Craft Awards

Don McKinley Award for Excellence in Wood


Donald Lloyd McKinley was a furniture maker, educator and designer born in Barlesville, Oklahoma in 1932. He was educated at Wichita State University, Kansas and the New York State College of Ceramics (NYSCC) at Alfred University. From 1956 to 1957, Donald McKinley served as a Private in the United States Army stationed in Fort Miles, Delaware. He worked as Chief Staff Designer at the W.H. Gunlocke Chair Company in Wayland, New York (1958-1962) before studying at the Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki, Finland as a Fulbright Scholar and earning a Master of Industrial Design from Syracuse University, New York in 1965.

He began teaching at NYSCC in 1964 before moving to Oakville, Ontario to establish and direct the School of Crafts and Design at Sheridan College in 1967, a post he retired from in 1995.

McKinley won numerous awards in Canada and the United States for his furniture designs, published and exhibited extensively and spent a year in Tasmania as a design consultant (1976-1977), after which he returned to Canada to resume teaching. McKinley was married to Reena Ruth Gowdy McKinley, an established Canadian ceramicist.

The Don McKinley Award for Excellence in Wood honours the late Don McKinley, acclaimed woodworker, former president of the Ontario Woodworkers' Association and long-time faculty member at Sheridan College, School of Crafts and Design. This award was established in 1986 by the Ontario Woodworkers' Association to recognize excellence in design. It is awarded annually to a woodworking student studying at one of Craft Ontario’s affiliated educational institutions.

Images: Top detail: Pattie Walker, Wisdom of Maat, 1996, glass appliqué with sand blasted overlay, 72” x 96”, photo by John Struthers.Side top: Don McKinley, Branching Cocktail Table, 1969, 10cm PVC Tubing, 91" diameter. Side bottom: Installation, Donald Lloyd McKinley: A Studio Practice in Furniture, Oakville Galleries May 26 - July 16 2000. Photo by Terry Garbutt.





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Formerly the Ontario Crafts Council, Craft Ontario is a not-for-profit service organization that works to have craft recognized as a valuable part of life. We promote and celebrate professional craft through providing member opportunities, and advocate for craft practice by educating and empowering diverse audiences.