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Birdhouse by Chris Kelsch
Birdhouse by Chris Kelsch

The Reboli Center for Art & History’s July artisan of the month is Chris Kelsch.

Chris Kelsch, born and raised in Stony Brook, creates incredible birdhouses, in a wide range of unique woods. He developed his distinctive style over years of education, experimentation, and adventures.

Chris credits his shop teacher, Dean Jenkins, with inspiring his passion for woodworking. After serving in the military, Chris attended Delhi Technical College where he studied carpentry and woodworking.

After college, Chris joined the team of woodworkers at Tanglewood Conservatories in Maryland where they design and build custom high-end conservatories and greenhouses from exotic hardwoods. His role was to focus on the intricate architectural aspects such as corbels, pilasters and detailed window frames to house the stained glass windows.

His fondness for exotic woods led him to discover a mill in Pennsylvania that provides Martin Guitar with beautiful rare woods. He also found amazing antique barn woods.

Birdhouse by Chris Kelsch

When Chris retired in 2017, he started making bird, bat, butterfly and bee houses.  “I enjoy creating safe houses for wildlife,” he explains. I love using rare wood and antique barn wood as they create solid birdhouses. The stability of these woods ensures a solid and quality house. I also appreciate how beautiful grains contrast with the patina of barn wood.” He noted that some of the barn wood he uses is 300 years old.

“I am thrilled to be able to display my work at the Reboli Center,” Chris said. Joe Reboli was a big part of my life as my older brothers were friends with him. In fact, my mother referred to Joe as her ‘other’ son. The Reboli Center is close to my heart, and all involved are beautiful people with a beautiful mission.”

Lois Reboli, president and founder of The Reboli Center said, “I have known Chris a long time and love his work. His birdhouses are so beautiful and unique that it is a pleasure to sell his pieces in the Design Shop and to have him as our July artisan.”

The Reboli center is located at 64 Main Street in Stony Brook and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, please call 631-751-7707.