Peter Chapman

Peter Chapman (b. 1944) is an American woodworker. In the 1960’s, he studied architecture at Virginia Tech and then was employed by George Nakashima, a leader of the crafts movement, both of which inspired his love of wood and influenced his approach to design. In 1975 he set up his own studio in a barn on Bent Mountain in Virginia.

Chapman creates three-dimensional animal puzzles. The puzzles are interlocking and move like the animals they embody. Hidden inside them is a surprise, as below, the cat with a ball of yarn. Chapman tries to capture the spirit of each animal and to make each one unique. He has created over 100 different puzzles. Nationally known, with numerous awards for his designs, he is a member of the Southern Highlands Handcrafts Guild, the Virginia Mountain Crafts Guild and the International Wood Collectors Society.

Chapman became a conscientious objector after being drafted into the Air Force, which earned him an early discharge. After studying and trying many different religions he found Quakerism fit him the best, mainly because of its active peace and justice stand. Smiling, he says, “I like them better than anything else”. With his wife, Jenny, he worshiped with Floyd Quakers and now is with Roanoke Quakers.

I have always loved Peter Chapman’s puzzles. And I have always enjoyed his quiet humor and gentleness.

His work can be found at

Gary Sandman

July 2023

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