Maker of the Week - Peter Schlech

Thursday 5 January 2012

Born on the Island of Oahu, Peter Schlech was raised and educated in many countries and among many cultures. After attending various boarding schools, Peter decided to study literature and art at university level. Peter undertook an apprenticeship as a boat builder before embarking on a 30-year career as a designer-builder of yacht interiors.

After attending his first exhibition of fine woodworking in 1995, Peter was inspired by the beauty, quality, and freedom of design in the work he saw there, and was determined to try his hand in this new field. He branched into the design and construction of studio furniture and accessories, where he found a renewed passion for the art of woodworking that quickly became apparent in his new work. According to Peter's website, his designs have received more than 17 awards for woodworking excellence, and have been featured in local and national publications, galleries and museum collections.

Today he is an award-winning craftsman known for his unique style. His passion lies within the design and construction of studio furniture, which is where he has found his niche. Inspired by the world around him, Peter started making multi-purpose boxes with some beautifully aesthetic designs, but recently, he has focused more on sculptural work. His work is displayed in some of the best galleries in and around the USA and unsurprisingly, his work has received a wonderful response for its unique designs and elegance. In Peter's words, the work is fresh, and it stands out nicely from turned and carved wood.

In his artist's statement, Peter comments that most of his recent work is the result of a process of exploration and discovery; an attempt to go beyond the bounds of conventional techniques and designs: "Each series is an experiment, and I am often as surprised as anyone at the results. In the laminated form, I find a range of expression and freedom of design that allows a balance between the rigid formality of the rectilinear and the amorphism of the strictly organic."

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Images, from top to bottom:

1.'Elizabeth Series' in padauk and wenge

2. 'Elizabeth Series' piece of macassar ebony veneer and wenge

3. 'Unisbel Series' piece of rosewood veneer and ziricote

4. 'Elizabeth Series' piece made of macassar ebony veneer and wenge

5. 'Halia's Cup' series, bowl of laminated macassar ebony veneer #3

6. One of the first 'Phoenix Series' made from South American rosewood veneer with a ziricote base

7. Writing desk/chair in fiddleback sapele with ziricote accents

8. Box from the 'Shinto' series, made from spalted maple and ziricote (PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF PETER SCHLECH)