Woodworker Ruch is Menifee Artist of the Month for June

By Bill Zimmerman President, Arts Council Menifee When we think of an "artist", we env...

By Bill Zimmerman
President, Arts Council Menifee

When we think of an "artist", we envision a painter with a brush and palette, splashing colors onto a canvas. But those who have recently visited Arts Council Menifee’s gallery at the Kay Ceniceros Center have discovered an interesting and creative artist, David Ruch, who is showing his "wood intarsia" pieces.

Ruch has been selected Arts Council Menifee's Artist of the Month for June.

His original artistic passion was music, and he has learned to play many stringed instruments, including mastering the violin. Music became his profession; he recently retired from teaching music and World History for over 40 years.

Ruch has a second artistic passion -- creating with wood. His father, who passed away when David was young, inspired him to pursue his God-given talent in working with wood. Ruch made a soap box racer when he was 10 years old. He then progressed to making his own HO railroad cars and buildings; to flying wooden model planes; and then learning to work with all of the power machinery in his middle school wood shop class.

Ruch found inspiration to create from his daily life experiences.

He learned how to repair violins and other musical instruments. Eventually, Ruch was inspired to build his own musical instrument from scratch. He decided to build a Celtic harp, which he has played in church on several occasions.

"I see instruments in magazines, and I know I’ve got to try making it," said Ruch. He wrote to a museum and asked for dimensions for the viola de amore they were displaying, and with the information they provided, he built one (left).

Upon retirement two years ago, Ruch became serious about woodworking with the encouragement of his friend, Al Gingher. Al taught him how to use a scroll saw, and Ruch caught the "bug". His favorite part of the hobby is intarsia, which involves cutting a picture out of wood, using the natural wood colors for the picture, similar to a jigsaw puzzle, with each piece from different woods, and then assembling them into the picture.

He also likes segmentation, an art method similar to intarsia, except that all the picture puzzle pieces come from the same wood, with the colors being differentiated by applying stains or other