For nearly all his life, Will Schueler had a particular appreciation and love for the color and feel of wood. Having dabbled in woodworking since his teens, he went on to become a finish carpenter, but his heart was in the art of wood. A few years back, he retired and started to pursue his passion. According to his wife Viv, this is a good thing because people have come to love his work and his enthusiasm.
“I developed my unique style of creating pieces about ten years ago, and I take pride in putting together beautiful, one-of-a-kind wood products that can be functional and decorative,” says Schueler. “No one can replicate my style because it is too hard to copy.”
He doesn’t use inexpensive, medium-density fiberboard and doesn’t work with lasers like many other wood crafters. Everything he makes is 100 percent handmade and he often uses exotic woods from Africa, Honduras, Brazil and Australia.
“None of my work is stained,” explains Schueler, “The natural colors of the various species of wood are beautiful in and of themselves, and I simply cover that natural look with a product that will protect it.”
While some of his pieces look similar, in actuality they are all just slightly different because the woods being used will have their own naturally different hue or he may blend in a different type of wood to create a subtle uniqueness.
“One of the best compliments I ever got was from a blind lady who attended one of my shows,” Schueler remarks. “She rubbed her hands across a few of my pieces and said they were the best inlays she had ever seen. Her touch alone confirmed the quality of my work.”
Schueler works closely with his clients to produce a product that is precisely what they are looking for. And while they give their input, they trust his discretion. He created a stunning china cabinet featuring four pieces of stained glass that a customer brought to him. He made a treasure chest, which replicated a pirate’s chest, for a woman who lost her son and wanted something special for all his keepsakes. A few years later, the family requested the exact same chest for that woman who passed away.
He makes anything from a small trinket box, to a floor-standing clock, to a china cabinet or dining room table and chairs. Each piece is something no one else would ever have.
“Most of my clients are people who appreciate the art behind and within the pieces. They are looking for something distinctive; something that has meaning for them,” says Schueler, “and they often come back for additional pieces.”
Schueler has no shop; rather, he showcases his work at his home in North Lake. He participates in a few highly regarded art shows during the year, including some in the Chicago area, and he has clients in several states. He placed second in the Hyde Park show. He hopes to be at the Lake Country Art Festival in July this year.
Schueler conducts private and small group workshops that can be set up by appointment. He has worked with organizations like the Boy Scouts and with individuals who just want to learn the craft building projects on their own. For more information, visit wswoodmasters.com.