West-Maui Woodworks


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Maui based artist Derek Lau is a master wood craftsman whose awareness of nature transcends the naked eye. With roots in Colorado and Southern California, Derek has spent most of his life active in the outdoors as a skier, photographer, diver. When Derek observes a tree, he has an uncanny ability to read the story behind the twist and turns of her branches. The burls, knots and grain inspire the creative intentions of his finished pieces offering a more meaningful connection with the tree’s history. Derek works closely with local arborists to turn trees into treasures and save them from the chipper or the landfill.
With thousands of dives across the Americas in places such as the Yucatan Peninsula, Cozumel, Venezuela, the Atlantic coast, the Pacific coast, the Hawaiian Islands, and even hot springs in high-altitude caves in Colorado, Derek is a highly accomplished diver. His art emanates this passion by combining epoxy resin with tropical hardwood slabs of Mango, Koa, Tamarind, Lychee and Monkeypod, giving his pieces a distinct interrelation between water and wood.
Derek’s preferred technique for his custom cabinetry and shelving is the use of book-matching, the practice of “mirroring” two or more wood surfaces that give the impression of an opened book. Mastering the meticulous detail of this process and honoring the natural expression of each piece of wood, Derek creates designs that experiment with symmetry and geometry, making for some truly classic luxury furniture.
On most days you can find Derek at his workshop West Maui Woodworks nestled among trees on the slopes of Haleakala Crater.

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