About

About the Artist

Gary A. Leake – A woodworker whose passion is to search the countryside for a special one-of-a-kind, piece of timber, be it cherry (a favorite), maple, walnut or cocobolo, that has character (meaning highly figured, tigered spalted, etc) and turn it into a finely engineered and ultimately beautiful piece of furniture, so unique it is considered a work of art.

After approximately twenty years as a professional engineer working the 9 to 5, Gary wanted and needed a change. He decided to walk a different path – one that used his inherent artistic talent as well as his technical sense – that of working with and creating with wood.

Gary’s technique tends to be influenced by methods and styles of earlier times, using antique woodworking tools and skills (although he does use a bandsaw from time to time). Other influences: ancient Japanese joinery, Shaker-style furniture, Colonial-style furniture, Early American hand tool techniques and a natural finish look.

Moving to Whidbey Island in 2000 proved to be even more tempting for Gary to expand his horizons and express his artistic talent. In pursuit of his passion, he spends hours (and hours and hours – just ask Sandy) dreaming up ideas, finding that perfect piece of timber and finally creating a true work of art.

Creative Process

Gary credits his Grandfather for nurturing what has become a keen appreciation for all things wooden. Many of Gary’s antique woodworking tools and skills were inherited from this wonderfully patient master cabinet-maker.

Gary’s creative process can best be described as follows: Conceptual ideas float around in his head (sometimes for a day but often for years) until the magic moment when he finds that particular piece of timber that triggers the project. The wood’s natural character, which acts as a catalyst for moving the abstract idea to reality, truly drives the final design. Thus each artistic creation is truly unique. Each piece is carefully crafted by hand using many of the woodworking techniques and tools employed during the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries.

The resultant ‘feel’ and warmth of the wood can only be experienced by touching and caressing it. Touching of Gary’s art is indeed mandatory. Gary’s labors of love demonstrate his creativity as a contemporary artist and his woodworking skills.

Awards and Exhibitions

“Solid concept for ‘a celebration of wood’s special character’ in a functional piece of art and craft.” Quote: Gordy Edberg as he awarded “Tiers of Joy” 1st Place for 3-D Art at the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival Juried Exhibition, 2013.

“Excellent design. I like the geometric design of the legs in contrast with the natural shape and color of the table top. The craftsmanship is fantastic.” Quote: John Ebner as he awarded “Adrift” 1st Place for 3-D Art at the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival Juried Exhibition, 2009.

2016
Exhibiting artist, 13th Annual “Art + Wood = Woodpalooza @ WICA”, Langley, WA (“Connected”and “Down the Line”)
2016
1st Place in 3-D art 53rd Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival (“Maple Mix”e; Maple Burl and Walnut Hall Table)
2016
Exhibiting artist, 53rd Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival (“Down the Line”and &qout;Spring Blossoms”)
2015
Demonstrating artist, Arts Alive, La Conner, WA(“Maple Alive [matched pair]”)
2015
Exhibiting artist, 12th Annual “Art + Wood = Woodpalooza @ WICA”, Langley, WA (“Walnut Shimmer [matched pair]” and “Burl in Bloom”)
2015
Honorable Mention in 3-D art, 52nd Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival (“Bearly There”e; Maple and Walnut Hall Table)
2015
Exhibiting artist, 52nd Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival (“On Display&qoute; and “e;Walnut Shimmer”e;)
2015
Whidbey Working Artists Spring Exhibition, Pacific Northwest Art School, Coupeville, WA (“Bubinga Bite”, “Cherry Encounter” and “Unhinged”)
2015
Exhibiting artist, “20th Anniversary” Exhibition, Penn Cove Gallery, Coupeville, WA (“The She-Oak”, “Walnut Curl” and “Spring Blossoms” chairs)
2015
Exhibiting artist, “Warmth” Exhibition, Brackenwood Gallery, Langley, WA (“Blue Mystique”, “Cherry Rift”, “Lion’s Paw”, “Myrtle in Motion”, “Nature’s Discovery”, “Symmetry”, “Taking Flight”, “Unhinged” and “Y-Not?”)
2015
Exhibiting artist, “Wood and Warmth, Bronze and Clay” Exhibition, Cole Gallery, Edmonds, WA (“Bedazzle”, “Deep Mystique”, “Gentle Drift”, “Pathways”, “Sapele Splendor”, “Walnut Awe” and “Walnut Awesome”)
2015
Exhibiting artist, “A Fifth Season: Stories in Wood” Exhibition, Whidbey Institute, Clinton, WA (“Olde Pine Rift”, “Olde Pine Elegance” and “Olde Pine Adrift”)
2014
Demonstrating artist, Arts Alive, Langley, WA
2014
Demonstrating artist, Arts Alive, La Conner, WA
2014
Exhibiting artist, 11th Annual “Art + Wood = Woodpalooza @ WICA”, Langley, WA (“Nature’s Sweep”, “Lion’s Paw” and “The She-Oak”)
2014
Exhibiting artist, “Art-a-Palooza”, Whidbey Children’s Theater, Langley, WA (“Cocobolo Ember”, “Shaker Sideboard”, “Stripes in the Round II”, “What’s the Point?”, “Y-Not?”)
2014
Exhibiting artist, Whidbey Art Trail, Coupeville, WA (“Little Zebra”)
2014
Exhibiting artist, 51st Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival (“The She-Oak”, “Walnut Curl”)
2013
Exhibiting artist, 10th Annual “Art + Wood = Woodpalooza @ WICA”, Langley, WA (”Maple Delight”, “Freefall” and “Spring Blossoms” chairs)
2013
1st Place in 3-D art 50th Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival (“Tiers of Joy” Maple and Mahogany Hall Table)
2013
Exhibiting artist, 50th Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival (“Tiers of Joy”, “Maple Delight” and “Jubilee”)
2013
Published: “Something of Value: Whidbey Island Woodworkers”, Western Art and Architecture Magazine, August/September issue, “All About Yew I” Hall Table
2013 -14
Exhibiting artist; Hanson Scott Gallery, Seattle, WA
2012
Exhibiting artist, “Small Pleasures” Exhibition, Brackenwood Gallery, Langley, WA (“Barely”, “Incline-ation” and others)
2012
9th Annual Whidbey Island Woodworkers Guild “Woodpalooza” Exhibition, Langley, WA (“All About Yew I” , “Irresistible” and “Simplicity”)
2012
Exhibiting artist, 49th Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival (“Incline-ation” and “Irresistible”)
2011
Demonstrating artist, Arts Alive, La Conner, WA
2011
8th Annual Whidbey Island Woodworkers Guild “Woodpalooza” Exhibition, Bayview, WA (“Cherry Swirls” and “Sitting Pretty”)
2011
Exhibiting artist, 48th Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival (“Blue Beginnings”, “Nature’s Mood”)
2010 -2013
Exhibiting artist; The Laurel Tree Gallery, Duvall, WA
2010
7th Annual Whidbey Island Woodworkers Guild “Woodpalooza” Exhibition, Bayview, WA
2010
3rd Place in 3-D art 47th Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival (“Blue Lagoon” Walnut/Glass Display Table)
2010
Exhibiting artist, 47th Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival (“Blue Lagoon”, “Cherry Swirls” and “Dark Charm”)
2010
Exhibiting artist, Arts at the Port “Next” Juried Competition, 49th Annual Anacortes Arts Festival (“Adrift Chalanga-Da” and “Cypress Knee”)
2010
3rd Place in Sculpture 53rd Annual Edmonds Arts Festival Juried Gallery (“Maple Fantasy”)
2010
Exhibiting artist, 53rd Annual Edmonds Arts Festival Juried Gallery (“Adrift Chalanga-Da II”, “Maple Fantasy” and “Symmetry”)
2010
Exhibiting artist, “Wabi Sabi” Exhibition, Scott Milo Gallery, Anacortes, WA (“Wing” and “Adrift Wabi Sabi”)
2010
Honorable Mention in “Whidbey Island Preservation Art”; second of a series of gallery exhibitions hosted by the Pacific Northwest Art School (“Dogwood Spirit” Table)
2009 –
Exhibiting artist; Brackenwood Gallery of Fine Art, Langley, WA (formerly Karlson/Gray Gallery)
2009
Honorable Mention in “Whidbey Island Preservation Art”; first of a series of gallery exhibitions hosted by the Pacific Northwest Art School (“Whidbey Wild” Bigleaf Maple Table – ‘Very clever use of materials.’)
2009
6th Annual Whidbey Island Woodworkers Guild “Woodpalooza” Exhibition, Bayview, WA
2009
1st Place in 3-D art 46th Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival (“Adrift” Sapele and Ebonized Walnut Display Table)
2009
Published: 500 Tables, Lark Books, “Nature’s Rhythm” Hall Table
2009
Exhibiting artist; “Art for History” Exhibition, Island County Historical Society
2008 –
Exhibiting artist; Cole Gallery, Edmonds, WA
2008
“At Home with Fine Craft” Exhibition, Karlson/Gray Gallery, Langley, WA
2008
5th Annual Whidbey Island Woodworkers Guild “Woodpalooza” Exhibition, Bayview, WA
2008
1st Place in 3-D art 45th Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival (“Dark Wave” Ziricote and Ebonized Cherry Hall Table)
2008
Exhibiting artist; Lavender and Wind Art Festival, Coupeville, WA
2007 –
Exhibiting artist; The Wood Merchant, La Conner, WA
2007
Honorable Mention “Beautiful design. Great use of woods” in 44th Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival (“Nine Pieces” Display Table)
2007
4th Annual Whidbey Island Woodworkers Guild “Woodpalooza” Exhibition, Bayview, WA
2007 -2009
Exhibiting artist; Karlson/Gray Gallery, Langley, WA (formerly Gaskill/Olson Gallery)
2007 -2009
Exhibiting artist; Art Concepts on Broadway Gallery, Tacoma, WA
2007 –
Exhibiting artist; Scott Milo Gallery, Anacortes, WA
2007 -2008
Exhibiting artist; The Courtyard Gallery, La Conner, WA
2006
1st Place in 3-D art 43rd Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival (“Curves” Cherry Sofa Table)
2006
3rd Annual Whidbey Island Woodworkers Guild Exhibition, Bayview, WA
2005
1st Place in 3-D art 42nd Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival (“Sunrise Over Whidbey” Walnut Hall Table)
2005
2nd Annual Whidbey Island Woodworkers Guild Exhibition, Bayview, WA
2005 –
Exhibiting artist; Penn Cove Gallery, Coupeville, WA
2004
1st Place in 3-D art 41st Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival (“Foraging Among the Fuchsias” 3-Panel Cherry Screen)
2004
1st Annual Whidbey Island Woodworkers Guild Exhibition, Bayview, WA
2004
“Portrait of a Community” Exhibition, Bayview, WA
2004 -2005
Exhibiting artist; Whidbey Panoramas Gallery, Coupeville, WA
2003
1st Place in 3-D art 40th Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival (“Reach for the Sky” Shaker-Style Ladderback Chair)
2002
1st Place in 3-D art 39th Annual Historic Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival (Blue Cherry Toy Box)
2002 -2007
Exhibiting artist; A Class Act Gallery and the Courtyard Gallery, La Conner, WA
2000 -2006
Exhibiting artist; Gaskill/Olson Gallery, Langley, WA

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