Reese Gaertner is a woodworker, artist, and writer who currently lives and works in Minnesota.
Reese spent most of her childhood years in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She grew up in a split-level house that fortunately had a large, wooded cow pasture on the other side of the backyard fence where she climbed trees, lingered under the branches of virgin maples, and dug through field-stone piles for fossils.
She eventually left for Minnesota and attended Carleton College, where she squeezed art and religion courses in between basketball and softball games. After college, she earned both an M.Div. and S.T.M degree from Yale University, and did doctoral work in religion, science, and technology at Emory University. She has served congregations in the United Church of Christ, served as a college chaplain, and taught college and graduate level courses in religion and theology. More recently, she has been has been practicing mediation and studying Buddhist philosophy, and has been authorized to teach within the Theravadan tradition.
When she shifted gears and began focusing on woodworking and antique restoration, the inner nerd was still very active. She completed the full-time one-year program in wood finishing and antique restoration at the National Institute for Wood Finishing, and followed that with advanced classes taught be some of the leading wood finishers in the country and by conservationists from the Smithsonian Center for Materials, Research, and Education.
While working in antique restoration, Reese began experimenting with different finishes, veneers, and woodworking projects. Whenever clients and friends visited, they always noticed whatever experimental piece was sitting in the workshop and wanted to take it home. Eventually, she stopped restoring antiques and focused on making her own artistic work.
Reese Gaertner's work has been a part of some of the nation's best shows, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, the American Craft Council Shows, and CraftNEWYORK, and is owned by collectors in the Midwest, New York, and Madrid, Spain.