David Jaap van Leeuwen was born
in 1952 in San Francisco, California where he attended public
schools. His father Jaap van Leeuwen was born in Holland in 1912
and came to the United States after the Second World War. He became
a commercial artist and soon met and married David's mother Eleanor.
Eleanor was born in Kentucky in 1909. She was a pre school teacher
and a musician. Both of David's parents influenced him greatly.
His father Jaap, the artist and the world traveler, planted the
seeds of adventure and excitement that international travel could
bring, and encouraged David in his artistic interests. His mother
Eleanor, the teacher and musician, was nurturing and supportive,
encouraging David in his love of both art and music.
David is a 1974 graduate of Friends
World College, a four-year experiential college that encouraged
world travel, apprenticeship and independent study. During his
time in college, David had many formative experiences. His first
experience teaching art to children was at the Alvarado school
art program in San Francisco. He also worked at Palo
bronze bell foundry in Scottsdale, Arizona. David went to
Holland in 1971 and studied at the Academy for Art and Industry
where he built a geodesic dome. He had plans to go to Africa but
instead moved to Bolinas California in 1972. As a Friends World
College student he volunteered for one year at the Bolinas-Stinson
School's art shop, as a teacher's aid. He was hired the next year
and the teaching position became a full time job. After David's
graduation from Friends Word College in 1974, the transition between
college and a full time job was seamless.
has been the art metal shop teacher at the Bolinas-Stinson School
since 1972, with a leave of absence to travel and pursue his craft
as a jeweler. He teaches kindergartners through eighth graders
various metalworking skills from lost wax casting and rubber mold-making
to jewelry fabrication. He also teaches stone cutting and stone
setting. Teaching is the chance for David to share his own personal
interest and passion for art with children and gives him the opportunity
to make a contribution to his community.
a jeweler David made containers, rings and bracelets using gold,
silver, rubies, sapphires and diamonds. His
jewelry work has been displayed in the San Francisco Neiman Marcus store.
He later became interested in large-scale
metal sculpture. Spending several years on a single sculpture
was something David accepted, as he always loved the process.
He learned that the real skill required for this type of artistry
was patience. Combining patience and passion is his driving force.
He challenges himself to take each piece that he makes to a higher
level. He approaches sculpture like he does jewelry, with patience,
passion and a fine eye for detail, color and light.
His first journey to Southeast Asia in 1980 was
an important life experience and crossroad in David's life. He
continues to return there for inspiration and for the adventure
that travel brings. He has been to Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam,
Indonesia, Nepal and to his favorite country, Myanmar, commonly
known as Burma. His love for Southeast Asian art, architecture
and people has influenced him in many ways. That love is a big
part of his life and has influenced him greatly.
began teaching rubber mold making and concrete casting in a Burmese
Buddhist monastery in 1999, another important and pivotal point
in his life. He realized that he could make a contribution as
a traveler and do something more meaningful and worthwhile, something
that would help the people and culture that he had become so fond
of. Since then, David has been back to Burma every year teaching
rubber mold making and concrete casting in Burmese Buddhist monasteries.
With the help of many friends, he has been able to fund many humanitarian
projects in Burma as well. The emotional rewards are so great
and satisfying that this is what David wants his life to be about.
His love for travel, art and the Burmese culture has grown into
something much bigger and greater than himself.
By following his personal interests and passions,
David's life has evolved in an interesting way. David plans to
continue the work that he has been doing as an artist and as a
teacher. He is looking forward to what lies ahead and to what
the future will bring...
David Jaap van Leeuwen
P.O. Box 762
Bolinas, California 94924