Alex crafts his wood lathe turnings in the storied tradition of Doukobor Wood Crafters in Canada.
In 1908, roughly 6000 Doukobors came to British Columbia and settled in the Kootenay-Boundary
region where they continued to cultivate their traditional woodworking. Alex has expanded this
talent to pursue his own distinctive style and expression. He includes metals and locally mined
stones to his designs, to bring out the natural beauty of the wood. Each piece is crafted from wood
found in the Boundary area and various other elements have been specifically chosen to ensure
Al got interested in wood carving one winter while in Arizona. While there he was given a piece of
bark and obtained a book on carving called, “Whimsical Houses” Al found that the bark carvings
inspired his creative nature as he does not follow a pattern. Each piece is unique, and the design just
flows. He follows what the bark wants and finds he must be willing to change his design as he is
carving. After the carving is complete, Al uses his wood burning for the highlights and fine details,
which gives his pieces a very pleasing, natural look.
Danny has always felt a very strong connection to Native people and their history. He knew of his
aboriginal heritage, but took 37 years before he began to soar back to his roots. He decided to join
the First Nations and Metis group in the area. It was there that he met an elder, Joan Holmes, who
taught him the art of making pine needle baskets. What had started out as great therapy to forget the
pain of the past had brought him back full circle.
The idea for the Conestoga wagons came from a National Geographic Magazine printed many years
ago. The Tiny pieces of the wagon are all precisely hand carved. The copper is purchased in sheets
and cut to specific sizes for each application on the wagon. Finally, they are stained to give it a rustic
look and then varnished to keep is from oxidizing.
Freeline studio was developed after founder Robert Nestman moved to the Kootenay region with his
partner in 2011. The line is characterized by a technique called “parquetry” which uses short, off-cut
pieces of wood that would, in other instances, be scrapped. This technique adds unique and
beautiful patterns to even the smallest item while utilizing every available resource and reducing
waste. These modern, streamlined pieces are constructed from sustainable, locally grown species and
elements such as metal, glass and certain laminates are used to add originality and vibrancy.
Greg vividly remembers the stories of his grandmother and how she would speak about their Cree
origin. She would tell him stories of spirit sticks and the importance of ceremonies. She taught him
about the power of healing, dancing and tradition. However, for Greg, time passed and he lost
touched with his heritage. That was until he was reacquainted with the Metis community where he
quickly realized his talent for crafts. He began to handcraft many conventional tools and artifacts
that his ancestors used. These artifacts are crafted so that their stories will live on.
Harris developed his passion for wood carving in a somewhat roundabout way. He was born in
Saskatchewan, but decided to take the educational path and attend UBC. Harris soon discovered
however that the work he was doing as a tree planter was more enjoyable and profitable than
anything else he could think of. In the evening, while the other planters were amusing themselves in
various ways, Harris was busy cultivating his love of carving. He has had his work chosen by the
Kootenay Boundary Local Governments to be hung in the Municipal House in Victoria.
Mark Mickey & Keith Plumley
This amazing piece is the product of a two collaborating artists who have worked together for the
last eight years. Plumley uses the lather to turn and spin designs into each slab of burl. He then
passes it over to Mickey, A Nuu-chah-nulth artist best known for his carvings of First Nation masks.
These large wall pieces have a strong presence and are suited to hang in corporate centres, private
businesses, galleries, and homes.
Ray was born in Nelson, British Columbia in 1927. After he retired from being a schoolteacher in
1985 he invested in his passion of woodcarving. He has now been carving for 30 years. Ray enjoys
the endless possibilities and rewards of taking a hunk of wood and finding a polar bear, a human
face, or an abstract sculpture inside this challenging medium. Most of Ray’s carving is done with
power tools and his preferred wood is red cedar and alder.