more than 25 years, master wood turner Avelino Samuel
has created fine art from wood. Adding to the unique
value of each of his signed and numbered pieces is the
fact that they are made from woods found in the Virgin
Islands — mahogany, seagrape, lignum vitae, kasha,
white prickle, amarod, genip and black olive, to name
a few. Avelino blends elements of Virgin Islands/Caribbean
decorative art and style with his love for classical
and modern turnings.
a young age, Avelino loved creating beauty with his
hands and aspired to be an Industrial Arts teacher.
He received his BS degree in Industrial Arts from North
Carolina A&T State University and his Master’s
degree in Education from Eastern Michigan University.
He returned to his native St. John, where he has taught
Industrial Arts at the Julius E. Sprauve School for
more than 20 years.
time, Avelino Samuel has refined his skills through
his constant pursuit of knowledge about his art. He
is a member of the American Association of Woodturners,
and in 2000 he was awarded a grant to attend their Annual
Symposium. Samuel also holds membership in the American
Craft Council and the Artist Association of St. John.
of first-place awards at Tillet Fair and St. John Fourth
of July Fair, Avelino also participated in the Smithsonian
Institution’s Festival of American Folklife re-staging
on St. Croix in 1991. He took part, as well, in the
Virgin Islands Cultural Heritage Institute’s 1996
Folklife Festival held at the University of the Virgin
Islands on St. Thomas.
the 1990’s, Samuel added furniture making to his
repertory, exploring traditional and modern forms in
his production of four-poster beds. His furniture gained
quick popularity, but he found that he preferred to
focus his artistic talent on beautifully turned and
polished vessels that make a refined statement in any
home. These works reflect his passion and love for the
art of woodturning.