Len Koroski Credit: Lisa Degliantoni

The artist and architect Len Koroski designs and creates wood furniture and other functional wood pieces. He is a woodworker with a table saw, wood planer and drill press in his workshop along with other woodworking implements and finishing materials.

While proud of his woodworking ability, Koroski emphasizes that art is not just what you hang on the wall, but it can be designed items that are both beautiful and functional to be enjoyed and shared with objects that we used every day. The creativity of his artworks is in his development of the design and the selection of a wood that has the characteristics to align with the design.

He has studied and been inspired by the clean beauty and design of Mid-Century modern (MCM) furniture for a long time. For several years during his train commute, Koroski spent hours thinking and sketching his own MCM-influenced wood designs. Eventually, the designs he brainstormed on the train began chanting, “Now, make me.”

Art by Len Koroski Credit: Len Koroski

As time became available to put his designs into practice, Koroski started with small items for his home.

Initially he created a tray to carry his and his wife’s evening tea and chocolate. Since then, he has ventured into lamps, tables and chairs.

The selection of the wood is an integral, high priority step in Koroski’s art creation. George Nakashima, the famous 20th century furniture maker, would look at a piece of wood, examine the grain, and design and build a piece supporting the attributes of the wood. Koroski emulates this Nakashima trait in his own work.

Art by Len Koroski Credit: Len Koroski

He buys wood that he thinks will be suitable for one of his projects at some point whenever he finds it. In particular, he searches for uniquely patterned pieces of ribbon cut sapele, figured walnut, quartersawn oak and mottled cherry, but he also purchases pieces of other species in which he sees unique traits.

He sources from local lumber yards and small sawmills. His ultimate goal is to match each piece of wood and one of his designs to reveal unexpected beauty.

To start a new artwork, Koroski chooses from his stockpile of designs developed over the past four to six years and chooses a piece from his wood inventory that has the characteristics that he believes will meld wonderfully with his design.

Next, he must determine if the design will function successfully. Will a wood joint under tension rather than compression hold up? Does he need to make a mockup or model to test some aspects? Are there any potential limitations of the piece? Will it be functional? How would he adapt the design the next time he makes it? How can he improve his skill at creating joints? And on and on.

If Koroski ends up with a positive outcome from this analysis, he builds the piece.

When the piece is constructed and stable, he prepares it for finishing and then applies a VOC-free finish. Part of the finish might include a very high level of polish – perhaps on just the handle – to create a surprising glimpse of beauty.

When Koroski sells a piece, his profits are shared with both the YMCA and the Chicago Food Depository.

Koroski applauds Evanston Made, which he describes as having a locally grown art co-op mindset. Find more examples of his work here at or at his Instagram account.

Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham retired from the business world and is now enjoying the next phase, including writing about local artists to increase awareness of Evanston’s amazing art community.

Leave a comment

The RoundTable will try to post comments within a few hours, but there may be a longer delay at times. Comments containing mean-spirited, libelous or ad hominem attacks will not be posted. Your full name and email is required. We do not post anonymous comments. Your e-mail will not be posted.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *