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Woodworkers I Admire: Judy Kensley McKie

One of the woodworkers I have always admired  most is a woman working back east, in the Boston area I believe. Her name is Judy Kensley McKie and she was one of the first women to make a name for herself as a furnituremaker. And she has been working for more than 40 years and is rich in experience, but most of all, she takes a bit of a different and wonderfully inventive approach to her work.

I have never had the pleasure of meeting Judy, but she and I both appeared more than a few times in the early days of Fine Woodworking Magazine. And while I immediately fell under the spell of her work, I also enjoyed her explanation of it. She mentioned not being obsessed with every single aspect of the techniques that went into the making of her pieces. Don’t misunderstand me. Judy is a very talented woodworker. But as I read it she didn’t want to fall into the trap of cutting dovetails for the sake of cutting dovetails. She has her attention on a higher prize. Her woodworking is merely the foundation for what she seeks, and in my opinion seeks marvelously well.

Be sure to check out her work. It is hypnotic, it is serene, it is sometimes otherworldly, and it is never a slavish knockoff of some other woodworker who has come before her.



June 27, 2018 By Jonathan Cohen Woodworkers Share: