Wood carver Harry Leurink

Harry Leurink, Sculptor and Woodcarver

Artist Harry Leurink (born in 1960 in Gorssel, Netherlands) studied Sculpture at the Art Academy of 's-Hertogenbosch. After graduation however, he started working as a musician and songwriter in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. In 1995, tired of city life, he left for the more quiet east of the country where he worked as a lumberjack and later as a forester in the Veluwe National Park.


By coincidence he begins around 2000 with the manufacture of woodcarvings. The woodcarving quiets his great need for tranquility and solitude. Inspiration to make his wooden sculptures he finds in the beautiful countryside in which he lives and works and in the work of the Norwegian author Knut Hamsun. He identifies with the theme of the outsider in a society to which he does not want to conform.

Commissioned Carvings

Sculpting in wood is unexpectedly working so well that he can soon live off his art. His wooden sculptures are initially largely determined by clients such as the National Trust (Vereniging Natuurmonumenten), the Forestry Commission, businesses, cemeteries and private individuals. He initially designed and sculpts park benches, funerary monuments, wooden statues and ornaments.
Gradually, he developed more and more his own realistic style: sculpting 'after nature'. Examples are his carvings of animals and his giant insect-trees. Like a true tree sculptor, he gives the life to 10 insects carved in huge 15 meter high trees in the National Park De Veluwe.

Wooden portrait busts and busts

In recent years Harry feels a growing desire to stretch his boundaries and he focuses on cutting portraits in wood. The ultimate challenge for a carver or sculptor. Carving a portrait from solid wood is many times harder than sculpting a bust in clay. For in clay one can correct and adjust as much as necessary (and then pour in bronze and the like.) Let alone a wooden portrait. The cutting of a person's portrait - and not just an anonymous face – from natural solid wood, sets the bar very high and also opens unexplored terrain. As an artist Harry Leurink feels attracted to pioneering this Terra incognito and he has sought cooperation with his present assistant sculptor Harold van Duijnhoven to develop technology that makes it easier and cheaper to sculpt life-sized portraits in massive wood, capturing both spirit & likeness. Normally it would take extreme long posing time . many sessions of several hours each were needed. But with the special scan and 3D imaging techniques that Harry Leurink uses it is no longer needed to torture the subject for hours or even days. A 3-dimensional image of the subject serves as a reference. This allows Harry to make astonishing accurate wooden portrait busts. Stunning likeness / amazing similarity... hereby the personality and likeness remain paramount. (Other than with bronze,) The warm nature and properties of wood as a material, other than with bronze, in combination with the skill of the artist makes that a portrait bust almost comes to life. They are unique busts that fulfill wishes of people in wood. It can be life-sized busts, but also small or very large portrait busts are possible. Experience shows that children's portraits (or grandchildren) are much in demand, but also busts of business people and dignitaries. Each bust is sculpted by Harry Leurink personally or by a professional sculptor under his direct supervision.