About art: Wonderful works made of wood

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Ben McClellan is a woodturner and one of his beautiful vases is part of the Colchester Art Collection. He was also one of the judges at this year’s Colchester Art Acquisition Show. He works out of Artistic Wood Turning Studio, 9007 Highway 215 in Maitland.

What is your background?

It’s been 20 years since I started using a wood lathe. I began working in a garden shed while living in the city, exploring and experimenting with the different types of wood that are fortunately available in Nova Scotia. Carpentry was the reason our family moved from the city to Maitland. So I have a working studio and gallery in a converted barn. I can now easily walk to work in my driveway.

How has your practice changed over time?

The products I make have changed over the years and my skill level has been challenged as the size of the machines has increased. There has been a recent demand for cremation urns and we sell this product throughout North America.

Describe a real-life situation that inspired you.

My inspiration for creating cremation urns came from a very personal experience. When a close family member passed away, we were faced with dealing with a funeral, but the options proved to be limited and too expensive. It took some thought and design to complete the first urn, which was completed a year later. It’s inspirational when others comment that their artistic creations are comforting during these difficult times.

What do you like about your job?

Every day is a new experience. I used to tell my kids that the vase or bowl was already in the tree and all I did was remove the outside to expose the beauty that was already there. I still believe this. The items I make are both artistic and practical. Salad bowls are always great gifts because they display artistic expression, but they can also be used on a daily basis. When you change the direction of the vase, it shows a different side depending on the display. Cremation urns have proven to be an artistic focal point for services and a meaningful choice for families. Wood is a medium that people like to “touch”. The patterns created by nature are artistic without any improvement on our part. I use a hardwood crowbar. It is considered the pearl of the forest, as it grows irregularly from the main growth part of the tree. Another raw material is spalto wood, an art form that occurs naturally through the process of decomposition. Utilizing wood at certain times in the process can create a beautiful effect, but if it takes too long, the wood will be lost. Both of these elements emphasize artistic display because people interpret different patterns and everyone sees different things.

Where do you sell your work?

I exhibit my work in select galleries throughout Nova Scotia and P.E.I. My studio is my most popular venue as people enjoy seeing part of the process and understanding the many stages an item goes through until it is finished. He also has a website www.inklingsinwood.com and a Facebook page called “Inklings in wood” where he showcases my work.

Janice Guinan is a local artist who passionately believes in the importance of visual art. Her “About Art” column appears weekly in the Truro Daily News. Guinan writes a weekly column for the Colchester News Weekly. Both are available online at www.trurodaily.com.

Ben McClellan is a woodturner and one of his beautiful vases is part of the Colchester Art Collection. He was also one of the judges at this year’s Colchester Art Acquisition Show. He works out of Artistic Wood Turning Studio, 9007 Highway 215 in Maitland.

What is your background?

It’s been 20 years since I started using a wood lathe. I began working in a garden shed while living in the city, exploring and experimenting with the different types of wood that are fortunately available in Nova Scotia. Carpentry was the reason our family moved from the city to Maitland. So I have a working studio and gallery in a converted barn. I can now easily walk to work in my driveway.

How has your practice changed over time?

The products I make have changed over the years and my skill level has been challenged as the size of the machines has increased. There has been a recent demand for cremation urns and we sell this product throughout North America.

Describe a real-life situation that inspired you.

My inspiration for creating cremation urns came from a very personal experience. When a close family member passed away, we were faced with dealing with a funeral, but the options proved to be limited and too expensive. It took some thought and design to complete the first urn, which was completed a year later. It’s inspirational when others comment that their artistic creations are comforting during these difficult times.

What do you like about your job?

Every day is a new experience. I used to tell my kids that the vase or bowl was already in the tree and all I did was remove the outside to expose the beauty that was already there. I still believe this. The items I make are both artistic and practical. Salad bowls are always great gifts because they display artistic expression, but they can also be used on a daily basis. When you change the direction of the vase, it shows a different side depending on the display. Cremation urns provide an artistic focal point for services and have proven to be a meaningful choice for families. Wood is a medium that people like to “touch”. The patterns created by nature are artistic without any improvement on our part. I use a hardwood crowbar. It is considered the pearl of the forest, as it grows irregularly from the main growth part of the tree. Another raw material is spalto wood, an art form that occurs naturally during the decomposition process. Utilizing wood at certain times in the process can create a beautiful effect, but if it takes too long, the wood will be lost. Both of these elements emphasize artistic display because people interpret different patterns and everyone sees different things.

Where do you sell your work?

I exhibit my work in select galleries throughout Nova Scotia and P.E.I. My studio is my most popular venue as people enjoy seeing part of the process and understanding the many stages an item goes through until it is finished. He also has a website www.inklingsinwood.com and a Facebook page called “Inklings in wood” where he showcases my work.

Janice Guinan is a local artist who passionately believes in the importance of visual art. Her “About Art” column appears weekly in the Truro Daily News. Guinan writes a weekly column for the Colchester News Weekly. Both are available online at www.trurodaily.com.





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