A Berea College stool is a particularly unique piece of craftsmanship because of the sustainably harvested ash wood used in its production. The American ash is projected for extinction from its native lands within a matter of decades due to the invasion of the emerald ash borer. In order to curb the beetle’s expansion and increase the ash trees’ chances of survival, Berea College Forestry systematically targets effected logs for removal with the help of trained logger horses.
From the moment it’s felled in the forest to the time it sits polished in your home, the wood used in our stools is always in the hands of a skilled craftsperson while on a lathe or beneath the knife. One of the final stages is to fit the stool with strips of genuine leather or hickory bark, weaving each strand in the same over-under pattern found in both Berea Broomcraft and Weaving. The original inspiration for our stools comes from the work of Eastern Kentucky craftsman Chester Cornett, who was commissioned by writer and poet Wendell Berry for a similar creation.