Paul Ruhlmann

Paul Ruhlmann Headshot

Q & A

Who are you and what do you do?

I began my professional woodworking career after apprenticing with Jon Brooks in 1975-6, and since then he has been producing sculpture and furniture for my home, galleries, and private collections. For the past 42 years, I have been teaching woodworking at Buckingham Browne and Nichols School in Cambridge, MA.

Why do you do what you do?

As a child, I was fascinated by nature and by art. I grew up in a rural area of western New York and would spend my free exploring the woods behind my house. While I enjoyed exploring nature and how the world seemed to work, I had difficulty in school and making things became a source of pride and satisfaction. Much later, as an adult, I found out that I was dyslexic and that may have explained some of the difficulty I had in school.

What’s your favorite artwork or artist?

I have been influenced by many artists. If I had to reduce it to one person, it would be Jon Brooks, an artist from New Boston, N.H. I have also been greatly influenced by Henry Moore, Constantin Brancusi, Antoni Gaudi, Joan Miro, Vasily Kandinsky, and Friedensreich Hudertwasser. The list could go on.

The concept of art as being a gift that is meant to be shared, is central to what I do. If you are given the gift of art, I feel you are obliged to pass it on. I try to pass it on through my teaching and in making art for other people.

What themes, ideas, questions do you pursue in your work?

I see wood as a powerful, almost sacred material. Increasingly I work directly from the tree. I try to use wood harvested from storm damage trees, brush clearings, or trees that are taken down for other reasons. I try to maintain the organic nature of the wood in its natural state. It is a very tactile material.

What role does The Umbrella play for you in your work as an artist?

I would like to see the Umbrella increasingly become a cultural resource for Concord and the surrounding communities with a strong mix of theatre, music performances, film, artists, and art education.


1991-92        Harvard University (graduate study) 

1980             Mass College of Art (graduate study)

1975-76        Jon Brooks (apprentice)

1968-73        Northeastern University B.A. Psychology

Work Experience:

1978- present             Buckingham Browne & Nichols School Cambridge, MA.  Full-time high school teacher of woodworking, design and sculpture.

2007             Furniture Society Conference (Univ. of Victoria, B.C.) presentation/demo.

2004             Furniture Society Conference (Savanna,GA) panelist

2004             Maine Woodworkers Association  (woodworking presentation).

2002             Presenter at Guild of NH Woodworkers conference.  

2000             Furniture Society Conference (Toronto, Ontario) presentation/demo. 

2000             Anderson Ranch Snowmass, CO. instructor.

2000             Miami University, Oxford, OH.  Craft Summer instructor


2004             Rustic Garden Furniture  Daniel Mack, Lark Books  Ashville, N.C.

2001             Lee Valley Technical Bulletin  issue #17

2000             “Fine Woodworking “ #145  “Creativity with a purpose”

2000             “Fine Woodworking Video “Making Rustic Furniture”

1999             “Fine Woodworking”  #138, “Making Rustic Furniture” 

1990             Design Book Five Taunton Press, Newtown, CT

1981             Woodworking the New Wave , Dona Meilach,  Crown Press, New York, N.Y.

Honors, Awards, Grants:

2012             Concord Art Association Frances N Roddy Competition Sculpture award

2010             Concord Art Association Members Juried Sculpture award

2008             The Philanthropic Initiative teacher/artist grant winner

2007             The Philanthropic Initiative grant winner

2003             New England Association of Woodworking Teachers “Teacher of the Year”            

1999             Inventor: Veritas® Tenon Cutter patent # 6,004,082


2000             Miami University Gallery  Oxford, OH

1986             Nesto Gallery Milton Academy  Milton, MA.

1981             Brockton Art Museum  “Woodforms”  Brockton, MA.