretelling that this Smithsonian Visionary experienced a life-changing event at the Smithsonian in 1972, viewing Woodenworks: Furniture Objects by Five Contemporary Craftsmen. The exhibit profoundly affected Hurwitz and solidified a future in studio furniture.
Hurwitz pieces are in countless permanent collections, including the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as homes of private collectors across the country.
Having studied both in the Dominican Republic and Japan in residency, Hurwitz brings a unique sensibility to his designs. In Japan, his studies generated an aesthetic of seemingly simple beauty through a deliberate and careful practice, leaving nothing to chance. Michael Hurwitz likes the parameter of furniture . . .that you use it . . .that it gets passed down from generation to generation, and that it enriches people’s daily lives.
Recently, Hurwitz collaborated with the notable furniture maker, Martin Puryear, to create seating for Glenstone, the renowned contemporary art museum in Potomac, Maryland. It proved to be a true collaboration, which Puryear called “a deeply satisfying experience,” adding that “the project owed its success to (Michael’s) knowledge and his high standards.”
David Ellsworth and Michael Hurwitz will receive their Smithsonian Visionary Awards at the live 2021 Smithsonian Craft Show, scheduled to be held October 27 – 31 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
The Smithsonian Visionary Award is presented annually by the Secretary of the Smithsonian to American artists deemed by experts in the field to have risen to the pinnacle of sculptural arts and design, who have works in major museums, and who have demonstrated distinction, creativity, exceptional artistry, and, of course, vision in their respective medium. Initiated in 2014, previous winners are Wendell Castle, Albert Paley, Toots Zynsky, Dale Chihuly, Faith Ringgold, Joyce J. Scott and Patti Warashina.
For more information visit: www.smithsoniancraftshow.org