William Kooienga has been a working sculptor for over thirty years. Self-taught, his interest in carving and sculpture began as a young boy, working in soap, ice, wood, and native alabaster. After teaching woodshop, ceramics, and photography for three years at a school for emotionally impaired adolescents, he spent time traveling, visiting museums, galleries, and temples across the United States, Europe, India and Nepal for inspiration before embarking on his career as a sculptor.
Initially exhibiting his work in galleries in Michigan, North Carolina and Tennessee, William won several awards and soon received enough commissions to market his work solely by word of mouth. The inspiring work of Alan LeQuire and the reputation of LeQuire Gallery led him to again exhibit his work publicly.
William has a deep connection and regard for nature, and lives simply with his family in their hand-built solar-powered log home in a secluded hollow of Middle Tennessee. Most of his work emphasizes the beauty of natural materials with the use of organic, sensual lines and surfaces. He works mostly with native salvaged wood but has also used stone, steel, bronze, and found objects.
William is president of the Off The Beaten Path Studio Tour group. He has completed several commissions for churches and many for well-known public figures, such as Paul Allen of Microsoft, and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead. He has also designed and built a park in Smithville, Tennessee. His works are included in The Tennessee State Museum collection, and in private collections internationally.