Kailee Bosch – 21st Century Turner & Multimedia Artist

Kailee Bosch, 23, is forging a unique path as a turner, woodworker and sculptor exploring the diverse opportunities for making art in the 21st century. (Photo credit: Trent Bosch)

Kailee Bosch’s natural desire to be a maker was nurtured in the environment created by her well-known father’s woodturning and toolmaking professions. When she graduated in May 2020 from Colorado State University (CSU) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Kailee, only a few weeks away from turning 23, had already created noteworthy pieces of art, earned several awards, studied and assisted with classes at prestigious woodturning institutions, taught young turners, and played a major role in her family’s business.

Her father, Trent Bosch, is an acclaimed woodturner and sculptor who designs and fabricates tools, teaches workshops, presents demonstrations and creates instructional videos. Kailee is the only one of Trent’s three children – two girls and a boy – who shares his passion for woodturning.

In the years before COVID-19, Trent traveled all over the US and overseas as part of his woodturning career. “I think I only recall two vacations that my family took that weren’t in some way related to woodturning,” Kailee explained. “I feel very fortunate to have visited a good portion of the US, along with South Africa, Australia, England and France – all for woodturning.” 

Kailee’s dad taught her to turn on a lathe when she was about 7, but she had to wait until she was 10 to participate in the Youth Program classes at the annual American Association of Woodturners (AAW) Symposiums. After a break, she returned in 2017 and 2018 as an instructor.

Kailee learned to turn on a lathe as a young girl. (Photo credit: Kailee Bosch)

Instructor Kailee helps a young turner at the 2018 AAW Symposium. (Photo credit: Kailee Bosch)

Prior to high school, wood was the primary medium Kailee used to express her creativity when turning plates, platters, bowls, vessels and other classic forms.

“I think wood is engrained in my life in a lot of ways, and I was naturally drawn to it,” Kailee said. Besides her dad’s use of wood, other attractions to wood are a family home heated by wood and designed with a lot of wooden elements, large old trees on her parents’ property, and life in Colorado that includes being outside, hiking, and skiing where trees are part of the landscape.

New look at materials for turning

Though wood is still very much a part of her work, an art course that Kailee took in the last two years of high school changed her view of materials and turning. Her first assignment was to alter a book as an art project – a challenge that launched her exploration into alternative materials. The end result was Alive (shown below), a 2014 project created by laminating the pages of a book, compressing it in a hydraulic press and then turning the form on the lathe.

Alive is a 7" x 23" x 9" piece created from laminated paper, Russian olive, and acrylic paint. (Photo credit: Kailee Bosch)

During her freshman year at CSU, Kailee took a 3D Foundations class where she made her first teapot, Rou(tea)n, an 11" x 17" x 8" piece of art incorporating books again – discarded library reference books – and copper. The piece, shown on the magazine cover below, won the Excellence Award in a combined undergraduate/graduate CSU art exhibit and was purchased by CSU for its Magnolia House.

Expanding her skills

“I feel really fortunate to have sort of ‘fallen’ into an amazing program at Colorado State University where I expanded my skill set. My background in woodturning, woodworking and metalworking mostly came from my dad and working in his shops. However, when I went to school I was introduced to clay and digital fabrication, both of which became an important part of the work I am making today,” Kailee said. “My most recent work is kind of a combination of all of those, woodturning, woodworking, digital fabrication (3D printing and CNC), as well as clay. The last year or so I was focused on making work for my BFA Capstone show.” (To view the exhibit, click here.)

“My background is woodturning, but it has expanded into a multi-material and process practice,” Kailee observed.

“I definitely had a strong base,” Kailee said. “My degree is not in wood specifically – CSU does not offer a wood program – it is in sculpture and pottery. I have also participated in several classes at craft schools (Arrowmont, Anderson Ranch), which have supplemented specific areas of interest. And finally there have been several things that I have taught myself, smaller interests, usually with some guidance from my dad.”

Rou(tea)n made the cover of a national magazine. (Page image credit: AAW and American Woodturner)

From wood to other turning materials

In the American Woodurner pages below, author Michael McMillan writes: “Bosch’s years at CSU have opened her up to a variety of media and ideas, perfect for her desire to push the boundaries and presuppositions of what woodturning can be.”  The author then describes and offers examples of how Kailee’s work evolved through her college years.

To read the entire article, click on the PDF icon at the end of this blog.  (AAW and American Woodturner provided these individual page images and the article PDF.)

All of Kailee's works shown on the page above are made from laminated paper. The two lower images also include copper, while the upper right one includes cherry. (Page image credit: AAW and American Woodturner.)

Merging (top left on the page above) is an innovative piece made from laminated cardboard, laminated paper and white ash wood. (Page image credit: AAW and American Woodturner.)

Untitled (Tube Sculpture) in cherry, bronze and brass, part of the BFA Capstone show. (Photo credit: Del Harrow)

Partial view of another Capstone piece: Untitled (Table) in ash, bronze and brass. (Photo credit: Kate Osborne)

Going forward: a student residency and maybe an MFA and teaching

Kailee considers herself very fortunate to have been selected as a Student Resident for the Center for Art in Wood ITE Residency for 2021.

“I am hopeful that the residency will take place next summer, virus permitting, and then I plan on applying for other opportunities in the field,” Kailee said. “For the time being, I am planning on working for the tool business,” Kailee said.I had some other plans for this fall and early spring, but they all fell through due to coronavirus, so luckily I still have a place to make work and a job.

Right now, with these changes and sort of uncertainty, I am applying for shows, and just trying to find ways to get my work out into the world.”

Her tentative plan is to go to grad school in two or so years, probably for an MFA in furniture design. Until then she anticipates trying some new things outside of a school environment –likely combining her studio practice with teaching in some format.

Exhibitons & Collaboration

Beginning in 2017, Kailee’s work was part of exhibitions at galleries and events around the country. In 2020, Cocoon, a collaboration by Kailee and Laurent Niclot of Toulon, France, was included in the Nature/Nurture exhibition, a part of the auction for the American Association of Woodturners Professional Outreach Program.

Kailee met Laurent in 2018 in France during one of the Bosch family vacation/teaching trips. When Trent discovered that teapots were an interest shared by Laurant and Kailee, he introduced them, which led to their collaboration on art pieces. Complici-tea is another Kailee-Laurant creation.

Complici-tea. (Photo credit: Kailee Bosch)

Cocoon. (Photo credit: Tib Shaw, AAW)

Favorite pieces

When asked to pick her favorite piece from her creations so far, Kailee said, “Gosh, that is a loaded question. I think it changes monthly (maybe even weekly). I had a really hard time selling my work at first because I wanted to keep all of them all.”

Integrated (Photo credit: Kailee Bosch)

Untitled (Wall Hanging). (Photo credit: Kailee Bosch)

Kailee’s favorite is Integrated, a bowl she made from laminated paper, cherry and ash.  Second favorite is Wall Hanging I, one of two new wall hanging pieces that combine wood and bronze. 

Part of the family business

Kailee and her father, Trent Bosch in their shop. (Photo credit: Kailee Bosch)

Kailee has informally worked for Trent Bosch Studios since she graduated from high school. “It is at this point fully a family business,” she said, “with my dad, my grandpa, me, my mom and my siblings all working on and off for him.”

As fabricator and assistant, Kailee has learned many skills. She is involved in all aspects of this business, from tool manufacturing to order processing, the website, schedules, and demos, especially virtual demos – a response to COVID-19.

Women in woodturning

“For the most part, people (males, older turners, etc.) are really welcoming and accepting of me being both young and a woman. I still somewhat dislike going to the wood store or getting other supplies, where I sometimes feel judged by both my age and gender; however, I think there have been a lot of really positive things that have come out of being in this position. So it doesn’t and will not ever stop me.

“I think the Women in Turning Program through the AAW is great, and has really allowed a space for women to feel comfortable in the field. But like I said, in general, I think the community is very welcoming and willing to share their knowledge with anyone, regardless of age, gender, etc.” 

Kailee Bosch at work. (Photo credit: Trent Bosch)

Advice to beginning turners

I think woodturning is an amazing medium, with endless possibilities. It is, however, an expensive and often difficult medium to really become involved in. I think finding someone who is willing to help you and guide you is important. I think one has to be very determined and not just rely on one way of making a living for themselves, unfortunately.

“We are at an interesting turning point in the field right now with COVID. A lot of things are going virtual, and I think that might be here to stay, at least for a while. All of that to say, I think if someone is determined and interested in pursuing woodturning as a career, they absolutely should. We need more young people”! 

To learn more about Kailee, visit her website: kaileebosch.com, Instagram page and Facebook.

Woodcraft thanks Kailee Bosch for sharing her woodturning and making journey with our readers. We hope the young makers- and turners-to-be, especially the women, are inspired by her passion for discovering new ways to create art.

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