The Island Gallery
alan rosen

Alan Rosen is one of the premier craftsmen working in the Northwest. Since 1972 Alan has been creating original and custom furniture known for its simple elegance, uncompromising craftsmanship and attention to detail. He is particularly known for his careful selection of woods, traditional joinery and signature hand-rubbed finish.

Becoming a premier woodcrafter evolved with the help of two master woodcrafters, George Kaplan and Al Engels. Alan’s training started with an apprenticeship to George Kaplan who ran a shop in New York which employed 12 European cabinetmakers.

It was a super high-end, high-quality shop. When I joined him he was semi-retired and was performing mostly repairs on 18th and 19th century antiques which people would bring from Park Avenue, because he was a renowned repairer and refinisher. It was my job to take everything apart, and then he would make the new parts. We would then reassemble it as a team and he would refinish it. The pieces that rolled through that shop provided me with a textbook type of education in woodworking design. I saw for myself why some pieces lasted and why others didn’t.

When I left my two apprenticeships where I had worked primarily on antique reproductions, it took five years before I could build something that didn’t look ancient. Now I can look almost anywhere – car lines even – and get ideas. But I still find that my classical training overrides everything that I do. I still proportion my work in the classical methods, and I consider my work as ‘contemporary antiques.’ I like to take a lot of old ideas and basic shapes and clean them up – get rid of a lot of the ornamentation, and just spend time in the detailing of the joinery.

To Alan, woodworking is not only his livelihood but a profession that carries with it the responsibility of securing its existence. It is a profession he eagerly welcomes at the beginning of every day and one that provides him with the challenges he believes fosters personal growth. Those who own a piece of Alan’s work, or have admired it from afar, can easily see just how seriously he takes the job of securing this valuable resource as a functional form of art that one day may cease to exist.

In addition to Bainbridge Island, Alan exhibits at galleries in Oregon and California. He has done commissions for the residences of Bill Gates, Paul Allen, David Usher, law and architectural firms, churches, and has been featured in Custom Woodworking Magazine.