Lincoln Seitzman graduated in 1943 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as a mechanical engineer. He served in the Air Corps during World War Two, and then joined his father’s clothing manufacturing firm, where he later became Vice President in charge of design and production. During his 35 years in the garment business, he won many industry awards for fashion design. In 1981, he retired from the business, and became interested in woodworking.
He began to experiment with wood and taught himself to use a lathe. He was selling cutting boards pieced from contrasting woods at the local tennis club when he encountered an object made by a wood carver to resemble a basket. The imitation of weaving was distorted on the sides. Lincoln does not really have the temperament of a hobbyist — nothing short of perfection satisfies him. “I said to myself,” Lincoln recalls, “if I did this, it would look like a basket all the way around.” It took some thought, but Lincoln ultimately was not only able to duplicate the positioning of different colors all around the basket; he finished the bottom as it would appear if woven.
Lincoln entered one of his “Illusion” baskets in the WTC’s 1988 International Turned Objects Show and felt “like Cinderella” when it was accepted. “I met Albert LeCoff and all the fellow turners. They were perfectly friendly and no secrets were withheld. It’s not the secrets,” he chuckles, “it’s the ability.”