Rob Schouten Gallery presents Bruce Launer, ‘The Shape of Wood’ in November

Posted in Member News, More Stories, Visual Art

Oct. 29, 2014

Router, shaper, band saw, jig ﹣dovetail, sander, lathe and drill ﹣padauk, maple, walnut, sapele ﹣the final shape  the poetry of trees.

Rob Schouten Gallery is pleased to present “The Shape of Wood” with the work of artist Bruce Launer from Nov. 1 to 24. An artist’s reception is 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9.

Turning raw wood into a beautiful piece of art is a process with many phases and for Bruce Launer, finding that final shape is what makes it all worthwhile. Launer’s hand-turned wood tables, music stands and cutting boards are as unique as they are beautiful, thanks to the artist’s keen interest in design.

A detail of one of Launer's tables shows the expert handle he has on the craft. / Photos by Michael Stadler

A detail of one of Launer’s tables shows the expert handle he has on the craft. (photos by Michael Stadler)

“It’s the best part of the process,” Launer said. “I have a concept in my head; see the piece as a three-dimensional thing. But after I start building, I edit myself; I’m constantly refining. This is the best part. This is what makes me enjoy it.”

Launer was bound to become an artist. He grew up in Southern California in a family where art was being made by everybody all the time. His dad was a sculptor and engineer and his mom made mosaic watercolors. After snagging a Bachelor of Science in art, Launer worked his way through a series of jobs that all had some kind of creative element:  computer graphics, writing code, interior decorating. Eventually, he quit the day jobs and went to woodworking full time in 1998.

“The wood just comes to me,” Bruce said. “I buy a lot of wood, so a supplier will call me and say, ‘I have this cool piece of wood. Do you want it?’” His favorites are walnut, padauk, maple and sapele.

He’ll live with a piece of wood for a while, and then know intuitively what it will become. He said the design of something takes shape on its own, organically.

“I usually get large pieces of wood. When I cut them, I start to feel what they are going to be, all the time thinking about color, form, and durability of structure. With experience, you know what forces are working against each other and how things work together. I try to make things look as light as possible; like they might not work, but then they do.”

Launer's exquisitely made music stands are special; inspired by the late local master musician, Michael Nutt.

Launer’s exquisitely made music stands are special; inspired by the late local master musician, Michael Nutt.

Please join us for light refreshments and a chance to meet the artist from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9 during Greenbank Farm’s “Second Sunday at the Farm” event, when the Farm’s galleries, shops, and cafe welcome visitors to enjoy a relaxed afternoon of fine art, good food, natural beauty and lively conversation.

Rob Schouten Gallery, a premier showcase for Whidbey Island and Northwest artists, is located at 765 Wonn Road, #C-103 at the historic Greenbank Farm. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends; closed Tuesday or by appointment.  For further information, call 360.222.3070 or email

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