Artist in Lustrous Materials
Thomas Schrunk has been called one of the top five veneer artist in the United States, and he may be the only artist know to use
luster as a primary design element.
His development as an artist comes through work in India and the influence of the repetitive motifs of Islamic art, as well as the lustrous gold leafing of Hindu statuary. His signature style, the "flow pattern" parquetry of wood grain gives directional movement over the surface, combined with luster which occurs in unexpected bands, changing location and shape as the viewer moves past. This luster changes throughout the day with the changing angle of the sun, and gives a quite different presentation at night, when lit from within the building.
Bookmatched burl is another interest. Because of its difficulty, it is not frequently seen, and is seldom done with precision. He has developed a technique where accuracy is no longer an issue, and bookmatching can be an active design element, not simply a presentation technique. The upper lid of the "Europa" series of Steinway & Sons Art Case pianos uses a bookmatched fan radiating out from the location of the seated pianist, and the underside of the lid emulates the movement of the music up and out of the instrument, again in radiating bookmatched burl.
His work has been described as "spectacular" by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and a June, 2006 article describes him as a "Renaissance Man". Steinway described his first piano, "Reflections" as "inspired design", and named to his second piano, "Reflections in Cardinalwood" as an "artistic masterpiece" and ended their biography of him with the word "genius". They describe him as a "furniture veneer master" for his work on "Europa". "Europa III" is their "Featured Art Case Piano" and a photo and link are found on the Steinway home page. His work is found in Design Book Eight by Taunton Press (Fine Woodworking), "Original Furniture from the World's Finest Craftsmen".
Taking the principles of refractive and reflective luster from wood cells and brushed metals, he developed a method of creating lustrous surfacing on concrete for the first time. Concrete Construction Magazine featured his work in a 2007 article after seeing photography of his work on the Sears Centre Stadium in Hoffman Estates, (Chicago), Illinois.
Midwest Home Magazine published an article in September 2009 about him, and he was featured in a five-page article in Woodwork Magazine, Winter 2012-13 issue.
In April, 2013, Tom was inducted to the Minnesota Woodworker's Guild Hall of Fame
He spends part of each summer as an archaeological photographer with his wife, Ivančica, on her Roman era site on an island in Croatia. He is also assistant director of a J-term (January) class for undergraduates in Rome on the archaeology and history of ancient Rome and accompanies them on their studies.