Kerry G. Wade carefully combines pragmatism and found objects in his handcrafted furniture on display at the Jacobs Gallery. His materials are simple: old water skis, toboggans, snow skis and board games. All are used, all are authentic and all are reminiscent of Wade’s childhood. 

“I love the nostalgia that vintage material brings about,” Wade says. “It brings a sort of mystery.”

Wade’s inspiration for his current work began with a pair of wooden skis bought at a thrift store. He took the finding of this discarded equipment as a challenge to create something out of nothing. It’s been 15 years since Wade’s first chair and not much has changed. His creations are still handcrafted, well preserved and picturesque.  

Wade’s journey as an artist started long before his first chair. At the age of 8, he sent a drawing to President Kennedy, and he received a letter of response in which the president remarked that he enjoyed Wade’s work. “From then on I considered myself an artist,” Wade says.

Wade’s most popular piece in the collection of handcrafted furniture is a skillfully constructed Adirondack chair made of wooden skis and stained with marine varnish. 

The work is clever and visually pleasing, but Wade sees his art as more than just surface-level aesthetics.

“Chairs are almost thrones in someone’s home,” he says. “A chair can kind of become a symbol for someone.” 

It is this sense of symbolism and sensitivity that Wade hopes to pass on to others through his creations. 

Along with Wade’s handcrafted furniture, the works of Herbert Berman and Craig Spilman will be showing as part of “Berman-Spilman-Wade” through August 18, at the Jacobs Gallery.

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