A world of wonders - Broad clientele

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Schürch went to the International Boat Building Training Center in Lowestoft, England, and completed a nine-month course. Lofting a boat was something new and helped develop his intuition and understanding of the ‘faire curve’ and building the rounded shapes used in curvilinear projects.

“Boats have no straight lines, and the only reference point is an imaginary waterline. Now that sounds interesting. It is in the well-faired curve where magic happens.”

In 1986, he worked as shipwright aboard the 150' topsail schooner, Star Pilot, while on a delivery run to the Parade of Tall Ships in New York. His duties included overseeing all woodwork aboard the 70-year-old Gloucester fishing schooner, rebuilding the galley, maintaining the hull, deck and rigging, and training two young ‘chippys’ as boatbuilders.

After the ship’s journey, he went to Florence, Italy, and was stunned by the beauty of the inlay work he saw in the museums. This changed his life forever. He discovered marquetry and also Pietra Dure, which is marquetry using semiprecious stone. He went back to Florence in 1987 and worked with a Pietra Dure master for a short time.

Broad clientele
Schürch’s clients are usually wealthy and cultured individuals. They want a focal piece for their home and appreciate the artwork and quality of craftsmanship involved.

“You have to use the best material available, and you should put the best craftsmanship that you are capable of first. Utilize technology if you have it, but always stand behind your work, no matter what.”

While he has taken on commercial projects in the past, such as church, temple or corporate clients, those jobs have been less common and now only make up 15 to 20 percent of his work. About 10 percent of his clients are from Santa Barbara, another 70 percent are from throughout the U.S. and Canada, and the rest are overseas.

With new clients, Schürch uses his Web site to display various ideas. He will discuss a design with a potential client and draw thumbnail sketches, for a set fee ranging from $200 to $1,200, depending on the scope of a project and intricacy of the preparation, which could involve extensive research or a site visit across the country.

A working deposit is taken after the design phase is complete and the client is responsible for full payment and any additional delivery costs at the time of the project’s completion. Schürch spends three months to a year on most projects.

Schurch has built custom projects for many designers and currently has spec work displayed in the Northwest Fine Woodworking Gallery in Seattle, Wexler Gallery in Baltimore, and Once a Tree gallery in Los Angeles.

Inspired by nature
Marquetry was the medium that allowed him to express his artistic imagery with woodwork. Schürch trained with Remonti Intarsiatori in Treviglio, Italy, in the advanced art of inlay techniques and marquetry for six months in 1989. It was the foundation he needed to follow his passion

“I’ve seemed to settle into this technique of inlay, because it seems to suit my needs of expressing myself artistically through the right side of the brain … on the left side of the brain, I create blueprints and do the mechanical design work.”