1. What is the significance of the name of your shop, "Once Upon a Tree"?
The name "Once Upon A Tree" captures the essence of what I try to do in my woodworking; to create a piece that carries on the story of the materials from which it was made. Many of my bowls and vessels feature a "live" or natural edge with the bark of the tree intact. This combined with a highly polished and refined surface tell the story of the transformation from tree to art work.
2. How do you decide what piece of wood to use and how to begin your work?
I try to seek out the most interesting specimens to turn and these tend most often to be burls (tumorous growths on the trunk of the tree). Inside of a burl the wood can have the most interesting colours and patterns and the grain will show curl and birdseye - quite unlike the rest of the tree on which it grew.
3. How long does it take to create a piece from start to finish?
I tend to start turning when the wood is freshly cut and the moisture content is high. Sometimes there is a spray of water coming off of the lathe while the wood is spinning! After a rough shape is achieved, I air dry the bowl for six months or more until it is stable enough to finish. There is a lot of chisel work at this point to refine the shape and then hours of ponderous sanding to perfect the surface. The bowl is then oiled and buffed until a highly polished surface is achieved.
4. What's next? Any big plans in the works?
Craft sale season is now starting and I have quite a few that I am doing this year: the Central Art Walk in Kitchener, Artworks at Bingeman's, Cranberry Market in Guelph, Plaid Tidings in Toronto, and the Christkindl Market in Kitchener are a few that I will be exhibiting at.